Tag Archives: Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce

Ken Bernhard, Lori Cochran-Dougall: First Citizens Of Westport

In the vast constellation of stars that make Westport shine, it’s tough picking 2 of the brightest.

But the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce has done a stellar job. Lori Cochran-Dougall and Ken Bernhard will be honored Wednesday, June 12 (6:30 p.m., Westport Inn) at the organization’s First Citizen Award dinner.

The duo will be joined by 4 “Young Entrepreneur” honorees, from Staples and Weston High Schools: Ryan Felner, Lilly Garone, Garrett Meyerson and Brianna Zeiberg. Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz is the keynote speaker. Each year the Chamber honors one Westporter from the non-profit world, and one from the business sector.

Lori Cochran-Dougall

Cochran-Dougall is well known — and beloved — as executive director of the Westport Farmers’ Market. She’s made it not just a place to purchase great, fresh produce and organic goods, but a true community gathering spot, with entertainment and education too. Every Thursday from May through November, the Imperial Avenue lot  pulses with life and good vibes.

Cochran-Dougall grew up in Roanoke, Virginia — home of the oldest continually operating farmers’ market in the country. Before coming to Westport, she chaired the Jackson Hole, Wyoming Farmers’ Market board of directors.

Her achievements here include gaining 501(c)(3) status for the market (a rarity); implementing a winter’s market; working with area chefs and farmers to find solutions to food distribution issues, and advocating for agri-tourism.

Bernhard — the other honoree — is a principal in Cohen and Wolf’s municipal, business and corporate, real estate, family law and appellate groups.

He spent 8 years representing Westport in the General Assembly, rising to assistant minority leader. He was 3rd selectman from 1987-89, after which he was elected to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Ken Bernhard

He is or has been a member of many boards, including the Westport Library, Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, Norwalk Human Services Council, Earthplace, Westport Historical Society, Levitt Pavilion, Aspetuck Land Trust, Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, and Connecticut League of Conservation Voters.

Bernhard helped found the Syria Fund, which provides support and education to refugees in Jordan. He’s deeply involved with the Tree of Life Orphanage in Haiti, which educates and feeds over 200 children, while creating jobs for adults.

He organizes shoe collection drives for Soles4Souls, shipping thousands of shoes to children around the world. He and his wife Alice have also raised 7 guide dogs.

If you want something done, the saying goes, ask a busy person.

On June 12, Lori Cochran-Dougall and Ken Bernhard will slow down long enough to be honored. “06880” joins the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce in saluting these 2 superbly deserving First Citizens.

(For more information and tickets to the First Citizen Award event, click here.)

Dog Fest At Winslow: Such A Fine Sight To See

Fairfield has its Dogwood Festival.

The trees are pretty, sure. But they just kind of sit there.

Westport’s Dog Festival, by contrast, fills Winslow Park with action.

Dogs of all shapes and sizes enjoy an obstacle course, competitions, treats from vendors, and chances to meet other dogs from all over the area.

Their owners — all of all shapes and sizes — have an equally good time.

Up to 4,000 people were predicted to attend the event, sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of  Commerce. Nearly every one seemed leashed to a dog.

There’s plenty of room for all. And plenty of time: It’s on until 4 p.m.

Bow wow!

 

Owners got a chance to show their dogs how to run the obstacle course. This guy took the offer literally.

Some of the dogs at today’s festival are stuffed.

One of the Festival exhibitors is a dog photographer.

… while another offers an only-in-Westport service. (Photos/Dan Woog)

Winslow Park This Sunday: Dog Day Afternoon (And Morning)

Last year’s Dog Festival was postponed — twice! — by rain.

Matthew Mandell — executive director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, producer of the 4th annual event — has done his due diligence.

He made sure that this year’s rain fell in all of April, and continued through early this week.

Sure, there are a couple of pesky showers forecast for Sunday morning. But Mandell says they’ll clear out in time for every dog to have its day.

The Dog Festival is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Winslow Park. Fido’s favorite playground will be even more dog-gone fun on Sunday, with:

  • Exciting demonstrations (police dogs, guide dogs, agility and training)
  • Goofy competitions (best tail wagger, best dressed, best kisser, best trick, dog that most looks like its owner — all judged by state and local officials)
  • Obstacle course (fastest dog wins a year’s supply of dog food)
  • Kids’ activities (caricatures, face painting, etc.)
  • Vendors
  • Food trucks
  • Adoptables
  • Information about non-profits (including co-producer TAILS)
  • Giveaways, and more.

New this year: a Frisbee catching and agility show, with tips on how to train your dog to do those tricks too.

This guy loved last year’s Dog Festival. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Also new this year: no parking at the Westport Country Playhouse. The lot is reserved for the “In the Heights” audience.

Instead, there’s easy access via the Saugatuck Congregational Church back parking lot (after 10:30 a.m.), private lots across the Post Road (with traffic agents helping to cross), and the Senior Center’s new gravel path to the Post Road (much closer than you think).

Every day — rain or shine — Winslow Park is filled with dogs. Here’s hoping that  on Sunday — their special day — the only thing wet will be their noses.

(For more information, including how to sign up for competitions, click here.)

Relishing The Best Burgers In Town

The burgers have been eaten. Over 1,000 votes have been cast.

Now, the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce announces the winners of its Great Westport Burger Contest.

The envelope please…

Best Classic Burger: Viva Zapata

Best Cheeseburger: Match Burger Lobster

Best Gourmet Burger: Match Burger Lobster

Match Burger Lobster was one of two double winners. From left: Matthew Mandell, director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce; restaurant owner Matt Storch, and Ira Bloom of Berchem Moses, contest sponsor.

Best Veggie Burger: Little Barn

Best Non-beef Burger (fish, turkey, lamb…): Little Barn

Best Fast Food Burger: Shake Shack

Best Slider: Dunville’s

Honorable Mention: Rothbard and Parker Mansion

Vegans: Eat your hearts out!

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In more Westport Weston Chamber news, the 5th Supper & Soul event takes place on Saturday (April 6).

One $75 ticket buys 3 great entertainment elements: a 3-course dinner at 6 p.m., a concert with Head for the Hills, and happy hour prices for drinks after the show.

Participating restaurants are 190 Main, Amis, Jesup Hall, Rothbard Ale + Larder, Spotted Horse, Tavern on Main and Wafu. All are located within a couple of blocks of Seabury Center, where the concert takes place.

Head for the Hills has been together for 15 years. They mix rock, folk, R&B and bluegrass. Mandell says, “If you like Mumford & Sons, you’ll love this band.” (Check out the video below — you’ll agree!)

Click here for tickets. A limited number of concert-only tickets are available too.

Burger Kings

Sure, tomorrow is the first day of March. We will turn an important corner on our long, dark, snowless winter.

But tomorrow is special for another reason: It’s the first day of the Great Westport Burger Contest.

The perhaps-not-long-awaited-but-certainly-hungered-for event follows last year’s equally tasty (and also Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce-sponsored) Pizza Contest. (There were 8 categories — just like the 8 slices in a pie. Click here for the winners.)

All month long, 18 burger-making restaurants will compete in 7 categories:

  • Best Classic Burger
  • Best Cheeseburger
  • Best Gourmet Burger
  • Best Veggie Burger
  • Best Non-Beef Burger (fish, turkey, lamb…)
  • Best Fast Food Burger
  • Best Slider

Each restaurant can enter up to 4 categories. But — in a nod to today’s no-one-really-loses culture — no restaurant can win more than twice.

The restaurants are Amis, Black Duck, Border Grille, Dunville’s, Harvest, Jesup Hall, Jr’s, Little Barn, Match Burger, McDonald’s, Parker Mansion, Rothbard Ale + Larder, Rye Ridge Deli, Shake Shack, Spotted Horse, Tarry Lodge, Tavern on Main and Viva Zapata.

(If you wonder why Five Guys is not on that list: So do I.)

Residents have through March 31 to visit the venues, enjoy the offerings, then go to the Chamber’s Burger Contest page to vote via cellphone or online.

Feel free to post photos online, using the hashtag #greatwestportburger.

Winners will be announced April 1. No fooling.

Fun fact: Tomorrow at noon, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe proclaims March “Westport Burger Month.” The lunch-hour ceremony takes place at Tavern on Main. When I think “burgers,” I don’t automatically think of that restaurant. But — as Pope Francis famously said — “Who am I to judge?”

“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

Okay, Downtown Doubters. See You Saturday Night For “Supper & Soul.”

Yesterday’s opinion piece by David Waldman — lamenting all the negativity about downtown, urging Westporters to focus on the many positive aspects — drew plenty of comments.

Among the strongest voices was Matthew Mandell’s. That’s no surprise: As executive director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, he’s got one of the biggest dogs in this fight.

He’s also got one of his signature events to promote. And it’s coming up this Saturday (November 10).

“Supper & Soul” is a clever concept. For one $75 ticket, you get a 3-course dinner, a fantastic show, then happy hour pricing for after-concert drinks.

Mandell has lined up 7 excellent (and varied) restaurants for the meal and post-show festivities: 190 Main, Amis, Jesup Hall, Matsu Sushi, Rothbard Ale + Larder, Spotted Horse and Tavern on Main.

All are within walking distance of Seabury Center on Church Lane — where Kasey Tyndall performs at 8 p.m.

Rolling Stone called her the #1 new country act to see last year — adding that she’s “a hard rock-country badass with the best song about a watering hole.”

So, to all of you who complain that there’s nothing to do downtown after dark. Or that downtown needs a jolt of energy. Or whatever.

Buy a ticket to “Supper & Soul.” Eat, drink, and kick ass with Kasey.

(Click here for tickets, and more information on Supper & Soul. There’s even a link to discount babysitters!)

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.”

Of Course: Restaurant Week Returns

After a few years of meh, Westport’s dining scene has roared back.

So here’s some food for thought.

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s “Restaurant Week” starts this Sunday (September 30). Actually, it’s 2 weeks — all the way through October 14.

Throughout the event, 25 restaurants — from Saugatuck to Southport — offer prix fixe meals. They range from $15 to $25 for lunch, $25 to $40 for dinner, $15 and up for brunch.

New this year: The Naan.

This is a perfect chance to head to new spots. Then visit an older one you’ve always wanted to try.

And after that, hit up an old standby.

On October 15, you can head to the Y.

Participating restaurants:

  • 190 Main
  • Amis
  • Boathouse
  • DaPietro’s
  • Gray Goose
  • Harvest
  • Julian’s
  • Le Penguin
  • Matsu Sushi
  • Naan
  • Pane e Bene
  • Pearl
  • Positano’s
  • Rio Bravo
  • Rive Bistro
  • Rizzuto’s
  • Sakura
  • Spotted Horse
  • Tarantino
  • Tarry Lodge
  • Tavern on Main
  • Terrain Garden Cafe
  • Tutti”s
  • Via Sforza

For more details, click here

Soggy Slice

Weather services said there was a 0% chance of rain yesterday.

Yet rain began at 2 p.m. — right at the start of Slice of Saugatuck. It fell steadily throughout the 7th annual event.

The wet weather dampened the crowd (and lowered their number). But everyone who showed up had a great time.

Good food (and plenty of it), excellent entertainment, and bouncy houses can’t stop this Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce show!

Dancing to a steel band at the Whelk/Saugatuck Sweets plaza.

Taekwando demonstration on Railroad Place.

A bit wet, but plenty of food from Roly Poly, Cuatro Hermanos, Dunville’s and more.