May 21, 2018
By: Larry McHugh
The chamber calendar continues to be packed with events and activities as Memorial Day approaches in our great nation.
However, before diving into some of the exciting news of the week, I want to begin this week’s column by congratulating Malloves Jewelers who recently celebrated an amazing 90 years in business. Malloves has a rich history that began in 1928, and it has been a staple of downtown Middletown ever since. Its current President & Owner, Marc Levin, has led Malloves since 1992. Before Marc, the store was under the leadership of his grandfather Max and his great uncle Joseph Levine from 1938 until Max’s death in 1940. After Max’s death, Marc’s father Buzzy Levin began working at the store at the age of 13. During Buzzy’s senior year of high school, he decided to stay on with the family business, despite having a try-out with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Buzzy Levin officially bought the business from his mother Beatrice and Uncle Joe in 1957. He ran Malloves with distinction and honor before officially handing the reins to Marc in 1992. Since the beginning, Malloves Jewelers has been known as an outstanding family business and a strong corporate citizen. Buzzy was a strong supporter of me and of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce for many years. He was a great businessman but an even better person. Marc is a chip off the old block, and he has continued this tradition of conducting good, and honest business in downtown Middletown, all while supporting the community they love. I am very proud of Marc and thank him and his team for their continued support of our chamber and for their continued dedication to Middletown. I congratulate them on 90 terrific years, and wish them many more years of success.
As was previously noted, the chamber calendar continues to be packed with a number of exciting events and activities. This week features meetings of our Westbrook Division, Cruise Night on Main Planning Committee, All Middletown Division, Women’s Leadership Collaborative, East Haddam & Haddam Division, and MCSAAC Advisory Board. The All Middletown Division, which will be held on Wednesday morning at Wadsworth Mansion, will feature Liberty Bank President Chandler Howard and Chief Financial Officer Tom Pastorello who will give an update on the massive renovation project for its new, 90,000 square-foot Corporate Headquarters set on 23 acres at 245 Long Hill Road in Middletown. While maintaining its commitment to the downtown area and the city’s communities, Liberty Bank plans to transition over 300 employees to its new home in late 2018. I thank Chandler and Tom for taking the time to attend this meeting and brief our members on this very exciting project. We look forward to a very productive meeting.
The marquee event of this busy week is our Business After Work Networking Reception on Thursday evening from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat in Essex. This annual event, which has become quite popular with our members, will feature a terrific spread of food, drink and as always, the best networking around. The Valley Railroad Company, which operates the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, has been serving the lower Connecticut River Valley since 1971. Their unique facilities and programs attract visitors from all over the state and the northeast region. In fact, Essex Steam Train and Riverboat is one of the top tourist attractions in Connecticut. We are very proud of the work that Kevin Dodd and the entire team is doing to make sure that Middlesex County continues to be a great place to live, work, and play. Our membership and staff certainly looks forward to the Business After Work event on Thursday evening.
Looking ahead to next week, the chamber is excited to welcome Joanne Lipman as guest speaker at a Special Member Luncheon on Wednesday, May 30, 2018, at the Red Lion Hotel Cromwell. Ms. Lipman is a Best Selling Author, Former Editor in Chief of USA Today and USA Today Network, and former Chief Content Officer of Gannett. In addition to providing keynote remarks, she will be on hand to sign copies of her latest book “THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together.” The event, sponsored by DATTCO, Inc. will begin at 11:30 a.m. and will conclude at 1:00 p.m. In this interesting new book, Lipman broadens the conversation beyond the current focus on sexual harassment to examine the crisis in our wider workplace culture. Cost for chamber members to attend the event is $26.00, and to attend the luncheon and purchase a book is $51.00. Cost for non-members to attend the event is $36.00, and to attend the luncheon and purchase a book is $61.00. Joanne Lipman began her career as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, ultimately rising to deputy managing editor—the first woman to attain that post—and supervising coverage that won three Pulitzer Prizes. Subsequently, she was founding Editor-in-Chief of Portfolio magazine and portfolio.com, which won Loeb and National Magazine Awards. Her recent speaking engagements on women's issues include the Aspen Ideas Festival, the World Economic Forum in Davos, and Women in Cable Television's national leadership conference, which she keynoted with Katie Couric. This event is sponsored by our friends at DATTCO, and we certainly appreciate the strong and enduring support of Don DeVivo and his team. For more information on this exciting chamber event, please visit www.middlesexchamber.com.
Immediately following next Wednesday’s Member Luncheon, our Tourism Steering Committee will host a bus tour of Middlesex County’s Hidden Gems along the beautiful lower Connecticut River Valley. Also sponsored by DATTCO, the tour will be held from 1-5:30 p.m. aboard a luxurious double decker bus. The first stop will be at CT River Museum in Essex, followed by a stop at the Riverwind Inn LLC in Deep River. Attendees will then travel to East Haddam for a stop at the Goodspeed Opera House Costume Storage Shop & Scene and Paint Shop, before rounding out the tour at Nehemiah Brainerd House Bed and Breakfast in Haddam. This is a great opportunity for our members and other interested parties to take a behind the scenes tour at each stop along the way, and experience some of the terrific attractions that this beautiful area has to offer. There is no fee to participate thanks to the support of DATTCO. To close out the day, the group will engage in a Pub Crawl on Main Street, Middletown, and will visit several unique restaurants and bars in the downtown district. This chamber will continue to promote tourism as a key economic driver for our area, and will continue to promote all of our important attractions. For more information on the tour, please visit www.middlesexchamber.com.
One of the most important events that the chamber holds every year is our Annual Awards Dinner. This year’s event is scheduled for Wednesday, June 6, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Red Lion Hotel in Cromwell. Each year at this event, the chamber presents a series of Distinguished Citizen Awards to deserving individuals who serve as an inspiration to others, and are recognized by the Middlesex community as unselfishly giving his or her time and talent to produce a lasting benefit to the area. The Distinguished Citizen Committee chose the recipients from a list of over 230 nominees. The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce proudly announces that the 2018 recipients of the Distinguished Citizen Award are: Steve Gorss, Carter Gowrie, and Richard & Joan Tomc. Once again, our Distinguished Citizen Committee has chosen four outstanding individuals. In addition to the Distinguished Citizen Awards, the chamber also presents the Michael L. Green Award which is presented annually to a member of the police or fire community for his or her outstanding service to the community and to the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce. The 2018 recipient of the Michael L. Green Award is Gary Wallace of the Middletown Police Department. Each of these deserving recipients are committed to making Middlesex County a better place to work and live, and we are extremely proud of all of them. I will have much more on our Annual Dinner and its honorees as we get closer, but members should be sure to save the date.
In addition to the chamber’s Annual Awards Dinner, June in Middlesex County is of course synonymous with the Travelers Championship. The 2018 Travelers Championship is scheduled for June 18-24 at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell. I am happy to announce that discounted tickets for the 2018 Travelers Championship are once again available through the chamber. All tickets available are general admission “Grounds” tickets. Cost is $30.00 per ticket, a 38% savings on the gate price for “Grounds” admission. As I have noted many times, we are so lucky to have the Travelers Championship in our region. It is a major economic generator and tourist destination which is very important to our hotels and area businesses. We are also excited to welcome PGA Pro Keegan Bradley to Middlesex County for our 2018 Travelers Championship Member Breakfast Meeting which is scheduled for Tuesday, June 19. I will have much more on the tournament and the breakfast as we draw closer, and fans interested in buying discounted tickets for the tournament can contact the chamber office or visit www.middlesexchamber.com.
The summer is fast approaching, the weather is heating up, and the chamber is on the move.