Meet Rob Hall, New Owner of ‘New Canaan Wine Merchants’

Rob Hall says fate led him to New Canaan Wine Merchants. Chatting with friends at a local restaurant last summer, Hall mentioned a career change he had in mind, and came to learn that a lease on the Pine Street full-service liquor store was not to be renewed. 

Since graduating from Susquehanna University in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in communications and psychology, Hall had worked in corporate sales and marketing—mostly in the food and beverage industry with large branded companies such as Dole Foods, Colgate, Palmolive and Pepperidge Farms. 

I was in corporate life for 20 years and got a little tired of it,” Hall said on a recent morning from the newly configured sales floor of New Canaan Wine Merchants. “You know, reporting to someone else, working for someone else and I wanted to make that change to where I can support myself, my family and the community and at the same time be my own boss.”

Since taking over in November, Hall—a 1992 Wilton High School graduate who resides in Wilton with his wife and their two kids—has been working 80 hours per week, putting his own mark on the offerings at New Canaan Wine Merchants as he realizes a dream of owning his own business for the first time. Asked why he chose this specific business and New Canaan in particular, Hall noted that it’s “an established business and the timing worked out right.”

“New Canaan is a local town, that supports local and small business,” he said. “They are about sports, community about their kids and that’s the kind of community and town I want to thrive in.”

He’s already forging connections in the community, joining the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce and working to support area charities and organizations such as the New Canaan Squash Club and Fairfield’s Caroline House, which serves low-income immigrant women. 

Among other changes at New Canaan Wine Merchants (see below), Hall said he is renewing the shop’s focus on warmth and customer service. 

“Our number priority is to cater to the customers,” he said.

’New Canaan Wine Merchants’ on Pine Street Changing Hands

State officials on Friday issued a provisional Package Store Liquor Permit to a Wilton man who is taking over a wine shop on Pine Street. The applicant for a permit at New Canaan Wine Merchants is Robert Hall, officials at the state Department of Consumer Protection’s Liquor Control Division confirmed. 

Hall’s business, H.A.R.T.S. Inc., is registered at a residential address in Wilton, according to records on file with the Connecticut Secretary of the State. He could not be reached for comment. The shop at 36 Pine St. has been owned and operated for about 10 years by Jeff Barbour.

Letter: Library Thanks Community for Successful Speakeasy, One Book New Canaan

On Wednesday evening March 25, New Canaan Library wrapped up its month-long One Book New Canaan exploration of Bill Bryson’s One Summer: America, 1927 with a wildly successful Speakeasy event. Thanks to an enthusiastic community, and the goodwill of so many New Canaan merchants, the Library was able to create a spirited and fun evening for all who attended. With many guests arriving in authentic 1920s style, the Adrian Lamb Room was transformed into a true, Prohibition era Speakeasy complete with jazz piano and delicious samplings and tastings from our supporting local merchants and vendors. New Canaan Library gratefully acknowledges the participation and donations of New Canaan businesses and Chamber members: ONE HOPE Wine, Carpe Diem, Charter Oak Brewing Company, Fjord Fish Market, Forever Sweet Bakery, J. Hilbrun Men’s Clothiers, Little’s Specialty Foods, New Canaan Wine Merchants, New Canaan Olive Oil, Sorelle Gallery, South End, Venture Photography, Walter Stewart’s Market and Stewarts Spirits. The Library also deeply appreciates the support of Karl Chevrolet, National Charity League, PJ Marcella and Susan Freedgood and always, the membership of New Canaan Library.

SLIDESHOW: Guys, Dolls Celebrate Roaring ’20s at New Canaan Library’s Speakeasy

Dozens of residents donned flapper dresses, boater hats and other 1920s-era garb Wednesday evening as part of New Canaan Library’s “speakeasy” in the Lamb Room. The latest in a series of One Book New Canaan events that will culminate Saturday with “The Murder and Booze Cabaret” at Powerhouse Theater, the speakeasy featured a live piano player, silent films on the screen up front and local merchants—many of them also getting into the spirit by donning Roaring Twenties costumes—lining the edges of the party, offering drinks and food to the guys and dolls who dropped in. “We are thrilled to have such a good turnout tonight at our speakeasy,” Community Engagement Coordinator said. “We’re especially pleased that all of the participants are either New Canaan residents, businesses or members of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce. I think everybody is having a great time.”

It looked like it—see photo gallery above.

SLIDESHOW: 20 Things You Only Know If You Shop and Dine in New Canaan

New Canaanites have plenty of reasons to shop and dine locally, and those reasons go far beyond the fact that the village center has scores of independent businesspeople—retailers, restaurateurs, service providers—who work here and have had a tough go with the weather these past few weeks. Our owners-on-site specialize in their fields and offer a wide range of expertise. They support most every community event that locals associate with the town—fishing derby, Waveny summer concerts, Santa’s visit, little league, Holiday Stroll, ice cream social, Halloween Parade. It’s hard to find two important community events in a row in New Canaan that aren’t sponsored in some way by Walter Stewart’s, Karl Chevy or both. Because familiarity breeds conversation and rapport, we can come to know our local small business owners and workers better than we may at, say, out-of-town chains. The slideshow above is a testament to that strong connection—click through to learn more about some of those who make up the economic lifeblood of the business district.