Bill Brown and his cronies were trying to guess the oldest surviving business in town.
Bill guessed Beacon Electronics — but then realized it closed last year after a 60-year run.
Someone suggested Carvel — definitely a cool choice.
Boccanfuso has been around since 1957, though not at the same Post Road East location (near, coincidentally, Carvel).
Bill — who worked at the Westport Food Center on Main Street in the 1960s, which most definitely is not still in business — asked “06880” to name the oldest surviving business in town.
What does “oldest surviving business in town” mean?
Is it the place that’s been in one spot the longest? If so, the answer is probably a gas station.
Is it the place that’s been in one spot the longest — with the same owner? That might be Westport Pizzeria or Mario’s?
What about Oscar’s, which is almost where it started in the 1950s — just a few doors down?
While Mitchells is in its 3rd location, it’s still on the Post Road. And it’s on its 3rd generation of owners — that counts for something, right?
Does the Red Barn count? It’s served diners on Wilton Road for over 50 years — but didn’t it close briefly before the Nisticos took over?
Feel free to nominate your own “oldest surviving business in town.” Clink the “Comments” link at the top or bottom of this post — and include your definition of the term.
The Red Barn seems to have been around since before there were cameras. (Drawing by Sascha Maurer/Courtesy of CardCow.com)
After a long and costly renovation, Bob Corroon re-opened Christie’s Country Store last August. The economy immediately tanked.
Two weeks ago he added a separate ice cream stand. Instantly, a cold, wet rain settled in.
Fortunately, both spots are thriving.
Bobby and Bob Corroon
The Christie’s story — how Bob parlayed his faith that the Cross Highway neighborhood (with help from Staples, Bedford and local workers) would support a 1920’s-era store, updated with 21st-century food (and tacos!) — is well known. Now he’s replicating it with ice cream.
The 6-sided stand was built in Redding in the 1930s. In the ’40s the Masiello family brought it to Christie’s property. But the last cone was served years ago.
Bob is counting on the same update-the-basics formula that works for his grocery store. The ice cream — made by Pat West, wh0 lives around the corner — comes in over a dozen flavors. There’s basic chocalate, vanilla and strawberry; flavors like Oreo bomb, creme caramel and honey coffee, plus sorbets and gelato.
Picnic tables invite ice cream lovers to linger.
Bob’s sons — Bobby (soon to enroll at William & Mary) and Green’s Farms Academy student Nicky — run the stand. It’s open from noon to 8 p.m. “Or maybe later,” Bob says, in that laid-back, we’ll-figure-it-out way that made Christie’s cool again.
His ice cream will be cool too — if warm weather ever arrives.
To the ever-growing Westport retail graveyard, add Knoyzz.
Despite its gangsta-sounding name, the Post Road store catered to women and teenage girls. Coupled with the recent closing of Totally Kool, teens and tweens have lost two of their favorite haunts.
If things keep going this way, years from now women may tell their own daughters: “Times were so tough, in our entire town there was no place left to shop.”
After a career spent traveling the globe, Tom Seligson says “it’s a lot more fun to work in Westport.”
The former CBS News film producer has teamed up with his wife — digital, print and broadcast journalist Susan Farewell — and other Westport media types to form Strategic Filmworks. The full-service production company specializes in cinematic-quality films for websites and broadcast media. It targets travel, sports and fitness, medical, architectural and non-profit clients.
One of Strategic Filmworks’ first efforts is “Keeping America’s History Alive.” Produced for the Westport Historical Society, it weaves together interviews, archival images and jaunty music. The video’s prominence on the WHS website may lead to heightened interest, new members and– who knows? — a donation or three.
The company’s client roster is broad. “They’re not all local — although that would be nice,” Seligson notes. “There is definitely a market for this here, and we’re glad to help.”
The WHS video highlights the impact of creative men and women on Westport’s history. In the digital age, Strategic Frameworks proves a worthy successor to that heritage.