Village Hardware store is New Fairfield institution

NEW FAIRFIELD -- When New Fairfield's Village Hardware store celebrated its grand opening April 8, 1960, a flyer boasted "Free Baseball Bat with Every $5 Purchase."

It wasn't hard to load up on $5 worth of items that day. The flyer said shoppers could find, among other things, a "complete selection of interior and exterior paints," lawn equipment, and "plywood and complete hardware supplies."

Forty-nine years later, baseball bats are nowhere to be found, although the store is stocked with everything from canning wax to decorative lawn items and home gifts.

The new offerings are provided by
Leslie Churchill , Tracy Wright and Gretchen Garde , owners of Three Sisters Home Décor. Churchill and Wright are married to the store's newest proprietors, Dan Churchill and Steve Wright.

Besides all the above, there are fishing tackles and gas grills, a pellet stove and dry corn.

The store's manager and former owner, Doug Disarro , said the store's most requested items are plumbing and paint supplies.

New Fairfield resident Norman Roy comes to the store at least once a month.

"It's close in town," he said, "and I like the individual service."

Resident Rich Volant also comes in regularly. He said he does so, "mostly because it's local and they have everything I need. Unlike most places, they actually take care of their customers. They have good service."

Romero Corbell, another town resident, has been a customer about 14 years.

In the past he bought carpeting and wood flooring. On his recent visit he was buying contractor bags, or heavy-duty garbage bags.

"I don't have to go out of my way to buy these things," he said as he engaged in friendly chatter with co-owner Steve Wright.

Wright and Mitchell bought the business from Disarro in 2007.

Disarro bought it from his dad, Dom. Dom Disarro owned the store from 1981 to 1995, after buying it from Charlie Rankin.

Rankin, who ran the store from 1979 to 1981, bought it from Earl Taylor.

Taylor, who passed away in February, opened the business in 1960. Then, as now, Village Hardware was housed in the former Chase home, which at more than 150 years old is one of the oldest buildings in New Fairfield.

It was moved to its present site after it was purchased by investors in the mid-1950s and became part of the New Fairfield Shopping Center . Adjacent to it was a newspaper/variety store.

According to Doug Disarro, his father "broke through that store, closed it, and we expanded."

In a March 10, 1982, newspaper interview, Dom Disarro said, "The best thing about owning the store is just helping people. Everything is on a personal level. We know most of the customers by name. We're not afraid to spend time with a customer. Service is what keeps it going."

Service is important to the current owners, too.

Mitchell, who also owns American Power Washing in New Fairfield, was asked about the No. 1 difference between Village Hardware and the big-box stores.

"Service, without a doubt," he said. "You don't have to look for help. It's right there. Service is everything."

"Sometimes, if we don't stock what a customer needs, we can special-order it. We do a lot of special orders for gas grills, lawn mowers and specialized light bulbs," said Wright, who also has another job.

"It's just another part of the personalized service we and our four employees offer. We work with the customer and we're happy to do that."

Village Hardware, located in the New Fairfield Shopping Center at the junction of routes 37 and 39, is open Mondays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call (203) 746-9331.۩