Some Wilton businesses buck the tide
WILTON — There should be some beautiful lawns and neat and tidy homes in Wilton in a few weeks. At least that’s the trend, according to Tom Sato, owner of Wilton Hardware on River Road.
“We’ve been really busy,” he said on Saturday afternoon. “People are doing every possible project — painting, yards, changing light bulbs. What’s really big is decluttering. We’ve been going through storage bins like nobody’s business.” He said three women told him they’ve rented Dumpsters.
Sato said the past week his store has been hopping. “We’ve sold out of crabgrass inhibitor,” he said, the first step of lawn maintenance.
Not surprisingly, his store is also out of all cleaners, wipes, tissues, and rubbing alcohol, and has gone through most of its paper towels.
As of Saturday, Sato was not sure if hardware stores would be deemed essential by the governor, but he was hoping they would be.
“What happens if your toilet gets plugged up?” he said. As it turned out, Wilton Hardware (wiltonhardware.com/203-529-3650) will remain open.
“Business is still pretty good,” he said, adding that getting products for home and garden projects is no problem.
“What else are you going to do when you really can’t do anything else?” he said.
Some people might consider chocolate to be as essential as wine and spirits. That’s what Nancy Saxe, owner of Sweet Pierre’s (sweetpierres.com/203-563-0000) in the River Park Plaza, is thinking.
“These are interesting times,” she said wryly on Saturday. Standing in her shop fragrant with Easter chocolates and other treats she said business “hasn’t been horrible but it hasn’t been great.” A lot of her regular customers have still been coming in or calling to place orders.
“Hopefully, people will still do Easter baskets,” she said, adding she will continue to take phone orders to ship out. She also offers curbside service or people may come into the shop where a bottle of hand sanitizer sits at the door.
“I’ll be here every day checking things, checking calls. People can buy what they need.”
I’ll take that to go
Some of the restaurants and coffee shops in town that are open are seeing their regular customers coming in to help them keep going.
While Starbucks in Wilton has closed temporarily, Tusk and Cup (tuskandcup.com/203-762-6230) is still open. Barista Justin Marchi smiled and waved in a customer who was peering through the window.
“It’s been a good day. The weather helps,” he said as strollers, bicyclists and people walking their dogs passed by on Old Ridgefield Road.
“A lot of our regular customers are stepping up. We’re considered essential and our customers have told us as much,” he added.
Business has dropped off and the shop has cut back its hours.
“The main thing that’s hurt us is a lot of patrons used us as an alternative office or meeting place. That portion [of the business] has been greatly affected,” he said, since customers may no longer congregate inside.
People’s orders haven’t changed. “Coffee is still the staple, but there’s gelato and we’re still doing food and sandwiches.”
From her retired French fire truck that serves as home base for Bubble & Brew, Wendy Fellows watched the human and motor traffic going by in Wilton Center.
“We’re very busy,” she said, adding “we have a bit of a following.”
As several customers came and went, buying tea, coffee and pastries, and sharing conversation, she said, “people want a little treat.”
The truck is often seen at events or other businesses around town, but where she’ll be as more and more closures and cancellations come in, Fellows did not know. Customers may check her website at bubbleandbrew.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Carl Thorsen was waiting for an order at Wilton Pizza (wiltonpizza.com/203-762-0007) around 5 p.m. when asked why he had stopped in.
“I love pizza,” he said. “I think all the businesses are trying to be safe and do so in a manageable way. We have to be smart,” he added, taking his order from manager Alfredo LoPresti, who wore a face mask along with latex gloves.
“Friday was almost a normal day,” LoPresti said, adding that Saturday had been a little quiet, although after Thorsen left two more customers came in.
“Things are developing minute by minute.”
Dennis Luna, manager of Craft 14 in the River Park Plaza, was more optimistic, saying things were “not so bad.”
“By Friday, people are getting tired of cooking,” he said. The restaurant is now open for take-out Tuesday through Saturday and “will keep going until they say ‘no mas.’”
“There’s hand sanitizer by the door and things are the cleanest possible,” he said. Customers may go in to pick up their order or he will bring it to their car. As with most restaurants in town, customers may also place an order through a third party like Uber Eats or Grub Hub and have it delivered.
Craft 14 (craft14wilton.com/203-762-6275) is offering several family-sized takeout meals as well as its regular menu.
At Marly’s Bar & Bistro (marlysbistro.com/203-834-2000) on the Town Green, general manager Louis Macol said that although the restaurant had to lay off staff and cut hours, things are going better than expected.
Most popular among customers are the three-course dinners for two to six the restaurant is offering along with its full regular menu. People are also ordering “burgers, wings, comfort food,” he said.
“We just had another truck delivery,” Macol said on Saturday, “so the supply chain is not disrupted.”
In its favor, Macol said, is that the restaurant had an established takeout business and it is seeing a lot of business through Uber Eats.
He stressed the sanitary measures the restaurant is taking beyond the normal including wiping pens with alcohol before and after customers use them to sign their credit receipts, providing gloves if asked, and bleaching doorknobs after each customer comes and goes. Macol joked his hands were raw from all the scrubbing.
“We’re trying to make people feel safe,” he said. “That’s important. We want people to know we’re doing our best.”