A hardware store is setting up shop in downtown Burlington for the first time in roughly two decades.
Gordon Winters plans to open an Ace Hardware on College Street by early January. He's in the midst of renovating the 4,000-square-foot former office space and received his building permits from the city last week.
"There’s definitely a want for it, there’s definitely a need for it," Winters said.
The store, located next door to a Northfield Savings Bank branch, will contain typical hardware store amenities as well as wares that cater to the local population: packing and cleaning materials for college students, specialty plumbing for the city's older buildings, and a marine section for boaters, Winters said.
The store will be laid out in Ace's "urban downtown format" and will "pack a lot more stuff into smaller spaces," he said.
Burlingtonians have long wanted a downtown hardware store, according to Mayor Miro Weinberger, ever since Hagar Hardware on Church Street closed in the 1990s. The mayor frequently hears complaints that the area "doesn’t fully serve the daily needs of residents as well as it once did."
"I think the idea of having a hardware store right on City Hall Park addresses that concern directly," the mayor said.
The nearest hardware is Curtis Lumber on Pine Street in Burlington.
City officials worked with Winters to address accessibility issues and apply for the necessary zoning and building permits for the storefront renovation,Weinberger said.
The store will employ three or four full-time employees and four or five part-time staff, according to Winters. The owner plans to offer deliveries by scooter or bicycle to nearby homes or businesses.
It's Winters' sixth Ace Hardware; he owns others in Swanton, Jericho, St. Albans, Milton and Champlain, N.Y. The Swanton resident is a third-generation hardware store owner.
Ron Redmond, executive director of the Church Street Marketplace, said he approached Winters 18 months ago and asked him to consider opening a store in Burlington. The location is just a block away from the Marketplace.
Winters successfully advocated his bosses at Ace for the go-ahead, according to Redmond. "It's a real benefit, and it's not necessarily something that a lot of downtowns have these days," he said.
Correction, November 24, 2018: An earlier version of this story misidentified the nearest hardware store to downtown Burlington. It is Curtis Lumber.