Holiday Shopping 2023: New Canaan Music

[Editor’s Note: This Q&A interview with New Canaan Music owner Phil Williams kicks off our holiday series spotlighting local businesses, running daily through Christmas.]

The holiday shopping has officially arrived on Main and Elm Streets downtown with Black Friday. We dropped into New Canaan Music at 90 Main St. to talk to owner Phil Williams about what holiday deals he and his staff are offering at the popular store. (Williams himself is a New Canaan resident who serves on the Carriage Barn Arts Center board of directors, and has served in the past as a member of the Planning & Zoning Commission and New Canaan Chamber of Commerce board member.) Here’s a transcription of our conversation. New Canaanite: For people who don’t know New Canaan Music, tell them about your store.

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.

PHOTOS: Sidewalk Sale Draws Crowds to Downtown New Canaan

Scores of bargain-hunters headed to downtown New Canaan on Saturday for the annual Village Fair & Sidewalk Sale. Crowds of shoppers milled about on Elm, Main and Forest Streets on a warm but mercifully unsticky summer day, flipping through racks and rummaging through tables set out on sidewalks and streets by New Canaan and seasonal merchants. 

“We are thrilled,” said Laura Budd, executive director of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the annual Sidewalk Sale. “We have a terrific mix of vendors and organizations here, and Mother Nature has cooperated 100% with some beautiful breezes. We’re really pleased. It’s just a classic New Canaan event.”

One local family, the Falsettas, counted themselves among those sharing information about nonprofit organizations—in their case, the  Gracie Fund for Pediatric Cancer, which will be the beneficiary of this year’s Oct.

Police Commission Approves Use of Former ‘Pop Up Park’ for June 4 ‘Art in the Windows’ Kickoff

The appointed municipal body that oversees road closures in New Canaan this month voted unanimously to approve use of the former “Pop Up Park” area at Elm Street and South Avenue for an all-day art celebration in June. The Police Commission voted 3-0 to approve use of the Pop Up Park from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 4 as a kickoff for the annual Art in the Windows event (rain date June 11). Presented by the Carriage Barn Arts Center and organized in partnership with the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, the annual exhibit sees dozens of pieces of art work displayed in the windows of downtown stores. 

“It’s just a fabulous event for the town,” Commissioner Shekaiba Bennett said at the group’s March 16 meeting, held via videoconference. 

Bennett, Commission Chair Paul Foley and Secretary Jim McLaughlin voted in favor of the road closure. The event will run through 4 p.m., and will require about one hour for cleanup, according to the organization’s executive director, Hilary Wittmann. Art in the Windows is the Carriage Barn Arts Center’s one big event that’s not at the organization’s headquarters in Waveny “that we do downtown,” Wittmann said.

Local Business Q&A: New Canaan Music on Main Street

In today’s installment of our Q&A series spotlighting local businesses, we hear from Phil Williams, a town resident and owner of New Canaan Music. Here’s our exchange. New Canaanite: New Canaan Music has become a fixture of the downtown, a Business Of The Year honoree that offers not only in-store items for sale but also music lessons, in person and remotely. How are you faring, as we enter this our second shopping season since the onset of COVID-19? We are hanging in there and continue to be grateful to the community for thinking of us for all things music.