October 8, 2018
By: Larry McHugh
The Fall is moving right along in Middlesex County, and the chamber team continues to be on the move.
It is hard to believe, but the 2018 Election is now only four short weeks away. The chamber’s county based divisions host candidate forums every October so that our members have the opportunity to meet and greet the candidates for public office in our region. This year, we are welcoming candidates for all House and Senate seats in Middlesex County. Our Portland and East Hampton Division kicked off these forums last Wednesday in East Hampton, and the Chester, Deep River, and Essex Division met last Friday in Chester. We had a great turnout from candidates and chamber members at both of these meetings. The Durham and Middlefield Division meeting will take place this Wednesday at Lyman Orchards Golf Club in Middlefield, and the Cromwell Division meeting will take place on Thursday at the Red Lion Hotel. We look forward to fostering more productive dialogue between our candidates and our members as October moves along.
Speaking of the election, I look forward to attending a tourism focused Governor Candidate Forum at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford on Wednesday morning. This event, organized by the Connecticut Lodging Association, will feature remarks from Democratic Candidate, Ned Lamont, and Independent Candidate, Oz Griebel, on the health and future of tourism in Connecticut. This will be a great opportunity for stakeholders in the arts, tourism, and hospitality industries to hear first-hand how each candidate plans to incorporate tourism into their plans for a stronger Connecticut. Chamber Vice President Johanna Bond, who also serves as Executive Director of the Central Regional Tourism District, will join me for what is sure to be an interesting discussion on Wednesday. We will continue to stress that tourism is a key economic driver in our region and throughout Connecticut.
On the business development front, I look forward to joining Mayor Dan Drew and other city dignitaries at the Grand Opening of Perkatory Coffee Roasters on Main Street in the North End of Middletown. Perkatory Coffee Roasters specializes in providing beans for the freshest and best tasting cup of coffee. I would like to congratulate Joey and Johanna Perazella on a great job remodeling the space, and we wish them great success with this exciting new business. While Perkatory’s story is just getting started, Cromwell Martial Arts on Newfield Street in Middletown is celebrating 25 years in business with a celebration on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. I congratulate Frank Shekosky and his entire team on 25 terrific years of providing self-defense skills, improved fitness, self-confidence, self-discipline and increased awareness. Here’s to 25 more!
Looking ahead to next week, our Fall Membership Meet Up will be held on Tuesday, October 16 from 5-7:00 p.m. at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex. This event was developed with existing members and potential members in mind. We look forward to a great evening of networking, and ask that all interested parties come and learn about the benefits of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce. We also look forward to welcoming our kickoff speaker, Middlesex County native, Brad Galliette, who serves as Product Manager at Google NYC. For more information or to register online, please visit www.middlesexchamber.com.
Excitement also continues to build for our October Member Breakfast Meeting featuring UConn Head Men’s Basketball Coach Dan Hurley which is right around the corner. Scheduled for next Thursday, October 18, and sponsored by ConnectiCare, the Member Breakfast Meeting will be held at the Red Lion Hotel Cromwell, 100 Berlin Road, Cromwell. Coach Hurley comes to UConn from the University of Rhode Island (URI) where he enjoyed a very successful six year run as head coach. We look forward to welcoming the coach who will offer a preview of this year’s Husky team, and will provide us with some insight on his leadership and management style. I know our members are very excited about what will be a sold out event with Coach Hurley, and I will continue to provide updates on his visit as we get closer.
I also ask, once again, that chamber members and other interested parties save the date of Wednesday, October 24 for Connecticut Connections, Middlesex County's Premier Business EXPO. This full day of events and activities will include the main expo hall with over 110 exhibitors from a wide variety of industry sectors, a career fair with over 50 employers who are hiring, our annual Small Business Awards Celebration Luncheon which will honor a number of our small business champions, and other content ranging from tourism, to economic resilience, to entrepreneurship, to substance abuse prevention and more. The morning will kick off with a session hosted by the Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council (MCSAAC) titled, The Honest Truth: Opioid Addiction-Resources for the Workplace and for Families. This workshop will feature a panel discussion covering access to treatment, recovering in the workplace, and the role of insurance in treatment. It is free and open to all, and is a particularly important discussion for employers, professionals, and families. I would like to thank MCSAAC President Tony Salvatore and the Advisory Committee for their continued support of MCSAAC through challenging times. Connecticut Connections is a great opportunity to display and showcase your products and services face-to-face with potential new customers in your target market. The Small Business Awards Luncheon, sponsored by Comcast Business, will feature remarks from DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith and CNBC Senior Analyst & Commentator Ron Insana. I am proud to announce that the 2018 Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards recipients are: Business of the Year (1-30 employees)-Guilmartin, DiPiro & Sokolowski, LLC, Middletown, Business of the Year (31+ employees)-Essex Savings Bank, Essex, Business Growth & Expansion-Reality Interactive, Middletown, Manufacturer of the Year-Ripley Tools, LLC, Cromwell, Minority Owned Business of the Year- Change, Inc., Middletown, Outstanding New Business Under 5 Years-Mizzi Cosmetics, Portland, Retail Business of the Year-Torrison Stone and Garden, Durham, Tourism/Hospitality Business of the Year-The Griswold Inn, Essex, Family Owned Business of the Year-A&A Office Systems, Inc., Middletown. We are very proud of our 2018 Small Business Award winners who were all nominated by other members of the chamber. They come from many different industry sectors, but they all share a commitment to Middlesex County and they are all great representatives of our business community. We look forward to celebrating their success on October 24.
More information on Connecticut Connections, a full day of events and activities, will be shared as we get closer, and you can always visit www.middlesexchamber.com for more information.
I want to close this week’s column by announcing the recipient of the chamber’s 2018 William J. Pomfret Veteran Community Service Award. This prestigious award, presented annually at our Support the Troops and Honor the Veterans Member Breakfast Meeting, honors a Veteran of the United States Armed Forces for distinguished service to the citizens of Connecticut, and selfless commitment to public service. This year’s recipient is Morton “Morty” Pear of Middletown. Morty Pear is a proud veteran who served our country with distinction. He has also a remarkable record of community service and is a deserving recipient of this prestigious award. We look forward to honoring him at the event on Nov. 5. More to come on this front as well.
The sun always shines in Middlesex County!