a Few Doors Down
By Mike Lauterborn
(for Westport News)
Westport, CT – “Welcome to the new old,” said Susan Silver, flashing a grin at patrons wandering into the retail establishment that she co-owns with her brother Stephen.
It was a good term to describe the familiar anchor, Silver of Westport, that has shuttled back and forth just a couple hundred yards three times since 1951. Saturday, the store celebrated its grand reopening in the original spot it first called home in Westport in 1951, 390 Post Road East.
“Grandad Sam started the business in Bridgeport, on Main Street, in 1904,” said Stephen, “with canes and umbrellas, then luggage. In 1951, he opened a second store in Westport, at 386 State Street East, which became 390 Post Road East without moving.”
Stephen added, “The Bridgeport store was huge in its day, and my grandfather’s two brothers, Bennett and Marty, took it over. But then Marty died in a plane crash, Bennett opened another store in Milford and closed Bridgeport in 1963.”
Silver of Westport moved from 390 to 404 in 1992. Now, 19 years later, it has moved back. Trader Joe’s had interest in the former space, terms were agreed upon and the grocery will expand into it in January 2012.
The store’s loyal customers are one secret of Silver’s success. “What’s great about this opening today is all the community friends that have come out to show their support,” said patron Mimi Greenlee, “just like the Silvers have supported the community for so many years. Silver’s has always been a place to go for birthday, graduation and holiday occasions. And you can’t get any better luggage.”
Westporter Tom Smith agreed with Greenlee’s sentiment. “Silver’s is the most consistent and loyal retail store in Westport, with long-standing customer relations and broadening categories of product,” he said. “It’s comforting that their move is an up-tick and they are not in any way obsolete.”