Lyon & Billard expands offerings

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BERLIN — A longtime local hardware store is offering a new line of merchandise and services.

Lyon & Billard, at 1290 Farmington Ave., held a ribbon cutting Wednesday morning to celebrate its new Design & Kitchen and Bath Showroom Center and front façade.

“All in all, it was a good timely upgrade we really needed,” said Glenn Young, project consultant at the store.

Worked on from May 2016 to January, the new center, about 5,600 square feet in area, relocated from the store’s Middletown location, and includes new windows, doors, decking, roofing and siding as well as many other products used in homebuilding and remodeling.

The front façade features a new sign and a handicapped-accessible entrance, which was completed by customer contractors and used materials from the store’s suppliers, said Young. The selective contractors and materials are why the project took as long as it did, he added.

“Glad you guys are open again. It looks beautiful,” said Mayor Mark Kaczynski at the ribbon cutting. “Quality takes time.”

The center is also home to Lyon & Billard Cabinetry, which features custom-designed cabinetry from Kraftmaid, Mid Continent, Merrilate, Candlelight, Wellborn and Fabuwood.

Lyon & Billard will complete instillation of the cabinetry, while instillation of kitchen materials may be outsourced to contractors familiar to the store.

With the new design center came a reduction in the hardware store and a shift in focus to the design center.

“The hardware store certainly isn’t what it used to be,” said Young, explaining that being close to Home Depot and Lowe’s made it hard for a mom-and-pop store to have a successful hardware business.

“People can still come and get a little bit of plumbing material, electrical … light bulbs, little things like that,” said Young. “But that wasn’t a feasible, sustainable revenue stream.”

The hardware store section is now located beyond the showroom center and still contains items for sale to builder/contractors and DIY homeowners, along with True Value paint and accessories and special-order items.

Power equipment, including products from Stihl, Toro and ExMark, service on all major power equipment brands, propane refilling and key-making services are still available in the store. The lumberyard also remains.

“We’re so pleased that Lyon & Billard made such a huge investment to stay in the town of Berlin,” said Chris Edge, economic development director for the town. “They went from one of the less attractive buildings on Farmington (Avenue) to one of the most.”

Lyon & Billard, which was started in 1847 by John D. Billard & George W. Lyon, is now owned by Edd Goralnik. The store has other locations in Meriden, Cheshire, East Hampton and Plainfield. One of the sons of Goralnik, Lorne, works in the Berlin location.

For a chance to see more of the showroom center’s offerings, Lyon & Billard will host its annual home show at the Durham Fairgrounds on April 8 and 9. Admission and parking are free.