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.