Local Merchants

In New Canaan, local merchants aren’t just people who sell us things: They’re our neighbors, our high school classmates, our kids’ youth sports coaches, our friends and often they’re the first people in town to give of their time, expertise, products and services to support human services organizations here.

Recent Articles

Future of ‘Pop Up Park’ Uncertain After Some Merchants Voice Concerns

After a handful of merchants voiced concerns about how the Pop Up Park at South Avenue and Elm Street affects traffic and business, members of the municipal body that oversees street closures in New Canaan said Wednesday night that they’ll take the feedback into consideration in deciding on the future of the downtown amenity. No immediate decision is needed regarding the Pop Up Park, which saw part of the South Avenue’s first block cordoned off as a pedestrian-only space—with tables, chairs, WiFi, planters, grass, fountain and events—from the July 15 Sidewalk Sale to Labor Day. However, approval from the Police Commission is needed each “offseason” to get the volunteer-run Pop Up Park in place. Launched five years ago, the town had approved an all-summer run in 2015, but the Pop Up Park didn’t run at all that year after some merchants raised concerns. During the commission’s regular meeting Wednesday, some of those who long have said the park creates problems that hurt the downtown and its businesses reiterated their concerns. Continue Reading →

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Roger Sherman Inn’s Owners Introduce Prominent New Executive Chef

The owners of the Roger Sherman Inn announced Monday that they’ve hired a West Africa native who has trained under prominent chefs both in the United States and abroad as their new executive chef. Francois Kwaku-Dongo is a 2008 “Iron Chef” contestant and James Beard nominee who has been featured in Forbes magazine and elsewhere as an up-and-coming celebrity chef, according to information supplied by Nes and Joseph Jaffre. “With this wonderful addition we’re positive that we’ll bring the Inn to it’s well deserved glory,” the Jaffres said. “With his philosophy of bringing his diners only the freshest of the season—a true farm to table commitment, with on-premise farm in the planning already—he’ll be bringing the fabulous back to New Canaan cuisine.”

Most recently, Kwaku-Dongo worked for seven years at L’Escale Restaurant on Greenwich Harbor as executive chef, then followed a dream by creating Chocolate Lab, a pastry and gelato shop where he produced his own chocolate line using raw material produced entirely in Ghana, where he operated a cocoa factory, according to the biography supplied by the Jaffres. In New Canaan at Roger Sherman Inn—which doubles as New Canaan’s first library—Kwaku-Dongo enters a local establishment that’s made headlines in the past year. Continue Reading →

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Parking Officials Open Discussion on Increasing Parking Times on Elm Street from 90 Minutes to Two Hours

New Canaan’s Parking Commission on Thursday broached the possibility of extending the parking limit in the heart of the downtown from 90 minutes to two hours due to the increasing requests of residents who dine, shop and conduct business downtown on a regular basis. Stacy Miltenberg, superintendent of the Parking Bureau, said she’s hearing residents who park on Elm Street voicing similar concerns to those that prompted officials to boost the limit on Main Street to two hours, namely, it’s “located in an area where there’s doctor’s offices, salons, and people sometimes need more than two hours and they can’t pay for it.”

“I have not heard anybody complain that they’ve never had enough time when they’re parking [at Main Street], so it seems to be working well,” Miltenberg told members of the commission during their regular meeting, held at Town Hall. Miltenberg said that in addition to residents coming into her office and telling her that when meeting with friends for coffee or a meal on Elm Street, often 90 minutes just isn’t enough, if the parking limit were increased, it would have a positive impact on parking enforcement employees. Therefore, she recommended that the parking limit for every downtown street should be two hours. “The streets are all different times,” she said. Continue Reading →

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Foursomes Needed for Sept. 25 Annual Golf Outing, Supporting the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce

The local organization that puts on some of New Canaan’s most cherished local events—Holiday Stroll, Halloween Parade, Sidewalk Sale, Taste of the Town and Pop Up Park, for example—is calling on residents and local businesses that enjoy those perks to support it through a major fundraiser slated for later this month. The New Canaan Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Golf Outing, to be held Sept. 25 at the Country Club of New Canaan, is “a large part of our budget that allows us to do what we do on a daily basis,” according to Tucker Murphy, the organization’s executive director. “While it is a great networking event and it’s a great day and a lot of fun, it’s also a big part of the fundraising efforts that keep us going.”

Specifically, the Chamber is eager to see more foursomes (see details here) sign up for the Golf Outing, which includes a buffet lunch, 18 holes of golf in shamble tournament format and then cocktail reception, dinner and prizes. Jenny Esposito, a town resident and past president of the Chamber Board of Directors who also has arranged to have foursomes from her workplace—she’s store manager at TD Bank—participate in the Golf Outing called it a “great event.”

“Everyone I’ve ever had from TD as a foursome has really enjoyed it,” she said. Continue Reading →

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‘Fall Into New Canaan’ To Be Held Downtown on Saturday

One of New Canaan’s most community-minded service organizations is helping to launch an event this weekend that’s designed to bring people together in the downtown to support local merchants while raising money for great causes. “Fall Into New Canaan,” which the Young Women’s League has organized along with the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, is to run all day on Saturday Sept. 9. Participating stores are donating up to 15 percent of proceeds to support Meals on Wheeels New Canaan as well as the Young Women’s League’s own “Giving Fund” (read more about the group’s giving here). Marley Thackray, vice president of the Young Women’s League, said the organization “wanted to have an event that involved the whole community and helped enhance the wonderful spirit of this town.”

“What better way to spend a beautiful September Saturday than supporting our local businesses, furthering Meals on Wheels’ important services, and getting together friends and families to enjoy our unique village?” she said. Continue Reading →

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