The little red house that looks like it was made with Lincoln Logs has been a fixture at 560 Main Street for decades. Longtime Stepney resident Lee Hossler remembers bringing his tablesaw blade there when it was a knife sharpening place. Prior to that, he said a builder had used it for a spec house.
Many may recall seeing life-sized bear carvings in front of the building when it was owned by a sculptor. A fence in the back with a variety of sections is from its days as a fence store.
Now ' stand-alone sign beckons drivers along Main Street. Valerie DiMiero of Monroe opened her business there last year, but the Monroe Economic Development Commission (EDC) and the Monroe Chamber of Commerce just celebrated its official grand opening on Friday afternoon.
"This is a true entrepreneurial endeavor," said Hossler, who is chairman of the EDC. "This is not a franchise. This is a privately owned business of a Monroe resident."
Chamber President Ray Giovanni said, "I think it's great to have another wonderful addition to the diverse mix of businesses we have in town. This is a unique business on Main Street."
First Selectman Steve Vavrek wielded a pair of over-sized scissors while doing the honors during a ribbon cutting ceremony held in front of the building.
"It's a very visible business on Route 25," Vavrek said. "She's opening for the right reasons. I think this business is going to stick here."
Both Vavrek and Giovanni said they like the fact that Junk Haulers plans to be involved in local charities. DiMiero said her business could lend its truck and give away items for charities to sell. She also plans to giveaway household items to families who lose their belongings due to tragedies.
Following a difficult divorce, DiMiero said she had once lost everything herself. But she pulled herself up by the bootstraps and went to school at nights, earning three Master's degrees.
DiMiero wants to host a lecture series at Edith Wheeler Memorial Library, educating people on how to get back on their feet during tough times.
"I want to pay it forward," she said.
DiMiero has two daughters, Caitlin, 10, who goes to Stepney Elementary School, and Taylor, 13. Taylor, a Jockey Hollow Middle School student, is a Student Ambassador representing Monroe. She will go to Greece, Italy and France with other deserving students throughout the state.
DiMiero's boyfriend, Bo Perini, and parents Charlie and Barbara Turecek attended Friday's ribbon cutting.