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.
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.
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.
The winter storm that whipped into New Canaan before dawn Thursday dumped an estimated 10.4 inches of snow on the town, as gusting winds blew high snowdrifts and dozens of local businesses and organizations were forced to close with road conditions rapidly deteriorating. New Canaan Public Schools will be closed Friday, too, officials said, while district offices will open on a 2-hour delay. Town Hall will open at 10 a.m.
New Canaan Police confirmed two storm-related motor vehicle accidents on Thursday afternoon while firefighters responded to multiple reports of frozen pipes, as sustained low temperatures continued throughout the day, hovering between single digits and the mid-20s. Police Lt. Jason Ferraro, the department’s public information officer, urged motorists to monitor road conditions and stay home if possible in order for state and local highway crews to clear the streets and make them safe. “People should still stay home after it stops snowing and use caution if they must venture out,” Ferraro said.
New Canaan Public Schools, Town Hall and New Canaan Library are closed Thursday as a winter storm that’s expected to create hazardous driving conditions bears down on the town (see more openings & closings below). The National Weather Service reported about 10.4 inches of snowfall as of 3:15 p.m. and issued a Winter Storm Warning that’s in effect through 1 a.m. Friday. Metro-North Railroad reported that a downed tree in the area of Talmadge Hill prompted the company to switch to bus shuttle service from Stamford for the New Canaan line starting at 2:58 p.m. By 6 p.m., Metro-North was reporting limited rail service on the branch.
Franco’s Wine (opening at 8 a.m.)
Walter Stewart’s Market (open at 7:30 a.m.)
Stewart’s Spirits (opening at 9 a.m.)
Karl Chevrolet (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for service, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for sales)
Farmer’s Table (open 5 to 10 p.m.)
Joe’s Pizza (11 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
Real Estate Information Center (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
YMCA open as normal though some classes cancelled (updates here)
Teachers Who Tutor
Gates (opening bar at 1 p.m., dinner at 5 p.m.)
Rucci Law Group
Pet Pantry Warehouse
New Canaan Racquet Club
New Canaan Library
New Canaan Public Schools
All Bankwell branches
La Pescaderia Fish Market & Arepa
elm restaurant (closed for lunch, dinner decision to come)
Salon 5 East
Ciel Eau Day Spa
Oxygen Fitness closed for remainder of Thursday
NewCanaanite.com has cancelled Thursday’s Community Coffee and the next one will be held Jan. 18. The library’s planned art exhibition opening has been moved to 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday.