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Stanley Competitor Snap-on Tools Brings Nationwide Tour To New Britain

On any given day, The Stanley Works is the big daddy in tools in this town, aka the Hardware City.

But in America, competition has a way of sprouting just about everywhere, including in the hometown champ's backyard.

That was the case for Stanley on Tuesday and Wednesday, when Snap-on Tools, the Wisconsin-based toolmaker that competes with Stanley's Mac Tools unit, rolled into Papa's Chrysler- Dodge- Jeep on East Main, just past Stanley Street, with two tractor-trailers, a bright red, custom-built '57 Chevy and an elaborate display of tools for professional auto mechanics.

Snap-on has been touring the nation with its display for about a year, showing off an array of reciprocating saws, spring-loaded ratchet extensions, grease guns and giant orange tool storage boxes, some of which sell for more than $10,000.

New Britain was the tour's first Connecticut stop — and its only one.

Coincidence?

Yes, said Bob Nelson, Snap-on's general manager for the Northeast, who was offering tool tours Wednesday afternoon.

Stanley's presence "had nothing to do with it," he said matter-of-factly.

A local Snap-on franchise owner typically arranges space for tour pit-stops, according to Rick Secor, a Snap-on spokesman in Wisconsin. Snap-on has 40 franchises in Connecticut and 3,400 nationwide. Next stop: Syracuse.

Ken Papa of Papa's Chrysler was delighted when his Snap-on connection inquired about using a corner of the dealership's lot July 14 and 15. Wednesday coincided with Papa's monthly summer Classic Cruise Night, when car aficionados swing by in their antique cars and hot rods.

So what did Stanley think about Snap-on's party in New Britain?

Company spokesman Tim Perra said he hadn't realized Snap-on was in town, but he was full of praise for Papa's, which has operated in New Britain since 1947.

"The Papa family has always done a great job calling attention to their dealership," he said, "and we're proud to have Papa's as a New Britain business."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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