PLAINVILLE - Town and Chamber of Commerce leaders congratulated U-Haul Tuesday for its renovation of the former General Electric building on New Britain Avenue.
Pete Sciortino, owner’s representative for U-Haul in Connecticut, said U-Haul bought the building in 2016 as it was looking to expand.
“Our previous location in New Britain was about one acre and this site is more like 14 and a half acres,” said Sciortino. “This is a full-time U-Haul location, where you can rent trucks of all sizes and storage units as well as packing materials and boxes and anything else a do-it-yourself mover could need.”
Sciortino said U-Haul is a household name. He said the goal now is just to let people know it’s in town.
“There are 25 brands of tissues but people still call them Kleenex. We’re the same way for moving companies,” he said. “We can advise people who are looking to move and help them get everything they need to do it.”
Sciortino said that Mark Devoe, Plainville’s director of planning and economic development, helped U-Haul through the permitting process. He called the town a “good match.”
In Plainville, U-Haul employs 10 to 15 people in its corporate office and eight to 10 people at its main sales center.
U-Haul now has more than 20 trucks in its lot and will have more than double that come fall, when many people will be going to Florida or back to college, Sciortino said. There is also a space for indoor RV vehicle storage.
U-Haul has 450 storage units, ranging in size from 5 feet by 5 feet to 10 feet by 20 feet, and plans to expand to 1,500 units as the next phase of renovation continues, including a new entrance to the parking lot.
At Tuesday’s ceremonial ribbon cutting, Devoe said he was “in awe” of the renovations that have already been done.
“They’ve done a great job retrofitting it all,” he said. “U-Haul has also used a lot of local businesses and chamber members. They bought their windows from The Window Shop, their plumbing from Field Plumbing and their fencing from Eagle Fence & Guardrail.”
“Whenever we do a project like this, we try to reuse an existing space and use local vendors for the renovation,” said Levi Parmenter, district vice president for U-Haul.
“It’s nice that they have this big space in town with high visibility,” said Kathy Pugliese, chairwoman of the Town Council. “GE had been a hallmark of Plainville for many years, so it is nice to see this space repurposed. The fact that they used local contractors makes it even better.”
Jeff DiCosimo, chairman of the Plainville Chamber of Commerce, said the renovations were “absolutely beautiful” and that U-Haul has done a “great job.”
Tim Stewart, president of the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce, said U-Haul had done significant work in repurposing the old industrial building. He noted that many businesses have been making use of storage units in order to save money.
Val Dumais, chairman of the Plainville Economic Development Agency, presented U-Haul with an award for the project. State Rep. William Petit Jr., R-Plainville, presented a congratulatory citation on behalf of the General Assembly.
For more information on the Plainville U-Haul operation, call 860-517-8073.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.