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Moving to a new town can be stressful for many reasons, including when it comes to meeting your new neighbors.
For one area couple, making that process easier for move-ins is a business.
David Saunders and his fiancée, Christine Santori, of Ridgefield, recently took over the job of “Town Greeter” from Steph Radman.
“It seemed like the perfect thing,” Saunders told NewCanaanite.com.
With careers in the print and promotional marketing business under their belts, the couple took over as town greeter in their hometown of Ridgefield in 2019. They succeeded Dee Stroller, Ridgfield’s town greeter for 27 years, in the role.
“She [Stroller] wanted to retire, she was 80 years old,” Saunders said.
He and Santori acquired Stroller’s welcome business, “Personal Touch Welcome.”
The name would be a bit of a hindrance at first, Saunders said, since they took over just prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even so, the pair partner pushed through the first six weeks and were able to adapt the business to the unique challenges posed by the pandemic.
One of the main ways they facilitated the shift was updating the business to modern technological standards, he said.
“I created an app quickly, and worked on a quick website which they didn’t have at that point,” Saunders said. “Once things settled down, my whole goal was to change it, the name to ‘Community Stroll.’ ”
The “Community Stroll” app offers several amenities to local residents, such as deals for local businesses in town, Saunders said. One particularly useful feature offered by the app is cataloging the locations of local sports fields and other parks, he said. Saunders said this feature was inspired by some of the struggles he faced when moving into town.
“I had a son that was into soccer—did not know where all the soccer fields were, the whole bit,” he said. “So I’m adding all the local soccer fields to the local towns so people can actually just geolocate them right to it. It’s a huge directory for our community.”
In addition to bringing new digital features to the community, the couple continues the tradition of past town greeters, which typically involve greeting new residents once they have settled in, bringing a gift basket full of things from local businesses, such as travel mugs, pens and coupons.
“The whole goal is to bring the local communities and stores to the people that just moved in and make them feel welcome,” Saunders said.