The Swap Shop at the Darien Transfer Station and Recycling Center is opening Monday for the first time since the pandemic closed it, town officials have announced, and they’ve explained why the shop won’t be open on Saturdays yet.
The town Department of Public Works announced that the Swap Shop will now be open Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
DPW Director Edward Gentile said in an email Thursday that “the additional hours and days could be expanded further to include more hours and even Saturdays once we are back open and running during the week,” he said in an email Thursday. “The crowds have been larger and volunteers fewer. […] We are always looking for volunteers.”
He said the idea for keeping the Swap Shop closed on Saturdays came from Craig Flaherty, chairman of the town Advisory Committee on Sustainability. Flaherty returned a phone call asking for comment late on Friday.
And, from what Flaherty said, Gentile’s comment about a low number of volunteers and high number of people going to the Swap Shop on Saturdays was, in fact, the reason it was staying closed on that day:
“The Swap Shop, I think, is a victim of its own success,” Flaherty said. “It’s extremely popular on Saturdays, and that could lead to traffic and safety concerns.” He pointed out that the Swap Shop is near the entrance to the dump.
“The volunteers have told me they’d like to first go to Monday-through-Friday before going back to Saturdays again, just based on […] controlling that volume safely.”
Gentile said that as more volunteers are found or come forward to staff the Swap Shop, it could open later.