One resident fondly remembers the creaking sound the wood floor used to make. Countless others will never forget the familiar faces of a family-owned business that supplied Milford residents and businesses with goods and services for more than a century.
We're talking about Harrison's Hardware, of course - the landmark building at 36 Broad Street in .
A Brief History
The store opened in October 1907 as Harrison and Gould. It grew over the years and, in time, brought in new merchandise and services and diversified its customer base to meet both changing demand and to compete in an evolving economy. That's how Richard Miller, one of the longtime owners, relates it in a Q&A published in 2000 on ConnTact.
Miller joined forces with Ace Hardware in Harrison's later years to gain greater buying power amidst the birth of big box competitors like Home Depot and Lowe's. But, eventually, the business met its demise when, in 2006, a fire in the building left the store flooded from the sprinkler system.
Today, the 15,000-square-foot structure, ripe with code issues, is essentially unusable in its current state.
The Building's Future
Harrison's has remained vacant since that fire, for more than five years. There was a glimmer of hope last year when Ace Hardware expressed an interest in possibly reopening there. At that time, in May, Milford Economic Development Commissioner Robert Stanton told the Connecticut Post:
"This is not an area of focus for them; they are concentrating on other parts of the country. But there is interest. There are current ACE franchise holders who are interested."
A reader responded to that article by stating in a comment:
“How will Ace compete with Home Depot or Lowes? Seems like a better idea would be to gut the building, and set up a restaurant in it, or divide it into smaller shops.”
Asked in April of last year what would be a good use for the space, Milford Patch reader said: "I would like to see a green grocer, something like a mini Glorias or a Trader Joes!"
We pose the question to you again: what would you like to see open at the former Harrison's Hardware store?