Palmer’s traces its roots back to the early 1900s as a family-owned Butcher Shop in Stamford. Now, the 4th and 5th generation of Palmer’s are running the business and their vision has transformed a simple market into a one stop shopping destination including Groceries from The Market, restaurant-quality prepared foods, fabulous Flowers, award-winning scratch Bakery, Gift Baskets, Catering and exclusive guided Tours to destinations around the world.
We’re located directly across from Noroton Heights Train Station at 264 Heights Road in Darien.
After high school, Greg attended Southern New Hampshire University, where he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in business. Upon graduating, he returned home to the family business. He was able to learn the business from bottom up by working in every department of the store. In just a few short months, he was offered the Produce Manager position at the Wilton location. After moving to the Darien location, he became Assistant Manager and soon after promoted to Store Manager.
In addition to overseeing the daily operations of Palmer’s Market, he is President of the Noroton Heights Shopping Center. With strong town roots and a keen business sense, Greg is passionate about volunteering within the community. Some associations include The Community Fund of Darien and The Darien Chamber of Commerce, where he was recognized as ‘Volunteer Of The Year’. Presently, Greg sits on The Darien Old Timers Athletic Association and Spring Grove Cemetery boards.
After graduating college, she ventured out into the corporate world but quickly realized that it was not a career path she wanted to pursue. She returned to the family business with a head full of ideas. Soon after she joined the team, blossomed Palmer’s Flower Shop which in turn led to the opening of Palmer’s Gift Shop. From there, Cindy, who has always been a big cook, thought the deli department could offer a lot more than just cold cuts. At that time, prepared foods didn’t even exist in supermarkets! She started making pasta and potato salads at home and selling them out of the deli case. The salads sold so well that Palmer’s put in a small kitchen and hired their very first chef.
In addition to running the store, Cindy oversees the purchasing, marketing and merchandising for Palmer’s. Cindy has redesigned every department in the store creating a beautiful shopping environment for customers of Palmer’s. Cindy’s latest ventures include the Gift Basket and Travel/Tour business.
Megan grew up working alongside her mother and grandfather at Palmer’s Market and always dreamed of becoming a chef. After high school, Megan attended The Culinary Institute of America, where she received her Culinary Arts Degree. She went on to study at the CIA’s St. Helena Campus, where she graduated as Class Valedictorian, adding a Baking and Pastry Arts Degree to her resume.
She always knew she wanted to carry on the legacy, so she moved back to Connecticut and opened Palmer’s Bakery in 2007. She designed every aspect including the granite countertops, custom woodwork and crystal chandeliers. In 2011, Megan took over as Executive Chef, overseeing the production kitchen at the market and, the following year, launched Palmer’s Catering & Events. The growth of the catering business has forced an expansion to the kitchen in order to accommodate the new staff and equipment. When Megan is not at work, she can be found spending time with her daughter and her husband Will.
My father Rocco Palmer started what is now Palmer’s Supermarket in the old Noroton Heights Center in 1921. The store was located in the Fitelson building, opposite the park, just off Noroton Avenue. I took over the business in 1937. We had developed it from a meat market into a grocery store that was about thirty feet wide and maybe sixty feet long. Our home was located down the street on Noroton Avenue next to the Dolan building that held a dry cleaning store and a shoemaker shop. Alongside this was a rocky lane that led to the Piedmont Hall… which was a major source of culture… especially in the Depression years.
During the Great Depression, people barely existed. The grocery business was so different then. Everything was bought in bulk and the weighing and packaging was done for each customer. We did anything to save a penny, and there weren’t many to be found. The Heights was full of men just hanging around or moving through looking for work. My wife, Olga, often gave out some of our food at home to beggars who we could not help feeling sorry for, no matter how hard we were fighting to exist.
In those times, we never spent money on entertainment. A lot of our activities were centered around the Heights Firehouse on Hecker Avenue. We held all of our meetings there and also the fundraisers, card parties, spaghetti dinners, dances, and of course, the annual carnival. During World War Two, the grocery business really changed. I’ll never forget those darned red and blue ration stamps. Some grocery items were rationed and others had price controls. We had to weigh out all the sugar, coffee and butter in small size batches so everyone would get some. We often did it at night in the back room to avoid being pressured by someone for more than his share. After the war, the Heights merchants knew that we had to work together if we wanted to keep the Heights on the map. We formed the Noroton Heights Business Association and started all kinds of local promotions. It wasn’t long before we began to hear rumors from Hartford about the plans for a super highway. We couldn’t believe that it was planned to completely wipe out the Heights Center. Bill Stoler came to me with the idea of using his property on Linden Avenue to build some new stores where we could expand to meet the needs of all the new people who were moving into Darien. We convinced Union Trust Bank to fund our new building and to join the Stoler’s Variety Store with Palmer’s on Linden Avenue in about 1950.” “We were only in our new store on Linden Avenue for six years before the highway was finally cleared for bonding. With little time left, we were forced to purchase the present location on Heights Road, which was owned by the Calve family and used as a construction area with an existing small building. When we first opened our new store in about 1956-57 we were located where Stoler’s is now (where Darien Fabricare and Barrett Bookstore are today). After just six years, we leased the property on the east side of the shopping center, where we are now and built the present structure. I was very fortunate that my boys Rocco, Joe, and Al decided to continue in business with me, making it much easier to keep up with changes in the community. We are now proud that the next generation is taking hold and maybe Palmer’s will make it to their one hundredth year, who knows?”
—JOSEPH R. PALMER (1902-1994)