NORWALK, CONN. — In the midst of a winter snowstorm on Saturday December 14, the Fairfield Co. Antique & Design Center swung its doors open for a weekend-long gala grand opening celebration. The brainchild of Geoffrey Walsky, this center is swank and sophisticated — and in a prime retail zone situated just over the Westport town line and just off the Post Road.
“We started conceptualizing the antiques center a couple of years ago and visited a lot of group shops in New York and in West Palm Beach. We incorporated all of the best attributes that we saw in the centers and it has snowballed from there,” said Walsky. “It came out even better than we had hoped for; we are really excited.”
Walsky, whose background is in retail and managing museum shops, including the Intrepid and the Woodstock Museum Store, began collecting antiques a decade ago and soon found that he and his wife possessed more items than they could display. “We took a space at a group shop in Stamford and discovered that most of our business came from other dealers and New York City collectors. At that point we realized that we were viable in the marketplace.” After Hurricane Sandy temporarily shut down the Intrepid’s museum store and another of his retail outlets in 2012, Walsky realized that the time was right for him to make a move.
“I called a real estate broker and told him what I was looking for and decided at that point that 2013 was going to be the year we opened. He found us a great spot and here we are. Geographically, it makes great sense,” he said, as it is the only group shop in town. “We are located in the middle of Stamford and Bridgeport. I think we got in at a real good time.”
While the snow kept a lot of shoppers away this past Saturday, there was still a good crowd of serious shoppers on hand and good sales were recorded throughout the day. With clear skies on Sunday, Walsky commented that a lively crowd steadily made their way through the doors and that things were “rocking” again on Monday morning.
With 63 booths currently filled and 25 showcases and a consignment area, Fairfield Co. Antique & Design Center also features an art gallery, a room that can be used for private events and a space for auctions. E-commerce will also play a major role in sales at the center.
The art gallery is currently set up with the Modernist art of Manhattan artist Amy Storey, whose large-scale works were catching the eye of shoppers. “This is a concept we thought would work well and the room can be rented out for private functions, trunk shows, parties and rehearsal dinners,” said Walsky. “There will be new shows mounted every six weeks and all of the works will be for sale.”
Another major attraction will be Walsky’s coupling with Westport Auction’s Travis Worrell with the center conducting weekly Wednesday night table auctions. Those sales will begin January 8.
According to Walsky, there are a handful of spaces still available.
The Fairfield Co. Antique & Design Center is at 19 Willard Road and is open seven days a week, Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm.
For additional information, www.fairfieldantiqueanddesign.com or 203-952-9136.