End Of An Era: Crossroads Hardware To Close

For 27 years, Crossroads Hardware has served Westport.

Jimmy Izzo, his dad AJ, and a superb, knowledgeable staff have helped us weather snowstorms, hurricanes and floods. They’ve been the go-to place for gardening supplies in spring, rakes in the fall, paint and keys and pest control and light bulbs and a lot more whenever we need it.

But all good — no, great — things come to an end. The North Main Street shop with the country-store vibe will close at the end of the month.

Crossroads Ace Hardware on Main Street. Its neighbors include Coffee An’, Merritt Country Store and 323 restaurant.

Jimmy is one of the most positive people I know. A native Westporter (Staples High School Class of 1983 — his dad was Staples ’58), he loves this town and the folks who live here. He will never speak negatively about them.

But they — we — have changed.

Too many of us now buy too much on the internet to keep Crossroads Hardware in business. We buy it from the comfort of our homes, and it’s delivered the next day. We’re even reminded by email or text when we’re about to run out of something, so we can order more right then and there.

We don’t head down to the hardware store as regularly as we used to — particularly on Saturdays. That used to be Crossroads’ big day. Now, families are on the go all day, with kids’ sports and other activities. Saturday at the hardware store is a thing of the past.

Crossroads Ace Hardware has always been community-minded. When former employee Todd Austin (standing, 2nd from right) served in Iraq, the store sent shirts and plenty of other goods to his Marine company.

The Izzos crammed a ton of stuff into 2,300 square feet. When they opened in 1991, there weren’t a lot of places to buy, say, fire logs.

Today those are just one of the squintillion things Amazon sells. (You can get them at Stew’s and Stop & Shop now too.)

People even order ice melt online. We know when a storm is coming. We order with a few clicks, and it’s delivered to our doorstep just hours before the snow falls.

Jimmy Izzo with Monday special assistant Annissa DiNoto.

Amazon — and the big boys like Home Depot — enjoy economies of scale. But the costs of a brick-and-mortar store — rent, insurance, salaries — never go down.

Jimmy is not bitter. He wants his closing to be a celebration of his 27 years in business. He salutes his longtime employees — Janet Horelick,  Mike Stiskel, Chris Gendren, the Coulson brothers, the many Staples students who have worked there (usually in their first jobs), and manager Joe Italiano who retired last year after a quarter century with the Izzos.

Jimmy mentions too his girlfriend Jeannine Molle and her daughter Lilly, for their great support.

For years, Crossroads Ace Hardware has hosted special needs students from Staples High School. They always followed up with personal thank-yous, Jimmy says.

For nearly 3 decades, he says, he has been privileged to see Westport through his customers’ eyes. “The talk, the politics, the civil discourse — I’ve enjoyed it all.” (And he hears it all: In his spare time, Jimmy is an RTM member from District 3.)

“This is a great town. Our customers are gems. They’re awesome, great people.”

But their needs and wants — and shopping habits — have changed.

Now Jimmy will explore other options. He’ll continue to be involved in Westport — a community he loves.

It just won’t be at the store that once served Westport, in the days when “personal touch” meant a lot more than hitting “submit” on your online order.

—————————————————

Here’s his statement:

I can’t believe it’s been 27 years since we opened the doors of Crossroads Hardware. 27 years of serving this wonderful community, and making lifelong friends along the way. 27 years of watching great kids who have worked for us grow into amazing adults, with multiple success stories. Each one becomes a part of our family for life.

I can’t thank all of our employees, past and present, enough for caring so much about Crossroads and our customers, as if the store were your own. You truly contributed to making Crossroads the neighborhood gathering place we always wanted it to be.

I would like to thank our manager of 26 years, Joe Italiano, who retired last year, for his loyalty, depth of knowledge and care for our customers and their needs. And a special thank you to my father, AJ Izzo, for his dedication to Crossroads and the community as a whole.

Joe Italiano retired last year, after 26 years with Crossroads. Janet Horelick has worked there for many years too.

I can’t thank the wonderful Westport-Weston community, and those who traveled from other towns to support Crossroads over the years. You too will always be a part of our family. Without you, we would have never had the 27 years to be your local helpful hardware place.

As we close our doors at the end of May, I want everyone to know it’s been a great ride. We feel incredibly blessed to have served this community, and made forever friendships throughout our 27 years in business.

We hope to see you in the coming weeks as we celebrate 27 years of friendship.

AJ Izzo (right) with Matthew Mandell. He serves on the RTM with Jimmy Izzo, and as executive director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, is a strong supporter of small local businesses.

 

 

 

62 responses to “End Of An Era: Crossroads Hardware To Close

  1. What a poignant story, Dan. What a class act Jimmy Izzo is! He will be missed. It seems every time I turn around another Westport institution is shutting its doors, another business is closing for good, another empty storefront appears. Not to be dramatic, but as a longtime townie, my heart breaks for Main Street. Westport’s retail community is changing before our eyes, and we Amazonians are not just witnesses to that change but agents of it.

  2. Francis Fiolek

    Huge loss to Westport… you can’t buy good advice on Amazon…very sad.

  3. Oh, no! The loss of another local institution. Prill Boyle said it perfectly. I wish the Izzos all the best.

  4. Peter Flatow

    Not unexpected but what a sad way to start the day. We know many of the Izzo clan and they they are all great people, especially AJ and Jimmy. This is a huge loss for Westport.

  5. Sad to read this. From my three terms serving with Jimmy on the RTM, I have learned what a great guy he is. As this one door closes on this chapter of his life, I hope another one will open for our friend Jimmy that brings opportunity, happiness and fulfillment.

  6. Dorothy Abrams

    Thanks so much for all the help you’ve given me and others.

  7. Diane silfen

    How sad !

  8. So sorry to learn this. Crossroads was the one place you could get personal attention, which you certainly can’t get from Amazon.

  9. Sharon Cribari-Saccary

    Sad to see them go.

  10. Norbie Longman

    Please say it ain’t so.

  11. Michael Calise

    Unquestionably a HUGE LOSS for Westport. Our zoning limitations on building size have kept out the Home Depot’s of the world and enabled us to enjoy the great service and convenience of our local hardware stores but the advent of the internet despite it’s great benefit to society is the unexpected sucker punch for retail. My guess is, not sure when and how, there will be a fallback from this mixed bag of turmoil.

  12. Joe Mackiewicz

    Books, home electronics, sporting goods, groceries….and now hardware. Our online purchases have real world consequences. Thanks to the Izzos and their employees for 27 years of friendly, helpful service. You will be missed.

  13. Peter Gold

    Jimmy, I’m devastated1 As probably one of only about 10 folks in town who don’t shop on Amazon, where will I go for all my various needs? The other hardware stores in town, while closer to my home than Crossroads, just don’t cut it.

  14. I found myself writing a sad commentary regarding Big Box stores against the local Mom & Pop shops. Then I remembered Jimmy wants there closing to be a celebration of serving a Great community for 27 years. I must say to all the previous and on hand staff at Ace Crossroads Hardware you will be missed. Jimmy I hope You run for Mayor! Thanks for the excellent service, loyalty and friendship to my family and the entire community. You will be missed.

  15. WIshing the Izzo family all the best as they move on their next chapter. They are truly part of the fabric of what makes Westport Westport. Thank you for all they have done to make our community a better place.
    The Amazon Effect really hits home. There are unfortunately many thousands of similar stories.

  16. Say it ain’t so! We’ve been going to Crossroads ever since it opened and Jimmy, AJ and everyone else have been “lifesavers” on more than one occasion as well as being friendly and a true neighborhood store. Just this past Christmas we needed lights for our tree and after going to Michael’s, CVS and somewhere else where they were all out of stock our last stop was Crossroads, and voila! You guys will be missed, thanks for all you brought to us and the Westport community.

  17. Deborah Findley

    Say it ain’t so Jimmy! Sometimes a store is as much or more about community, atmosphere and the vibe as it is about the inventory. And Crossroads is one of those stores. I love all you guys …AJ, Jimmy, Janet,
    Joe…..you always greet me with a smile and more positivity than anywhere I have ever visited…..ever. What will I do without someone to tell me what gadget will fix this or having the luxury of stuff being set up out of the box for me or arranging my mailbox replacement after it’s been run over for the dozenth time? Much more than missing the convenience we will sincerely miss you all and a piece of our community. It has been our pleasure and we wish you all the best!!!

  18. David Floyd

    Very sad to see it go. Jimmy is one of the best people you’ll ever get to know. Best wishes to you, Jimmy, on whatever you decide to do next!

  19. David Meth

    What do you do when there is no one left to speak to face to face and enjoy local conversation and companionship at the town general store? Where do you go to shake someone’s hand and be greeted with warm smiles because you part of a community where you are embraced? I don’t know. Because Crossroads Hardware, AJ, Jimmy, Joe, and everyone there were actually always there for you to shake your hand or give you hug, metaphorically or real. You didn’t have to come to the store to buy something. You were welcome to visit. To sit in the chair by the door because you belonged. To stand and open a discussion of the world with AJ and anyone else who passed by. AJ, Jimmy, Joe, and the staff were always available to ask for help for just about everything, install something, or take it apart. Physical therapy. Emotional therapy. You will be deeply missed, but never forgotten. You have all our love and best wishes for good health, happiness, and success. See you around town!

  20. I wish this was an April fools joke. This is a very knowledgeable, friendly, big-hearted store filled with wonderful people. Huge loss for Westport! Thank you all for everything!

  21. Rich Vogel

    My wife and I moved to Westport (just around the corner from the store) about one year ago. Getting settled into the new house required several trips to Izzo’s store. These visits were my first foray into getting to know the community and thanks to Jimmy and company, the experience was very positive. You can buy hardware items anywhere, but getting to know quality folks in your neighborhood is becoming increasingly rare.

  22. Jack Whittle

    End of an era indeed – Can’t tell you how much Crossroads Hardware is a part of Westport and all that is good with my hometown – AJ, Jimmy and the Crossroads Hardware team and store are a part of the local fabric of this wonderful Town, and I am having a hard time imagining my Sunday morning visit to Coffee An’ without my drop in to Crossroads for an earful of from AJ (yeah, I will miss that) and some wisdom from Jimmy. Not to mention the wonderful treat of having a neighborhood hardware store that seems to have every little thing I could possibly need. Thank you for all you have done for our Town.

  23. Denise Torve

    This is such sad news! I don’t really know my way around a hardware store but AJ, Jimmy, and everyone there were always so helpful and answered all my questions. Will miss them and wish everyone well!

  24. David Hyman

    Dan – so glad you shared this news but so sad to read it!! As a lifelong townie, Ace and it’s great cast of characters – AJ, Jimmy, Joe – was one of the only stores I still went to often. I never said when I was headed there, ‘going to Ace,’ rather ‘let me ask AJ!’ Like so many long time Westporters, so sorry to see you go. You’re irreplaceable, deservedly!!! Wish all of you all the luck in the world with whatever comes next.

  25. John Karrel

    Sad news for 06880.
    More reason to flock to Westport Hardware.

  26. Priscilla Hawk

    Of all the local stores that have closed, I’ll miss Crossroads the most. What a shame we are all being “punished” these days by what’s happening in town. The Izzo family and staff always “had the answer” and if you needed it – they had it, or got it for you. I can’t imagine you’ll be gone. You have been “one of a kind”. Thank you for being there. Priscilla Hawk .

  27. Jimmy, AJ and the rest of the gang….thanks so much for providing such welcoming service for the last 27 years. You have been another big reason for making Westport a special community to call home.

    While this is tough news for a Monday morning, I cannot say it was a shock. I have noticed that the shelves were not being replenished as quickly over the past few months and the thought you might be planning to close hit my mind. I dared not to ask fearing it would be awkward but mostly because I did not want to hear the answer.

    You guys will be missed, but I am sure that I will be in to express it personally (probably more than once) and look I forward to seeing you around town.

    • Jamie Walsh

      So eloquently said Bill! You will be sorely missed and I will miss the immediate availability of Jimmy’s sage wisdom and AJ’s constant “loving ribbing!”

  28. Stephanie Bass

    Big loss to the community. Will miss all of you answering my questions and explaining how a house works. And re-explaining. And I hate Home Depot.

    Wishing you a wonderful next chapter of your lives.
    xxx

  29. Topsy Siderowf

    A real loss to Westport…This is one of the town’s unique places. Big box stores don’t call you by your first name and ask about family members. Good luck to the Izzos. They will be missed.

  30. Katie Augustyn

    So sorry to hear this! Thanks for the many years of providing everything we needed, especially when I didn’t really know what we needed! The friendliness and expertise made your store a special place for everyone. All the best for your next chapter!

  31. I hate this, although like Mr. Ryan above, I’m not surprised. This was a good and friendly store, and it’s starting to feel like our community is being taken away from us one piece at a time. Coffee An’ is still there, but I have to fear their days are numbered too. If that whole strip goes down, God knows what pops up in its place.

  32. Tom Feeley Sr

    I am very very sad to read this.
    AJ, Jimmy, and Janet: thanks for the friendship the great chats and for rounding off the charges so you didn’t have to give me 4 pennies‼️🇺🇸

  33. Wendy Goldwyn Batteau

    Oh no, Jimmy, no! I am so sad that you’ve had to make this decision, and that my favorite store will be closing. Thanks for the “all” you and your family have put into being the best neighbors to everyone. I’m wishing every good thing for you in the future, and I certainly hope whatever you plan to do will keep you right here in town!

  34. Nooooooooo! I can’t bear it! These are the best people! A.J. and Jimmy, you will be so missed. I could always count on a cheerful greeting and helpful advice. And A.J., how will I keep running without you to encourage me? The town won’t be the same without Crossroads Hardware.

  35. Sal Liccione

    Jimmy it is westport loss off a great hardware store you and your dad everybody that’s works there you are great peaple have help the town a lot we will all miss you guys alot

  36. Having lived in my neighborhood for 30 years, Crossroads was just a short walk down the hill from my house. Always friendly and helpful, Jimmy would smile and say “Hi-ya Al”. Now I will have to get in the car, and drive to a big box store, and wander up and down the aisles, looking for someone, anyone to help me. To me, this is a sad commentary on our world today.
    Jimmy you are a wonderful person, and I’m a better person having been one of your many customers.- the best of luck to you, and THANK YOU for your service.

  37. Hedi Lieberman

    Love to everyone at Crossroads!

  38. Kathleen Dehler

    So very sorry to read this. Jimmy, we wish you all the best on your next chapter.

  39. Nancy Austin

    Ace has been the BEST store run by the BEST people in town!! I love these guys and THANK YOU to them for having had such a positive influence on my son Todd, the Marine, back in high school. You definitely helped him be the man he is today. I will miss seeing you all, but hope to run into you in other local spots in town. I’ll come in and give you hugs and kisses in person before you shut the doors. Al sends his best too!
    And thank you also to Dan Woog for your always wonderful stories!

  40. Elaine Marino

    I loved the fact that as I would walk into Crossroads, friendly faces would welcome me – without fail. Jimmy and the staff are wonderful people. We wish you the best in your next endeavors.

    — The Marino family

  41. Mark J. Marcus

    Personal attention. Good advice. Fair prices. What more do people want? I am so sad to see them go

  42. Inglis Hale Sellick

    So sad to see Crossroads close … they rescued me many times with advice , optimism and good cheer. Best of luck , Inglis Hale Sellick

  43. Thank you AJ, Jimmy, Janet and Joe for all your years of goods and services that helped us in our daily lives. Crossroads Hardware is an institution, you will be missed!

  44. I grew up in Westport and still am back in town from time to time. I became a devoted Crossroads customer the day I went in to buy a small American flag to put on my father’s grave. When they heard what I wanted it for, they gave it to me and wouldn’t hear of taking my money. Very sad to hear it’s closing.

  45. Don Bergmann

    I will send Jimmy and A.J. a personal note of regret and well wishes.
    Don Bergmann

  46. Elaine Nord

    Sad to see this great store close. I loved it and while I didn’t know the owners personally, they were there to answer any question and usually had what was needed to complete the job. Best of luck to you.

  47. very sad and not for lack of trying by Jimmy and the team. really thought the concept of adding a service business to Crossroadss (assemblies, advice, etc) would fill a significant need.

  48. Michael Rea

    Westport will never be the same. Wishing the Izzo family good health & good luck in whatever your next chapter will be.

  49. Kristin Schneeman

    We’re absolutely heartbroken at this news! Izzos and all the other wonderful staff at the store, we will never be able to fill the hole you leave behind in our lives. I hope we’re all starting to realize what we lose in terms of community connection when we lose businesses like Crossroads. Best wishes to you all!

  50. Larry Weisman

    Just like the rest of the commenters, I’ll miss shopping at Crossroads, chatting with Jimmy and listening to Red’s rants, but there is another, larger story here. This closure, along with those on Main Street are symptoms of an insidious trend toward loss of community and small-town character. We all need to recognize that Westport’s continued appeal is founded in local, small businesses, not in large, national chains; and that expensive retail is not the wave of the future. It’s not just Main Street that requires attention,(witness this closing and others such as Liberty Army Navy), and the proliferation of vacant retail and office spaces. It’s time for some serious out-of-the-box thinking.

  51. Virginia Baxter

    We will miss Crossroads. Jimmy, AJ and Joe are a team that cannot be replaced~ commitment to the community and their rapport with their customers is what made them unique. Janet is a gem who never missed a chance to ask about your kids! I hope Jimmy, who is clearly great with people and knows how to provide unparalleled customer service resurfaces in Westport pursuing his next adventure.

  52. John F. Suggs

    Agh! Jimmy…what a loss for our town! Such a loss. But boy what a class act you are! Yes, of course, we will celebrate Ace Hardware, its staff and the Izzo Family. You, your family and your store are what makes Westport the incredible place it is. And that needs to be acknowledged. Here’s to one helluva great run and to continued success in the next part of your journey from your grateful friends, neighbors and community.

    • John F. Suggs

      And I realize that it will be a while before you read my comments Jimmy because right now (7:25 pm) you are busy in Town Hall about to start yet another long night of town budget deliberations on the RTM. Always giving back. What a class act!

  53. Justine Fink

    You will all be missed. Best of luck in the next chapter of your lives. Our kiddos already miss feeding Charlie (the unofficial mascot) every weekend and now we will all miss seeing you. Hopefully we will cross paths in town or at Coffee An’ in the future. Best wishes.

  54. Sharon Paulsen

    Oh wow, so sorry about this news.

    Another Westport “staple” to go into the history books.

    One thing I will always miss … when you walk into the store, and get hit with that wonderful hardware store scent … that smell of a million “new” things.

    A mixture of paint, oil, mothballs, steel, synthetics, and garden soil … just a plethora of things that make up “that smell”, and all the memories that come rushing in with it!

    I know, most hardware stores seem to have that same scent, but the aura of Crossroads was certainly lofty, due to the owners and employees there, who made it their very own and unique “scent”.

    I will miss breathing in your “air”, Izzo’s!

  55. Bill Boyd (Staples '66)

    I read all the wonderful comments and agree with them all…and I wish you All The Best
    But it’s a dang shame.

  56. Leah Dixon

    Working as a cashier here was my favorite job! Truly the end of an era.

  57. Dorothy Fincher

    As mentors, parent figures and supporters of many Staples High School boys, AJ and his family are more than hometown heroes, they are superheroes.

  58. Francis J. Kurpiel

    LOVED IT WHEN WE WERE THERE FROM ( MASSACHUSETTS ), TOOK A OLD MEATHOD, & JUST MADE ” IT WORK “

  59. Ellen Naftalin

    I worked on the Exhibits Committee at the Westport Historical Society for many years with Mollie Donovan and Wally Woods. Whenever we were nearly out of one supply or another Mollie would send me to Crossroads. It was like being in Westport when I was a kid in the ’50s. The owners and the staff all helped no matter how small the request. There were always smiles, laughs and salutations to my committee members. The supplies were always put on a tab. I will miss Crossroads Hardware very much.