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Darien Residents Open Stores in Downtown Darien

Wiggles and Giggles

While many downtown shopping areas are crowded with national retailers, Darien is headed in the other direction. As more residents open stores, they’re fortifying our small-town roots.

Lindsay Westbrook

Women’s Clothing

Roots: Originally from Rowayton and now a Darien resident.

Why Darien?: “The idea became enticing when Darien started undergoing this renaissance with new restaurants and shops. When I was a kid there were just a few stores downtown.” 

Challenges: “It’s tough to be the customer-service person with a friend. Mine is not a big business so I need to enforce return policies and the like. Although I’d always want to bend the rules for a friend, I couldn’t do that and run a successful retail operation.”

Perks: With her 5 and 7-year-old daughters at a local elementary school, she can still volunteer in the classroom or be available for emergencies.

Store’s Appeal: “I go out of my way to find new designers who are interesting and unique, designers you can’t find in nearby towns or department stores. I also work hard to find a range of price points so that there’s truly something for everyone on the racks.”

Erica Wood

Wiggles & Giggles
Children’s Clothing

Roots: Originally from Boston’s suburbs, now a Darien resident.

Why Darien? “I worked for the Rugged Bear for many years. I came to the Darien store often and realized this was a different kind of market. The town is really friendly to small retailers.”

Challenges: “You become totally associated with your store, which is nice but it also has drawbacks. It’s also interesting to be a working mom in a town where many women stay home, but it means that I get to see a lot of familiar faces, which is something I really enjoy.”  

Perks: “It’s great to be able to run out for my daughter’s ballet recital and not miss a day of work. Also, there’s a palpable feeling of the community wanting you to succeed. People come into the store and tell me they’ve sent their friends here. I really feel welcome.”

Store’s Appeal: “My store is a place where you should bring your kids. The changing room is a tent and we have a play table. Shopping should be fun for children, too.” 

Wendy Schwartz

Wendy’s Closet
Women’s Clothing

Roots: Originally from New Orleans, now a Rowayton resident.

Why Darien?: “I had owned a store in Greenwich and Bedford, but I was really enamored of the thoughtful and tasteful way the development was being done in Darien. When I heard there was a space available I jumped on it.”  

Challenges: None she’ll name. “It’s very similar to when I lived and worked in Greenwich. I bump into customers when I’m out and about, and I have the perfect commute. My store is casual and social, and many of my customers have become good friends.”  

Perks: As the proud mom to four yellow labs, she appreciates being able to pop out now and then to take the pups for a walk.

Store’s Appeal: “In addition to the relaxed atmosphere, I also stock a great range of products from casual to dressy. Even though my average customer is 45 to 50 years old, I have customers in their twenties and seventies. There’s something for three generations.”

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