Westport News

Frances Moore
Managing Editor
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'knoyzz' Has Westporters Talking
by Frances Moore
fmoore@bcnnew.com

While sipping a massive latte in a local cafe, probably his second or third of the morning, Richard Moskowitz is approached by a handful of people who tell him how much they enjoy his new clothing store, called, appropriately, knoyzz (pronounced "noise").
"Everybody loves your store," one woman tells him.
Moskowitz laughs and says, "I promise we didn't plant them. But stuff like that, that's what we're all about."
What Moskowitz, chief knoyzz maker, is referring to is the personal connection he hopes to make with Westporters while selling his wares. knoyzz, is located just off Main Street on Post Road in Westport. Moskowitz, who bills himself as "the straight guy with the queer eye," primarily sells contemporary clothing, but also includes purses, accessories and even greeting cards.
Though Moskowitz owns two other knoyzz stores, one in Rye Brook, N.Y., and one in Mt. Kisco, N.Y., he does not consider his store to be a chain, in the traditional sense. "There's no face in dealing with a corporate entity. What we bring with our business is that sense of service with a smile. We care about who you are," he said.
And though the store carries True Religion, Hudson and Antique brand jeans, Moskowitz said that it's not about the brands. He is proud of the accessibility of the merchandise what he calls "no-tier shopping."
"You can come in and get a pair of $300 jeans, you can come in and get $60 jeans. It's a place moms can shop and it's a place their kids can shop. The quality and style that we bring allows you to have the right item at the right price."
On any given hour of any given day, the store is filled with an energy that could be attributed to the patrons, or to the lively music pumping through the sound system, but more likely, the high energy comes from Moskowitz and his employees.
Leslie D. Marantz, managing knoyzz maker, is Moskowitz's right-hand woman. She had worked other places in Westport but said, "I feel very much at home now."
"We've brought a store that provides an excellent, compelling environment," said Moskowitz. Marantz quickly added, "I can't even force my employees to take a day off!"
But what Moskowitz has planned for the future reaches beyond the boundaries of his own store. Along with other local merchants in that area of Post Road, he hopes to create a shopping district that will bring more people back to downtown Westport. The group has called itself SOWE (similar to SOHO in New York City and SONO in Norwalk).
"We're hip, independent retailers providing a place to hang, walk, eat, window shop," said Moskowitz. "It could be a great place for adults and kids to walk at night. We want to bring that community here, and SOWE will bring that to this town."
In the meantime, Moskowitz and Marantz take pride in the energy knoyzz is already bringing to the area.
"People take u-turns in the middle of the street to come and see us," said Marantz.
Moskowitz finished Marantz's thought by adding, "If competition is healthy, we will all succeed. I'm a big believer in the sense of community. At the end of the day, we help businesses by bringing a lot of traffic."