Drawing on deep familial ties to Kansas City entrepreneurship, 18-year-old Henry Accardo hopes to reduce stress and bring communities back together through shared passions — courtesy of a restored series of car shows as the metro begins to reopen.
“We take time out of everyone’s possibly rough and stressful life to relax and have a good time talking to others and meeting new friends,” said Accardo, founder and host of Crossroads Cars and a recent Rockhurst graduate.
Most everyone in Accardo’s family has started a business in some form or fashion, he said, noting the entrepreneurial spirit “trickles down” in inspiring him to create.
“I kind of built everything off my family members and what they do and the stories that I hear,” the Fairway, Kansas, native said.
Initially debuting the monthly car show series in October 2018 — five days after his 17th birthday — Accardo partners with local dealerships and businesses to showcase vehicles in parking lots across the Crossroads Arts District, he said, noting a significant following arose after the first event.
“We just kind of blew up all over social media and it was unbelievable. I was not expecting anything whatsoever, but everyone was so amazing,” Accardo said. “Bringing people together is what we do best and Crossroads Cars helps out local businesses too by profiting the community — that’s what truly matters.”
An event in March drew about 1,000 attendees, he said.
Crossroads Cars boasts more than 1,900 members on its Facebook group, Accardo added, noting many supporters were upset this spring following event cancellations because of COVID-19 shutdowns.
Click here to learn more about Crossroads Cars and receive updates on future events.
“Someone on Facebook was like, ‘Well, what if we just showed up?’ [to the March event] and other people were backing the whole thing up, and I had to say that ‘We can’t and that… the whole virus, I hope it goes away soon, but everyone needs to do their part in the meantime,’” added Accardo. “All of the events that are being canceled are being canceled for a reason and hopefully this thing goes away soon so we can have more fun later on.”
The event series is expected to start up again June 7, in accordance with city’s reopening guidelines, he said, with hopes that COVID-19 cases don’t escalate, causing the need for greater preventative measures.
“We want everyone to be safe — that’s our main priority, so we will emphasize wearing masks and following the CDC recommendations for six feet apart, but other than that, we should be good to go as our event is outside,” said Accardo.
With plans to start college classes at the University of Kansas in the fall, Accardo hopes to continue the event series for as long as possible, with emphasis on summer breaks, he said, noting his eventual professional goal to get into commercial real estate.
“I would love to keep this going and have these events every year in the summer because I’m not going to be coming back every first Sunday … there’s just a lot that goes into it,” he laughed. “But, I’m hoping to keep the name going and keep the community growing.”
Along with trying to stay as active as possible, the aspiring serial entrepreneur is continuing to fine-tune the business models and plans for various ventures throughout quarantine, Accardo said, noting online platforms and even product development projects are in the works.
“I do have a product called the Focus Ball and it’s got a utility patent pending to increase hand-eye coordination and awareness — so that’s a product but I want to keep working on other things,” he said of one project for which he already has earned a design patent. “What I really want is to gain enough capital to purchase my first property and then go from there.”
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.