Milestones, the locally owned specialty gift shop that’s operated in downtown New Canaan for 12 years, will close at year’s end, its owners said.
Elisabeth Mulhern said she and husband Dan Mulhern are “incredibly grateful to this community,” where they’ve lived for nearly 20 years.
With her husband taking a job 18 months ago with Vineyard Vines, Elisabeth Mulhern said she is focusing on family needs and “a new beginning.”
The community has “given us a ton and we have given back a ton,” she said. “It has been a tremendous 12 years and in the end it comes down to having time to do more for us, and to be able to create our next chapter.”
Parents to two daughters who came up through New Canaan Public Schools (South, Saxe, NCHS)—Ashley graduated from the Miami University-Ohio and now works in Connecticut, while Madison is a senior at Penn State University, and is eyeing a career in teaching—the Mulherns both came from corporate retail backgrounds. They developed Milestones in order to anchor the family here at home “because Dan’s job had him flying all over the country and in New York City when he wasn’t,” Elisabeth Mulhern recalled.
The closing of the shop marks a successful bookend to one part of the Mulherns’ lives and careers and the start of the next.
Elisabeth Mulhern gave high praise to her landlord on Forest Street and said major takeaway from the business’s time there will be that “we were always happy to be involved in the things that our customers asked us to be involved in.”
“I honestly believe that we have just had a tremendously loyal following to our store, and we have created a brand. There are people that have done their wedding invitations and then came back and did their birth announcements and then did their Christmas cards with us, and really celebrated their milestones.”
That’s how the store got its name—the Mulherns’ business cards note that the shop celebrates the milestones of people’s lives with “unique and personalized gifts, invitations, cards and stationery.”
Many customers of Milestones already have been notified of the imminent closing, and the shop has scheduled events and discounts as Dec. 31 approaches. It will be closed Sundays and Mondays through year’s end. From Oct. 25 to Nov. 5 there’s a 15 percent off sale on holiday cards (the period marks the latest that personalized cards may be ordered), while the public sale of the entire store will start Nov. 15.
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tucker Murphy put Milestones and the Mulherns on a level with New Canaan’s most iconic, generous local businesses.
“Milestones is right up there with Karl Chevrolet and Walter Stewart’s,” Murphy said. “Whenever something needed to happen, not only were they among those who supported you monetarily, but they rolled up their sleeves and they got involved.”
That involvement has spanned support for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, Getabout, New Canaan High School Senior Internship Program, NCHS post-prom and numerous chamber initiatives.
Together with Diane Roth from L’Armoire and Jack Trifero of the former Gramophone Shop and Gramophone Video, Mulhern created the popular, now-annual Holiday Stroll, Murphy said.
“This truly is a loss because they have done so much for this community,” Murphy said.
Elisabeth Mulhern said the bonds her family has forged with locals will last.
“We have created wonderful friendships because of the business, and with people that we never would have known had we not had our own business in the town where we live,” she said.