First Selectman Jim Marpe today provided additional details on the establishment of the ReOpen Westport Advisory Team (Advisory Team).
As previously stated, the purpose of the Advisory Team will be to advise the first selectman on issues relating to the reopening of the Westport economy and community as they navigate the risks of COVID-19 for the foreseeable future.
The members of the Advisory Team include: Jennifer Tooker, Second Selectwoman – chair; John Bayers, director of human resources & general administration – Westport Public Schools; Mark Cooper, director – Westport Weston Health District; Jen Fava, Parks and Recreation director; Sara Harris, operations director; Police Chief Foti Koskinas; Mary Young, Planning and Zoning director; Randy Herbertson, president – Westport Downtown Merchants Association; Matthew Mandell, director – Westport / Weston Chamber of Commerce, and Brian Stern, chair – Board of Finance.
The Advisory Team will be focused on working with the local business community. It is not charged with making regulatory decisions.
To help Westport businesses navigate the COVID-19 crisis and to plan for a post pandemic business environment, the town has teamed up with the local nonprofit Social Venture Partners (SVP) to launch the Local Business Advisor Program, it was announced today.
According to Second Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker, SVP volunteers, who include talented businessmen and women with expertise in specific areas, will be paired with local business owners, providing cost-free, individual and confidential advisory services.
Among the issues to be addressed, Tooker said, are: basic financial modeling; understanding COVID-19-related government programs and loan options; online business platforms, marketing and social media; and human resource issues.
Tooker, who is overseeing the program, stressed that advisory information shall be held in strict confidence and will not be shared with the town by SVP.
The COVID-19 outbreak has hit retail food and liquor businesses hard in Westport. But some are faring better than others.
Marco Kian (l), and Rick Eadie, co-managers of the Greens Farms Spirit Shop, stay safe behind plexiglass windows that now surround the cash register area. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jarret Liotta for WestportNow.com
“The phone rings constantly,” said Rick Eadie, co-manager of Greens Farms Spirit Shop, 1250 Post Road East, likening it to the Christmastime rush.
“You don’t get quite the high end you get at Christmas,” he said of purchases, “but you get the volume.”
With restrictions on the number of people allowed into their store, along with a new makeshift plexiglass windows surrounding the cash register, store owners are finding ways to service customers in and out.
Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration announced late Friday it has pushed the deadline for filing state income tax returns back from April 15 to July 15.
The move, which complements Lamont’s recent 30-day extension of filing deadlines for business taxes, was anticipated given the U.S. Treasury’s recent decision to push the federal income tax filing deadline back to July 15.
The latest extension in Connecticut also applies to the estimated income tax payments due for the first and second quarters of 2020.
The Department of Revenue Services “understands the challenges the COVID-19 outbreak has brought workers and families in Connecticut,” said acting DRS Commissioner John Biello. “This extension is designed to offer taxpayers some additional time to file and submit their state income tax payments, if needed. Taxpayers are encouraged to visit the DRS website, where additional updates will be posted.”
The reshuffling of Main Street retail locations continues with the opening of Lululemon, formerly located at 91 Main St., relocating to 69 Main St. in space formerly occupied by Nike. Johnny Was, a women’s bohemian fashion retailer, will soon open at this shared address, 69 Main St., the former location of Allen Edmonds. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Brandy Melville, 142 Main St. is among several downtown retail shops temporarily closed as a safety precaution for shoppers and employees during the coronavirus warnings. Casey Daignault, a freshman at the University of South Carolina, and Jenna Capella, a freshman at the University of Connecticut, both Redding residents, read a sign announcing the store’s temporary closure. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Westport real estate developer David Waldman told the weekly meeting of the Y’s Men of Westport Weston today the key to revitalizing Westport’s downtown is to make it “socially-based, not just retail store-based.” He pointed to such examples as the need for a movie theatre, a skating rink, a playground, and a farmers’ market in addition to the town’s existing rich assets that include the Westport Library. The cause of downtown vacancies “is not just the ‘Amazon effect’ but the demographics of Westport have also changed in recent years with a downturn in millennial presence,” he said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Organic Krush lifestyle eatery, will open this summer at 376 Post Road East in the Compo Acres shopping center. According to its website, the concept, inspired by founders Fran Paniccia and Michelle Walrath, is a local one-stop-shop offering healthy lunch, organic coffee and a family dinner. The couple opened their first location in Woodbury, New York and now have eight storefronts. The Westport location will be one of two in the state. The space was previously occupied by Chipotle from June 2015 to December 2018. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com