New Canaan Chamber of Commerce

Recent Articles

Town To Offer New ‘Commercial Permit’ Parking in Morse Court, Park Street Lots for Downtown Workers

In what parking officials are calling an experiment, the town plans to sell up to 20 “commercial permits” for each of the Morse Court and Park Street lots to people who work in the business district. It isn’t clear just when the Parking Bureau will start selling the new permits or how the Parking Bureau will prioritize their availability, officials said Tuesday. Designed to serve business owners and workers who otherwise take up coveted short-term parking spots on Main and Elm Streets that rightly should go to people who shop and dine downtown, the permits should be made available when the new fiscal year starts July 1, according to Parking Superintendent Stacy Miltenberg. “We have not worked out how offer these new permit spots to employees of stores in town,” Miltenberg told the Board of Selectmen at its regular meeting, held in Town Hall. “At this point we are working through that, but we are going to have it set prior to the renewals that go out in May. Continue Reading →

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‘Ally-Bally-Bee’: Handcrafted Gift Store To Open This Month on Elm Street

Prior to moving to the United States from her native Scotland 11 years ago, Morag Grassie had been deeply immersed in her career as a scientific researcher. After earning a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Glasgow University and doctorate degree at the Institute of Virology, a government agency, she worked as a research fellow and professor, then spent eight years in psychiatric drug development and finally in human genome DNA research, leading one company’s large pharmacological department. The family moved here (they’re now in Redding, kids aged 21, 19 and 15) for the sake of her husband’s career and “I left my other life,” Grassie recalled on a recent afternoon. Unable after just a few years out of her field to re-penetrate the job market in the United States at a hard-won, accustomed level, Grassie decided “I’m doing something different,” she recalled, “and I started to look for a property to do this business idea that had been incubating for quite a while.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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Chamber to P&Z: It’s Time To Review New Canaan’s Zoning Regulations for Main and Elm

New Canaan’s charming downtown remains attractive to prospective merchants as well as visitors, though changes in retail in recent years should prompt officials to update some of the zoning regulations that restrict the type of businesses that can occupy street-level storefronts, according to the head of the local Chamber of Commerce. Under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations now (see page 72 here), non-retail uses are largely restricted on the street level throughout the “Retail A” zone (in purple here) of Main and Elm Streets. For example, the only service establishments allowed are on the first floor of any building are “personal service” businesses such as salons. Medical, educational or fitness-related uses are relegated to upper floors or business zones beyond the “magic circle” downtown. Those downtown business zones “have served us well over the years, but the time might have come that we want to consider some of the businesses in the Retail A zones and places like that, that complement retail,” Tucker Murphy, the chamber’s executive director, told members of the Planning & Zoning Commission during their regular meeting on Tuesday night. Continue Reading →

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‘I’ve Had a Great Reception’: Organic Mattress Shop Opens on South Avenue

David Spittal spent much of the two years he had earned after founding, building and in 2005 selling his first mattress company reconnecting with family and community. The Putnam Valley, N.Y. resident served on his local school board, coached soccer with his two middle school-aged kids—his daughter is now a junior at Wesleyan University, his son a freshman at Gettysburg College—volunteered as chairman of the board for his local YMCA camp and also sat on a sustainable energy committee. It was while serving in that last role that Spittal paused to consider that most mattresses are made with some combination of polyurethane, polyester fibers and wire springs—creations whose useful life ends at about age eight and then lay in landfills for thousands of years. He began researching the prospect of a comfortable, eco-friendly, far longer-lasting, biodegradable mattress made of entirely organic materials. “I knew that there was a desire, especially with the ‘out-gassing’ of chemicals from polyurethane foam,” Spitall recalled Monday from the warm, welcoming showroom of Healthy Choice Organic Mattress, open since Friday at 21 South Ave. Continue Reading →

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Officials To Weigh Two Changes to Parking in Downtown New Canaan

Officials on Thursday will consider two changes to parking in New Canaan that are designed to meet the needs of shoppers and diners as well as those who staff downtown shops and restaurants. One change would see the maximum parking time at Morse Court raised from two to three hours, and the other would set aside new premium-priced permits in the Park Street and Playhouse parking lots for workers in the village center. The proposed extra hour at Morse Court could give downtown visitors what appears to be a much-needed buffer when using services-oriented businesses, according to Stacy Miltenberg, interim superintendent of the New Canaan Parking Bureau. “I get feedback from people using the salon on Main Street, getting their hair done and the process is going over two hours and then they have thave somebody run out, or at a doctor in Morse Court, they would get stuck in the waiting room, so in the middle of a procedure their time is running out,” Miltenberg told NewCanaanite.com. “So it seemed that they needed a little longer. Continue Reading →

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