After years of watching businesses close up in this tough economy, the town of Wallingford is now seeing a construction boom along its Route 5 retail corridor.
"It's a sign that the economy is beginning to recover," said Doreen DeSarro, who is a business recruiter for Wallingford's Economic Development Commission.
If you're in the market for a new car, some of the dealerships that survived the economic downturn are now expanding.
Executive Auto Group opened a new Fiat dealership in February, after renovating the space left behind by a former Dodge dealership that closed down.
Renovations on a new showroom and service center are almost finished at a Chevrolet dealership owned by Valenti Auto Sales.
"Auto sales are turning around, they're turning slowly, but we wanted to start now so that we're prepared for the turnaround," said David Valenti, the dealership's owner.
Just up the road, construction is underway on a new strip mall that will be home to Naugatuck Savings Bank and other tenants by the end of the summer. Developer Robert Wiedenmann, of Sunwood Development Corporation, planned to build it years ago but put the project on hold because of the slow economy.
"We think it's a good opportunity to get in while prices are still down on construction costs and be ready for the market when it turns around," said Wiedenmann.
There are also renovations underway on another plaza, which is anchored by Chef's Equipment Emporium. The plaza will also include a fitness center, a specialty food market, and a wine store, according to DeSarro.
Elsewhere along Route 5, a new TD Bank just opened in front of the Stop and Shop supermarket.
A CVS pharmacy also opened on the former site of Merriam Motors in February.
"It's nice to see there's some confidence in the economy again and there's a hope that people are now getting jobs and finding positions that they weren't able to find before," said DeSarro.
In all, it's millions of dollars in new development that will bring much needed jobs and tax revenue to the town.
"It's going to be a slow climb out but we're moving in the right direction now," said Wiedenmann.
Besides the retail expansions, the town is also seeing a spike in the development of commercial and manufacturing properties as well, said DeSarro.