Local Holiday Shopping Boost: Town Designates Free Parking in Municipal Lots Through Dec. 27

The town has designated free parking in all municipal lots through Dec. 27, officials say. Members of New Canaan’s Parking Department are placing signs on meters in town to let shoppers know they don’t need to pay. Carl Franco of Francos Wine Merchants on Elm Street said he was “very happy that the Chamber of Commerce worked out with the town free parking for all municipal lots.”

“I think that will be very inviting for the shoppers to give one last boost to all the merchants in town,” Franco said. The designation, which took effect Monday, follows an unexpected loss of some parking and traffic difficulties late last week due to utilities work on Elm. 

Laura Budd, executive director of the Chamber, said the “last few days before Christmas are very important to our retailers.”

“The Chamber and the municipality wanted to remove all barriers to our residents and visitors who are shopping local for all their last-minute holiday gifts,” Budd said.

Local Business Q&A: Francos Wine Merchants

In today’s installment of our Q&A series with a local business, we hear from Carl Franco of Francos Wine Merchants on Elm Street. Here’s our exchange:

I imagine we’re in one of the very busiest times of the year at Franco’s. How are things going? Things are moving right along. The holiday rush starts for us in November as Thanksgiving is a big wine and spirit holiday. The way the calendar falls this year with Christmas on a Saturday means we only have three shopping weekends in December so it’s going to be a very condensed shopping season.

Local Businesses and COVID-19: Francos Wine To Reopen Tuesday with Curbside Pickup, Delivery

After voluntarily shutting down for two weeks—the first in its 87-year history—Francos Wine Merchants is set to open Tuesday under a new schedule and operating model. The Elm Street mainstay’s new hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (closed Sunday and Monday). It’s offering free local delivery in addition to curbside service. What follows is our Q&A with Carl Franco (see additional business information at bottom). New Canaanite: You all are known in this community well beyond the wine shop itself.

Local Business and COVID-19: Francos Wine Merchants

[Editor’s Note: During the town emergency due to COVID-19, NewCanaanite.com is publishing a daily Q&A with a local business navigating major changes in the community.]

Carl Franco of Francos Wine Merchants on Elm Street responded to our COVID-19-related questions. Here’s our exchange. New Canaanite: What has the past week been like for you and the market/wine shop? We are seeing fewer customers thru the door and more via Internet or phone. What changes are you seeing in customer/client behavior?