In the spirit of finding bright light during this dark time, we would like to introduce “Westport Whisperers,” a NEW initiative focused on featuring amazing humans in our community who are doing something special for our community or the world around them behind the scenes. We would love YOU as our community to help NOMINATE these people simply by emailing us anytime at [email protected] to let us know who you think is a Westport Whisperer, and why they should be featured! This month we would like to feature BRENO DONATTI, owner of WINFIELD STREET COFFEE in Westport. In addition to running an amazing coffee shop and cafe, Breno has been donating a meal to a family in need for every $20 spent at Winfield throughout the pandemic. Thank you Breno for all you do for Westport; we know It has been a hard time! You can read a bit about him below, feel free to order online or stop by to support his business – and amazing initiative- and watch a short video about Winfield and all they offer HERE!
ABOUT ME: My name is Breno and I am beyond blessed to lead a team of 20 at 3 locations of Winfield Street Coffee. I started this business back in 2015 two weeks after my first son was born and I haven’t looked back. As a first generation immigrant, my college education at UCONN was paid through scholarships and through me working full time during school. I have two boys (5 and 2) and I am married to one badass super momma, Jeanette Vecchione-Donatti, who is a childhood basketball star turned opera singer!!
WHAT HAVE I DONE DURING THE PANDEMIC? Since I started this business back in 2015, I funded and bootstrapped everything on my own, so I am used to pivoting and making quick decisions. When I noticed our sales plunge on the week of March 9th, couple with the fact that may father-in-law passed away that same week, I quickly decided to close our doors, help our staff get on unemployment, and take some time to reassess the situation. That proved to be essential since the unemployment lines became super crowded after that week. We paused the business for 2.5 months, which allowed us to plan for the upcoming months, find additional financing to help our staff, and reevaluate our mission as a business. When we reopened, we knew it could not be business as usual… we needed to be in the front lines fighting for the community and really provide value to the cities we call home (Stamford, Westport, Croton). We decided that we would pledge to donate one meal for a person in need for every check of $20 or more. By the end of 2020, we were able to donate almost 6,000 meals to Inspirica Housing and Pacific House. It was very touching because customers donated their money and time – many of them came to our store on Sunday mornings help pack the meals and write uplifting messages on the food boxes. My team also assembled a toy drive for Christmas and we were overwhelmed with donations… half of our large dining room in Stamford was packed with toys. The worst part of this pandemic is the economic and emotional fallouts, and unfortunately, those are the parts of this pandemic that are the least talked about. We partnered with many fitness instructors in the are to give free fitness (muay thai, zumba, dance, HIIT, etc) outside our Stamford store where we share a large plaza with the Ferguson Library. We wanted to everything we could to help lift people up… whether it is with a fresh meal or some exercise. The result is that our staff is much more realized and grateful and the community has embraced and supported us.
IS THERE ANYTHING THAT WE – AS THE WESTPORT COMMUNITY – CAN DO YOU FOR OR WINFIELD TO HELP DURING THIS TIME? We are so grateful to be part of the Westport community and the best ways that someone can show support for our business is telling a friend or family member to come by, ordering online, ordering for catering, leaving a review online, buying one of our coffee bags, tee shirts, mugs or gift cards and giving it to someone. Stop by for a coffee and say hello, let us know how we can better serve you… we would love to be part of your routine, whether it is a weekend breakfast stop, or the every day after lunch espresso.