Middletown to celebrate grand opening of Cooking Co. eatery

October 23, 2017

By: Larry McHugh

The autumn season is moving right along in Middlesex County, and the chamber team continues to be on the move.

Another busy week for the chamber team features two important division meetings, an exciting grand opening celebration, and a number of other events and activities.

Our Westbrook Division will hold its October meeting on Tuesday morning at Vista Life Innovations at 8:00 a.m. The Westbrook Division continues to keep us in tune to what is happening on the ground in this important chamber member town. We look forward to another productive meeting on the shoreline.

On Tuesday afternoon, I look forward to meeting with my fellow executives from Connecticut’s eight metro chambers of commerce in New Haven. The metro chambers collectively represent thousands of businesses in our state, and these meetings always feature productive discussions about collaboration and joint advocacy for the business community. I am sure the continuing state budget negotiations will be the main topic of conversation at this important meeting.

I am excited to announce that the chamber’s Women’s Leadership Initiative Committee will meet on Wednesday morning at the chamber office. The Women’s Leadership Initiative is the premier regional resource for women to engage in important personal and professional development. This initiative helps women build relationships, educate themselves and others, work on personal well-being, and inspire & empower those around them. The committee, staffed by chamber vice president Johanna Bond, will meet at 8:30 a.m. in the chamber conference room.

Later in the day on Wednesday, The Cooking Company will hold a Grand Opening Celebration at its new Main Street location in Middletown. Sue Bauer, owner and creator, has a passion for food, and wants to continue to share this passion with the Middlesex business community. The Cooking Company already has locations in Haddam and Killingworth, and they are both unique and popular spots for to-go lunches, dinners, desserts and catering. The Cooking Company has been recognized and awarded as one of the best take-out food markets along the shoreline, and every fresh prepared dish and item on the menu is available for take-out as well as casual dine-in. I look forward to welcoming Sue Bauer and the entire Cooking Company team to Middletown, and wish them continued success as we move forward.

Thursday morning features a trip to East Haddam for the October meeting of the chamber’s East Haddam and Haddam Division. This 8 a.m. meeting, hosted by The Goodspeed Opera House, will feature candidates for First Selectman in Haddam and East Haddam. We look forward to a civil and productive discussion between the business communities and the candidates for public office in these two important member towns.

Looking ahead to Friday, the Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council (MCSAAC) will hold its 27th Annual Meeting at The deKoven House in Middletown beginning at 7:30 a.m. Established in 1991, MCSAAC is a council of the Business Industry Foundation of Middlesex County, a 501(c)3 nonprofit founded by the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce. It is designed to reduce the incidence of alcohol and other drug abuse in Middlesex County. Director Betsey Chadwick, with support from Board President Tony Salvatore and the entire board, does a great job as she travels around the county pushing this critically important message. The Annual Meeting will feature keynote remarks from Jonathan A. Pohl, PhD, CCSU Health Services in addition to the presentation of MCSAAC’s 2017 Annual Awards. We look forward to another terrific MCSAAC event.

Looking ahead to November, the chamber team is busy planning for our 16th Annual Support the Troops and Honor the Veterans Member Breakfast meeting, and our November Business After Work Networking Reception and annual Festival of Wreaths Silent Auction. The 16th Annual Support the Troops and Honor the Veterans Member Breakfast Meeting, sponsored by Middlesex Hospital, will feature Colonel Christopher H. Beckert, Director at Center for Strategic Leadership at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, PA., as Keynote Speaker. Colonel Beckert, the son of past chamber Chairman John Beckert, has a terrific military resume which includes among a number of other distinctions, service as Aide-de-Camp for the Commanding General at Fifth Corps in Heidelberg, Germany, and as Strategic Advisor for Leader Development in the Pentagon to the 36th and 37th Army Chiefs of Staff. We look forward to welcoming Chris back to Middlesex County, and are certainly excited about his remarks. Each year as a key component of this event, the chamber presents the prestigious William J. Pomfret Veteran Community Service Award to a local Veteran of the United States Armed Forces, in recognition of his or her distinguished service to the citizens of Connecticut and selfless commitment to public service. I am proud to announce that this year’s winner is Thomas Goglia of Middletown. Tom Goglia is a proud veteran who served our country with distinction. He also has a remarkable record of community service and is a deserving recipient of this prestigious award. We look forward to honoring him at this year’s Support the Troops & Honor the Veterans Member Breakfast Meeting on November 6th. I will continue to share important details about the Support the Troops and Honor the Veterans Member Breakfast Meeting as we approach this major event.

The chamber team is also gearing up for our November Business After Work Networking Reception and annual Festival of Wreaths Silent Auction on Wednesday, November 8th, for members and their guests at the Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station in Haddam.  The Riverhouse team always puts out a delicious spread of food and drink, and this event always features outstanding networking and a huge crowd.  The highlight of the evening will be the Festival of Wreaths Silent Auction featuring beautifully decorated artificial wreaths which will be displayed for viewing and bidding until the auction closes at 6:45 p.m.  The funds that are raised from the auction will benefit the Annual Holiday on Main Street, presented by Pratt & Whitney, and the Hal Kaplan Middletown Mentor Program.  Liberty Bank donated the artificial wreaths for chamber member businesses to decorate, and we certainly appreciate that. We look forward to a fun evening in Haddam on November 8 from 5-7 p.m., and I thank Jim Bucko and the entire Riverhouse team for once again hosting this outstanding annual event.

I must close this week’s chamber column on a sad note after the recent passing of Diana Tine. Diana was a terrific woman who inspired all of those who knew her. She was an outstanding businesswoman, a community volunteer and someone who really did so much for so many. I first met Diana and her husband Ted in the 1970’s during my time at Xavier High School and with the Mercy/Xavier Development Corp which they both supported. In the 1980’s, Diana approached me about getting more involved with the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, and we are so fortunate that she did, as we are a better chamber because of her. Diana was the owner and operator of Diana Tine Hair and Color Designers which was a state of the art beauty spa located in Middletown which featured expert hair care, makeup, wardrobe consultations, massage and body treatments and more. She served on our Board of Directors, was active with our Central Business Bureau, and even played “Mrs. Claus” during the Holiday on Main Street activities. We were so pleased to honor her with the chamber’s Distinguished Citizen Award in 2002. If there was ever an accurate description of Diana Tine, it is distinguished citizen. In addition to the chamber, Diana supported a number of other community initiatives including St. Jude’s Children Hospital, “Warm the Children” and American Cancer Society’s “Look Good, Feel Better” program. In recognition of her outstanding dedication to human relations, Diana was honored with awards from Dale Carnegie seminars, and has also been recognized as a “Who’s Who Honored Professional.” More importantly than all of this however, Diana was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a sister and a friend to so many. She was a woman of love, peace, honesty, high integrity, courage and grit. Our thoughts and prayers are with her children, Ted, Kim, Robin and Michele, their spouses, Diana’s grandchildren, and her vast network of family and friends at this difficult time. Diana Tine will be missed by many

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