Small Businesses are still thriving in Westport By Anna Rhoads and Kevin Ludy

Westport is known for its shopping. Stores like Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and J.Crew line the streets downtown. However, these name-brand stores aren’t the only places to find quality items and great service. Westport is home to many smaller businesses that students should check out.

One local business in Westport is Savvy + Grace. This downtown store opened on Oct. 2, and has been delighting its customers ever since. They have gifts for men, women and children with a unique atmosphere to tie the shopping experience together.

A selection of the merchandise found in Savvy + Grace. The store features many name brands such as UGG and Kate Spade.

It is owned by Annette Norton, whose family have been business owners since the early 1900’s. According to 06680 Norton was quoted saying, “I felt the time was right to bring not a chain store, but a store you might see on vacation — with unique, cool items for everyone.”

Savvy + Grace also has an extensive array of bath bombs which can be purchased individually or as a set.

Another store that people should check out is the Savannah Bee Company. This store is located downtown at the newly constructed Bedford Square. This is the first Savannah Bee retail store in the Northeast and according to the official Savannah Bee westport blog the founder Ted Dennard said, “it will be a great test to how Savannah Bee Company does outside of the Southeast.”

This store has a beautiful interior, which is a new concept design for the Savannah Bee Company. It has a variety of honey bee products ranging from skin care to literal honey. The employees are there to help and make it a very welcoming place.

The inside of the Savannah Bee Company. It is very chic and features a honey tasting bar among other product displays.

Indulge by Mersene is also one of the many small businesses that Westport has to offer. This local business is at the train station and has gifts small and large. “We get our stuff from all around the world,” Liz Machette, an employee at Indulge, said. You can buy them individually or create an elaborate gift basket, which is perfect for a special occasion.

The store has a homey feeling with a very fresh smell thanks to a candle that is always burning. The layout is made in a way that every item catches your eye.

A selection of the products sold at Indulge By Mersene. Their products change with each holiday and season, so there is always something new.

Lastly, Le Rouge Chocolates by Aarti is another small shop to check out. Handmade chocolates and cakes are sold in this store located on Main street, right next to Joe’s pizza. According to the Le Rouge website, “Le Rouge Chocolates by Aarti are created in small batches using fair trade dark chocolate and the freshest ingredients.” Wrote Aarti Khosla, founder of Le Rouge.

The inside of the store is very welcoming and the smell of chocolate always lingers in the air. When asked, Aarti said “All the chocolates are hand-painted and hand-decorated.”

A look at the chocolate counter and gift boxes available for purchase.

One bonus for Staples students is that Le Rouge offers a discount with a student I.D. This is because of the Westport Youth Commission and the student discount partnership they were able to create. They are quoted on their website saying that “we created this program to help students save money and support our local businesses.”

These local stores are a great place to gift shop for anyone. Instead of looking on Amazon to order something, next time check out a local store instead. You may be surprised at what hidden gems they have.

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