Today, Westporters love and appreciate 2 great hardware stores. Crossroads Ace is next to Coffee An’ on Main Street heading out of town. Westport Hardware is on the Post Road, opposite Fresh Market.
In the 1960s and ’70s, 2 hardware stores sat just a few feet from each other on the “main” part of Main Street, in the heart of downtown. (A 3rd — Western Auto — was not far away. Today it’s Five Guys.)
Welch’s was closest to the Post Road. It had sawdust on the floor.
Westport Hardware was bigger:
By the mid-1970s, it had become a furniture store. One winter afternoon, it burned to the ground.
Later, an odd vertical “mall” took its place. But Westporters did not want to go up and down, and the mix of small shops never took off.
It was gutted, and a new tenant took its place.
Today, the building weathers the ups and downs — literally and figuratively — of Main Street.
It’s the Gap.