Adjacent business hurt by Stop & Shop strike
WESTPORT — A business adjacent to the Westport Stop & Shop says the eight-day workers strike has harmed their store.
“We’ve definitely seen an impact on our sales and the amount of people walking in the door in general,” said Lori Brower, general manager of Kindred Spirits & Wine, which sits in the same Post Road plaza as the supermarket.
In total, Brower estimates her shop has seen 30 to 50 percent less sales since April 11, the day a strike over a contract dispute between Stop & Shop employees and the Massachusetts grocery giant began.
“We support the workers and want the strike to get resolved, but my concern is we’re affected. Hopefully people remember there’s a small, locally owned store in the same plaza,” Brower said.
There are only three other Kindred stores, one in Monroe, Shelton, and Fairfield, Brower noted.
The Westport Kindred is not alone in the financial difficulties it faces due to proximity to Stop & Shop. With more than 240 locations in Connecticut, Stop & Shop represents the state’s most important anchor retailer, a term used to describe the dominant tenant that helps generate business for smaller stores in the same plaza.
“They complement our business. That’s why we’re here,” said Dan Weaver, wine manager for the Westport Kindred. “People are avoiding the plaza altogether. The customers are now going to another store. The ones who tried to come were afraid because the picketers were intimidating.”
The protests have been mostly peaceful — although one customer was arrested in Wilton Tuesday after an alleged confrontation with a picketer — but they have also taken a toll on neighboring businesses.
“Now we’re coming up on a holiday weekend and it’s a little stressful,” Brower said.
Despite the parking lot and vacant store, two customers — Jesse and Rosie Cabrera — walked in to buy a bottle of wine.
“I really like this store,” Jesse said, adding she went to Stop & Shop before to buy a specific bag for her vacuum and then went to Kindred.
The only two other shops in the Post Road Plaza — Westport French Cleaners and Westport Orthopedic Urgent Care — said the strike has not affected their businesses drastically.
“We’re OK,” said Jinny Moon, owner of the dry cleaners. Her store has been slower the past week, but Moon said this may be because Westport schools are on spring break.
“The impact of the strike may take a while to set in,” Moon said.
Employees at the urgent care facility, meanwhile, said they haven’t been affected by the strike, aside from the occasional person who walks in from Stop & Shop, which receptionist Katie Cioppa said accounts for very few of the Urgent Care’s patients.
Includes previous reporting by Alexander Soule
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