Over the last two years, one thing I’ve come to appreciate, even more than I already had, is local businesses. Local businesses, most owned and operated by community members themselves, are staples within a town.
In my hometown of Stratford, many of our local businesses give so much back to the community and schools, have been around for so many years, and create so many positive feelings amongst those of us who frequent them. It’s the least we can do to support these businesses, many of which helped us through the worst days of the pandemic.
The #doyourthingCT campaign is a partnership with the Office of Governor Ned Lamont and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development to highlight favorite local businesses and offer continued support!
Here are some of my favorites in Stratford.
Mellow Monkey – Located at 350 Sniffens Lane, this is the go-to spot for gifts and home décor. If you are looking for something unique, fun, and representative of coastal living, the Mellow Monkey is the place. The owner, Howard, is amazing and takes such good care of customers. Throughout the worst days of the pandemic, they offered curbside pick up complete with a little “thank you” gift. I could spend so long browsing around the recently expanded showroom, and I always leave looking forward to the next time I will return!
Zack’s Frozen Yogurt – After shopping at the Mellow Monkey, head across the way a bit to 60 Access Road to Zack’s for some frozen yogurt! Step inside, and you immediately feel like you’ve been transported back to the ’90s. My kids and I love stopping here on our way home from the beach in the summer. The staff is friendly, and the froyo is always delicious! Order the pistachio! You won’t be disappointed.
Lordship Corner Market – For those unfamiliar with the town of Stratford, Lordship is a little “town within a town” down by the water. On 348 Stratford Road, the Lordship Corner Market is owned by Stratford natives and is the cutest little store. Not only do they have grocery items, but I’d also argue their bacon, egg, and cheese is the best in town! You can stop in there for pastries, breakfast or lunch, or delicious ice cream and head down to the seawall to eat.
Open Door Tea – At 3552 Main Street, this tea room is one of my favorite places to meet friends for lunch. They have an incredible variety of teas to drink in the adorable space or to take home. They also serve delicious food and offer vegetarian options daily. I’m a big fan of the twice-baked sweet potatoes and their fresh-made dessert bars! Open Door Tea offers classes and tastings, which they continued to provide virtually, they make cute gift baskets, and it is the perfect spot to bring kids for a fancy tea party!
Paradise Pizza – This pizza place is a Stratford staple. At 3610 Main Street, in the heart of Paradise Green, everyone in town knows the spot. They serve up Greek-style pizza and dinners in their dining room, offer plenty of take-out options, and were our go-to for family meals during dine-in closures last year. Paradise Pizza is one of our favorite places to go as a family, but they also have a bar with specialty pizzas. If you can’t decide what to order, I’m a fan of their cheeseburger pizza, and my husband says the Spartan is the best!
Paradice Cream – Located right next to Paradise Pizza, Paradice Cream at 3600 Main Street is where we always head for dessert! Paradice Cream is known for their “Ice Cream for Breakfast” on the last day of school in Stratford, their delicious ice cream cakes, and their rivaling town high school-themed sundaes! There is something for everyone here, and as big-time townies, we love how much the menu represents Stratford.
Connecticut Dance Conservatory – There is no way I’d be able to write about my favorite Stratford spots without highlighting Connecticut Dance Conservatory (279 Ferry Boulevard). Owned and operated by one of my high school classmates, Dina Castelluccio, and another Stratford native, Karen Nerkowski, CDC is more than just a dance studio. It is a community filled with love. My daughter has attended classes for five years now and has learned the value of teamwork, dedication, and giving back to the community. When the studio had to close due to COVID, they did not miss a beat. Classes were held virtually, and the recital, theme weeks were implemented, and the amazing staff went out of their way to ensure the students were given a little piece of normalcy each week. In addition, CDC opened its doors during hybrid learning to students for tutoring and help with online classes. In my opinion, the creativity, growth, and acceptance that happens inside Connecticut Dance Conservatory cannot be replicated!
Nothing says more about a business than how they help bring a community together, especially during challenging times. What I love about each of these local businesses is their commitment to Stratford and how much they give back to the town and want to see the town grow and improve.
To celebrate, we are giving away a $20 gift card to each of the featured Stratford businesses; Mellow Monkey, Zack’s Frozen Yogurt, Lordship Corner Market, Open Door Tea, and Paradise Pizza. One lucky winner will be selected on Friday, October 22, 2021. To enter to win, please click HERE!
A joint effort between the Office of Governor Lamont and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Do Your Thing CT! takes a distinct approach by partnering with local influencers who create their own content promoting their favorite spots and activate their social networks encouraging residents to support local businesses.