Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Lots & More garden, tool store to fill void of Gottier’s

By Kym Soper
Journal Inquirer
Published: Thursday, May 15, 2008 2:10 PM EDT

VERNON — A discount garden and tool store will be moving into the Windsor Avenue Gottier’s Furniture building this summer once that long established business has finished its sale and moved out, building owner Karl Isch said this week.

The new store, Lots & More, has another outlet located on Sullivan Avenue in South Windsor. It’s not a typical landscaping retailer, however, as it offers a wide variety of goods ranging from large and small garden, lawn, and automotive tools and supplies, to everyday items such as stationery, beauty products, milk, and eggs.

According to the company’s Web site, the store sells products at lower prices than traditional retail outlets, and takes pride in operating a clean, organized, and fast paced operation.

“It’s a discount store — not a dollar store, and it’s geared 50 percent to men and 50 percent to women,” Isch said, adding “They’re a very clean business and very orderly.”

Isch, a Stafford Springs real estate developer, recently won approval from the Vernon Planning and Zoning Commission to rezone the entire Windsor Avenue lot to commercial.

The 1.4-acre parcel, which extends west in a dogleg shape behind a neighboring automotive dealership, had been split in half, with the front street portion zoned for business and the rear yard zoned for residential.

“The line went right through the middle of the building,” Isch said.

As a condition of the zone change, the PZC is requiring a fence or buffer zone between the new business and residential properties to its rear on Franklin Street should they do any outside displays of stock.

Gottier’s has been at 48 Windsor Ave. since 1963, but this year sold the 11,000-square foot building to Isch’s real estate business, H & K of Willimantic LLC, for $300,000.

Since then, the Vernon institution has been holding a “clearance sale” in anticipation of relocating in April when the lease expired.

Co-owner Robert Gottier said Tuesday that he and his crew were working as fast as they could to make deliveries and “clear out 45-years worth of stuff.”

“We’re up to our eyeballs in work,” said Gottier, who admitted to recently doing a “little soul searching” about relocating the furniture business. No new site has been identified as yet, the 55-year-old Tolland resident said. There’s no definite date when the changeover at the Windsor Avenue store would actually occur.

Meanwhile, Lots & More is working around the furniture sale, remodeling some interior sections of the building.

Gottier’s first opened in early 1945 when family patriarch Albert Gottier opened a radio repair business in a small, one-room building on East Main Street in the Rockville section of town. The business expanded to include household appliances in 1951, and later that decade he and his wife, Helen, began to sell furniture and moved to Windsor Avenue, also knows as Route 83.

Although Albert died in 2000, the family tradition was continued under ownership of son, Robert, and daughter, Janet.

The store specializes in traditional and country furnishings, according to its Web site, which describes its inventory as American-made, heirloom quality furniture.

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