Category Archives: Local business

Silver’s Bazaar: A Clever Idea Moves Forward

What’s up with Steve Silver’s plan to open a vendors’ bazaar in his former gift-and-luggage store Compo Acres space?


Steve is shooting for April 1 — no foolin’! — as the target date for his innovative venture. He’s already heard from 20 local vendors, but there’s room for more.

Steve Silver in his former gift-and-luggage store. Soon, the space behind him will be filled with artists and entrepreneurs.

Steve Silver in his former gift-and-luggage store. Soon, the space behind him will be filled with artists and entrepreneurs.

Artisans of all kinds — painters, jewelry makers, scarf designers, you name it — as well as entrepreneurs with ideas they’d like to test; people with a product to sell; mom-and-pops that need a smaller space…all are welcome.

“Whether you have 1 item or 100, this will be Westport’s small business refuge,” Steve says. “It’s got the power of an energetic group, uniting for a great cause. The possibilities are endless!”

Local artists or entrepreneurs interested in a space can contact

And — because this is truly a crowd-sourcing venture — even the name is up for grabs. “Silver’s Bazaar” is not set in stone. If you’ve got a better idea, email  

And Why Shouldn’t I Park Here? I Need Milk And Eggs!

In the nicest weather, Trader Joe’s is crowded. And the parking lot is a mess.

Today is not the nicest weather. We’re in the midst of our daily snowstorm, so naturally everyone headed out for milk and eggs. The parking lot was a real mess.

Alert “06880” reader Pam Ehrenburg has seen plenty of crowds at Trader Joe’s. She calls today’s “the busiest ever.”

Pam has also seen plenty of entitled parking in her years in Westport. But this sight left her, she says, “in awe.”

Trader Joes parking

“Parker smiled,” she reports. “But didn’t move.”

Yanni Delivers

On Christmas Eve in 2008, Westporter Tina Crosby had a small leak in her newly painted kitchen.

Within an hour, Yanni Papakosmas of Father & Son Plumbing in Wilton — I’m not sure if he’s the father or son — sent someone over. He solved the problem temporarily. The next day — Christmas — the job was done.

Over the years Tina hired him for other work, and referred him to friends. “He is honest, very knowledgeable, and does excellent work,” she says.

In the current freeze, plumbers have all the work they can handle. But today — his day off — Yanni showed up again, when Tina called.

It took only 10 minutes to fix the problem. Tina reached for her wallet.

“No charge!” Yanni said.

His business card reads: “Small enough to care. Big enough to deliver!”

And classy enough to rate a shout-out on “06880.”

Father and son plumbing



Fairfield County Aid, From Near & Far

Connecticut leads the nation in income inequality. The top 1 percent of our residents earn average incomes more than 48 times those of the bottom 99 percent. In Fairfield County, the figures are undoubtedly even more skewed.

Quietly — but very effectively — Near & Far Aid helps those on the lowest rungs.

NearFar_logoSince 2000, the unassumingly named, all-volunteer organization has donated more than $14 million to men, women and children living in poverty right in our midst.

Grants go to services providing emergency food, shelter and clothing; economy security programs like job training, financial literacy and affordable housing, and of course education.

The funds come from neighbors who contribute generously — very generously. But raising money is never easy. With tremendous competition from many worthy groups for donations, Near & Far Aid works hard to solicit funds.

They’re helped greatly by the generosity of the Mitchells. The  family — who offer up their store for nearly every charity that asks — holds a special place in their hearts for Near & Far Aid. For 20 years, they’ve hosted an amazing Spring Gala.

Sara BareillesThis year’s event is Friday, March 6. The highlight: an intimate concert with 5-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles. There are also live, silent and fine wine auctions; a spring fashion show, plus cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and supper.

As usual, Bob Mitchell — co-CEO of Mitchells and Richards — will be a “silent” event chair. He lends support, ideas and resources, but takes no credit.

“We truly cherish our 20-year partnership with Near & Far Aid,” Mitchell says. “Our family shares the same mission to give back to the less fortunate, particularly here in our community. We are so excited for this year’s 20th anniversary. We’re confident it will raise a record amount of funds, bringing relief, assistance and hope to those living in poverty.”

The “wealth gap” in this area is enormous. The consequences are real.

But the opportunity to help is priceless.

(For information on Spring Gala tickets, or to volunteer or make a donation, click here.)

The Mitchell family

The Mitchell family


Calling All Roofers!

I posted this story in January, 2011. Unfortunately, it’s needed again. Thanks to alert “06880” reader Peter Flatow, who found it — and the many Westporters who (I am sure) will respond to it.


An alert “06880” reader writes:

Hey Dan, maybe you could post something asking for recommendations for contractors or whomever will clean off roofs.  I’m worried about killing myself.  Maybe we give some local entrepreneurs some business.

A great idea.  Click “Comments” to recommend anyone you know — or yourself. Feel free to include recommendations of any other FML-weather-related folks we might need in other categories, too. (Plumbers, anyone?)

Caveat emptor:  This is a blog, not the Better Business Bureau.  Do due diligence before hiring!


Jimmy Izzo Turns 50!

Everyone in Westport loves Jimmy Izzo. He’s a 1983 Staples grad, the owner of Crossroads Hardware, an RTM member, and an all-around great guy.

In honor of his 50th birthday — today! — alert “06880” reader/proud sister Sue Izzo offers this tribute:

Many of us have siblings we love. But I believe I have one of the most selfless, giving and amazing brothers in the world.

Jimmy Izzo, at one of his favorite spots: the Longshore golf course.

Jimmy Izzo, at one of his favorite spots: the Longshore golf course.

Jimmy is 10 years older than me. When I was obsessed with Cabbage Patch dolls, he was into Van Halen and was the bookie at Staples High School driving around in his Scirocco. Yet every night, it was my brother who put me to bed and read me a story.

As a junior in college I decided to study abroad. My brother handed me a credit card. He specifically said it was for emergencies.

Anyone who has traveled through Europe at the age of 19 knows how easy it is to find $2,000 worth of emergencies over 6 months. He just laughed it off.

But what makes my heart swell the most is the unconditional love and support Jimmy has given me through the years, as I dealt with my long journey with depression, building a business, and riding this roller coaster we call life. Having him by my side has made it all possible.

My sister and I abandoned my mom and dad. I left for the West Coast, my sister for Cape Cod. We completely broke the Italian daughter code.

My brother remained in Westport, and has been a pillar in my family’s life. How many sons do you know who not only bring lasagna or eggplant parm to their parents, but cook it from scratch?

The Izzo family -- decked out in Italy's colors.

The Izzo family — decked out in Italy’s colors. Jimmy is 2nd from right.

And have you met my father, A.J.? Not only is Jimmy his first and only son, but he works and puts up with him every day. My brother is definitely an amazing son!

I am confident in saying there is not one person who does not like my brother. He is the ultimate friend. His heart is so big, so giving, and unconditional. His door is always open. He is there to listen to a friend in need, lend a hand, and give advice when needed.

People are very lucky to have him their lives. It is rare to have such a loyal friend as Jimmy. When I come home to visit it is like walking into a bar with the mayor, though I doubt a mayor would be so well liked.

Jimmy Izzo (4th from right), and a few of his many close  friends.

Jimmy Izzo (3rd from right), and a few of his many close friends.

Two words: Ice melt. Go on Jimmy’s Facebook page to see when the latest shipment came in. Crossroads is more than a hardware store; it is the local community center. I love seeing my brother, dad and the longtime employees interacting with old and new residents.

So many times I hear my brother say, “just come down the store. We’ll take care of you.” And that is exactly what he does. That store has been in business for over 20 years. I love what it represents for our town. It is the epitome of community. And I love that my brother cares so much about Westport, its origins, and maintaining what we can of the Westport we grew up with.

So on his 50th birthday, I wish my brother Jimmy many more beautiful Compo Beach sunrises, as much laughter as possible, and a heart full of love and happiness.

I am so proud to call you my brother. I love you more than words could ever describe.


Jimmy Izzo, his mother and sisters.

Jimmy Izzo, his mother and sisters.

Desperately Seeking Valentines …

… or something!

Lynn U. Miller caught these folks last night at CVS:

Valentines 1 - Lynn U Miller

Unfortunately for them, the candy shelves were pretty bare too:

Valentines 2 - Lynn U Miller

Interestingly, a few “Luv Boxers” remained:

Valentines 3 - Lynn U Miller

As well as these even odder gifts:

valentines 4 - Lynn U Miller

(Photos/Lynn U. Miller)

 Happy Valentine’s Day! Hope you’re making it through unscathed!

Valentine’s Day Yarn

(Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

(Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Westport RadioShack Avoids Axe

Wikipedia is brutal — but truthful. Here’s the 1st line for its entry on RadioShack:

RadioShack Corporation (formerly Tandy Corporation) is a bankrupt American electronics retail franchise.”

There are 5,000 stores worldwide. Within 2 months, 1784 of them — 1/3 of the total — will be closed.

Westport’s will remain. At least, it’s not on a 22-page list available online.

That makes it a rarity. RadioShacks in Fairfield, Norwalk, Stamford, Trumbull, Cos Cob, Hamden and Orange are all on the shuttered list.

This is the Westport RadioShack. Trust me, it is.

This is the Westport RadioShack. Trust me, it is.

Trader Joe’s To The Rescue

It was a typical Post Road scene yesterday: Chaos on the Post Road, at the Trader Joe’s/CVS light.

This was even worse than usual, though. A car broke down. The driver pushed his vehicle most off the road, but the rear remained stuck in traffic.

Other drivers responded in typical fashion: rather than getting out to assist, they honked at the driver — and each other.

Trader Joe'sWestporter Lisa Goto sprang into action. She ran into Trader Joe’s, asking for help.

Within moments, 6 employees were outside, pushing the car out of danger.

Those of us who shop at Trader Joe’s — which is everyone — know how helpful the store’s employees are, inside the store. They fetch items, answer questions, open up new registers and scan items quickly, easily, always smilingly.

How nice to know that the corporate culture extends outside the store, too.