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Born and Thread

The Mitchells are all about service



Walk through the doors of Mitchells in Westport and you will find sumptuous Italian leather, elegant couture, and fine jewelry. But what isn’t as obvious to the eye is something as rare and precious as the luxury goods on display—a large family harmoniously running a successful business.

Approximately 90 percent of family businesses run by third-generation family members fail in the United States. The Mitchell family has managed not only to buck the trend, but even to recently expand the high-end clothing enterprise on the West Coast. “I’m tickled pink,” says chairman, and Wilton resident, Jack Mitchell, whose book Hug Your People has become a bible for customer service. Jack Mitchell’s father, Ed, opened the first store in 1958. He was an advertising and retail consultant in New York City, and at the end of one day stepped off the train and decided he was finished commuting. He and his wife Norma opened their first shop with three men’s suits hanging on plumbing racks and a coffee pot from home to make their customers feel welcome.

If there is an emblem that best represents the Mitchell family’s business philosophy, it is that coffee pot. “We genuinely care about people,” says vice chairman Bill Mitchell, Jack’s brother. Adds third-generation Andrew Mitchell-Namdar, VP of marketing and creative services, “My grandparents viewed this store as an extension of their home. We believe the store is about family so we’ve always made it a family-friendly store.” In fact, that coffee pot is now accompanied by a full-service espresso machine, soda fountain, candy, water bottles, and a children’s corner outfitted with books and toys.

In the corporate offices at the Mitchells in Westport is a veritable potpourri of Mitchells. In addition to Jack, his wife and general merchandise manager Linda, and Bill, you will find the aforementioned Andrew, and two of Jack’s other sons, co-presidents Russ and Bob.

The family also owns Richards in Greenwich, run by Bill’s son Chris. Marshs in Huntington, Long Island, is captained by Bill’s son Chris. And at the helm of the recently acquired Wilkes Bashford stores in San Francisco and Palo Alto is Bill’s son Tyler. So where are the daughters? The family wonders the same. All seven members of the third generation are men, and so far six of them are in the family clothing business. An unusual statistic that is not lost on Bill. “I’m proud as punch of these seven kids,” he says. “They each have a different responsibility, and the respect they have for each other is a marvel.”

No one in the family has a guaranteed ticket into the business. A Mitchell must work outside of the family business for a minimum of five years before being eligible, but even then there is no entitlement. There must be a need for the person’s skill set, and an actual job available.

All the 3G (third generation) members attribute the unusual accord in the family to clearly defined roles and communication. “The only thing that can kill us is not communicating,” says co-president Bob. “Super high-level communication prevents in-fighting.” It’s typical to run into several Mitchells among the clothing racks and jewelry cases. They consider their hands-on presence the hallmark of a store that knows its customers’ preferences. “It gives us an enormous competitive advantage, to see what’s popular and what’s working, and what’s not,” says Bill.

And that one-on-one attention goes beyond the business. “We sell clothes for a living but giving back to the community is in our DNA,” explains Bill. “If you are an integral part of the community, you will have a successful business.” The stores are often opened to groups for events and fundraisers, and the family members participate actively in their hometowns.

The question remains as to whether or not the transition from 3G to 4G will be as smooth as the hand off from brothers Jack and Bill to their sons. But Jack Mitchell has high hopes. “Roughly 80 percent of American businesses are family-owned or –based. I believe it’s the heart and soul of our country.”

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February 2017

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Cost: Free and open to the public.

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Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
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Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Front Desk
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Cost: Free

Where:
Westport Arts Center
51 riverside ave
Westport, CT  06880
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Sponsor: Westport Arts Center
Telephone: 203.222.7070
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Cost: Lunch range from $10.17, $15.17 or $20.17; dinner from $15.17 $25.17 or $35.17

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Cost: See Special Offers box on DestinationRidgefield.com

Where:
Participating Restaurants
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Sponsor: Ridgefied Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 203-438-5992
Contact Name: Jennifer Zinzi
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As We Are! is an exhibit held at the Westport Arts Center from Jan 27 to March 11 that offers personal yet anonymous messages centered around "I am more than___" that allow us to explore...

Cost: Free

Where:
Westport Arts Center
51 riverside ave
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Sponsor: Westport Arts Center
Telephone: 203.222.7070
Website »

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Cost: Lunch range from $10.17, $15.17 or $20.17; dinner from $15.17 $25.17 or $35.17

Where:
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Ridgefield Restaurant Week, February 20-26, 2017 Break up the winter doldrums with a great meal at a great price during Ridgefield Restaurant Week!  From February 20th through 26th,...

Cost: See Special Offers box on DestinationRidgefield.com

Where:
Participating Restaurants
Ridgefield, CT  06877


Sponsor: Ridgefied Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 203-438-5992
Contact Name: Jennifer Zinzi
Website »

More information

As We Are! is an exhibit held at the Westport Arts Center from Jan 27 to March 11 that offers personal yet anonymous messages centered around "I am more than___" that allow us to explore...

Cost: Free

Where:
Westport Arts Center
51 riverside ave
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Sponsor: Westport Arts Center
Telephone: 203.222.7070
Website »

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Cost: $59.50

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The Ridgefield Playhouse
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Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: 203-438-5795
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  Yes, two weeks of special multi-course menus and dining deals! This Winter over 20 Downtown Stamford restaurants are serving up special lunch & dinner prix fixe menus in several...

Cost: Lunch range from $10.17, $15.17 or $20.17; dinner from $15.17 $25.17 or $35.17

Where:
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Ridgefield Restaurant Week, February 20-26, 2017 Break up the winter doldrums with a great meal at a great price during Ridgefield Restaurant Week!  From February 20th through 26th,...

Cost: See Special Offers box on DestinationRidgefield.com

Where:
Participating Restaurants
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Sponsor: Ridgefied Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 203-438-5992
Contact Name: Jennifer Zinzi
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As We Are! is an exhibit held at the Westport Arts Center from Jan 27 to March 11 that offers personal yet anonymous messages centered around "I am more than___" that allow us to explore...

Cost: Free

Where:
Westport Arts Center
51 riverside ave
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Sponsor: Westport Arts Center
Telephone: 203.222.7070
Website »

More information

  Yes, two weeks of special multi-course menus and dining deals! This Winter over 20 Downtown Stamford restaurants are serving up special lunch & dinner prix fixe menus in several...

Cost: Lunch range from $10.17, $15.17 or $20.17; dinner from $15.17 $25.17 or $35.17

Where:
Stamford
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Website »

More information

Show More...
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Ridgefield Restaurant Week, February 20-26, 2017 Break up the winter doldrums with a great meal at a great price during Ridgefield Restaurant Week!  From February 20th through 26th,...

Cost: See Special Offers box on DestinationRidgefield.com

Where:
Participating Restaurants
Ridgefield, CT  06877


Sponsor: Ridgefied Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 203-438-5992
Contact Name: Jennifer Zinzi
Website »

More information

As We Are! is an exhibit held at the Westport Arts Center from Jan 27 to March 11 that offers personal yet anonymous messages centered around "I am more than___" that allow us to explore...

Cost: Free

Where:
Westport Arts Center
51 riverside ave
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Sponsor: Westport Arts Center
Telephone: 203.222.7070
Website »

More information

  Yes, two weeks of special multi-course menus and dining deals! This Winter over 20 Downtown Stamford restaurants are serving up special lunch & dinner prix fixe menus in several...

Cost: Lunch range from $10.17, $15.17 or $20.17; dinner from $15.17 $25.17 or $35.17

Where:
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Website »

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Thursday, Feb. 2, 9, 16 & 23 Winter Poetry with Judson Scruton: Emily Dickinson—Pushing The Envelope, 10:30 – noon. Judson Scruton leads this 4-part Winter Poetry Seminar Series...

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
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Sponsor: Wilton Library
Telephone: 203-762-3950
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Ridgefield Restaurant Week, February 20-26, 2017 Break up the winter doldrums with a great meal at a great price during Ridgefield Restaurant Week!  From February 20th through 26th,...

Cost: See Special Offers box on DestinationRidgefield.com

Where:
Participating Restaurants
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Sponsor: Ridgefied Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 203-438-5992
Contact Name: Jennifer Zinzi
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Where:
Weston Public Library
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Telephone: 203-222-2665
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Cost: Free

Where:
Westport Arts Center
51 riverside ave
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Sponsor: Westport Arts Center
Telephone: 203.222.7070
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Cost: $30-$55

Where:
Music Theatre of Connecticut
509 Westport Ave
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  Yes, two weeks of special multi-course menus and dining deals! This Winter over 20 Downtown Stamford restaurants are serving up special lunch & dinner prix fixe menus in several...

Cost: Lunch range from $10.17, $15.17 or $20.17; dinner from $15.17 $25.17 or $35.17

Where:
Stamford
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Website »

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Ridgefield Restaurant Week, February 20-26, 2017 Break up the winter doldrums with a great meal at a great price during Ridgefield Restaurant Week!  From February 20th through 26th,...

Cost: See Special Offers box on DestinationRidgefield.com

Where:
Participating Restaurants
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Sponsor: Ridgefied Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 203-438-5992
Contact Name: Jennifer Zinzi
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The Norwalk Historical Society is hosting the family program, “Quilt Stories”, in celebration of Black History Month. Families will learn about African American folk artist, Harriet...

Cost: $3.00

Where:
Norwalk Historical Society Museum
141 East Ave.
Norwalk, CT  06851
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Sponsor: Norwalk Historical Society
Telephone: 203-846-0525
Contact Name: Samantha Kulish
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As We Are! is an exhibit held at the Westport Arts Center from Jan 27 to March 11 that offers personal yet anonymous messages centered around "I am more than___" that allow us to explore...

Cost: Free

Where:
Westport Arts Center
51 riverside ave
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Sponsor: Westport Arts Center
Telephone: 203.222.7070
Website »

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If you have an alibi, please join us for a play reading, directed by Nancy Ponturo. The talented actors will be Nancy and Bob Ponturo, Heather and Frank Whaley, Julia Levo, Don Striano, Dorothy and...

Cost: These performances cost $40 per New Pond Farm member and $50 per Non-member

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101 Marchant Road
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Telephone: (203) 938-2117
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WHAT: "I'll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers," a play by John Logan. Meet Hollywood’s first female super-agent: Sue Mengers. Her clients were the biggest names in show...

Cost: $30-$55

Where:
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View map »


Website »

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  Yes, two weeks of special multi-course menus and dining deals! This Winter over 20 Downtown Stamford restaurants are serving up special lunch & dinner prix fixe menus in several...

Cost: Lunch range from $10.17, $15.17 or $20.17; dinner from $15.17 $25.17 or $35.17

Where:
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