2020 will be remembered for the Covid pandemic. It was a game changer for almost everyone. Whether impacted directly by the disease, or more generally as a local, national and global citizen, Covid has been a game changer for almost everyone. Aspects of economy, sociology and politics are forever altered.
Yet…there is a ying to the yang…a circle of life that rolls on inextricably…necessity being the mother of invention…and an inherent and natural instinct to endure, adapt and overcome. Like the greenery that grows in the path of a volcano and metal forged in the hottest fire…some special businesses were Born In 2020!
It’s not just legal...it’s good for you! Your CBD Store was born in New Canaan in 2020, at the corner of Elm and South Streets, and is the only store in New Canaan selling CBD. Owner, Anthony Pisano, a Connecticut native, whose kids go to St Aloysius School in New Canaan, was happy to open Your CBD Store - even, right in the middle of pandemic - because, “I believe in the product, and know there are young and old who can really find health benefits from it, including pain and stress relief. And I couldn’t pass up the visibility of our location - right in the center of town.”
Your CBD Store New Canaan is a part of the largest CBD retailer in the country, Sunflora, which has over 450 individual ownership locations. Sunflora grows all its own hemp (not marijuana!) in the choicest locations in Oregon and Colorado and are the only national CBD company to be Certified Organic by the USDA. Sunflora is at the forefront of work with the government on regulations and testing, including a current partnership with the USDA examining CBD’s effect on the liver. Beyond industry standards, every batch of every product is tested for quality, including the absence of heavy metals, pesticides and any other harmful chemicals. Your CBD Store New Canaan carries only Sunflora products which have won best CBD topical, tincture, and pet tincture from CBD Expo.
Anthony explains, “Our company is built on transparency. We offer the highest quality, finest CBD products available anywhere, and it’s all about education in terms of people starting to find the benefits. We’re available to every person who walks through our door to explain CBD and its effects on the endocannabinoid system. CBD and other cannabinoids bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which balances other systems in the body. This is why you hear people talking about how CBD helps with so many things.”
Jacco de Bruijn and Mohamed Elzomor co-founded Nines in 2020 intending to modernize the household staffing and management industry, and have assembled an impressive management team to get it accomplished. They got funding to launch and support Nines from Marc Lore and Mike Hanrahan, who co-founded the incredibly successful e-commerce company jet.com in 2014, and hit it big when they sold to Walmart in 2016. Looking to invest in another industry-changer, Lore explains: “Until now, there’s been no easy way for heads of households to find the best service professionals for their needs, and no socially responsible organization supporting qualified household service professionals. Nines answers both issues by matching very talented people to its member households, managing their employment, and acting as a support system for everyone involved.”
Nines was launched in September 2020, with headquarters in New York City, and, reflecting their focus on serving the B&NC MAG area, hired local Adrienne Friedman (firstname.lastname@example.org) as Vice President of Sales.
Nines recruits, hires and supports childcare providers, housekeepers, chefs, drivers, and other service professionals - each qualified with experience and references in their field - providing them with benefits, insurance and personal development opportunities; thus relieving the household employer from the labor-intensive, time-consuming and legally nuanced process of hiring and managing household staff.
A Nines membership starts with the appointment of a Chief of Staff for each household (exclusive to only a few members), who will get to know the member, the home, the household’s preferences, tailor a team of service professionals to meet every expectation, and train and manage the team required. The Chief of Staff is always available - 24/7 - and will serve as a direct and single point of contact for all household and estate requirements. Ivone Vallejo, Executive Chief of Staff, understands that, “Professional families and high-net-worth households are no longer looking for ‘staff’ per se, but to bring people into their households as trusted teammates. And no one has the bandwidth to deal with recruiting, hiring and managing all the different professionals you need to run a house and a household or a full estate. Particularly in these times of pandemic, as families have moved households, are adjusting the time they allocate to different homes, and are acutely challenged in managing staff - and especially those who have a role inside the home. Nines is the answer!”
Maybe more than being born in 2020, the Sama Yoga Center was reincarnated. Although Sama has been located at 45 Grove Street since 2015, Covid-related health requirements and increased demand were the catalyst for Sama’s substantial physical expansion and program adaptations in 2020.
Rebekah Jacobs, Sama’s founder/owner/operator, is a Connecticut native, who returned to the area after 12 years working and studying abroad. She and her husband have two sons, Samuel 7, and Eli 5, who both attend The Montessori School in Wilton, about which Rebekah comments, “The Montessori model is a constant source of inspiration for my own work - I like the philosophy, pedagogy and commitment to mindfulness”. Before opening Sama, Rebekah served as Director of Richard Gere’s yoga studio at The Bedford Post, helping to earn the accolade ‘Best Yoga Studio Westchester’ from Westchester Magazine and recognized on CNN and in Travel & Leisure and W Magazine among others.
Sama’s 2020 expansion and renovation included the installation of a new HVAC system, with Molecule Air Purification and UV Light sub-systems, and industrial fans for added ventilation - all exceeding CDC standards. Sama instituted a 6-feet-in-every-direction rule for all in-person classes, limited the in-person schedule so the studio can be thoroughly cleaned between each class, provided hand sanitizer stations, pre-disinfected bins, contactless entry and exit, and reserved spots for immunocompromised students. One Sama student, a psychotherapist, stated “I go to Sama and home - and that’s it! Those are the only places I feel safe!”
Most important, Sama pivoted to accommodate the growing number of students (now working from home, home from school, or simply with more time for self-care) by adding Sama Academy Online - Teacher Trainings, Live Online classes, Instant Sama on demand classes, and Sama Connect online subscription offerings. As one result, the Sama Yoga Academy, which was co-founded by New Canaanite Angie Mandl (whose boys both row for New Canaan Crew), has grown in 2020 to be a leading program in the region; from one to four teacher trainings per year and including nationally accredited Kids Yoga Teacher Trainings and 200-Hour Teacher Trainings. Angie commented, “Our last training included people aged 13 to 68. Teens who’ve graduated from Sama are now leading their peers in college and beyond. I feel like we’re helping students of all ages to breathe a little deeper. And with our new online capabilities, we can reach people all around the world.” In addition, Sama’s Private ‘Pod’ Yoga has also become quite popular for families, teens and kids.
Also reincarnated in 2020, with an enhanced Studio at the Sama Yoga Center and with a new e-commerce site at samayogacenter.com/store, Sama offers a curated selection of locally sourced goods, including: hand-poured ritual candles, sea glass jewelry, hand-made masks, and organic cotton clothing - all made by women.
Sama is a Sanskrit word for ‘same’ or ‘even’. Rebekah chose that name because, “At Sama, we are steady, we are even, we are here, we see you, and we are here for you. We’re a team of teachers and experts, dedicated to providing safe, mindful, traditional yoga for every body, age and ability. At this time, with so many unknowns, our community knows that they can come to Sama to connect safely, unwind, and step into the day with a fresh perspective. We believe in Yoga for every body, age and ability!”
“I opened a store in Westport last year, and met so many nice people from New Canaan that I felt that it was a better fit for me and my look. I love that new Canaan has a lot of privately owned stores and still has charm and individuality. I opened my store here in September. I decided to open the store because I wanted to showcase the things that I love and bring things to people they cannot find in other places. I primarily carry home decor, and also have beautiful European totes and bags, some Italian sweaters, and scarves.”
With more than three decades of experience between them practicing exclusively in the areas of matrimonial and family law, Lauren Healy and Andrew Eliot are seasoned attorneys who opened their new firm, The Family Law Firm Healy + Eliot PLLC, at 125 Elm Street in New Canaan, in October 2020.
Andy grew up in Westport, where he now resides with his wife and two little kids. Lauren also grew up in Connecticut, where she now resides in Fairfield with her husband and two little kids. Lauren and Andy met while partners at a prominent matrimonial law firm located in Westport when they decided, right in the middle of the pandemic, to start this firm of their own. Relating to Covid, Andy remarked: “We had been thinking about it for a while and when Covid hit, and new divorce filings virtually came to a halt, it freed up some time for us to really devote ourselves to launching our own firm. New divorce filings have definitely picked up again and the Courts are now running most processes remotely. That said, cases are still generally moving slower than usual in the Court system, and so we are seeing more of our clients gravitate towards various types of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration, in an effort to bring their matters to conclusion more quickly. Notably, there are some upsides to spending less time in the courtroom than we’re used to as a result of the pandemic – for example, it allows us more time to really focus on connecting with and servicing all of our clients on a daily basis. I think it also affords us an opportunity to be more creative and innovative in crafting settlement alternatives.”
“We love being in New Canaan! Being on Elm Street makes us feel a part of the village and the community. I like the feeling of coming to work here. It’s a really easy commute for each of us, and as the bulk of our cases are in Fairfield County, with a majority in the Stamford Courthouse, it couldn’t be more convenient. And it’s terrific being able to walk to lunch at so many different great restaurants. We’ve been to Rosie’s - a lot!”, Lauren commented. “But, frankly, one of the big reasons we chose to make our home in New Canaan was because we felt the market was underserved, and that we could serve as the community’s primary firm dedicated to matrimonial practice. From what we can tell so far, we were right. There’s a demand for local, available, discrete, compassionate and experienced divorce lawyers in New Canaan - and now we’re here in New Canaan to serve that need.”
Eva Scrivo is a well known celebrity hair and make-up artist and New York City 5th Avenue salon owner. She’s an expert in hair coloring, cutting, styling, and make-up, who is best known for her balayage and masterful makeovers. Eva was a long-standing Resident Beauty Expert on NBC’s Martha; hosted her own radio show, Beauty Talk, on Sirius; has made numerous appearances on TV shows including The Dr. Oz Show, Extra, CBS Early Show, Good Morning America, Good Day New York and the Katie Couric Show; authored Eva Scrivo on Beauty: The Tools, techniques and Insider Knowledge every woman needs to be her most beautiful, confident self (Atria Books / Simon & Schuster), and; counts locals Martha Stewart and Samantha Bee among her many celebrity clients.
“I’ve lived in Katonah for fifteen years and when Covid hit, and I had to shut down NYC for three months, and I started seeing many of our clients moving to this area, or just making their weekend homes here permanent residences, I realized it was time to pull the trigger on opening locally. When I found 56 and 60 Westchester Avenue, I knew it was right!. Scotts Corners is a wonderful village for shopping and dining, with plenty of parking, and the new Market right across the street from my new salon. It’s right in the middle of the whole Armonk, Bedford, Katonah and New Canaan area. I even have Manhattan and New Jersey clients telling me they’d be happy to drive up to Pound Ridge to get their hair done…and make a day of it with a meal at the Inn at Pound Ridge or at Bedford Post, and some shopping in New Canaan.”
56 Westchester has three socially distanced salon chairs and two shampoo stations. Eva and her staff of stylists and colorists will offer what she calls ‘The Painted Cut’, which is Eva’s proprietary approach to blending cut and color, and; Eva and her Danish collaborator will offer non-surgical, all-natural hair restoration services, as they do in Manhattan.
60 Westchester houses Eva’s new custom color lab and a retail and online boutique (evasbeautystore.com) stocked with the same products sold at her NYC salon. It will also be used as the primary hair and makeup studio for bridal parties.
“In addition, with Eva Scrivo Custom Color, I personally formulate base colors and glazes for existing and new virtual clients based on their natural hair color, skin tone, eye color and personal preferences, just like I would in the salon. Because I can consistently supply the right shade for each client, our regular salon clients have been thrilled to be able to maintain their color at home, while many of our new virtual clients rave that they’ve finally achieved the color they’ve always wanted.”
In a triumphant return to New Canaan, the Lake Placid-based Adirondack Store & Gallery opened at 39 Elm Street in 2020...and it’s already an established fixture in the New Canaan retail landscape.
The Adirondack Store practically sets the Lake & Lodge style, offering everything to decorate, outfit and finish any home with that ‘Lake Placid look’, and owner/operators Christopher English and Stephen Shin run a substantial business offering decorating services and dealing in fine art. Like parents of every newborn, Christopher and Stephen have a major success on their very busy hands!
“We couldn’t be happier about the decision to open in New Canaan in 2020, and weren’t deterred when Covid hit. We’re thrilled to be here! The community support is tremendous! I can’t tell you how many people have come in and told me their family made a conscious decision to shop locally this year.” remarked Stephen. And Stephen and Christopher have already become supporters of numerous local charities, including The Young Women's League of New Canaan, The New Canaan Library and The New Canaan Mounted Troop to name just a few.
The store’s Cafe has become a most popular stop. It’s open every day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and more than just for a cup of joe, a bunch of people have taken to working or reading pretty regularly in the comfortable space. “We are very careful to make the space be and feel safe, so it’s very roomy and socially distanced. Among other things we constantly wipe down surfaces and have installed three IQ Industrial Air Purifiers.”, said Stephen.
For a special ‘treat’, The Adirondack Store is serving free drip coffee, cold brew and iced tea, every Thursday from Noon to 3 p.m.! Stephen said, “It’s a great chance for people to take a break, and for us it feels like friends coming to visit!”