Local store opens with a buzz and bang

You could say the Wilton True Value Hardware store wasted no time getting down to brass tacks. The new store at 21 River Road was supposed to begin business Thursday, Nov. 1, but opened early, on Saturday, Oct. 27, to accommodate residents with Hurricane Sandy preparations.

"We had a flood of calls" from area residents requesting the early opening, said Tom Sato, owner of the store, which fills a void in town created by the closing of Keeler's Hardware last October.

The appeal from residents underscores the main intangible which the Wilton True Value Hardware stores offers, according to Mr. Sato: total convenience. "We are right in town center, with plenty of parking. Also, we provide exceptional customer service that you usually can't get at the big box stores."

The 7,500-square-foot store is stocked with a wide range of batteries, flashlights, nuts and bolts, tools, paint, lawn and garden equipment, keys, plumbing supplies, snow shovels, leaf blowers, electric supplies, Christmas decorations, tree stands, and every kind of lightbulb imaginable, among many other items. "There are 28 feet of lightbulbs," said Andy Eckman, store manager.

"We have everything you need for home repairs or updates," said Mr. Sato.

Most of the staff are handymen, including Mr. Eckman, who used to work at Keeler's. "We will answer all your questions and help you tackle a project, step by step," he said.

For example, according to Mr. Sato, "If your daughter wanted her room painted red, because that was her favorite color, and now she has gone off to college, we can tell you how to re-paint the room without the red bleeding through."

The store is also stocked with "little things you might not know where to get — whatchamacallits," he said. "For example, we've got replacement handles for pots, and also something called 'Goo Gone,' which gets rid of gum on the floor."

Customers may also drop off such things as window screens to be repaired. Another feature will be the store's "bargain of the month," he said.

Mr. Sato said the regional distribution center for the True Value Hardware franchise is in Maine, so "we get weekly deliveries and can get orders for customers very quickly."

Although the store already opened its doors in dramatic fashion, Mr. Sato said he is planning "a bigger grand opening in the spring."

As the purveyors of snow removal equipment, do they have any inkling about what kind of winter is looming?

"I would say we are probably going to return to a normal New England winter, after the mild winter we had last year," said Mr. Eckman. "The farmers are seeing a lot of nuts falling from the trees, which usually means we're in for a cold winter ... and we don't usually have two mild winters back to back."

Information: 203-529-3650.