MILFORD — In an effort to ensure two new businesses are able to move into Milford Plaza, City Council on Monday unanimously approved an additional free-standing sign in front of the U.S. 113 shopping center.
James Grant — a representative from Tsionas Management, which owns Milford Plaza — said that for Aldi and Marshalls to open sites in the plaza, he is moving Sherwin-Williams a few storefronts away, to the former Sears location.
He said Sherwin-Williams will move its location under two conditions within its letter of intent: that it have a dedicated sign and that the plaza pays for the move.
“Basically, (Sherwin-Williams) got us between a rock and hard place,” Mr. Grant said. “If we don’t move Sherwin-Williams, we don’t get Aldi. If we don’t get Aldi, we don’t get Marshalls.”
Mr. Grant said representatives from Aldi are already in discussion with the plaza about leasing the former Save A Lot location and the Sherwin-Williams’ location next door, if the paint store agrees to move.
Marshalls may move into the former Peebles/Gordmans location, if Aldi agrees to open in the plaza, he said.
While Mr. Grant said Marshalls is not confirmed, he noted that the store’s representatives have indicated they would like to see a site in Milford.
“We’ve got a real positive response from them,” he said. “They want to be in a center where there’s an Aldi, there’s a Planet Fitness, and there’s no competition anywhere near Milford for a clothing store.”
Neither Aldi nor Marshalls will require additional signage if they move into the plaza, Mr. Grant said.
While the additional sign has received a favorable recommendation from the city’s Planning Commission, there was one objection from a commission member about adding another sign to the area. However, City Engineer James Puddicombe said residents who live within 200 feet of the center were notified of the potential new sign.
Noting that the additional sign will be installed in a commercial area, Councilman Todd Culotta spoke in favor of it to ensure the city gets new businesses.
“I think something to remember here is you can see the domino effect of this decision,” Councilman Culotta said. “A lot of your better brands want things like this, and speaking myself as a contractor, Sherwin-Williams is a vital store in Milford.”
Milford resident Nina Pletcher asked why Sherwin-Williams is requiring a new sign, when the store’s location is moving just down the street.
“They’re not moving across the street or into another part of Milford. Why does it have to go away from where it is?” Ms. Pletcher said. “I’m just asking. This isn’t a pro or con. I’m just asking, and I understand the domino benefit of obliging them, but (a sign) is already in place. If I’m going there to look for Sherwin-Williams, I’m just going to drive up and down (the plaza) until I find it anyway.”
Mr. Grant explained that when Sherwin-Williams stores are in a lease and are asked to move, representatives at the corporate level tend to go to the landlord and “ask for everything.”
“The front of the Sears, we usually don’t touch the outside of the facade,” Mr. Grant said. “I have to redo the whole entire facade. I have to do the whole entire fit-out of the inside of the store. This is one of the requests that (Sherwin-Williams) is asking for in the (letter of intent) for them to move.”
Mr. Grant added that Sherwin-Williams could decide not to move if the plaza does not meet the requirements.
Councilman Andrew Fulton said residents have requested a food store after Save A Lot closed.
“We should really be focusing on what citizens have asked for in the past,” he said.
Councilman Fulton said he does not want Milford to be overrun with signs, but he understands the logic behind the request from Sherwin-Williams.
Mr. Grant agreed.
“They want that sign right in front of their store, so they know exactly where to find Sherwin-Williams,” he said.
Councilwoman Katrina Wilson also voiced her support for potential new stores.
“I could barely contain myself at the thought of Marshalls coming and Aldi,” she said. “I’m also happy that Sherwin-Williams would definitely agree to be moved. Because they’re agreeing, we should definitely try to accommodate them with whatever they need. We’re happy to have had Sherwin-Williams all these years and just happy that there’s going to be some new stores to come and fill those vacant spaces.”