Podcast: New Canaan’s Craft Beer Expert and Entrepreneur

This week on 0684-Radi0, our free weekly podcast (subscribe here in the iTunes Store), we talk to New Canaan resident Kevin Mardorf. After tasting his first craft beer at a New Canaan Nature Center event, Mardorf about eight years ago founded Fests LLC, an events company whose brands include CTBeer.com and BeerFests.com. His business has grown exponentially, with more than 100 events per year and hundreds of thousands of social media followers. 

This week’s podcast is sponsored by Francos Wine Merchants, New Canaan’s fine wine and spirit shop since 1933. Browse their wine, bourbon and single malt scotch and order online at FrancosWine.com for home delivery. Here are recent episodes of 0684-Radi0:

Biz on Biz: Franco’s Loves Family Britches’ ‘Personal Touch’

On a muggy Monday afternoon, I stepped into Franco’s Wine Merchants, an Elm Street mainstay that has been in operation since 1933. Franco’s specializes in fine wines, single malt scotch and other spirits. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there for a drink – instead I was there to find out their favorite New Canaan product or service for NewCanaanite.com’s “Biz on Biz” feature. 

I was greeted by refreshingly cool air, and Carl Franco’s warm smile. When asked what local business he thought deserved recognition, Franco didn’t hesitate before launching into a glowing recommendation of Family Britches, the well-established clothing store on Main Street, where he has been shopping for at least 25 years. “I’ve always liked their personal touch that they give every day when you walk in there,” Franco said.

‘We Felt It Immediately’: Downtown Merchants on the Loss of Parking Spaces on Elm Street

One month after town officials preliminarily “lined out” a new parking configuration on Elm Street that loses downtown New Canaan more than a dozen spaces, some merchants say the change already is having a dramatic effect on business. Though parking woes already were aired daily by customers, the new scheme that includes a legally required 25-foot buffer zone between a crosswalk and parking space “has had an immediate impact,” according to Maxine Berg, owner of Jade, a popular luxury fashion fitness boutique at 7 Elm St. “We felt it immediately, the minute those spaces were taken,” said Berg, who purchases parking permits for the Center School Lot for herself and staff at the shop. “Especially on my part of Elm. There were four, five spaces.”

Prompted by a resident’s formal complaint about New Canaan’s non-compliance with what appears to be a seldom-observed state law, the town rather suddenly in mid-July was compelled to eliminate 13 parking spaces on Elm Street, which has five crosswalks.

New Canaan Merchants on Keeping Up Summer Business

As we enter the end of July and August, many New Canaan residents will bear the beach, mountain, and city traffic for annual summer vacation trips. With the decreased foot traffic, many merchants routinely describe business as slow during this time. NewCanaanite went around town to some local businesses to see how they actively avoid the end of summer sales slump. Phil Williams, New Canaan Music

“How do we deal with the New Canaan Business Clear? We’re staying open our regular hours, a lot of businesses close for a week or reduce their hours, but we keep our lessons going year round.