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Wednesday, August 5 News

New year brings business closures in Westport

WESTPORT — Several Westport businesses have closed its doors in recent days, but a few are slated to open in the near future.

Westport Pizzeria , The Meatball Shop and Banana Republic were among the businesses in town that closed within the past week.

Calling Westport its home since 1968, Westport Pizzeria celebrated its final day after 51 years of business on Jan. 11. On its Facebook page, owner Carmelo Mioli paid tribute to the town and its customers.

“We appreciate the friendship of our loyal customers and the many beautiful memories shared together,” Mioli said. “Although we are closing, I will be staying here in the town that I love. I look forward to seeing you all around town! Thank you Westport for giving me the opportunity to take care of you for 51 years.”

Customers flocked to the restaurant on its final day to enjoy one last piece of its popular pizza.

At 143 Post Road E., the pizzeria, was a highly popular restaurant that will be missed, said Matthew Mandell, executive director of Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce.

“Westport Pizzeria was a wonderful mom-and-pop shop, that represented the community for over 50 years,” Mandell said. “Their closing was different than other closings that had been related to economic issues. That wasn’t the case with them. This was about people who offered a lot to the community, calling it a day, after more than 50 years.”

Meanwhile, The Meatball Shop had a short stay in Westport. The eatery, which opened on 2 Post Road W. in June had its final day on Sunday. The Meatball Shop has six other locations, all of which are in New York.

“The Meatball Shop restaurant is a sad story,” Mandell explained. “They said they are changing their business model, so their store here in Westport was part of that change.”

Chef’s Table, at 161 Cross Highway, didn’t call Westport home for long either. The restaurant, which offered hot soups, salads, sandwiches and coffee, will be closing Jan. 15 after just opening last April at the former Christie’s Country Store site. It’s Fairfield location remains open.

Mandell couldn’t offer much explanation for Chef’s Table’s departure, but said they seemed to be doing fine from his perspective. “Hopefully some one will pick up where they left off,” he said.

Clothing and accessories retailer Banana Republic, which was at 44 Main St. since 1999, also recently closed.

“There is a large change that is a occurring to the retail world and not just effecting Westport,” Mandell said. “The price of downtown Main Street is expensive and the market will reflect that.”

Mandell noted there may be a change in the type of stores coming to town.

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“We may be seeing a new renaissance of retail, more related to mom-and-pop type stores, rather than the large chains,” Mandell said. “It’s a positive, that could create a uniqueness in our community.”

Despite the business exodus from town this month, Shea Bakery is one of the new shops poised to open in Westport. The bakery/coffehouse will be on the Post Road, across the street from William Pitt Sotheby’s Real Estate. Mendel noted a new restaurant is also coming to Main Street in the coming months.

“There are always some openings. We do a lot of ribbon-cutting,” Mandell said. “Interstate Lumber, a small Connecticut chain, opened up shop here too, which we always like to see. There is always an ebb and flow with businesses in the area. Some make it, some don’t. The smaller, mom-and-pop shops — I think that is the future.”

dfierro@greenwichtime.com

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