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.
For today’s Q&A with a local business owner, we hear from New Canaan resident Suzanne Nardi of The Artful Mix. The Elm Street gift and fine art shop is offering online shopping and free delivery in addition to its regular store hours.
Here’s our exchange. New Canaanite: You took over at The Artful Mix—then Ally-Bally-Bee—in early 2019, and then one year later the COVID-19 pandemic hit. What has this been like for you? Suzanne Nardi: It has been very challenging trying to navigate the new normal with such a young brand.
A welcome sight returned to downtown New Canaan amid the COVID-19 pandemic Friday, as more than two dozen local merchants took to the sidewalks to sell their wares at bargains in a modified version of the traditional Sidewalk Sale. Designed as a socially distanced and scaled-down version of the bustling midsummer event, the first-ever So Long Summer Sale saw mask-wearing bargain-hunters peruse racks and tables on the one-way stretches of Elm and Forest Streets, both closed to motor vehicle traffic. Laura Budd, who is taking over as executive director of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, said the organization was “thrilled with the turnout.”
“Shoppers have been streaming in all day and we have 100% mask compliance,” she said. “We have been in constant contact with all the Merchants out on the street and they feel the event has struck the right balance of business and safety. The weather looks great for tomorrow and we will have a few new vendors joining us so we look forward to seeing new and returning shoppers.”
The So Long Summer Sale will run 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. again on Saturday.
For today’s Q&A with a local business owner, we hear from El Mamoune Tazi of Le Boudoir. The blow dry bar opened five years ago on Main Street. Here’s our exchange. New Canaanite: The past several months have been very difficult for many businesses. How are you doing at Le Boudoir?
For today’s Q&A with a local business owner, we hear from Tom Throop of Black Creek Designs. The Grove Street furniture designer and maker, a 1982 New Canaan High School graduate, has a number of pieces available. Here’s our exchange.
New Canaanite: Tom as far as I know, except for Primo your handsome Vizsla, you work alone there in the shop on Grove Street, so I don’t expect your day-to-day has changed too much in terms of the schedule. Even so, you have to be able to meet with those commissioning work from you or to show them what you’re doing. What has this experience of the COVID-19 public health emergency been like for you? Tom Throop: You are correct, it has been pretty much business as usual for Primo and I. We are at the shop every day, I’m working on commissions and Primo is sleeping soundly.
For today’s Q&A with a local business navigating COVID-19, we hear from Adam Skalman, vice president of sales at The Shade Store. The business at Elm and Main Streets is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Here’s our exchange. New Canaanite: The Shade Store’s opening at Main and Elm turned out to coincide with the onset of the COVID-19 public health emergency. What has this been like for you?
Adam Skalman: Our experience has been like so many across the world—a renewed sense of community, social partnership and unified purpose. We are so lucky to be a part of the New Canaan neighborhood, and so many areas like it across the country, where local businesses and residents work together to create a healthy and safe environment during this stressful time. Many people are spending a lot more time at home and appear to be getting some long-planned home improvement projects done.