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Greenwich Caterers Change Gears in Recession

Christine Salazar still remembers holiday seasons filled with elaborate dinners and holiday parties. But with the continuing downturn in the economy, Greenwich residents are changing the way they party.

"About 90 percent of the parties we cater are small cocktail parties," said Salazar, who co-owns Happiness Is ... Fine Foods and Catering with her brother, Tom Tegtmeier. "Gone are the days of big elaborate dinner parties. People are cutting back, but they are still looking for help."[breakhere]

Salazar opened her catering business in Armonk, N.Y., when she was 20. She moved to the small and cozy space in the Banksville section of Greenwich just off North Street 12 years ago. "We created a Tuesday Dinner Club where we email a specific menu to clients, and it's a meal they don't have to think about during the week," she said.

As food prices skyrocketed in the past year, Salazar said she has made an effort to keep her dinner and catering prices moderately low with entrees ranging from $12 to $24.

Frank Carpenteri Jr. , manager of Garden Catering in Old Greenwich, said he has seen a steady growth in his catering business. "We have seen the size and volume change in orders, but we are up 10 percent in profits from last year," he said.

Carpenteri said most of his business is done during the week, delivering to businesses. "Everyone is looking to cut back," he said. "Businesses are now brining lunch in for their employees instead having people take an hour lunch and pay for big meals."

Let's chat: Have you shrunk your holiday parties? How have you cut back? Leave a comment below of send me an email at acorbett@mainstreetconnect.us .

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