Business

New Canaan businesses are the lifeblood not just of the “Magic Circle” downtown and other hubs of arts and commerce, but also are critical drivers and supporters of community events, human services and preserving the character of “The Next Station to Heaven.” In this section, we spotlight New Canaan businesses and profile their owners, in long-form interviews and spot features, celebrating our anchor businesses and welcoming those new to town.

Recent Articles

‘A Very Stressful and Exhausting Year’: Roger Sherman Remakes Itself with New Plans for Interior and Business

The Roger Sherman Inn has been a landmark in New Canaan since its construction in the 18th Century. Following public debate over its planned sale and redevelopment in December of 2016—an effort that eventually stalled—the business’s owners have seen locals rally behind the restaurant and inn during the past 18 months. Now, owner Nes Jaffre said, she’s focused on breathing new life into the business, with a new and popular chef already hired and $160,000 in renovations planned for this year. “We’re changing all of this,” Jaffre told NewCanaanite.com on a recent morning from the inn’s dining room. “We’re changing the look of this nice, but old and tired antique inn.”

Plans include $160,000 in interior renovations. Continue Reading →

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Biz on Biz: Vandy Reh Likes The Whitney Shop

As part of the “Biz on Biz” series—where local business owners give us tips about favorite products or services at other businesses—we stopped by Brad and Vandy Reh Fine Jewelry on Elm Street. A family business, Brad Reh and his wife Vandy run the New Canaan shop that specializes in estate and signed jewelry from brands such as Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Boucheron, Tiffany and Bulgari. When asked about a favorite product or service at another local business, Vandy Reh said she struggles to choose just one to focus on, spotlighting Found, Dorothy Mann, Sara Campbell, Francos, Shoes ‘N’ More and Groove. “It’s hard for me because to be honest with you I try to buy from everybody,” Randy Veh said. “I really want all of us to help each other.”

“She likes the whole block,” said Brad Veh, overhearing his wife’s comments. Continue Reading →

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Unwelcome Sight: New Parking Plan for Elm Street Takes Shape

An unwelcome change to parking on Elm Street in New Canaan has materialized in the form of thin strips of white paint. Though the permanent striping on New Canaan’s main business road is yet to come, public works officials have drawn the outline of a new parking arrangement over the recently repaved Elm Street that will see it lose 15 spaces. 

Prompted by a resident formally putting New Canaan on notice that the town was out of compliance with a little-known (and variously observed) state law that calls for a 25-foot buffer zone between a crosswalk and legal parking space—a notification that could open up the municipality to liability in the event of a collision—officials studied the parking plan on Elm Street and, reluctantly, approved revisions that respect the statute. Last week, residents got their first look at the new “no parking” zones based on outlines in the asphalt, and the change is dramatic. 

It also means downtown New Canaan, always struggling to accommodate demand for parking between workers and visitors, soon will be squeezed even tighter. Laura Budd of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce said the change makes it that much more urgent and necessary for those who work in both first- and second-floor businesses on Main and Elm to park in municipal lots. “Prime spots are for prime customers,” Budd said. Continue Reading →

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‘It’s Bittersweet’: Mackenzie’s Is Sold

Phyllis Weinstein and Jim Berry, owners of Mackenzie’s on South Avenue for 13 years, said Wednesday that they’ve sold the business to a young couple in the area. 

Though Berry will continue to work part-time at the iconic downtown New Canaan candy, party goods and specialty gift shop, golden retriever Tahoe and Weinstein herself will be out after this week, she said. “It’s bittersweet, but it’s time,” Weinstein told NewCanaanite.com. 

To the loyal and regular customers of Mackenzie’s, Weinstein said “thank you for making this 13 of the happiest years that I have had.”

“It was a real happy time to come here every day. I was a nurse and director of the Red Cross, so I worked in sad and serious situations my whole life, and to come here and be with happy, upbeat people, it was a thrill.”

A Stamford resident, Weinstein added that what she’s enjoyed most during her stewardship of Mackenzie’s has been “watching the kids grow up and blossom and see the parents.” Through 13 years, the owners have seen New Canaan kids rise from kindergarteners to high school seniors and beyond. “It’s been a relationship,” she said. “It’s like watching your own kids grow up and it’s really special.”

Known during the school year as the primary Friday afternoon destination of Saxe Middle School kids who pile their backpacks outside the door, Mackenzie’s came to Weinstein and Berry when their son purchased more than a decade ago, and they kept operating it even after he took a different job some years ago. Continue Reading →

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Biz on Biz: Club Sandwich Spotlights Walter Stewart’s, Toy Chest

Club Sandwich has occupied its Cherry Street space for more than 30 years, and is a trusted mainstay for its tasty sandwiches, drinks and snack offerings. In 2008, Leo Gaspar took over management of the establishment with his wife Jennifer playing an active role in the business as well. Asked about her favorite products and services offered by other local businesses, Jennifer Gaspar spotlighted Walter Stewart’s Market. “We grocery shop there,” Gaspar said. “They’ve remodeled and it looks really nice.”

As a mother, Gaspar noted the high quality of Walter Stewart’s selection. Continue Reading →

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