Ring's End opens Stamford store, has plans for Westport, Fairfield
A venerable Darien-based home improvement supply company is expanding again with the opening of a paint store in Stamford and plans to open two others in Westport and West Haven.
Darien-based Ring's End has opened a paint store at the former Brandman's location at 921 High Ridge Road, where it has a full-time staff of four and plans to add more employees.
It also signed a lease to open a paint store at 879 Post Road East in Westport in May and expects to open another in West Haven in June, said Elliot Greenberg, vice president, sales and operations.
The opening of the 2,700-square-foot Stamford location and planned opening of the two others follows the establishment of a paint center at 87 Harvard Ave. in Stamford, the purchase of the Benjamin Moore Paint Center at 1640 Post Road in Fairfield, and the opening of a 10,000-square-foot space at 149 Westport Ave. in Norwalk -- all in the past two years.
The company was able to expand during the economic downturn and position itself for more growth because of its strong fiscal status, Greenberg said.
"We're family owned, and we're well capitalized, so we weren't taking on risk," he said, adding that Ring's End was able to obtain affordable rents because landlords were willing to negotiate.
The expansion has created 35 jobs, Greenberg said, noting that the company has 12 locations in Fairfield, Litchfield, New Haven and New London counties and Lewisboro, N.Y. The paint stores specialize in Benjamin Moore products.
"Harvard Avenue has done really well for us, but it's more of a commercial contractors' location," Greenberg said. "High Ridge Road is a different market. It's not easy for people in that area to get to Harvard Avenue. It (the High Ridge location) is more for homeowners and residential contractors."
The Westport location fills a void for Benjamin Moore in the area, he said, noting that Ring's End is the largest Benjamin Moore retailer in New England in terms of sales volume. It also will have four employees.
"We sprinkle our new hires with (current) Ring's End employees. We're adding employees across the business," Greenberg said, noting that the company has seven full-service lumber/home centers. "Lumber is still important."
Diversification of the business has been essential in its success, he said.
Ring's End plans to move its Fairfield store in June from 1640 Post Road to a 5,200-square-foot space in a shopping center at 1139 Post Road, which will be renamed Ring's End Plaza.
The company has benefited by being headquartered in affluent lower Fairfield County, but it also has succeeded by offering good service and products, said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners in New Canaan.
"It is very focused on its customer base," he said, adding that the company was smart to expand its paint business during the downturn because updating a home with fresh paint is less costly than taking on an addition or renovation project.
"The paint segment is the stronger part of home improvement now. It's the lipstick-and-rouge projects. People still want their houses to have good curb appeal."