‘It’s Just Been Amazing’: Barvida Marks One Year on Elm Street

Asked what his first year in business in downtown New Canaan has been like, Barvida owner Brennan Branca says “it’s been overwhelmingly positive.”

The organic vegan juice bar and café he opened last November at 137 Elm St. has seen a steady stream of customers, according to the Darien native, and his business is integrating into the community in ways he couldn’t anticipate. 

The New Canaan location is Branca’s second, after his native Darien, though even there he had patrons coming down from the “Next Station To Heaven” to sample cold-pressed juices, smoothies and organic foods including bowls, wraps, salads and toasts. “When we were in Darien, we had a bunch of people from New Canaan come over and ask us to open,” Branca recalled. “And as soon as we opened, we had a bunch of people come in that kind of knew the name and honestly, everyone in New Canaan has been extremely nice, more so than I could ever imagine. They were extremely welcoming.

New Canaan Woman Launches ‘Posh,’ a High-End Consignment Shop Downtown

The idea for a high-end consignment shop had been percolating in recent years for New Canaan’s Christine Knox. 

She’d always liked beautiful things and—after earning a bachelor’s degree in art history at Skidmore College and a master’s in art history from Williams College—she went to work for about six years in the field of art, through museums and at Christie’s Auction House. “I’ve always been interested in the art field—everywhere I traveled, I could always go to museums and look at everything,” Knox told NewCanaanite.com on Tuesday morning from a desk at the rear of Posh Home Décor Consignment at 33 East Ave. “I have everything here from—right over my shoulder is a 16th century Italian etching, which is very famous—everything from antiques to contemporary things. I vet things extremely carefully when they come in so that everything is sort of unique, different and good prices. Very marketable prices.

‘Project Pink New Canaan’: Local Breast Cancer Survivor Launches Initiative with Community Support 

During a regular mammogram appointment at a Manhattan clinic five years ago, Julie Stein wound up stuck with a radiologist for about five hours undergoing tests and scans, including on a 3D machine. Stein was told that “something just is looking off,” she recalled. “He said, ‘Something doesn’t look right. You’ll hear from a doctor tomorrow.’ They never told me what it was,” Stein said. “I didn’t feel a lump.

New Canaan Music Marks 10 Years Downtown

Ten years ago, New Canaan resident Phil Williams opened up a music shop with nothing but what he calls “hope and a dream.”

Today, New Canaan Music has expanded to two stores and, here in town, has become a hub for music lessons and instruments while Williams has become deeply involved with the community as a business owner. After seeing an opportunity in New Canaan at a time when it had no music store, Williams built a business plan to “give back to the community,” he said. 

New Canaan Music provides customers with music lessons and the option to rent or buy instruments, catering to a variety of music needs and experiences. They have had “known celebrity music people come in as customers as well as the aspiring beginner,” Williams said. 

Whether it’s doing “set up work for a band going on the road that’s been a national act since the 1970’s” or having “a child break a string on a ukulele,” New Canaan Music offers a place for every age of music lover. Starting in 2013 in a smaller shop on Elm Street, New Canaan Music soon outgrew its space and moved to a new location at 90 Main St. “From our first location we had three lesson studios that we had converted into four—here we have eight lesson studios where we do lessons six times a week from Monday through Saturday,” Williams said.

New Canaan Library Director Lisa Oldham To Retire at Year’s End

New Canaan Library’s executive director for the past decade plans to retire at the end of this year. In a message sent to library donors, Lisa Oldham said she has been “so privileged to lead the New Canaan Library through this wonderful period of change for the past ten years.”

“Thanks to your extraordinary support, by the time I depart the entire project for the Library and Green will be complete,” Oldham said in the email, sent Tuesday afternoon and obtained by NewCanaanite.com. “I am very proud of the Library, our team, and the vision you have helped us realize.”

Though the centerpiece of Oldham’s legacy is the hugely popular and well-received new library that opened in February, her achievements go far beyond the remade building and campus. Under Oldham’s leadership, the library has forged stronger relationships and partnerships with the town, local press and nonprofit and business communities, made several key hires and overhauled the organization’s programming, launching popular new series and learning experiences for patrons. Asked about Oldham’s tenure, New Canaan Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Laura Budd said, “As a wise man once said, ‘Try to leave this world a little better than you found it,’ and Lisa Oldham has certainly done that for New Canaan Library and in turn our entire community.