Fine papers pro applies know-how to home décor / invites biz
By Mike Lauterborn
© 2011. All Rights Reserved.
Fairfield, CT – There’s nothing cheesy about this mouse, which has served as an anchor in the lower Greenfield Hill area for more than 30 years.
The Country Mouse, at 75 Hillside Road in the Greenfield Commons plaza, began baiting customers in the late 1970s with hostess gifts, home décor items and candles. About seven years ago, Jim and Joan Driggs were lured in as new owners and immediately set about expanding the nest, to include baby gifts, wedding invitations and personal stationery.
According to Joan, who was happily assuming operating duties one recent weekend while her husband took five, it was Jim’s background in fine papers that helped grow the business. “He worked for Crane paper for 28 years and Caspari paper for another seven,” she said. “He was always connected to paper goods. I just teach and help out on the weekends.”
The shop’s invite books reflect Jim’s connections, with a wide array of samples from not only Crane, but William Arthur and Vera Wang. Cards can be customized for any occasion, said Joan.
Besides stationery, Driggs pitched, “You can get a nice hostess gift for under $10, or spend $200 on a nice Mariposa tray.”
The Mouse has become a destination in this category, pulling customers from not only Fairfield, but Westport, Southport, Bridgeport and even New York City, as well as online traffic. “Our clientele is very broad, from young mothers to grandmothers,” Joan offered. “But it’s people like Mrs. Roach (a long-time customer who had just entered the store) that make this environment a social event, not just a business or job. There was a woman in here earlier and we chatted for a half hour. The interaction makes it a much more enjoyable experience.”