‘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.

‘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.

‘A Gift That the Residents Give To Each Other’: Support Needed for Holiday Lights Downtown

One of New Canaan’s best-loved holiday traditions needs a boost to get over the hump this year, officials say. 

The holiday lights—thousands of white lights that are strung through some 60 trees throughout the heart of the business district—are supported solely through tax-deductible donations. 

The head of the organization that leads the effort, the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, Laura Budd, said this year the Foundation is about 65% toward its approximately $26,000 goal. “The municipality does not pay for it—it’s really a gift that the residents give to each other,” Budd said. The lights go up in October—thanks to a reduced rate from Rob Hutchinson (NCHS ‘69, was at Woodstock) and his local business, Hutchinson Tree Care Specialists Inc.—and are turned on two days before Thanksgiving, Budd said. “So they are there to greet all the friends and family who come into town,” she said. “I think it is just a really iconic New Canaan feeling to drive into town, either up Main Street or down South Avenue, and to see the lights in the trees.

‘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.