Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
New Ace Hardware approved for Windsor Avenue

By Jason Rowe
Journal Inquirer
November 10, 2006

VERNON - The Planning and Zoning Commission has approved improvements to the former Kelly-Fradet lumber store on Windsor Avenue, clearing the way for its conversion to a chain hardware store.

Last week, the commission unanimously approved the plans submitted by FRP Holdings LLC of Vernon, which will include a small addition to the main building, bringing the structure's square footage from 14,935 to 15,988 square feet.

Based on the plans submitted to the town, the name of the existing Kelly-Fradet lumber store at 73 Windsor Avenue would be converted to Rocky's Ace Hardware. Based in Springfield, Rocky's Ace Hardware has 25 locations throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire, according to the company's Web site.

The business was founded in 1926 by Rocco "Rocky" Falcone as a single-store location in Springfield, according to the Web site. During the 1970s and 1980s, Falcone's son began adapting the store to affiliate with national hardware retailer, Ace Hardware.

According to the Web site, the Vernon store would be the chain's first foray into Connecticut.

The chain's closest store to Vernon is in East Longmeadow, Mass., according to the Web site.

The Vernon building's alterations primarily involve non-public areas, such as a new stock receiving area, manager's office and break room, as well as changes to the building's storefront and signs, project officials said in their application.

The renovated building would include parking for 88 cars, which exceeds the number of spaces required for a building of that size.

During the public hearing process, the PZC was presented with several renderings of the building's renovated interior and exterior.

The Kelly-Fradet store's existing fenced lumber and building materials display and storage area likely will be reduced in size to accommodate a new outdoor garden display area and a new 1,000-gallon propane storage tank and dispensing area, according to plans.

©Journal Inquirer 2006