Stamford Home Depot opens
Roni Alam used to drive 6 miles to Norwalk to shop at his nearest big-box home-improvement store. Now the Stamford resident has found a much closer alternative.
The Home Depot opened Thursday an approximately 140,000-square-foot complex on Stamford’s West Side, its 29th location in Connecticut. The debut at 1925 W. Main St. near the Greenwich line drew Alam and hundreds of other customers keen to visit the city’s first big-box home-improvement establishment, a project about a decade in the making.
“This location is very convenient,” Alam, 27, a resident of Stamford’s Glenbrook section, said in an interview after buying some plants and other garden products. “I think this store has a lot of potential. I expect that I will be coming here a lot.”
In recent years, Stamford-based customers like Alam have accounted for a large portion of the clientele at Home Depot’s stores in Norwalk and Port Chester, N.Y. Atlanta-based Home Depot said the demand from a growing city warranted the launch of the firm’s only new American location this year.
“A huge part of the (Norwalk) customer base was coming from Stamford, both contractors and consumers,” said Steve Brandi, the Stamford store manager, who worked in the same position for the past 11 years at the Norwalk store, on Connecticut Avenue. “I’m walking around today, and it’s like saying hi to family members, with everybody that I’ve seen from Norwalk who lives here in Stamford.”
Billing itself as the world’s largest home-improvement retailer, Home Depot operates more than 2,200 stores across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Other area stores are in Bridgeport, Danbury, Derby, Fairfield, Orange, Stratford and Trumbull.
Bearing Home Depot’s signature orange signage, the new store carries more than 40,000 items in stock in a structure whose interior resembles an aircraft hangar. The building houses several hubs, including showrooms for appliances, doors and windows, a paint desk, a design center where customers can consult with staff on home projects, a “pro service” department for contractors and a tool-rental outlet.
An approximately 30,000-square-foot garden center adjoins the main building. The site holds 588 parking spaces.
“I’m so happy this store got there — I was watching the construction every day,” said Liz White, who lives on the neighboring Spruce Street.
Reflecting a companywide push to embed new technology into customer service, the Stamford complex includes features such as self-serve checkouts and in-store navigation with Home Depot’s app. Customers can pick up items ordered online from lockers stationed in the front of the store.
“If a customer is coming in to find something, and for some reason we don’t stock it, it’s easy for our associates to look on homedepot.com, and be able to find those items,” Brandi said. “There are computers located at the ends of aisles — all that enables the associate to help the customer in the aisle.”
The new Home Depot will employ about 270, with Stamford residents comprising about 80 percent of the new hires. In total, Home Depot employs about 400,000.
Years in the making
Home Depot’s new store stands next to a Stop & Shop store and a research lab for Cytec Specialty Chemicals, and a few hundred yards from a ShopRite outlet.
The store’s lot sold for $14.5 million in July 2016 to an affiliate of Stamford-based Steven Wise Associates and Norwalk-based Spinnaker Real Estate Partners. The deal followed Steven Wise Associates’ and Spinnaker’s acquisition six years earlier of Cytec’s building for $11 million.
Stamford’s zoning board approved the project in 2015. As a condition of its backing, the board directed the developers to contribute $500,000 to roadway upgrades.
The zoning board’s list of requirements included a new driveway that would align with the West Main Street-Harvard Avenue intersection and the replacement of an existing traffic-signal controller at that junction.
Home Depot had submitted an earlier proposal for the site. The company sued Cytec for breach of contract in 2009, after attempting to acquire the West Main Street property for the proposed store. Neighbors challenged the redevelopment because they said it would overburden the surrounding roads with more traffic.
But those disputes would be overcome with Steven Wise Associates’ and Spinnaker’s purchase of the site and the zoning board’s approval of the project.
“Stamford was the right location to allow Home Depot to serve the home renovation needs of the residents in the area,” said Thomas Madden, Stamford’s economic development director.
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