New Canaan Chamber of Commerce

Recent Articles

Locals Gear up For ‘Taste of the Town Stroll’ on Thursday

Residents are gearing up for a popular event downtown that’s designed to showcase local businesses while raising food for the New Canaan Food Pantry as well as gently used eyeglasses and hearing aids for the Lion’s Club of New Canaan. The eighth annual “Taste of the Town Stroll” runs 6 to 8 p.m Thursday and will feature more than 15 stores, businesses and restaurants offering food and prizes. To earn a map of those locations and participate in the Stroll, people should bring (unopened and unexpired) goods—such as coffee, juice boxes, crackers, pasta sauce, canned stew, canned chicken, mayonnaise, tea bags and family-sized snacks—to the area out front of the Playhouse on Elm Street. 

For those seeking a one-stop shop for an appropriate donation for the pantry, Walter Stewart’s Market has generously put together bags of goods with a retail value of $30 that the cornerstone New Canaan business is selling for $20. “It is our pleasure to team up with the Chamber and support this fun event again this year,” said Doug Stewart of Walter Stewart’s. “We hope to help stock the New Canaan Food Pantry with much-needed groceries.” 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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Officials Approve Road Closure Downtown for ‘Fall Into New Canaan’ in September

Town officials voted this month to allow a prominent nonprofit organization to repeat a successful charity event downtown in September. The Young Women League of New Canaan’s “Fall Into New Canaan” will be held on Sept. 8 in the area occupied in past summers by the Pop Up Park, following the Police Commission’s 3-0 vote approving a street closure for part of that Saturday. During its inaugural event last year, Fall Into New Canaan saw 50 stores participate by donating 10 to 15 percent of profits for the day to a chosen beneficiary organization (Meals-On-Wheels), according to Marley Thackray, president of the Young Women’s League. “We had a wonderful day in town,” she told members of the Commission at their regular meeting, held July 18 at the New Canaan Police Department. Continue Reading →

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‘A Really Fun Community Day’: Sidewalk Sale Coming Saturday

The 53rd Annual Village Fair & Sidewalk Sale this weekend will feature vendor booths, food trucks, child-friendly activities, live music and, as of the latest forecasts, clear sunny skies. The Sidewalk Sale, to be held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday after local merchants with street-level shops put out their discount racks at 10 a.m. Friday until 4 p.m. that afternoon, promises to be “a really fun community day,” said the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce’s Laura Budd. The Friday headstart for local businesses is designed to give shoppers a “preview” of the day-long event, Budd said. Parking in all legal spaces will be free starting at 12 p.m. Friday. The real excitement of the Village Fair portion will begin Saturday, Budd said, when portions of Elm Street, Main Street, Forest Street and South Avenue are closed to motor vehicle traffic to create the quintessential “safe and family friendly pedestrian mall.”

In all, 110 vendors are scheduled to set up shop outdoors, with exclusive deals and bargains. Continue Reading →

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