Business community gearing up for Cruise Night on Main

June 13, 2016

By: Larry McHugh

The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce is in the midst of an intense three week stretch, and I would like to take a moment to thank my terrific staff for their hard work and dedication, and our membership for its strong and unending support. The chamber’s sold out 2016 Golf Tournament, held on Friday, June 3rd at Portland Golf Course, was a very successful event. Our 2016 Annual Awards Dinner, held last Tuesday at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell, was enjoyed by a crowd of over 350 people, honored four outstanding Middlesex County citizens and three Middlesex County high school seniors, and marked the official passing of the chamber’s chairmanship from Middlesex Hospital CEO Vin Capece to Essex Savings Bank President Greg Shook. Finally, the week closed with the chamber’s Annual Real Estate Luncheon at Angelico’s Lake House in East Hampton which was attended by close to 100 of our member realtors and other professionals that work in the real estate industry. With a busy summer on the horizon, the chamber continues to be on the move.

Mattabesett Canoe Club at Harbor Park in Middletown will host a members-only Business After Work networking reception tonight from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. We expect a nice crowd for what is sure to be a fun night of late spring networking on the Connecticut River. Danny Cronin and his Canoe Club team will put out a great spread of food and drink, and the atmosphere on the water will undoubtedly be top notch. I would like to again thank Danny for hosting our group and for his ongoing support of our chamber. Also, be sure to save the date for our July Business After Work on July 18th at the Courtyard by Marriott in Cromwell, and our August event on August 16th at Water’s Edge Resort and Spa in Westbrook.

I look forward to serving as Master of Ceremonies at Lyman Orchards 275th anniversary celebration tomorrow in Middlefield. Owned and operated by the Lyman Family since 1741, Lyman Orchards is recognized as the 12th oldest family-owned business in America. For generations of Connecticut families and visitors, Lyman Orchards has been a year-round destination for great food, family fun, and championship golf. The Golf Center and Apple Nine courses are recognized among the country’s top facilities. The Apple Barrel Market is known as a favored destination for family fun and great food. The Lyman team has been commercially growing fruit on the same land overlooking the Connecticut River for over a century. Lyman Orchards is indeed Connecticut’s sweet spot, and we are so fortunate to have this historic institution in our region. I congratulate the Lyman family and their entire staff on this remarkable achievement, and certainly look forward to a great celebration.

Middletown’s 19th Annual Cruise Night On Main, powered by NAPA, will be held this Wednesday, June 15, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. In addition to the City of Middletown and the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, sponsors for this free annual downtown event include Title Sponsor, NAPA; Diamond Sponsors Jackson Chevrolet and Middletown Downtown Business District; Gold Sponsors Apple Rehab, Liberty Bank, and the Flood Law Firm, Silver Sponsors AAA and Serv Pro of Middletown & New Britain, and Bronze Sponsors First & Last Tavern and Middletown Area Transit. Additional sponsors include: Lyman Orchards, Middlesex Music Academy and All American Productions. Assisting at the event is The Eastern Chapter Over the Hill Gang Car Club and the Connecticut Military Car Club. Hundreds of cars are expected to line both sides of Middletown’s scenic Main Street from Washington Street to the South Green. Free parking for the evening will be available at the MiddleOak Corporate Center Garage on College Street, Melilli Parking Arcade, accessible from Washington and Court Streets. Upper Court and William Street will be closed for vendors. Main Street will be closed between Washington Street down to the South Green with vintage cars for viewing and band entertainment. Music and food, combined with the array of pre-1991 classic vehicles, will make this a family-friendly and fun event for everyone. Entertainment includes an All American Productions Fashion Show, WMRD / WLIS Radio who will be in front of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce playing oldies music, and live bands including Sharades Band who will be playing music from the 50’s/60’s/70’s at the Showmobile, and The Aquatudes who will be playing 50’s & 60’s music in front Riverview Center. Over the Hill Gang Car Club DJ will be located by Brew Bakers, spinning tunes from the 50’s and 60’s; and WCNX Radio will be in the Gazebo on the South Green, playing oldies and Beach Ball Trivia. Sponsor awards will be announced at approximately 8:00 p.m. The Awards include Best In Show Award – Powered by NAPA, Veteran’s Choice Award – presented by Jackson Chevrolet, Main Drag Award - presented by Middletown Downtown Business District, Liberty’s Choice Award - presented by Liberty Bank, Apple Rehab Choice Award – presented by Apple Rehab, AAA Diamond Award - presented by AAA Cromwell, The Sparkling Clean Award – presented by Servpro of Middletown & New Britain and Mayor’s Choice Award- presented by Mayor Dan Drew. This event will benefit Middletown youth programs, including the Hal Kaplan Middletown Mentor Program, Middletown Recreation Programs, and the Middletown Summer Youth Employment Program. I want to take a moment to thank all of our sponsors and supporters, along with our Car Cruise Planning Committee for their hard work and dedication. I especially want to thank NAPA President & General Manager Geoff Watson, and District Manager Scott Fulton, for their strong support of this major event. NAPA is a terrific local corporate citizen and we appreciate the fact that they have gotten more active with our chamber in recent years. Please join us downtown on Wednesday night for what is sure to be an outstanding 19th Annual Cruise Night on Main.

The chamber’s June Member Breakfast Meeting is scheduled for next Monday, June 20th at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell. We are excited to welcome University of Connecticut Athletic Director David Benedict as guest speaker. The Member Breakfast Meeting, sponsored by First Niagara Bank, will begin with networking at 7:00 a.m., breakfast buffet will be served at 7:30 a.m., and the meeting program will run from 8:00-9:00 a.m. David Benedict most recently served as the Chief Operating Officer for the athletics department at Auburn University, and also enjoyed successful stints at Minnesota, Virginia Commonwealth, Long Beach State, and Arizona State. We look forward to David’s visit to our Member Breakfast Meeting, and I want to once again thank our friends at First Niagara Bank for sponsoring the event. First Niagara New England Regional President Jeff Hubbard will introduce our guest speaker, and will offer remarks on behalf of the bank. Jeff is a longtime supporter and friend of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, and we look forward to seeing him again next Monday in Cromwell.

Immediately following the Member Breakfast Meeting with Dave Benedict, the First Niagara Seminar Series will continue with a session on cyber security titled, “The Evolving Risks of Cyber Liability.” This important seminar will address cyber risks, emerging concerns in the cyber area, and the best practices for dealing with data breaches, network and information security, and privacy liability. Cyber security is a critical issue to the business community, and protecting vital networks and business assets is of the utmost importance. I encourage our members to take this issue seriously, and to consider joining us for this important workshop. Our members and staff look forward to a busy morning on June 20th.

Monday, June 20th is also the date of the 2016 Middlesex County Spring Career Fair. This event, to be held from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Radisson, will feature close to 50 employers and hundreds of job seekers. Professional Resume Writers will be on site to assist in the development of resumes and cover letters. The chamber is proud to partner with the Connecticut Department of Labor and Workforce Alliance on this important event which is designed to connect highly skilled and qualified job seekers with employment opportunities available in our region. The Middlesex County Career Fair has a long history of providing a cost-effective, results-oriented career fair for attending employers. We expect a number of terrific companies from a wide variety of industry sectors to join us on June 20th. I want to take a moment to thank the Department of Labor and Workforce Alliance for not only their support of the Middlesex County Career Fair, but for their longtime support of workforce development in our state. For an updated list of companies attending the event, please visit the CT. Department of Labor website.

I want to close by recognizing and offering best wishes to our friend Joe Vinci. Joe is 104 years old, and he was recently observed mowing his lawn with his John Deere tractor. Joe Vinci is a wonderful man and an inspiration to all of us. Keep it going Joe!

For more information on chamber events and activities, please visit www.middlesexchamber.com.

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