Therese Saint Clair’s Web Log

January 24, 2009

Greenwich Town Planning

George Schiele, a long-time Greenwich resident and former member of the RTM, recently suggested that residents take a more active role in determining the future of Greenwich.  In an article featured in the Greenwich Times last Friday, Mr. Schiele argues that Greenwich town planning resources are overwhelmed by many commercial projects “with deep pockets, legions of well paid ‘experts’ to testify and the best-connected legal counsel.”

While Greenwich home taxes outweigh “commercial Greenwich” by a margin of 6 to 1, Mr. Schiele poses the obvious question:  Shouldn’t Greenwich residents be given more of a voice on the future of  town development?  Clearly they should, but will they?

Mr. Schiele seem less concerned with the outcome of future town development as long as there is reasonable debate within the community.  In effect, he is asking that residents have a voice in determining the town’s future.  As a long time  resident and also a member of  “commercial Greenwich,” I sympathize with Mr. Schiele and am hopeful that residents will take a far greater interest in “commercial” decisions which threaten to irreversibly change our community.

For those who equate “change” with “progress,” I look back over the past 17 years and can’t help but feel that “commercial Greenwich” seems less relevant to the community as a whole.  As a family-owned business, we find this disappointing since the implicit connection with the community tended to be more personal than commercial.   Indeed, the gradual loss of that personal connection with the community  has largely turned commercial  Greenwich into little more than an outdoor mall.

Whether this is in the best long term interests of the community is a matter of debate.  It is a discussion worth having and I applaud Mr. Schiele for suggesting it.

Sheila P. May


December 15, 2008

Greenwich Parking Debate Provides Needed Comic Relief

In the midst of one of the worst economic recessions in recent memory, it is reassuring to see Greenwich leaders tackling a most serious town problem: Parking. Thanks to the fine tongue-in-cheek coverage by the Greenwich Times, we have been witness to some of the most bizarre pronouncements and misguided assumptions that I can recall from town officials.

We were first treated to a simply priceless article on the two new $12,000 kiosks that will dispense prepaid parking cards for use in the town’s recently upgraded parking meters. Some feel that the prepaid card is a convenient option to feeding the meter with quarters. While employees and residents who live and work close to the town center may find these cards convenient, I can’t believe that shoppers will opt to carry another piece of plastic of dubious intrinsic value.

Since these prepaid cards are only available at Town Hall and the two kiosks, Mr. Allen Corry, the town’s parking services director suggests that the best way to distribute them is through “merchants and newsstands.” He goes on to recommend that town merchants might wish to add their logo and give away the cards as a perk to loyal customers. As John McEnroe would say, “You can’t be serious!” While I am quite happy to reward loyal customers with “perks,” distributing prepaid parking cards, phone cards or lotto tickets is not a business I plan to do anytime soon.

In order to increase town revenue and reduce the burden on his staff, Mr. Corry recommended tacking on a $10 processing fee to contest a parking ticket. Fortunately, Selectman Lin Lavery saw through this preposterous idea. Selectman Peter Crumbine was not totally convinced and seems to be arguing for even greater increases in parking fees than those proposed by Mr. Corry. While many residents are not opposed to higher parking fees, we would like to think that the increased revenue is going to improve our parking infrastructure rather than to hire additional parking enforcement officers and more expensive parking meters.

As a contrarian, I would like to propose that twice a week during a two-hour window, town residents be allowed to park for free in downtown Greenwich. During that period, free parking would be allowed for any vehicle bearing a Resident Vehicle sticker. After all, isn’t the real objective to encourage residents to avail themselves of the town’s resources rather than drive them away with punitive parking tickets.   Unlike Mr. Crumbine, I believe that parking is more about common sense than dollars and cents.

Sheila May
Owner of Therese Saint Clair

November 16, 2008

Julie Holcomb Letterpress Invitations

We are pleased to announce that Thérèse Saint Clair has added Julie Holcomb’s exquisite line of letterpress invitations to its growing line of fine papers from the leading designers in the United States and Europe.  We are thrilled with her classical letterpress designs printed on 100% cotton paper stock.  Julie Holcomb is one of the most sought after designers for letterpress wedding invitations.  We think our clients will be thrilled when they see her new giclé printing process which allows custom images and artwork to be reproduced on the back of her invitations.  Saint Clair is one of 50 stationers in the United States that will carry her giclé letterpress album.

August 23, 2008

Crown Theatre discovers “art” films

I chuckled to learn that the management of Crown Theatre on Railroad Avenue in Greenwich had recently discovered that town residents actually enjoyed “art” films.  In fact, Crown Theatre announced that they would immediately begin to show foreign films and art films to this previously “neglected” market segment.   Having already lost their target audience to an over-digitized movie complex in Port Chester, it was not unexpected that Crown’s management believes that art, culture and mind-provoking films have a place in Greenwich.    Where were they four or five years ago?


Fortunately, Greenwich residents and people from all over south Fairfield County have not had to wait for Crown’s cultural epiphany.  Thanks to the inspired leadership of Deborah and Chuck Royce and the generous contributions of time and money by many residents, we have the Avon Theatre Film Center in Stamford.  This historic theatre re-opened its doors in February, 2004 and has been showing an eclectic selection of great films to increasingly appreciative audiences of all ages.    The Avon Theater is a not-for-profit organization and an inspiration to all of us who truly care about fostering the arts within our community.   Having watched many films at the Avon and shared in the laughter at “with-it” audiences who often applaud the film credits, I can certainly say that my family will “walk the extra mile” to support the Avon Theater. 

August 7, 2008

Issues to consider when buying digital photo cards

For several years, we have followed  the evolution of digital holiday card printing.  While initial photo reproductions were of poor quality and template designs rather pedestrian, new printer technology has progressed to the point where digital photo images reproduced by inkjet printers on quality paper are now approaching works of art.  These improvements in printer technology are clearly changing the industry and firms – both large and small – are rapidly scrambling to carve out their market niche.

Cost Comparisons
Clearly, the major advantage of digital printing is the fact that you can imprint your family photo directly on the holiday card.  This saves you the time of applying photos to the adhesive strips on the photo card or inserting the photos into tight slots.   With quality 4″x 6″ prints readily available at less than $0.20, it is difficult to construct a case that digital printing is less expensive than conventional photographs.  Sure, there are a number of commercial printers who promote (pardon the expression) “quality” holiday photo cards at bargain prices.  Unfortunately, the final product usually resembles a promotional flier that often ends up in a wastepaper basket.   Applying consistent standards of paper weight, paper quality and equivalent printing and design standards, we can find no significant price advantage for digital imprinting over conventional photo cards.

Image Resolution
Found below are two holiday photo card samples using a different printing process.  The top image (Green “Christmas 2008”) is a Crane digital photo card.  The second image (Red “Christmas 2008″) is from William Arthur with a 4″x 6” photograph applied to the photo card using pre-mounted adhesive tape.
Crane Digital Photo Card

Crane Digital Photo Card


William Arthur 2008 Photo Card

Both images were scanned at a resolution of 300 dpi and then converted into gif images for the web.  While both images are considerably sharper to the naked eye, the different printing process highlights several important differences.   First, digital photo cards tend to have more of a matte finish and appear softer, even pastel-like.  Second, glossy photographs rich in color tend to work best with bold colored borders.  Third, there is no way to digitally reproduce the stunning engraved or letterpress borders that frame your photograph using classical photo cards.  Finally, as with any digital printing process, you generally have  more flexibility in determining the layout of your photo card and customization of your holiday greeting.  Found below is an example of a very creative design from William Arthur’s 2008 holiday photo album.

William Arthur Digital Photo Card

William Arthur Digital Photo Card

Both printing methods have their own merits and have greatly expanded the customization options available to the public.  It is interesting to see that two of the industry leaders for fine holiday cards have set their sights on digital printing.  We are pleased to see that they have taken the “high road” and not compromised on paper quality and printing processes.   While this article has focused on products of two leading companies, we would be remiss to point out that other companies such as Luscious Verde, Caspari, Wiley Valentine, Prentiss Douthit and several others are designing classic and digital photo cards of great beauty.

June 26, 2008

Is the Greenwich Sidewalk Sale Necessary?

Filed under: Greenwich — tscgreenwich @ 5:15 pm
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Every year in mid-July downtown Greenwich is overrun with people searching for bargains from the many stores that participate in the Sidewalk Sale. Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, the annual sale has sparked debate among participating merchants and town residents over its relevance. To encourage greater participation by town merchants, the theme of this year’s sidewalk sale will be “Outside & In”. Presumably, stores whose wares are not easily merchandised on the sidewalk will be encouraged to participate indoors.

Therese Saint Clair has participated in the Sidewalk Sale for many years and we plan to do so again this year. The only reason for our participation is to show solidarity with other members of the Chamber of Commerce who support this event. While some merchants may benefit from the sale, we have consistently found that the expense of participating far outweighs any financial benefit. More importantly, it discourages town residents from shopping downtown because of the congestion.  

As residents of Greenwich, we question whether it is worthwhile to support a Chamber activity where the participation of town merchants is low and which simultaneously alienates the community our business serves.  We believe that the annual Sidewalk Sale has outlived its usefulness.

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