Sabrina Style Wins First ‘Decoration Crawl’
Sabrina Style, a formalwear boutique in the heart of Sandy Hook Center, has been named the first winner of the Newtown Shop Small Decoration Crawl.
This program, co-created by Newtown Parks & Recreation and Newtown Economic & Community Development, challenged local businesses to create holiday- or winter-themed displays to be judged in a contest. Patrons of the stores used QR codes posted alongside the displays to vote, and could review the entries with an online interactive map.
The voting ran December 7-21, with over 500 ballots cast. The goal of the program was to promote local businesses and create a safe, fun program during the pandemic.
Sabrina Style’s display featured red and gold gowns situated in a window overlooking the sidewalks of Sandy Hook. The display was framed with lights, ornaments, garland, and snow-dusted pinecones.
Setting up eye-catching window displays is nothing new to owner Irene Caulfield. Since she opened her business at 4 Washington Avenue nearly 12 years ago, she has been receiving e-mails, calls, and comments letting her know just how head-turning her designs are.
“People tell me they hope the light turns red so they can look at the dresses longer,” she recounts, “and I see kids pushing their faces against the school bus windows.” With all the positive feedback, she explained, it was a no-brainer to enter the town-sponsored decoration contest.
The secret behind the success has to do with Caulfield herself, and her careful curation of products she offers.
“I like unique dresses, so I work with designers from around the country and around the world,” she says. Each item is carefully selected based on her expertise from years in the fashion industry.
And while it may be gowns that stop people on the street, the boutique has much more to offer. Sabrina Style sells accessories, hats, casual dresses, sweaters, bags, and one of the biggest holiday sellers, jewelry. “It’s not as well-known that I’m not just a formalwear store,” Caulfield explains.
Yet of course, Sabrina Style is most celebrated for its prom gowns and wedding apparel.
“We do a big mother-of-the-bride business, we do bridesmaids, and we do a small selection of carefully chosen, original wedding gowns,” Caulfield said, but prom dresses are the number one draw.
Since Newtown generally has a March prom, while New York holds proms in June, her busy season spans those months. Naturally, this has been complicated by COVID-19.
While it is still unclear if the area school districts will be holding socially-distanced or delayed proms in 2021, Caulfield wants everyone to know that her store is safe.
“We adhere to strict safety protocols,” she notes. “We highly encourage appointments, because it helps with safety and social distancing,” but walk-ins will be accepted. Before visiting the store, patrons should call 203-304-1902 to ensure someone will be there.
Caulfield has a message for everyone with the quarantine blues: the day will come when we swap out our sweatpants for dresses and pajamas for gowns. With the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, returning to the need for formalwear will return.
“We see a light at the end of the tunnel and we are gearing up with exciting new styles for when that day comes,” Caulfield noted.
The Shop Small Decoration Crawl also recognized BD Provisions with an honorable mention for its one-of-a-kind display: a miniature replica of Newtown, including many of its businesses. The town was touched by this show of support for the community, and wanted to lift up BD’s efforts.
Located within Highland Plaza at 123 South Main Street, BD Provisions is low-waste bulk dry goods store, where foods are sold by the pound in sustainable containers. Its selection ranges from pantry staples to soap to superfoods.
So how did this tribute to Newtown come about?
Owner John Boccuzzi, Jr and his father, John Boccuzzi, Sr, constructed the mini buildings together on Thanksgiving morning.
“My father’s been building Christmas villages for 15 Christmases,” Boccuzzi, Jr says. “With COVID, we thought it would be fun to display in our window. Kids have really enjoyed stopping by and picking out the businesses.”
Those buildings featured in the display include Butcher’s Best, St Rose Church, Sal e Pepe’s Bistro, Lucas Local, Farmhouse, Newtown Salt Spa, the Police Department, Ferris Acres Creamery, Aquila’s Nest Vineyard, Panificio Navona… and the winner of this year’s Shop Small Decoration Crawl, Sabrina Style.