Local Holiday Shopping Boost: Town Designates Free Parking in Municipal Lots Through Dec. 27

The town has designated free parking in all municipal lots through Dec. 27, officials say. Members of New Canaan’s Parking Department are placing signs on meters in town to let shoppers know they don’t need to pay. Carl Franco of Francos Wine Merchants on Elm Street said he was “very happy that the Chamber of Commerce worked out with the town free parking for all municipal lots.”

“I think that will be very inviting for the shoppers to give one last boost to all the merchants in town,” Franco said. The designation, which took effect Monday, follows an unexpected loss of some parking and traffic difficulties late last week due to utilities work on Elm. 

Laura Budd, executive director of the Chamber, said the “last few days before Christmas are very important to our retailers.”

“The Chamber and the municipality wanted to remove all barriers to our residents and visitors who are shopping local for all their last-minute holiday gifts,” Budd said.

Letter: New Canaan’s Holiday Stroll—What Is It All About?

The weekend after Thanksgiving is dedicated to putting the spotlight on New Canaan’s downtown. The Holiday Stroll was started by a group of local merchants 18 years ago and has evolved to be one of New Canaan’s most beloved traditions.  The Chamber invites you to head downtown 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2 to walk under the lights, browse in the stores, watch a show performed by young local talent, eat delicious food, and take a selfie with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The Stroll functions as New Canaan’s answer to “Small Business Saturday”, reminding all of us to “think local first” when shopping for friends and family this Holiday season! For young families we encourage you to come back to town 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday to catch up with Santa who will be at Houlihan Lawrence at 161 Elm St.

‘Barvida’ Organic Vegan Juice Bar and Café Opens on Elm Street

A new organic vegan juice bar and café has opened in the heart of downtown New Canaan. Darien’s Brennan Branca opened his second location of Barvida on Nov. 12 at 137 Elm St., next to the alley by Chef Luis. The business’s first store opened in Darien in 2020. Serving cold-pressed juices, smoothies and organic foods including bowls, wraps, salads and toasts, Barvida is focused on “providing the absolute highest-quality ingredients that we can possibly source,” Branca told NewCanaanite.com on a recent afternoon.

Retail Butcher Shop Planned for Downtown New Canaan

A new butcher shop is planned for a vacant commercial space on Burtis Avenue. A $40,000 interior fit-out is planned for 12 Burtis Ave., future home of a single-room retail butcher shop, according to a permit application filed Tuesday with the New Canaan Building Department. The space, located at the rear of a Burtis Avenue-facing building and easily accessible from East Avenue, used to house The Red Grape wine shop (now at Forest Street and Locust Avenue). Asked about the prospective new butcher shop, New Canaan Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Laura Budd said, “The Chamber was happy to see that the space was taken quickly, it speaks to the resurgence in demand for commercial space in downtown New Canaan. We look forward to working with this new business.”

It’s unclear what the new shop will be called or when it’s expected to open—the applicant could not immediately be reached for comment.