New website creates online marketplace for Fairfield County shops

Olivia Ghee, of Fairfield, and Greg Gatto, of Ridgefield launched Fairfield County Shops in Novemeber of 2021 as a way to encourage people to shop local.

Olivia Ghee, of Fairfield, and Greg Gatto, of Ridgefield launched Fairfield County Shops in Novemeber of 2021 as a way to encourage people to shop local.

Contributed photo /

Buying natural soap from Organachs in Westport, a necklace from Wave on Elm in New Canaan and a jacket from Indigo Jane Boutique in Newtown used to mean a lot of driving or several online transactions.

But a couple is looking to change that with the launch of fairfieldcountyshops.com, a new website that serves as an online marketplace for shops throughout Fairfield County. Through the website, items from all of these local stores can be put in one online basket and paid for in a single transaction, much like national online sites, such as Amazon.

“We wanted to create an experience that was just as simple and just as easy, but people could find the high-end products in their own community,” said co-founder Greg Gatto, a Ridgefield resident and a senior at Yale University.

He said this approach will encourage people to shop local. He said research shows that often times people were opting for the large online sites out of convenience and the amount of product choice.

He and partner Olivia Ghee, a Fairfield resident and a recent Fordham Univeristy grad, said they’re reaching out to a wide collection of shops to also give their customers that product selection.

They said the ultimate goal of the site will be for people to start their shopping experience, including online, locally.

Gatto said they got the idea in September because his mother was saying she felt guilty buying from sites like Amazon when she wanted to support local businesses. He said they decided to look at why it was so much easier to shop on these sites and set out to create a similar model for only local items, officially launching just after Thanksgiving.

The site is sorted by category or shop and includes gift giving guides.

Right now, they’re focusing on clothing, accessories and home goods, they said, but there is potential to expand.

So far, 27 stores from Westport, New Canaan, Greenwich, Wilton, Darien, Newtown, Fairfield and Ridgefield have signed on with more businesses in talks to join after the holiday rush dies down a bit, they said.

The store can decide how much of their merchandise they want to sell online through Fairfield County Shops, though Ghee said most have selected to have their entire online inventory available.

The website is also connected to the stores’ sites so new products are added in both places when they’re posted online.

“It’s always live and up to date,” Gatto said.

The stores continue to send out the purchases like they would through their own sites. There’s also an in-store pickup option.

There’s no fee for the business to join. Instead Fairfield County Stores gets 5 percent of the sale.

“We want it to be a no-risk opportunity for them to join,” he said.

The site focuses on Fairfield County shops because they said those boutiques are an important part of the county’s character and one of the things that makes it unique.

“We’re both from Fairfield County,” Gatto said. “We wanted to support where we’re from and support the community.”

Ghee said she grew up visiting shops in Fairfield, something she still loves doing, and began wondering about those similar experiences in other towns. She hopes this website will introduce people to other great, local spots and said one of the most common comments to their Facebook posts about their participating businesses is that people had no idea it was just 15 minutes from their houses.

“There are so many awesome shops in Fairfield County but there wasn’t really a way to know about it unless they lived in town or heard about it from a friend,” Gatto said.

The couple began looking for potential businesses through local chambers of commerce, searching blogs and reaching out on Facebook.

“We’ve done a lot of pounding the pavement and hit the towns,” Gatto said, adding this has let them find some “cool gems” that are off the beaten path a bit and not downtown.

Ghee said going in person has been key in helping businesses understand the concept and sign on.

“It’s a lot about getting in front of the right people,” she said.

Customers and potential businesses can find out more on the website, Instagram and Facebook, all under the name Fairfield County Shops.