Irene Keeps Many Westport Retailers Closed

Shoppers from Westport and surrounding towns poured down Main Street Monday to find many stores closed; Fire Marshal went door-to-door to assess damage.

Although the Saugatuck River had receded, flood damage was a problem for some, but not all, of the stores downtown.

Courtney Evans, the manager at , said their floors got wet, but the store sustained no physical damage. They prepared for the worst and boarded up their windows, but the business was spared.

“We got more lucky than other stores,” Evans said.

A couple doors down, was not as lucky. Walls moved and wood floors buckled inside the women’s apparel store. Managers from Chico’s were assessing the damage Monday afternoon as the store was closed for business.

Fairfield resident Barbara Beever went to Westport Center Monday to purchase a birthday present. Beever peeked her head over the caution tape into Chico’s back entrance to see if they were open, but was unable to purchase the gift card she intended to buy.

“I’ll probably go to the Fairfield store,” Beever said.

Beever wanted to buy some goodies from  and send them, with the gift card, overnight as a surprise.

“But it doesn’t look like I can do that,” she said. “A little inconvenience doesn’t hurt anyone. It’s a beautiful day, life goes on.”

Beever felt bad and showed sympathy for the retailers.

“It’s worse for them. It’s a mess,” Beever said.

was in a similar situation; closed and assessing the flood damage. Dozens of boxes of inventory, some saturated, sat outside as Clean Sweep Restorations, of Wallingford, conducted a “drying process” on the home furnishings store. Workers utilized an industrial size portable dehumidifier to dry Pottery Barn.

Bill Boughton, a worker for the restoration company, said the store’s damage was “not too bad.”

Westport Fire Marshal Ed Zygmont, who helped Boughton figure out some of Main Street’s underground piping, was assessing the flood damage store by store. He indicated some stores still had water in their basements and crawl spaces.

“As long as their electrical system is not underwater, their power can go on,” Zygmont said.

He explained that the power for the tenants runs under ground.

“Electrical currents and salt water do not mix,” Zygmont said.

Power was not the issue, though. Members of the Westport Fire Department and private contractors worked through Sunday night into Monday pumping water out of the stores.

“Last night all you could hear down here was pumps running water,” Zygmont said.

Few stores on Main Street were in the dark Monday, but quite a few had caution tape in front of their doors and a “closed” sign on the window.

Other Main Street stores that were closed Monday include , , Theory, lululemon athletica, , and  


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