Those who know me know that I’m a shopper. I prefer the term “smart and stylish consumer” but, like most of my self-glorifying terms, it hasn’t stuck. Nevertheless, I am in an excellent position to recommend Savvy + Grace (S+G) for every gift you don’t trust your spouse or beloved other to properly select.
Gracing the cellar floor of an antique home on Main Street, within selfie range of Brandy Melville’s and across from J.Crew, S+G is a surprisingly large mini-department store with a baffling amount of merchandise. Owner Annette Norton smiles, “I buy with turbo-charged enthusiasm.”
S+G is a Mom & Pop shop, yes, but one that is trying to drive a spear through the virtual Cerberus guarding the gates to the internet’s cyber-shoppers.
With items from $9 to over $1,000, Annette’s prices are equal to or better than those clicked into carts AND she offers beautiful gift-wrapping free of charge. If you think you’ll miss those floppy Amazon gift bags, think again: they’re ugly.
She points to an item on her shelf “I have the best prices every day. I was in a store that sells the same [item] for $75, then marks it down to $35,” she instantiates. “I sell this every day for $29.99.”
A large collection of impossibly soft Ugg apparel and slippers transforms the main room into a land of cozy. “I’m one of only 40 Ugg apparel retailers in the country!” She boasts. I coveted an off-white turtleneck sweater which I Googled the moment I fired up my laptop (solely for research purposes, of course). I found it on several retail sites for $8 more than her price, plus the cost of shipping, and no free gift wrap.
Alongside designers items from Ugg and Kate Spade is a well-curated but abundant selection of chic jewelry, Westport-branded items, darling children’s clothing and toys, luxurious but affordable bath accoutrements, and unique things like cocktails-in-a-jar, colorful map-of-Connecticut serving platters, candy pizzas, and a retro freezer full of Good Humor ice cream treats (“so my girls will want to hang out here.”).
Many warned her against opening a store on Main Street. I mean, seriously? We should praise her for taking the risk, not exhort her. Her innovative and unique mix of merchandise has already garnered a loyal following and pretty much everyone who wanders in skips out with at least one purchase.
Inspiration and raison d’etre for S+G are twofold. First, Annette explains, “There are other busy moms like me who forget to order [gifts] on line. Here, you can get it today, the same price as the internet or better, and gift wrap for free.”
Second, and more important, Annette wants to bring downtown back. “Westporters are proud of their town and will never lose Main Street,” she affirms. She grew up eating lunch at Onion Alley and scribbling pens on the small pads of paper at Klein's. She recalls Henry Lehr and the Remarkable Book Store. The “real” downtown Westport “is in my heart,” she remarks. She envisions her two teenage daughters turning off their iPhones and wandering around the real world, just as she did years ago.
Now back to shopping. Being the smart and stylish consumer I am, I couldn’t resist a puka shell choker on black leather in one of her jewelry cases. After doing a quick internet search ( solely for research purposes, of course), I couldn’t find anything I liked as well. But the closest I came was $3 more than her price and out of stock.
Take that, internet.
146 Main St, Westport