Handwright Gallery Expands into former Varnum’s Space through End of Year

Though the lettering itself has been removed, the words ‘Varnum’s Pharmacy’ remain visible above the glass door at 91 Main St. Yet inside the space that long has served as the home of New Canaan’s last independent pharmacy (it’s been renamed ‘New Canaan Pharmacy’ and moved down the hill, to the shopping area opposite Cherry Street East on East Avenue), everything has changed. Though it isn’t yet clear what type of business in the long term will occupy the familiar commercial space—all we know for sure is that it won’t be a food establishment—from now through the end of the year New Canaanite and downtown visitors can enjoy it as a new gallery show space. Bright, airy and with hardwood floors exposed (who knew) and refinished, the ‘Handwright Gallery Annex’ launched Oct. 2 and will play host to two shows between now and Dec.

Did You Hear … ?

Editor’s Note: NewCanaanite.com talks to 50 people every day, and not every single piece of news we come across merits a full-blown news story. In many cases, what we discover may eventually turn into a solid article. In “Did You Hear … ?” we’ll post some of the smaller, lighter items from around town as often as we collect them. Got something for us? Email mike@newcanaanite.com

The new 5,000- and 6,000-square-foot homes going in opposite Irwin Park are not finished and so it isn’t clear what kind of landscaping may screen the structures from the road itself.

Newly Located Varnum’s To Become ‘New Canaan Pharmacy’

The refresh of New Canaan’s last independently owned pharmacy will include a new name as well as new digs when it moves next week within our downtown, owners say. Varnum’s, a Main Street fixture and the last of its kind in town since Lang’s on Elm closed two years ago, will become ‘New Canaan Pharmacy’ when it relocates to the northwest corner of Cherry and East Avenue. A grand opening is planned for July 11, and the pharmacy will hold a special event again as New Canaan picks up when school resumes, owner Ajay Desai said. “We’re excited about everything that is going on,” Desai said. “We’re the only independently owned pharmacy in town and we want to promote the town of New Canaan [in our name].

Varnum’s Landlord: Pharmacy Moving Soon, New Tenant Will Not Be a Restaurant

The owners of 91 Main St.—long home to Varnum’s Pharmacy—say they’ve received a number of inquiries from restaurateurs interested in occupying the 1940 building, but that they’re holding out for something more appropriate. New Canaan resident Terry Spring, who is part of a group that owns the commercial buildings from Varnum’s running south along Main Street—a stretch of popular retail shops in New Canaan that include mainstays Baskin-Robbins, The Toy Chest, Candy Nichols, Garelick & Herbs, People’s Bank and Handwright Gallery & Framing—said that to this point interest in the long, narrow Varnum’s space has been expressed by food businesses and “things that might compete with our current customers.”

“We want a retailer and something that will work out well with our other tenants,” Spring told NewCanaanite.com. “Young women’s accessories, for example, or exercise stuff.”

The owners at Varnum’s could not immediately be reached for comment on the timing of their planned move to 44 East Ave. (next to Goldenberry, in that strip of businesses opposite East Avenue from Cherry Street East). Spring said that the pharmacy is close, as it’s secured approval from state officials.

Landlord: ‘Small Shop Selling Gifts’ a Possibility for Varnum’s Space


The owners of 91 Main St.—a commercial space long occupied by Varnum’s Pharmacy—say a retail shop would be a good fit for the location as the drug store moves down the hill. Terry Spring of Cody Real Estate LLC said though the owners are saddened by Varnum’s decision to move, that they understand it’s best for the pharmacy’s business to offer more diverse products in a larger area, and that a search for the next tenant is underway. Spring said the property’s owners aren’t set on anything in particular for 91 Main, though the long, narrow-ish space there likely is too small for a restaurant or food vendor. “It’s a small space for that. So it’s better for hard goods or soft goods,” Spring said when NewCanaanite.com inquired after plans for the 1940 building.