A New Attitude and New Stores in New Preston
The village of New Preston, CT, looks like a movie set with its 18th and 19th century storefronts decorated with evergreen garlands and little white lights—the kind of village where you imagine it always snows on Christmas Eve. It’s long been a stylish mecca with residents like the late Bill Blass whose chic chums included Conde Nast creative director Alexander Lieberman, and the fashion designers Diane Von Furstenberg and Oscar de la Renta. For many years, New Preston was dominated by the sort of antique shops favored by Social Register types, but as country style has evolved so has the New Preston retail scene. In the past two months, three new shops have opened, which has given tradition-minded New Preston a fresh, fun sensibility.
Beth Fowler, a former fashion stylist from the West Cost whose clients included Eastern Mountain Sports, and her husband, Ryan, a contractor and stone mason, had an epiphany when their house in Washington, CT, burned down a year and a half ago, and they had to replace everything they owned. “We decided we wanted to be much more green and buy recycled and vintage stuff or things that were hand made,” she says. “We did not want to buy things that were mass produced.” Her new store reflects a hipster spin on eco-friendly style: vintage dresses from the 1960s, carpet bags made from recycled tarps and decorated with crewelwork, a papier-mâché bull’s head from the 1909 Danbury Fair, a vintage Royal manual typewriter, Chinoiserie objets d’art, hand-knit sweaters and the jewelry that Fowler started making as therapy after the fire. “Whether it’s new or old, I can tell you the story behind every thing in this store,” she says.
13 East Shore Road; 860.619.0707
Wednesday - Sunday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
New Preston Dry Goods
John Paparazzi hadn’t planned on opening a shop when he bought and renovated 13 East Shore Road. “But I didn’t want this storefront to stay empty all winter so I decided to open my own place,” says Paparazzi, a private art dealer, who used to run a gallery down the street, and opened New Preston Dry Goods on November 7. “I want this to be a store where you will be entertained and pick up something that will amuse you,” he says. Paparazzi is making a very good case for recreational retail, He has a fascination with industrial modernism and vintage futurism, which includes toy robots and chrome-and-aluminum World War II aircraft chairs. His shop is truly eclectic: He sells handknit children’s sweaters, Silly Puppets (“I thought they’d look great in the window”), rugelach baked in Brooklyn by Margaret Palca, and Farm Dog artisan, grain-free biscuits for your pet. “I want this store to to make shopping fun.”
13 East Shore Road; 646.319.8557
Sunday - Wednesday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Thursday - Sunday 10:30 - 5 p.m.
Joan Adler and Dana Schulman understand the crossover between special occasions and everyday luxuries. As the respective owners of Personal Best Monogram Shoppe in Washington Depot and D.K. Schulman stationers in Marble Dale, they are experts in the Litchfield County retail scene and they realized that a high-end candy boutique was just what New Preston needed. “I’ve always had beautiful boxes of candy in my windows for the holidays and it always sells well,” says Adler, who says they put the store together in just three weeks, opening on Thanksgiving weekend. “The response has been phenomenal. We sold out of handmade marshmallows the first day!” she says. The store carries fancy chocolates from Italy and France and also sells old-fashioned penny candy. She expects the store to be busy all year long. “Thank God there are so many holidays and special occasions,” she says. “Candy is always a happy gift.”
13 East Shore Road; 860.868.3388
Holiday Hours through December 24:
Wednesday - Sunday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Oldies But Goodies: Other New Preston Shops
15 East Shore Road; 860.868.6838
Fashionable things for women, men, children and the house.
J. Seitz & Co.
9 East Shore Road; 860.868.0119
Home furnishings and men’s and women’s country clothing with an urbane flair.
New Preston Kitchen Goods
11 East Shore Road; 860.868.1264
A local alternative to Williams-Sonoma.
7 East Shore Raod; 860.868.4769
A house-and-garden store for any season.