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National retailer expanding to state amid pandemic, opening Wallingford showroom

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Wallingford — Even as many businesses around the country continue to feel the negative effects of the nearly yearlong coronavirus pandemic, a popular national home improvement company is expanding to Connecticut — and opening a showroom in town.

Maryland-based Window Nation will open a showroom at 1070 North Farms Road, company officials said last week. The Wallingford office will service all of Connecticut as well southwestern Massachusetts, according to a release.

Because of the pandemic, the showroom won't be open immediately. However, consumers for now will be able to view design options virtually and take advantage of contactless installation.

Retail industry experts and consultants said despite hurdles retail locations must clear to comply with COVID-19 protocols, the lucrative nature of the window replacement business makes having a showroom worth considering.

"The profit margins in window replacements is very high," said Burt Flickinger, managing director of New York City-based Strategic Resource Group. "But with the price of electricity going up over the next decade, it still makes sense for homeowners to do it."

Having a brick-and-mortar showroom that specializes in window replacement is likely to make Window Nation a more popular choice for homeowners than general interest home improvement retailers, Flickinger said.

"You can never find the right help in places like Home Depot and Lowe's," Flickinger said.

Tim Ryan, Wallingford's economic development specialist, said the space that Window Nation, the country's fifth-largest window replacement company, will occupy formerly was a storage facility for Home Depot.

"It's a place where they would keep overstocked items," Ryan said of Home Depot's use of the space.

David Cadden, a professor emeritus at Quinnipiac University's School of Business, said Window Nation's opening of a showroom in a new territory comes with a risk.

But, "If I'm offering more of a diversity of options than others businesses, it could be a successful niche market," Cadden said.

Wallingford-based Verna Properties is a new home builder, not a home remodeler. But Liz Verna, a principal in the family-owned business, said home improvements have gone up dramatically since the start of the pandemic.

"Some energy efficiency programs that are being offered by the state can reduce the cost of window replacements by half," Verna said. "That could be attractive to a company like this."

Window Nation has a presence in 15 regional markets around the country, but the Wallingford location is only the second in New England. The company serves the Boston area with a showroom in Norwood, Mass.

 

 

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