‘A More Flavorful Life’: Spice & Tea Exchange on Track for Spring Opening on Main Street

The Robinsons fell in love with The Spice & Tea Exchange long before they planned a New Canaan franchise. John Robinson, known to locals as the friendly face of Stewart’s Wine & Spirits for 26 years, had entered the Newport, R.I. store in the summer of 2017 while attending the annual folk festival there. 

“One of my friends said, ‘You’ve got to check this place out—you love cooking, they’ve got everything, spices, and teas, and everything you could ever imagine,’ ” he recalled. “I walked in and I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ ”

Pam Robinson visited the same store in May of 2021. She recalled, “It was just completely overwhelming, in a good way. The smells, the vibrancy, the colors, it just welcomed you all in.

‘I Still Pinch Myself’: Optometry Practice and Eyewear Boutique ‘Look New Canaan’ Opens on Forest Street

Dr. Jennifer Stewart had owned an optometry practice in Norwalk for a dozen years when she sold it in 2022 and for about 18 months focused on industry work—speaking, consulting, writing and virtual presentations—as well as on her two young boys, now eight and 11 years old. “I wanted to be a room mom and go on field trips,” Stewart recalled with a smile Wednesday morning from the comfortable, modern and welcoming retail floor of her brand-new optometry practice on Forest Street. “So I did that and I wasn’t sure what I’d do, and then I started to miss patient care,” she said. “I started to miss all my patients and being in an office. I teach practice management and I teach business.

‘We Love New Canaan’: Pigmenta Marks One Year on Main Street

Roxanne Santiago, a social worker by training and trade, met Julia Dziuk—president and founder of Pigmenta Permanent Cosmetics—while ballroom dancing in Boston. The pair became friends and when Santiago sought to pull away from social work, she started working for Dziuk in 2015 on the administrative side, learning how to run a permanent makeup business. 

Santiago had already had her own interior design business (“Valancing Act”), but at the time Dziuk did not offer a franchising option. 

That would change within a few years. “She had started what they now call ‘microblading,’ ” Santiago said of Dziuk. “She’s been doing it for 30 something years. People think it’s a fad, that it’s new, but it’s not.

New Canaan Woman Launches ‘Intentional Self Aesthetics’ on Vitti Street

New Canaan resident Dr. Teresa Alasio had already worked in a wide range of positions within the medical field when the pandemic hit in 2020, prompting her to take on a new professional challenge. A New Jersey native who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in anthropology from Rutgers, Alasio finished her post-bacc pre-med work at Columbia and then entered the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, taking her medical degree in 1999. 

She started an internship in general surgery at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, then returned to Mount Sinai when she switched to anatomic and clinical pathology, finishing in 2004. Over the next two decades, she worked in fine needle aspiration biopsy during a fellowship in cytopathology at New York University, as an academic assistant professor and assistant program director of the residency program at SUNY Downstate Health Services University, at a reference laboratory in Westchester County, N.Y., then set up a biopsy clinic and, finally, was hired as medical director and chair of pathology for CareMount Medical. “After the pandemic, I left my position at CareMount for lots of different reasons, one of which was that I wanted to stay closer to home and I wanted to do something that was more locally based,” Alasio recalled Monday afternoon from the office of her own newly established business, Intentional Self Aesthetics on Vitti Street. A mom of two boys—a sophomore at New Canaan High School and a seventh-grader at Saxe Middle School (each of them formerly at the Rainbow Station preschool at the New Canaan YMCA and then St.