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Plumbing supply business to move into former Norwich Benny's store

Norwich — A Bedford, Mass.,-based wholesale plumbing supply company plans to purchase the former Benny’s building at 33 New London Turnpike to use as a distribution center and warehouse.

FW Webb Company filed a zoning permit application Friday to renovate the 20,900-square-foot former Benny’s home goods store and auto service center into a wholesale plumbing supply center. Plans also call for a large fenced-in outdoor storage area in the left front third of the parking lot and offices to be placed in the former auto service area in the right portion of the building.

Since FW Webb also has a bright red logo and color, the company will retain the red tiled façade that still bears the “Benny’s” name in its signature white script.

FW Webb Chief Operating Officer Robert Mucciarone said Monday the company plans to use 10,000 square feet as a self-serve wholesale supply area and the remaining 10,000 square feet as a warehouse to serve the company’s customers throughout the region.

“We have lots of customers in that area, and it’s a black hole area for us right now,” Mucciarone said.

FW Webb plans to purchase the building, which was acquired by CGCT Norwich LLC in February 2018 after all the Benny’s stores closed. Mucciarone said there are no plans to bring a retail plumbing showroom to the Norwich location.

FW Webb has a wholesale and retail operation at 570 Vauxhall St. Ext. in Waterford. The company has locations throughout New England, New York, New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. The other Connecticut locations are in Hartford, Waterbury, Meriden, New Haven and Stamford.

Mucciarone said the company hopes to open the Norwich location later this year.

Deanna Rhodes, Norwich director of planning and neighborhood services, said the plan calls for improvements to the front parking lot, adding landscaped islands and improving lighting. The left third of the parking lot would be fenced off for storage, and Rhodes said the city will work with the company to improve the aesthetics of the proposal.

The 1970 Benny’s building is not historic, but the property sits in the newly designated Norwichtown Village District, which gives the city additional input on aesthetics of proposed development projects. Rhodes said the FW Webb plans submitted by Greenleaf Construction of Leominster, Mass., will be forwarded to design consultant Alain Munkittrick for review.

Plans show removing the dominant front display windows and replacing them with a metal front façade. Rhodes said the planning office wants to see the proposed color of the metal façade and would look for ways to “soften” the look of the building.

The Commission on the City Plan will have to approve development plans submitted in the Norwichtown Village District.

c.bessette@theday.com

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