Tween Time At Christie’s

It’s a typical day at Christie’s Country Store.

There’s a brief lull after the big lunchtime crowd (construction workers, work-at-home moms, stay-at-home dads).

Soon, Staples students cruise in: those with last period free, then those who don’t. For juniors parking at Wakeman, it’s a quick drive around the corner.

They’re followed by middle schoolers. Some walk over from Bedford; others are dropped off by Bedford and Coleytown buses.

Christie’s owner John Hooper loves all his customers. But he’s got a soft spot for the middle school tweens.

Four middle schoolers hung out the other day at Christie's -- near a menorah, moose and reindeer.

Four middle schoolers hang out at Christie’s — near a menorah, moose and reindeer.

He loves it even when 50 5th graders cram his Cross Highway place. They snack, they socialize, they act like kids. (Though John and his staff are tough on them about cleaning up after themselves, and behaving appropriately.)

Parents get a break by letting their kids hang out there. They know they’ll be safe and supervised. Joe — the afternoon manager (“he runs the afternoon program,” John jokes) knows everyone’s names, and what goes on in their lives. The middle schoolers love him.

In his 7 years as Christie’s owner, John has watched many children grow into young adults. After graduating from Staples (and college), they come back to say hi. And buy beer. (21 and over, of course!)

Say what you will about Westport — this is still, at its heart, a small town.

Of course, Christie’s is not the only place here where parents know their kids will be safe, and looked after lovingly. Elvira’s — in a very different neighborhood — is another.

If you’ve got a Christie’s or Elvira’s story — or want to give a shout-out to another neighborhood kids’ hangout — click “Comments” below. Let’s spread the “06880” spirit!

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10 responses to “Tween Time At Christie’s

  1. Loretta Mikaeil

    Top This Frozen Yogurt and Crepes provides a safe place in downtown Westport. Kids stop by after school to hang out after shopping or on their way to sports or the library.

  2. I even remember when you could buy gas at Christies. John has done so much with Christies food and atmosphere wise and turned it into a real gold mine along the way! Congrats on many fronts Hoops!

  3. Growing up on Bayberry Lane, I fondly remember going to Christie’s Country store, but back in those days, Crhistie, Don and sorry I can’t think of the other persons name were working there. I remember as a kid meeting my grandfather there all the time, and him buying me some candy. It was a great place to meet family and friends.

    • Jeff – that was Mary Massiello, Christie’s sister. Christie, Don and Mary dealt candy (Milky Ways and Charleston Chews being my vices) and I was hooked; we rode our bikes there from our homes on Woody Lane daily, and our bus stop was right there at the Woody Lane / Cross Hwy / Vineyard intersection.

  4. Lily bloomingdale

    John has also been a huge supporter of the Westport school PTAs, as well! He recently provided the two back-to-school night dinners for all Bedford Middle school staff, for our Bedford staff holiday luncheon, and will likely ( hopefully) work with us for our staff appreciation week luncheon and our Art Show reception. And not only is John and his staff wonderful to work with, they are exceedingly generous and their food is absolutely divine! Don’t let the country store facade for you, their food and catering cuisine is four-star restaurant quality !!

  5. Christies was my first job. Lived on north ave and as a kid would walk past Wakeman farm to get ice cream. Last I remember someone was trying to make it into a Chinese restaurant. Glad it’s withstood the test of time, and Westport

  6. Laurie Sugarman-Whittier

    Back in the day–mid-to-late ’60 s– a lot of us would hang out at the Record Hunter–next to Remarkable–with Jay Flaxman, listening to music, talking politics, and sharing all our teen angst. It was an afternoon home-away-from-home. At Christmas, Jay would let us wrap albums for customers, in return for taking home one for ourselves.

  7. We love Christie’s too!

  8. Laurie Sugarman-Whittier

    Wow, Dan. Nice to know you hung out there too, and so sorry to hear that Jay has departed.