Wilton Hardware is GMW’s 1st ‘Monday Money Mob’ Store

Andy Eckman, manager, and Tom Sato, owner, of Wilton Hardware.

We’ve got a great hardware store right in town. Let’s make sure they stay here.

Many of you may remember Keeler True Value Hardware, the longtime fixture in Wilton that closed two years ago, the victim of high Wilton commercial rents, a tough economy, and the unfortunate death of its owner, Dave Lind. Keeler’s was a landmark, and while there are other hardware stores in the area, having a go-to place in Wilton Center is certainly a benefit.

Just last year, another True Value opened in Wilton’s main shopping district, at 21 River Road. Owner Tom Sato and store manager Andy Eckman have worked hard to stock the store with a treasure trove of just about anything a homeowner could possibly need. Trouble is, not everyone knows there’s a hardware store in Wilton Center.

They’ll come in and ask, “When did you open?” or say, “I didn’t even know you were here!”  Sometimes the wife will know and the husband won’t. She’ll say, “Go to the hardware store in town,” and he’ll say, “What hardware store?” We still get a fair amount of that.

Wilton Hardware actually celebrates its one year anniversary in October–they opened just two days before Hurricane Sandy hit in 2013. “We were going to open later, but there were so many people knocking on our doors asking if they could buy things.”

There’s so much that the store has going for it. Wilton Hardware is very easily accessible in Wilton Center. It’s truly your hometown hardware store:  they carry locally made products, including Wilton hats and car stickers, as well as Nantucket Spider, the organic insect repellent made by Wilton residents Jeffrey Busch and Nancy Jack. “We try to do things that are Wilton oriented. And we try to support as many of the organzations in town that we can. Everyone comes in [seeking donations] and while we can’t always be the top sponsor, we do our best.”

The range of items they carry is enormous–they have just about everything from light bulbs to tulip bulb, from school supplies to lawn supplies. Both Sato and Eckman laugh and answer in unison when they’re asked what is the most unusual item the store stocks:  “Musical soap dispensers! True Value has themed promotions around the holidays. So we had Christmas soap dispensers that played four different Christmas carols. We just had the Fourth of July ones that played John Phillip Sousa songs.”

Sato lives in Wilton with his family, while Eckman is currently a Norwalk resident; he did, however, grow up here in town. He’s also a well-respected hardware expert. “We staff the store with people who have knowledge,” said Sato. “Andy grew up in the business–his dad, his uncle were in the hardware business. So he’s got 30 years of hardware background, including managing Keeler’s, so he can do pretty much almost anything. And we hire full-time or part-time handymen as staff too, so anytime someone is in the store, we have pretty good expertise in any area.”

The store hours are 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sundays. “That is one of the biggest differences between us and other stores. Most others close at noon or 1 p.m. on Sundays. We’re still there, and it allows that last-minute weekend guy to get his supplies if he’s still working on a project.”

Both men said there are thigns that definitely set them apart. “People can certainly go to Home Depot to buy things. Here, you have the option to have things delivered [for a slight extra charge] or we will load up your car. We really do try to help with friendly service all the way out to your car or home,” Sato said.

“Also, people aren’t limited by what they see on the shelves. Our warehouse has well over 80,000 SKUs. If they don’t see something, we can get it, and quickly. If people realized what they can actually get, they wouldn’t need to leave town for much at all.”

Monday Money Mob’ is GOOD Morning Wilton‘s weekly feature encouraging readers to shop local. Each week we select a Wilton retailer to highlight and ask you to consider shopping in that store that week. Let the retailer know you read about them on GMW.com