Darien businesses went through some changes in 2019, including longtime favorites closing
Darien’s year of businesses saw some longtime town standards close their doors.
In August, Darien Doughnut on Heights Road closed its doors after 30 years in business. The Delmonacos opened Darien Doughnut in 1989 and owned it for six years. The store was previously in the location of Fabricare Cleaners, which moved next door.
Darien Doughnut sold 35 kinds of doughnuts as well as muffins, bagels, and breakfast sandwiches, and also offered a light lunch menu.
The Noroton Heights Shopping Center is being torn down and renovated into restaurants, retail stores, and residential units. Current owner Bill Tamme will be retiring.
Recently, also due to the renovations in the plaza, the Stop & Shop in Noroton Heights, there for decades, has officially closed. The Goodwives Shopping Center Stop & Shop was updated and had a “grand reopening.”
Other longtime businesses that have closed include Fredric & Co., a hair salon on Corbin Drive, and Johnny’s & Co., which has changed hands.
In March, Fredric & Co. owners Connie Hatterman and Janet Mantanaro penned a letter to the editor about their closing.
“Due to unforeseeable and heartbreaking circumstances Fredric and Company will be closing our doors as of April 13, 2019. We are truly sorry to be closing this way and want to thank all of our clients for their patronage, loyalty, friendships and wonderful memories,” they said.
Hatterman and Mantanaro owned the business for 13 years.
Longtime Johnny’s and Co. owners Johnny and Lucille Delmonaco sold the salon and retired in September.
After coming home from the army in 1955, Johnny Delmonaco got his barbering license in 1956 and started to work in the Noroton Shopping Center. In 1960, he opened his own barber shop called Noroton Hair Shop, which stayed on Heights Road for over 40 years in the Linden Cleaners Shopping Plaza. It has since been sold their niece, Maria Shapiro, who ran it for over 13 years.
Concerning the recent changes taking place in Noroton Heights, Johnny and Lucille said, “Unfortunately, because of the tearing down of the Noroton Shopping Center, many of our businesses have had to relocate or close for good.”
“Being on Heights Road for over 54 of those years with Noroton Hair Shop, Johnny’s barbershop next to the Doughnut Inn. Then we became so busy we had to move again to Noroton Heights Shopping Center next to Heights Pizza, our favorite pizza, and Barrett Bookstore, another favorite of ours. It was a great combination of stores, we all helped each other.”
The Delmonacos sold the shop to Julia Casablanca, who, they say, “has also been a sought-after hair dresser in Darien and New Canaan for over 15 years.”
Some other businesses that have closed include Cesco Restaurant and Darien Grille.
In the spring, Barrett Bookstore moved to Corbin Drive from its longtime location in Noroton Heights. It was founded 80 years ago and has been through many changes, both big and small. The new location, at 3,600 square feet, is approximately the same size as its former one.
To celebrate the move and its 80th anniversary, Barrett held a grand reopening in April.
The celebration concided with Independent Bookstore Day, a one-day national party that takes place at independent bookstores across the country on the last Saturday in April.
Barrett’s move was part of the Corbin District, a redevelopment project that developer David Genovese is heading up in town. The project, a mixed-use redevelopment spanning from Corbin Drive to the Bank of America building on the Post Road, is expected to be completed in 2022.
New businesses in Darien include Mandarine Home, Coco & Lala Watch Hill, BonBon Hair Salon, Julia’s Salon & Company (the former Johnny’s), EGG New York, Orangetheory, HAYVN, The Everwell Community, Anju Breathing Spa, Cold Play Cryotherapy and Shoes N’ More, the first shoe store in Darien.
In May, Felicia Rubinstein launched Hayvn, at 320 Post Road, which she describes as the first women-focused co-working center in Fairfield County. The hub responds to a growing number of female professionals who want flexible work environments that allow them to meet and collaborate with peers and also adds to the area’s list of shared workspaces that are led by women.
Many of the business changes and updates in Darien are related to Genovese’s project. Shoes N More, for example, was 16 years in the making.
“From the very beginning when we started the Darien revitalization initiative, we heard from so many people that Darien needs a shoe store, so I have been calling [owner] Liz Elliot since 16 years ago,” Genovese said.
“He first approached me in 2003, and I had already opened in New Canaan,” said Elliot.
However, Elliot said that she was growing her business in New Canaan so the timing wasn’t good.
“We stayed friendly through the years,” she said, and when she was ready, she told Genovese.
Aside from the new 1,600-square-foot Darien location, which opened Oct. 4, Shoes N More is also in New Canaan, Westport, and in Rye, Bronxville and Mount Kisco, N.Y.
Aside from shoes, Shoes N More sells handbags, jewelry, hats, jackets, sweaters, tops, and loungewear.
Some relocated businesses include Big Shots, to 897 Post Road; Wild Birds Unlimited, to One Ledge Road; Fabricare Cleaners-Darien, to 264 Heights Road; and Wiggles & Giggles, to 37 Tokeneke Road.