Tag Archives: Westport Downtown Merchants Association

Downtown Menorah Lighting Set For Monday

On Thursday, Westport lit the Town Hall Christmas tree.

This Monday, the Hanukkah menorah lights up downtown.

Four Jewish congregations — Beit Chaverim, Chabad of Westport, Temple Israel and The Conservative Synagogue — will gather at the corner of Main Street and Post Road East. Everyone — of any faith, or none at all — is invited too.

At 6:15 p.m. — on the 2nd night of Hanukkah — candles will be lit. Holiday songs will be sung, sufganiyot (jelly donuts) will be eaten, and dreidels will be spun.

Last year’s menorah lighting. (Photo courtesy of Melissa Kane)

It’s an important event.

“During a time in which we have seen a rise in anti-Semitism and darkness in the world, Hanukkah celebrates our survival against all odds,” says Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn of The Conservative Synagogue.

“But it also reminds us of our responsibility to increase the light in our world.”

The 5th annual celebration is organized in cooperation with the Westport Downtown Merchants Association.

 

“Local Love” Is Live!

Shopping, dining and enjoying Westport just got more fun.

And a lot cheaper.

This morning, the “Local Love” card went live. Here’s the deep dive.

Beginning this Friday (November 30), and running through 2 weekends, stores and restaurants are offering great discounts. Over 100 retailers, salons, fitness studios and dining spots participate.

They’re downtown, in Saugatuck, and up and down the Post Road. The entire list is below; just scroll down.

But “Local Love” is a lot more than just a $40 coupon book. A portion of the sales will help build a playground near the new library.

Card holders can also enjoy special “Local Love” events at Terrain, Savannah Bee, FRED and more.

The campaign is the brainchild of WestportMoms, partnered with town officials, the Westport Downtown Merchants Association and Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

WestportMoms — aka Megan Rutstein and Melissa Post — have done yeowoman’s work to involve a wide variety of local businesses in “Local Love.” Most retailers offer 20% off. Spas and salons give 15% discounts; restaurants, 10%.

Megan Rutstein and Melissa Post are the brains behind “Local Love.”

“Westport is special,” they say. “We need to keep this incredible town thriving. And there’s no better time to shop and dine than over the holidays.”

They’ve done all the groundwork. Now it’s your turn. Click here for your card. For more information, click here.

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Participating “Local Love” businesses and restaurants

Appliances & Electronics

  • Stanton Miles (Vacuums) – 20% off

Arts

  • Westport Country Playhouse – $10 off tickets to The Pianist of Willesden Lane

Clothing & Accessories

  • Anthropologie – 20% off (some brand exclusions apply)
  • Athleta – 20% off purchase of one item
  • Bella Bridesmaids – 20% off
  • Brownstone – 20% off purchases over $200 (one-time use only). Not eligible on sale items
  • Fred – 20% off; 10% off for members
  • Groove – 20% off
  • J. Crew – 20% off
  • Joie – 20% off full-priced items
  • Lesters – 20% off
  • LF Stores – 20% gift card for every $250 you spend
  • Lucy’s – 20% off
  • Madewell – 20% off purchases over $100; 30% off purchases over $250
  • Marine Layer – 20% off purchase over $300
  • Millie Rae’s – 20% off one-time use
  • Mitchell’s – 15% off (some brand exclusions apply)
  • Pink Lemon Blue Lime – 20% off
  • Quentin Row – 20% off men’s tailored made to order suits
  • Saavy & Grace – 20% off of scarves
  • Scout & Molly – 20% off
  • Shoe INN – 20% off
  • Soleil Toile – 20% off purchases over $150
  • Southern Tide – 20% off
  • Splash of Pink – 20% off
  • Sunglass Hut – 20% off purchases over $100; 25% off purchase over $200
  • Vineyard Vines – 20% off
  • West – 20% off full-priced items
  • Winged Monkey – 20% off

The Brownstone, on the 2nd floor of 142 Main Street, is one of many “Local Love” participants.

Fitness

  • Bar Method – 15% off a 10-pack or the New Client Special (or both)
  • CST 50 – 20% off a 5-pack (one-time use)
  • F45 Westport – 20% off Foundation Membership (normally $240); month-to month with no contract or commitment
  • Gym Source (fitness equipment) – 20% off
  • Joyride – 20% off a 10-pack
  • Pinnacle Health & Fitness – 15% off training packages
  • PureBarre – 20% off retail
  • Upper Deck Fitness – 20% off training sessions and/or a 10-pack

Hair & Nails

  • Amenity Nail & Spa – 20% off
  • Annette DeCarlo (at Sola Studios) – 20% off OR an add-on glaze
  • Blow Dry Westport – 15% off products and services
  • Greg & Tony’s Salon – 15% off products and services
  • Haus of Pretty – 20% off
  • Milena Ivanov (at Sola Studios) – 20% off color and glaze (new customers only)
  • Sharkey’s – 20% off retail products
  • Steven Mancini – 15% off products and services
  • Studio on Main – 15% off products and services; $90 for blow dry 3-pack
  • W Hair & Color – 15% off services (one-time use)
  • Westport Hair & Co – 15% off of blow outs
  • WHIP Salon – 15% off products and services

Health, Beauty & Spa

  • Avez Massage (at Sola Studios) – 15% off
  • Dominique Rochelle Beauty (at Sola Studios) – 15% off
  • European Wax – 15% off products and services
  • Eyebrow Girl – 20% off
  • Ideal Weight Loss – 15% off the first month’s supply of Ideal Protein meals at Ideal Weight Loss (“the Foodie’s Weight Loss program of choice”) if begin program by first week of January.
  • Lotus Cosmetic Surgery Center – 15% off all services, including Botox, Filler and /or cosmetic surgery (some restrictions apply)
  • Modern Dermatology – 15% off aesthetician services
  • New Beauty & Wellness Spa – 15% off all services
  • Restore Cryotherapy – 15% off all services
  • Westport Dental Associates (teeth whitening) – $200 ZOOM Teeth Whitening (67% discount) and 40% off Quip Toothbrushes
  • XO Skincare (at Sola Studios) – 15% off

Home Decor & Gifts

  • Dovecote – 20% off
  • Fig – 20% off
  • Indulge by Mersene – 20% off one item
  • Party Harty – 10% off
  • She La La – 20% off winter gear, including cashmere
  • Simple Elegance – 20% off
  • Taylor Place – 20% off
  • Tusk – 20% off select items (designated in store)
  • Westport Library Pop-Up Shop – 20% off scarves and metal ornaments; 10% off everything else
  • William-Sonoma – 20% off all William-Sonoma branded products

You can get all kinds of gifts at Indulge by Mersene — including some with “06880” themes!

Jewelry

  • Artemis Westport – 20% off
  • Faye Kim Fine Jewelry – 20% off select items
  • Lux Bond & Green – 10% off (20% off select items)
  • Mitchell’s – 15% off (some brand exclusions apply)
  • Noya – 10% off select jewelry items, and 20% of select accessories

Pet Care

  • Choice Pet – 20% off
  • Earth Animal – 20% off designer sweaters & coats for pups

Restaurants & Food Services

  • 190 Main – 10% off
  • A&S Food – 10% off
  • Bagel Maven – 10% off
  • Black Duck – 10% off
  • The Cottage – 10% off of dinner
  • Gold’s Deli – 10% off restaurant dining
  • The Granola Bar – 10% off
  • Green & Tonic – 10% off menu; 30% off detox cleanse
  • Jersey Mike’s – 10% off
  • Jesup Hall – 10% off OR FREE Happy Hour drink Tuesday-Friday, 5-630pm
  • Layla’s Falafel – 10% off
  • Little Barn – 10% off
  • Little Kitchen – 10% off
  • Match Burger Lobster – 10% off food
  • MEAT – 10% off
  • OKO – 20% off lunch
  • Organic Market – 10% off
  • The Pearl – 10% off
  • Le Penguin – 10% off (excluding dinner Friday and Saturday)
  • Planet Pizza – 10% off
  • Rizzuto’s – 10% off
  • Rye Ridge Deli – 15% off
  • The Spotted Horse – 10% off
  • Stiles Market – 10% off butcher and deli only
  • Tarry Lodge – 10% off
  • Tavern on Main – 10% off
  • Terrain – S’mores and Popcorn by the fireplace on 12/1 and 12/8
  • Westport Pizza – 10% off
  • Winfield Street & Deli – 10% off

Layla’s Falafel is one of the many participating places beyond downtown. There’s construction in front of the 1535 Post Road East restaurant — but plenty of parking in back.

Sporting Goods

  • ASF Sports and Outdoors – 20% off footwear
  • Downunder – 20% off
  • Olympia Sports – 20% off
  • Ski & Sport – 20% off one-time purchase (excluding Bogner and sale items)
  • Sports Attic – 20% off sports merchandise

Toys

  • Age of Reason – 20% off

Wine & Liquor

  • Country Liquors – 10% off

Westport Moms Offer “Local Love”

It’s easy to bemoan the sorry state of downtown Westport. We talk for hours about empty storefronts, long-gone favorites, and the impending disaster that is the opening of the Norwalk mall.

It’s a lot harder to do something about it.

Thankfully, Megan Rutstein and Melissa Post are on the case.

The Westport moms — who own and operate the wildly popular WestportMoms.com platform — are working hard on a new project.

“Local Love” debuts in late November. Running through 2 weekends, it’s a chance for store and restaurant owners to draw customers by offering discounts. The suggested draw: 20% off for stores, 15% for salons and spas, 10% for restaurants.

“Local Love” will draw shoppers to places they might not know about downtown — and throughout the rest of Westport .

But “Local Love” is a lot more than just a $40 coupon book. A portion of the sales will help build a playground near the new library.

The Westport Downtown Merchants Association, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and town officials are all behind the idea. And Megan and Melissa are involving shops and restaurants all around Westport — not just downtown.

When I said they were “working hard,” I wasn’t kidding. The duo have spent weeks talking to store and restaurant owners. More than 50 already signed up.

“They’re being very creative with what they offer,” Melissa says. “For example, a store like Tiffany can’t offer discounts.  So they may sponsor a ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s.’ You’ll get a lot for your $40.”

The Westport moms can’t hit every spot themselves. So they’re asking business owners to email them (info@westportmoms.com). They’ll announce the entire roster soon.

Watch this space for news about buying that $40 ticket.

Then show your “Local Love.”

Willkommen, Westoberfest

For a decade, the Westport Downtown Merchants Association sponsored Blues, Views & BBQ.

This year, after the Labor Day weekend music and food festival evolved into a regional event — drawing visitors from as far as New York, but who seldom ventured beyond the Levitt Pavilion and Imperial Avenue venues — the WDMA handed it off to the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

That left a hole in the downtown group’s calendar. They wanted something new — but Main Street oriented.

Welcome, Westoberfest! It’s set for next Saturday (October 13), from 1 to 5 p.m.

Like Oktoberfests everywhere, this one features beer, food, music and more. Over 18 local and regional breweries will offer seasonal craft beers in the Elm Street parking lot. Merchants will walk around, handing out coupons and free items.

Rothbard Ale + Larder and Kawa Ni will serve special cuisines. Amber Anchor plays; kids can enjoy face painting, and the Westport Artists Collective, Historical Society, Library, Wakeman Town Farm and Earthplace will all participate too.

Also on tap: a pop-up artisan market courtesy of the Westport Farmers’ Market, and a classic car rally and exhibition through the Small Car Company of Westport.

It’s all free (except for the beer tasting). Those tickets ($35 for single, $60 for a pair, in advance online only, and a pack of 10 for $280, in advance online only) are available here.

If you think a lot goes on in Westport next weekend, you’re right. There’s also Saugatuck StoryFest at the library, Jesup Green and other sites.

This is one time no one will sing the downtown blues.

Abstract Irony

Alert “06880” reader — and ace photographer — JP Vellotti sent me this shot, from the weekend’s Fine Arts Festival. He calls it “Abstract Irony.”

(Photo/JP Vellotti)

It took me a few seconds to figure out why he gave it that title.

When I realized the reason, it fit perfectly.

If you catch the irony in JP’s image, click “Comments” below.

Meanwhile, kudos to the Westport Downtown Merchants Association for this year’s 45th annual event.

Over 180 exhibitors in charcoal, watercolor, pastel, pencil, ink, photography, digital art, sculpture, printmaking, mixed media, glass, ceramics, jewelry and wood filled Main Street, Elm Street and Church Lane.

Live music, special performances, children’s activities, food and non-profit groups’ exhibits added to the flair.

Around the corner, the Westport Library‘s annual book sale drew plenty of bargain hunters (some of whom were also paying serious prices for art).

The book (and CD) (and DVD) (and more) sale continues tomorrow (Monday, July 16, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., half price day) and Tuesday (9 a.m. to 1 p.m., everything free but contributions gladly accepted).

It was a great weekend to be downtown.

And I say that without any irony whatsoever.

Downtown Art Show: Bigger And Better Than Ever

There’s always something new under the downtown art show sun.

And we do mean “sun.” The annual event always seems to be held on the hottest weekend of the year.

This year’s 45th art show — that’s what everyone calls it, though the official name is the Westport Fine Arts Festival — will expand to Church Lane.

Last year’s return to Main Street and Elm Street — after a few years hidden in Parker Harding Plaza — was hailed by artists and art-lovers alike. Over 9,000 people attended.

According to the sponsoring Westport Downtown Merchants Association, the 2017 show was ranked 34th in the nation.

Sculptures filled the street in front of Banana Republic, at last year’s summer art show.

Also new this year: an expanded jury of prominent local artists and experts.

The panel — with graphic artist Miggs Burroughs, Westport Arts Center director Amanda Innes, Westport Library curator Chris Timmons, town arts curator Kathleen Bennewitz, WDMA and The Visual Brand president Randy Herbertson, and festival director Sue Brown Gordon — has already selected over 160 high-quality local, national and international artists. They span a broad variety of categories, and include last year’s Best in Show winner, photographer Mark MacKinnon.

The downtown art show — er, Fine Arts Festival — is set for the weekend of July 14-15. We know 2 things:

  1. It will be filled with excellent art, music, food and fun.
  2. It will be hot. Wear sunscreen!

PS: The logo is new too:

New SoNo Mall Looms Large

If you drive through Norwalk on I-95, it’s impossible to miss.

A 700,000-square-foot mall is rising inches off Exit 15.

Artist’s rendering of the SoNo Collection mall.

It won’t open until October 2019. But — with its size, its freshness, and its retailers like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s — the SoNo Collection seems to pose a direct threat to Westport’s Main Street.

Matt Mandell disagrees.

The executive of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce told the Fairfield County Business Journal, “We offer an open-air experience instead of an enclosed mall. People come to Westport for a change of pace.”

Westport Downtown Merchants Association president Randy Herbertson adds that the mall offers “opportunities” for our town.

“They are focusing on mid-tier to aspirational retailers, and only 6% devoted to food service which will most likely be fast-service casual (chains like Olive Garden).”

That will “further accentuate our opportunity to provide a more upscale, specialty, open-air and experiential shopping, dining and living district that will complement this offering.”

Main Street is open air — not enclosed.

But, Herbertson says, to attract new merchants and downtown residents — and continue drawing investments like Bedford Square, the new Elm Street property, Belden Place, the former Save the Children complex, and the building that’s replacing Bobby Q — “we need to prioritize stronger cooperation and co-investment between our town and commercial interests.”

It’s already started, he says, through a constructive meeting he attended with First Selectman Jim Marpe and his team, Mandell, and area developers, landlords and merchants.

Meanwhile, the clock ticks down toward October 2019.

(Click here for the full Fairfield County Business Journal story. Hat tip: Scott Smith)

Surprise! Steinkraus Bridge Gets Holiday Lights

Westporters love the American flags lining the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge downtown. Every jUNe Day (and UN Day), the bridge flies flags from all over the globe.

And every Christmas, the well-traveled bridge over the Post Road is … not lit. A golden opportunity — decorating downtown with holiday lights — is lost.

But wait!

Colleen Angione-Wiedmann — community and communications director for the Westport Downtown Merchants Association — just returned from the New Haven state Department of Transportation office. She’s holding a permit to light the bridge this year.

And … she hopes it will be done to coincide with tomorrow’s tree lighting at Town Hall (5 p.m.).

She’s just waiting for ace electrician Jim Izzo to confirm that he’s finished — and for the town to approve the installation of 4 outlets on the lampposts on both sides of the bridge (so there are no unappealing extension cords).

With those outlets — and the DMA’s purchase of lights — the bridge will offer a wonderful, warm welcome this year.

And every year to come.

This is what the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge looks like most of the time. This holiday season, the view will be different.(Photo by Lynn U. Miller)

PS: Kudos to Tracy May in the DOT office. She came here recently to meet with the WDMA and the electrician, to expedite the process. 

Downtown Gears Up For The Holidays

Valet parking, horse and carriage rides, and a Nutcracker Festival.

Those are some upcoming holiday offerings, thanks to the Westport Downtown Merchants Association.

For the 2nd year in a row, valets are available on Black Friday, then every Saturday at the Main Street and Elm intersection, from noon to 6 p.m. It’s $5 car (plus a tip!).

Horse and carriage rides return — thanks in part to the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce — on Saturday, December 16 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Boarding is at Bedford Square. There’s a stop for warm beverages across from Serena & Lily, courtesy of the Westport Historical Society.

The only thing missing is snow. (Photo courtesy of WestportNow.com)

December 16 is also the date for the Connecticut Theater’s Nutcracker Festival (9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Christ & Holy Trinity Church’s Branson Hall will be filled with Nutcracker Tea seatings, a Sugar Plum Fairy, and a Snowflake Boutique with local businesses and artisans. There are 2 child-friendly performances of “Land of the Sweets” at the Seabury Center next door. Santa arrives (on a fire truck) at 9 a.m. to kick off the festivities. Click here for tickets.

Meanwhile, merchants are vying for WDMA “Best Holiday Window” prizes in 3 categories: national chains, independent retailers, and restaurants and cafes. (For inspiration, just look across the river at the west bank windows.)

Meanwhile, all of Westport wants to know: What about the lights?

The WDMA planned to buy new ones this year. Unfortunately, bad weather at another holiday event — the Labor Day Blues, Views & BBQ Festival — cut into proceeds. Lights are now in next year’s budget.

But here’s another light story — with a dark side.

A couple of days ago WDMA representatives went out to measure the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge. They left a big box of 48-foot lights on the south side, near the railing.

When they came back, they were gone. It took about 7 minutes for someone to steal Westport’s holiday lights.

Bah, Humbug!

Holiday lights, 2015.

Downtown Dons Pink

On Thursday, Westport will be in the pink.

The Westport Downtown Merchants Association is partnering with Pink Aid, for the town’s 1st-ever Pink Day. The event draws attention to the needs of women with breast cancer — and highlights the merchants who support that organization.

Pink ribbons were provided by Party Harty, and tied along Main Street by students in Staples and Weston High Schools’ Pink Aid Clubs.

Students tie pink ribbons along Main Street.

Several businesses — including the Cashmere Sale, Kerri Rosenthal, Devon Woodhill, Bungalow, Benefit, WEST, Amis and Bill Taibe’s restaurants — donated items to Pink Aid’s major fundraiser, held earlier this month at Mitchells of Westport.

Other merchants have held, or will hold, sales events to benefit Pink Aid. Still others gave gift cards and small items to Pink Aid’s gift bags. The complete list is below.

If you’re downtown and see pink, now you know why.

In fact, why not take a special trip there? The merchants have done their part. Now we can do ours.

A Pink Aid display at Simon Pearce.

2017 Downtown Merchants Association members supporting or donating to Pink Aid CT

  • ·         Alegre
  • ·         Athleta
  • ·         Bartaco
  • ·         Benefit Cosmetics
  • ·         Blow Dry Westport
  • ·         The Brownstone
  • ·         Bungalow
  • ·         Dovecote
  • ·         Eileen Fisher
  • ·         Green & Tonic
  • ·         HB Home
  • ·         JLRocks
  • ·         Kerri Rosenthal – The Concept Shop
  • ·         Organachs Farm to Skin
  • ·         Pure Barre Westport
  • ·         Scout & Molly’s
  • ·         Serena & Lily
  • ·         She La La
  • ·         Shoe-Inn
  • ·         Simon Pearce
  • ·         Soleile Toile
  • ·         Specs of Westport
  • ·         The Spotted Horse Tavern
  • ·         Starbucks
  • ·         Steven Mancini Salon
  • ·         Swoon
  • ·         The Granola Bar of Westport
  • ·         The Plumed Serpent
  • ·         Theory
  • ·         WEST
  • ·         Westport Country Playhouse
  • ·         White Birch Studio
  • ·         Westport Police Depasrtment

Past supporters, donors or sponsors

  • ·         Vince
  • ·         Steve Mancini Salon
  • ·         Splash of Pink
  • ·         Matt Bernson
  • ·         Leifer Properties
  • ·         L’Occitane en Provence
  • ·         Dyptique
  • ·         Cotelac
  • ·         Clypso St. Barts