Nuts and bolts return to Wilton Center

Keeler's Hardware, at 3 Godfrey Place, was a Wilton landmark for more than 100 years, but closed with the death of owner David Lind on Aug. 9, 2011.

Little more than a year later, a new hardware store, True Value Hardware, will open in town, occupying a 7,500-square-foot location in Wilton River Park at River Road. According to leasing agent Cushman & Wakefield, the store is expected to open late this summer or in early fall.

"The arrival of True Value Hardware will immeasurably enhance the full retail community at Wilton River Park Shopping Center," said Wilton River Park managing director Stephen J. Saft.

The new store is taking space formerly occupied by Halstead Property and Toy Chest, both of which have relocated within the center, according to Nancy Madden, marketing manager at Cushman & Wakefield.

"We're delighted we finally got some people stepping up and running with the ball," First Selectman Bill Brennan said of the lease-signing.

There have been many inquiries on the site, and Mr. Brennan said he is glad to see True Value moving in.

"We certainly have been very anxious to get a hardware store back in Wilton and have worked with commercial real estate people who were really soliciting other hardware stores in other towns to see if they were interested in expanding," he said.

The town has set a goal to make downtown more attractive for shoppers, and Wilton has succeeded in terms of turnover, more so than Westport or New Canaan, according to Mr. Brennan.

"People are happy with the new restaurants. When you have a good choice, people are attracted to shop and then go to dinner," he said.

This year's downtown sidewalk sale was a success, and Mr. Brennan said the upcoming scarecrow festival, which was very popular last year, is set for another good turnout this fall.

True Value Hardware is a retailer-owned hardware cooperative with more than 5,000 independent retail locations worldwide.

Wilton River Park is a premier office and retail property that offers more than 21 stores in 100,000 square feet of space. Its commercial footprint includes Stop & Shop, Bow-Tie Cinemas, Gap, Starbucks, Verizon, Cactus Rose, Bon Appétit Café, Chou Chou, Snappy Gator and Sweet Pierre's.