Red, white and blue balloons and patriotic decorations adorned Aubuchon Hardware when its corporate executives, local dignitaries and customers celebrated the grand opening of the new store in Monroe, Conn. on July 31, starting two days of festivities that continued the next day on Saturday.
The storefront had been empty since Stepney Hardware closed last year, ending a 64-year run. Aubuchon not only brought a hardware store back to the Stepney side of town, patrons will see some familiar faces too, writes Bill Bittar for The Monroe Sun.
David Otto, former owner of Stepney Hardware, is among Aubuchon Hardware’s staff members, and Chris Bassick, an employee of 32 years, is the store’s assistant manager. Mike Kensel, the store manager, said their presence has made for a smooth transition.
“It’s going to help us build our footprint and have customer loyalty early on,” Kensel said. “People were excited to see Chris and he would introduce me.”
Aubuchon Hardware was founded by William E. Aubuchon in 1908 and has grown to include 104 stores in New England and upstate New York. The hardware store chain is now run by his great grandson, William E. Aubuchon IV, who was on hand for the grand opening of the Monroe store Friday.
Aubuchon said the tradition of the Stepney store, its loyal customer base and the visibility of the building along the bustling commercial thoroughfare made Monroe an attractive location for a new store.
“It’s a great town and a great community,” he said. “These are all things we look for when we expand. In a way, it was an easy decision. We’re going to be here a long time.”
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