Signorello furniture closes downtown Westport showroom
Updated 5:51 pm, Thursday, January 5, 2012
After more than a decade on the west side of downtown Westport, the Signorello of Westport furniture showroom has closed.
Hossein Ghavami, office manager of Roger Ferris + Partners LLC, on Tuesday confirmed Signorello's closing. Roger Ferris + Partners' principal is architect Roger Ferris, who is the principal of Eleven Wilton Road Associates LLC, the firm that owns 11 Wilton Road.
Founded and managed by Pina Manzone, Signorello specialized in modernist home furnishings. Her store stood within a turned-steel façade building at 11 Wilton Road on the west side of downtown Westport.
Several calls made by the Westport News to Manzone seeking comment on Signorello's closing were not returned.
A number of prospective tenants have expressed interest in leasing both floors of 11 Wilton Road, Ghavami added. Signorello had occupied the first floor of the approximately 8,000-square-foot building.
"I think now that the first floor is available too, it makes it more leasable to larger companies, especially considering that in that location there aren't too many buildings with as many parking spaces available as 11 Wilton Road," Ghavami said.
A series of retail and restaurant closings have plagued the west side of downtown Westport during the last five years. The boutique hotel, the Inn at National Hall, shuttered in March 2010 after 18 years at the red-brick landmark on the Saugatuck River's west bank. Other closings in recent years include the Napoli Sul Fiume restaurant on Riverside Avenue, the House of Tibet rug store on Post Road West and the Poggenpohl kitchen store on Wilton Road.
In recent months, however, the west side of the town center has shown signs of a turnaround. The Planning and Zoning Commission approved in October a text amendment that paves the way for Greenfield Partners, a commercial real estate firm, to relocate its corporate headquarters from South Norwalk to National Hall.
Greenfield Partners has also indicated its intent to bring in several new restaurant tenants to other buildings that it owns on the west bank of the Saugatuck.
Across the street from National Hall on Post Road West, another dining establishment, Art's Delicatessen, is set to open during the next few weeks.
Despite Signorello's closing, several west side merchants who sell home furnishings project a cautious optimism about their businesses' prospects in 2012.
"We were really busy this fall, all the way to the end of December, which we were really happy about," said Julie Bliss, store manager of Circa Antiques at 11 Riverside Ave. "I'm hoping that going forward into 2012 we'll have more of the same."
C.C. Wong, owner of the Mandarin Collection, located across the street from Circa Antiques at 18 Riverside Ave., said increased demand from buyers in Europe and mainland China had "softened the blow" from a slow-down in local business during the last couple of years.
"All the retailers are keeping their fingers crossed," he said. "We're committed and we just can't pick up and go somewhere. We have no intention of doing that."
"I don't find that business is slower," he said. "In the downturn of the market I moved here, and business has only improved every year."