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Boaters Get Summer Fix at the Dock Shop

Signs of spring may be creeping into the air, but summer is still too far off to think about. But if you must have your dose of warm thoughts, The Dock Shop Nautical Boutique might be your next stop.

“This is a place for people to feel summer,” owner Toni Sabia says as she arranges a newly arrived shipment of fishing rods. “If you’ve had it with winter, come down and feel warm.”

Her East Norwalk store is hard to categorize, except that everything for sale has some nautical connection. Besides fishing equipment, it carries clothing, jewelry, books, paintings, home decorations, clocks and other types of boating accessories. “We’re always changing our inventory, depending on the season,” says Sabia. “So you’ll never see the same thing twice.”

Sabia and her partner, Michael LaScala, started the venture in 2008 as part of the ship’s store they operate at the Oysterbend Marina. “It went really well, but it was too small,” says Sabia. “We found this place and fell in love with it.” The official opening was November.

“We wondered about starting a new store in a tight economy, but the turnout was fantastic,” she says, and business has stayed strong even during the toughest winter months. Now that the boating season is within sight, she expects things to get even busier.

“People come here sometimes just to talk, and we love that,” she says. “It’s a gathering place for anyone who loves the New England coast.” With the opening of local marinas almost two months away, The Dock Shop Nautical Boutique might be the only place in town to get a sufficient nautical fix to hold you until then.

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