MERIDEN — A vacant hardware store on East Main Street is being renovated into office space.
The Civali’s Hardware property that spans 1387-1391 E. Main St. is being readied for two or three offices, according to an ownership partner. The property is located next door to the Sundad Plaza
Tomarin Holdings LLC, of Cromwell, bought the 3,000 square foot building and an additional adjacent .37 acre vacant lot a year ago, according to city land records.
In addition to office space, the work will provide overflow parking to the Willow Brook medical marijuana dispensary at the Sundad Plaza, 1371 E. Main St. New signs near the new lot will direct patients to the dispensary, said Willow Brook Manager Mary Morgan, who is also listed in state business records as a partner with Tomarin Holdings.
“No, we’re not moving,” Morgan said about Willow Brook. “This is to provide extra parking when the plaza gets busy.”
Willow Brook Wellness, which opened in April 2019, was among nine new dispensaries approved in December 2019 for the state Department of Consumer Protection's medical marijuana program.
The hardware store has been vacant for several years.
Owner Alphonse Civali, who died in 2010, started the business nearly 50 years ago. With the arrival of national big box retailers, he found people coming to him for quality key making that they couldn't get at the larger stores. He also found a niche in lawnmower repair.
”The shop was cluttered, with dusty nuts, bolts and merchandise, and appeared as if only Civali knew how to find anything. If he couldn't, he'd send a customer to one of the chains,” the Record-Journal reported more than a decade ago.
City officials confirmed the owners had secured permits for renovations to the hardware store but were not aware of any future use. They have been working on securing more investor interest in the city’s east end and developed incentives for owners to develop commercial properties. It was unclear whether Tomarin had applied for any tax incentives.