New Member: Macris Industries
Mystic — The Stonington Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday approved a special use permit that will allow a local small-business owner who has purchased the abandoned armory on Summit Street to turn the building into a technology, business and light manufacturing center.
The commission’s decision came after several residents and officials spoke in support of the plan by Harrison Macris, who owns Macris Industries.
Macris purchased the abandoned building and overgrown site from the state for $490,000 last year and has since removed 20 tons of trash and debris from the property and made repairs to the building.
He plans to use part of the building for his company, which designs, manufactures and assembles underwater boat lighting, while possibly renting space to small emerging companies looking for light manufacturing and technology space.
“Our goal is to preserve the property, not develop it,” he said.
Peggy Roberts, the president of the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce, told the commission the chamber would like to see an influx of more projects that promote light manufacturing, like the one proposed by Macris. She said the chamber also likes his plan to nurture entrepreneurs in town and create jobs for residents.
Resident Tim Murray of Geiser Street said Macris has taken a tax-exempt property and put it back on the tax rolls.
“This is everything we want in Stonington,” he said, referring to providing jobs in light industry.
Economic Development Commission Chairman Dave Hammond said the project will help diversify the town’s economy and assist like-minded entrepreneurs such as Macris.
Bob Petersen, who lives on Summit Street, said he has watched Macris transform a property that had become an eyesore back into a viable one.
A group of residents expressed concerns at Tuesday’s public hearing about lack of landscaping and lighting plans and cutting of trees on the property.
Carlene Donnarummo cautioned the commission that approving a project without a landscaping plan sets a bad precedent for other businesses coming into the community.
Macris told the commission that he plans to continue cleaning up the site and creating “a lush campus environment.”
“We’re trying to do the best we can,” he said.
Commission member Shaun Mastroianni recommended keeping the public hearing open and not making a decision until Macris submits a landscaping and lighting plan for the commission to review.
Member Gardner Young disagreed, saying, “I can’t see tying this whole thing up for a bunch of trees.”
The commission, however, attached a stipulation to its approval that requires Macris to submit a landscaping plan to be reviewed by the town’s planning staff and then the commission.
The 7,000-square-foot building had been used by the Connecticut National Guard through the late 1980s, as well as for a community center. It was then used through the 1990s and into the 2000s by Connecticut Light & Power and various construction firms for the storage of equipment and office space. After that it fell into disrepair, with the 4.4-acre site full of trash and debris.
In 2016, the state announced it was going to sell the property. The town expressed interest in possibly using the site for affordable housing but balked at the asking price of $485,000 and a stipulation the town would be responsible for the cleanup of any possible environmental contamination. Neighbors opposed plans for housing.
Source: Joe Wojtas, The Day
Southeastern Connecticut SCORE Begins Mentor of Business Owners at
Mystic Chamber Welcome Center
Mystic, Connecticut - October 4, 2017 - Southeastern Connecticut SCORE, a national volunteer organization, offers mentoring services the first and third Wednesdays of each month at the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center.
We recently spoke with organization mentor Buz Sawyer, to find about more about the organization. Southeaster Connecticut SCORE consists of about 45 volunteers that cover nine towns throughout the region, from Mystic to Guilford and Norwich to Middletown. The volunteer organization works with small business owners, at no cost to them, offering assistance in a variety of areas important to owning a healthy, profitable business.
The primary goal for businesses that get involved with SECT and who struggle in one area or another, is offer them free resources and mentoring and workshops that teach and promote healthy business habits and strong leadership. Both menor and business owner become invested in the success of the business, contributing positively to local communities and state economies.
Business owners must register online, as mentor meetings are by appointment only. Visit https://sect.score.org/ for more information or to register.
Hot Off the Press
Here's what's happening in the neighborhood...
September 1, 2017 -- Mystic, CT --If you are wondering why it is good business to participate in local fairs and festivals, let me pass on some information that could help. A recent study by EventBrite finds that 80 percent of millennials have gone to three or more festivals in the past year. Almost all millennials say they would recommend a product they found at the festival to friends and family.
Fairs generate a sense of community pride that bonds people together. They introduce an element of fun and connectedness. They highlight the fact that behind your business is not some big impersonal name but a friendly face and a willingness to connect with the potential customer. This is something these young consumers want.
Successful businesses are learning how to tap the millennial consumer market and these survey results give us some insight into how it can be done. Small businesses, in particular, can benefit from these face-to-face interactions, which are inexpensive and produce concrete names and contact information that can be turned into sales.
The trick is to make the most of the opportunity. Think about giving away a free trial of your product or service. Hand out special fliers, made just for the fair. Make them colorful and appealing. Give away an inexpensive branded gift in exchange for contact info. Even if the trinket recipient isn’t a potential customer, they can help you market by displaying your logo.
Sure, participating in a fair can seem like extra effort without the promise of a measureable reward. Do it anyway. Local is in right now. You are showing your support for the community. You are networking. You are offering an experience. You are showing you understand the value of going beyond your usual routine to be accessible. In fact, bring someone with you to staff the booth while you tour the fair and network with the other participants. Chat them up. Let them know you want to do business with them.
There will be opportunities to participate in fairs and festivals this autumn. The Groton Fall Fest on October 7, is one where families enjoy an afternoon of free entertainment, food, local business offers and even the chance to board a Black Hawk helicopter. You can still get in.
This year there will be prizes awarded in a scarecrow contest. Better yet, have fun creating your own scarecrow! Fair attendees who stop by to see it will also learn your business product or service.
While you do business, your family members can enter the donut eating contest or have a great time making balloon animals or getting their faces painted. Food and family fun, all free. It’s the old-fashioned, but still effective way to reach out to members of your community and do business while you are at it.
To participate, visit: www.grotonbiz.com
Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce Prepares for 60th Anniversary of
Oldest New England Art Festival
July 7, 2017 -- Mystic, CT --As we prepare for the 60th anniversary of the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival, August 12 and 13, in downtown Mystic, we are fortunate to have a mix of the traditional and the contemporary, artists who have been with us a long time and some who are new to MOAF.
A juried show named one of the best in the Northeast, the festival brings to our visitors original art in acrylics, mixed media, sculpture, photography and many other media.
Each year, the Chamber staff works to improve the Festival and work on the prior year’s experiences to produce the best show possible. Highlighting this year’s festival is a dazzling original work by Mystic artist Susan Noyes, which depicts the Charles W. Morgan, the last of the American whaling fleet, flanked by a pair of ocean kayakers paddling down the Mystic River. This spectacular study in Mystic blue hues evokes the history of the town, with its rich heritage, juxtaposed against the modern visual of two locals whiling away the day with a paddle in their small boats. This is the Mystic we know and love.
Susan grew up here and paints what she saw as a child: the spectacular blue skies, the shimmering ocean, boats, both sturdy and lyrical, and summer flowers that color the coastline. Her appreciation for our community permeates her semi-impressionist-style work.
With her lifelong love of Mystic, Ms. Noyes has generously donated “Time Passages”, an acrylic painting which will hang in a home or office this fall, when it is awarded in a drawing on September 12 at our Business After hours event. Tickets for the drawing are $25 and available online at www.mysticchamber.org , or at our Chamber Welcome Center at 62 Greenmanville Ave. where the work may be seen until a lucky winner takes it home.
Those who would like a signed, numbered print of the work may purchase one for $40 at our offices. A limited number have been produced for the Festival and will not be reprinted.
We are grateful to our sponsors, large and small, members of our Chamber for their support for this Festival, especially Masonicare of Mystic, The Day, Hall Communications, Gold Peak Tea, Mystic Aquarium, Mystic River Yacht Club, M/Bar, Foxwoods Resort Casino, M.J. Sauchuk and Whaler’s Inn.
Don’t miss the Children’s Art Park in Mystic River Park, where kids of all ages may make their own masterpieces. This venue will feature a photo booth, face-painting and other hands-on artistic activities. Buy a cap, canvas bag or t-shirt to remember the event at one of our Festival information booths or at our Welcome Center. See you at the Festival!
June 13, 2017 -- Mystic, CT -- Hello Summer 2017! The Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center is open and ready for business. The Chamber hosted more than 100 guests at the Open House, May 19, in celebration of the upcoming summer season and our new tourism information facility, located at 62 Greenmanville Avenue, just across from Mystic Seaport.
Among our special guests were Rodney Butler of Foxwoods, Chairman of Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and Dr. Stephen Coan, President and CEO of Mystic Aquarium, our Gold Sponsors, and also key sponsors, Merrily and Michael Connery of M/Bar and Saltwater Farm Vineyard, and Sandra Chapman of Steamboat Inn.
Here at the Welcome Center, we are open 7 days offering hands on, concierge service for visitors in need of assistance to have the best Mystic area experience they can have. We recommend places to go, make restaurant and hotel reservations, and help visitors find places they haven’t been before or may not know even existed! This spring we’ve seen travelers from Rhode Island to Beijing, and so many points in between.
Many visitors are excited to see Mystic Aquarium, Mystic Seaport, Olde Mistick Village, Downtown Mystic and Foxwoods Resort Casino, the coolest places in New England! Often, these attractions are what brought them here and are top on their itineraries. After that, they want to know, what other entertainment is there? A husband may want to see a military attraction – the USS Nautilus. A wife may want to add a village stroll with a little more shopping – Stonington Borough. Maybe an afternoon at a winery, or more than one, is the ticket -- Saltwater Farm Vineyard, Jonathan Edwards Vineyard, Stonington Vineyards and Maugle Sierra Vineyards.
A family may want an afternoon of more physical activity – Fields of Fire Adventure Park or Paddle Mystic. Is it a rainy day? We have suggestions of what to do then too! Check out that list on our website, www.mysticchamber.org . We have so much to offer here in the Mystic area.
We could go on for days, and nights, as visitors spend their evenings at any of our great lodgings like Steamboat Inn or Hilton Mystic.
We interact with Mystic visitors even before they arrive here. The phone has been ringing for weeks with requests for packets of info on where stay, where to eat, what activities require advance planning and reservations. We send them the best recommendations we can – and our members are the best! We want visitors to come back to our area again and again, staying longer each time.
One experience like no other in New England is the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival, celebrating its 60th year this summer, August 12 and 13. This year, will be the best ever beginning with a stunning commemorative painting by Mystic artist Susan Noyes, to be unveiled at Luxury Hits the Road on June 22, at Import Auto in Stonington. This Business After Hours event is being sponsored by Simply Majestic, Import Auto, Epicure Brewing, Cove Ledge Package Store, Ocean Blue Catering, Mezza, and Bleu Squid Breakfast and Bakery Café. Everyone is welcome!
The Welcome Center and Art Festival are two of our major focuses this year, but that’s not all we do. We are in our 80th year of building bridges between our business members and the community. Stay tuned. We are looking forward to a busy, productive year!
June 22, 2017 -- Mystic, CT -- Celebrating our 80th year in business, the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce is making some dynamic changes in 2017. We moved our offices to 62 Greenmanville Avenue, directly across from Mystic Seaport, and opened our Welcome Center, in support of our goal to promote tourism in the Mystic area.
Here we will be able to serve the 15,000+ visitors expected to pass through our area in the months ahead. Already we are seeing families from throughout the Northeast, as well as international tourists. Come Memorial Day weekend, our Welcome Center will be open from 9 AM to 7 PM, seven days a week.
In April, we launched our pilot “Promote Yourself to Success”, a program designed to teach area high school students the necessary business skills to seek a job, techniques for interviewing, and professional customer service practices. The first sessions were conducted in classroom at Stonington High School and Ella T. Grasso Technical High School. Led by business leaders from the Mystic community, the program offered tips to guide the young people in their work lives, whether they be working seasonal jobs or embarking on their life’s career. In turn, The Chamber offered local employers an opportunity to identify prospective employees who have had job skills training. We want to sincerely thank our instructors and participating schools and students who’ve made this program such a wonderful success.
More exciting news this summer! The Chamber is preparing for the largest and oldest festival of its kind in the Northeast, the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival. Celebrating its 60th year as a leading arts event, the 2017 festival is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, August 12-13, 2017 in downtown Mystic. Our team has been commemorating the event in a variety of ways, including social media posts that show the extensive history of the event.
We can’t wait for the June 22, Business After Hours event that will serve as our kick-off party. “Where Luxury Meets the Road”, will be hosted by Import Autos and Simply Majestic Jewelers. The festivities will include prizes and giveaways, food from Pita Spot and Ocean Blue Catering, beer from Epicure Brewing, and a special jewelry presentation by Simply Majestic. A highlight of the evening will be the unveiling of a special, 60th anniversary, commemorative painting created by artist Susan Noyes. This celebration is not to be missed!
We would also like to congratulate R&B Apparel Plus of Groton, Connecticut for the winning artwork entry which will be added to our line of Mystic Outdoor Art Festival promotional gear, including t-shirts, hats, and canvas bags.
As we finalize our plans for the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival, we look forward to our other signature events later in the year, including Mystic Restaurant Week (Nov. 6-12) and the Holiday Boat Parade (Nov. 25). In addition, we will once again be working with Groton Business Association on the Groton Fall Festival and the Holiday Lights Parade. While we work hard at delivering quality events to the Mystic region, we rely on our community of dedicated volunteers to help us keep the events safe and fun.
If you’re as passionate and committed to Mystic as we are and would like to share that passion with visitors to the Mystic region, please consider becoming a volunteer for our Welcome Center and events. Visit our website at www.mysticchamber.org to apply, or contact us at 860-572-9578 with questions and further information.
GMCC Announces Mystic Outdoor Art Festival’s
Promotional Merchandise Artwork Winner for 2017
Mystic, CT - Each year, the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce seeks out talented graphic artists from around the region to submit their artwork to be used for all promotional merchandise associated with the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival. Artwork submissions must capture the essence of summertime in Mystic, while following the guidelines presented on the GMCC website. This year's event is extra-special, as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival.
The Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to announce that the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival Committee has chosen a winning design that will adorn our line of Mystic Outdoor Art Festival’s line of promotional merchandise including t-shirts, hats, and canvas bags to be sold during the event scheduled for August 12-13, 2017.
Congratulations to Rich Bernardo and his team at R&B Apparel Plus of Groton, Connecticut for the winning artwork entry. R&B Apparel Plus has over fifty years of combined experience in branded apparel. When clients visit their store, they’ll always have the opportunity to speak directly with one of the owners about their order, receiving personalized service.
About the mission of the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce: Our mission is to advocate for both business and tourism, promote business alliances, provide valuable benefits and services to our members, and to serve as a strong community partner in the economic development efforts in the the Greater Mystic area.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kristin Hartnett
April 25, 2017- (Mystic, CT) - Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce will hold a “Business After Hours” at Joshua’s Limousine, on . Located at 172 Stoddard’s Wharf Road in Ledyard, Joshua’s will be hosting a “fun in the sun” themed evening, and encourages guests to attend in “Caribbean” attire. Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT, and Norwich Chamber of Commerce will also be in attendance. The event is $10 for GMCC Members, $20 for public and guests. Admission includes food, drink and business card give-aways. Guests are asked to park at United Way SECT or St. David's Episcopal Church, as parking will not be available at Joshua’s garage. Shuttles will be running to and from the church parking lot.
April 26, 2017- (Mystic, CT)The Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce will hold their monthly networking event “Business Before Hours” on at the Mystic branch of Washington Trust, located in McQuade’s Market at 14 Clara Drive in Mystic. Washington Trust and McQuade’s are joint hosts. The event is free of charge and open to the public. Refreshments, announcements, and give-aways included. Businesses are encouraged to bring business cards, flyers and prizes for promotion. For more information visit www.mysticchamber.org/
Mystic Chamber to teach job skills to area teens
Mystic, CT -- Mystic area students looking to snag a summer job or who are thinking to their future careers will be participating in a Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce pilot program in youth business skills training next week.
Promote Yourself to Success is being launched at Stonington High School and Ella Grasso Tech during three different sessions beginning April 18. Area experts in curriculum building and human resources, including Moira Deasy, executive director of Trainworldwide, Kateri Wheeler, director of human resources for Mystic Aquarium and Susan Evarts, catering sales manager for Foxwoods Resort Casino, have developed the program. Mystic area business owners and employers will teach each of the three-hour long sessions.
The course objectives are to promote understanding of what employers look for in new hires; to coach how to present a professional image and how to stand out among peers; and to teach customer service skills.
Each workshop will end with a panel discussion among area business people who expect to hire summer workers. They will be asked to share their individual perspectives and to answer questions the students may have.
At the close, the students will receive a certificate of completion and a list of Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce members as job leads. In turn, the Chamber will provide interested members with information about the program and will urge businesses to take a second look at the participants who seek employment with them.
Many local business owners have expressed the desire for job candidates who are better prepared for jobs dealing with the public. This program will cut down the need for extra job training before the candidate seeks the job.
“Our mission is to advocate for our members, but also to advocate for the success of the greater Mystic community. This program does both, and we would love to see it grow in the future to include more students in more schools,” said Peggy Roberts, president of the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce. “This could be the most meaningful work we do.”
ONLY ONE MONTH LEFT TO APPLY FOR THE 2017
MYSTIC OUTDOOR ART FESTIVAL
March 8, 2017 (Mystic, CT) --- The oldest of its kind in the Northeast, the 60th Annual Mystic Outdoor Art Festival, hosted by the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce, is now accepting applications for its upcoming festival. The two day event will be held on Saturday, August 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, August 13 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. along the streets of Historic Downtown Mystic, CT.
Applications for interested artists are available online at Zapplication.com or by visiting the link on the Mystic Chamber’s website. Applications must be received by April 15, 2017. Accepted fine art media categories include: Acrylics, Graphics, Illustration, Mixed Media, Oils, Pastels, Photography, Sculpture and Watercolors. Accepted fine craft media categories include: Ceramics, Fiber, Glass, Jewelry, Leather, Metal and Wood. All entrants must submit to jury.
The Mystic Outdoor Art Festival has evolved in many ways from its humble beginnings over fifty years ago and now stretches over two miles and attracts over 85,000 visitors to the region. It has grown to over 250 artists who come from all corners of the United States and bring more than 100,000 works of art.
GMCC Announces Open Artwork Search for 2017
Mystic Outdoor Art Festival Promotional Merchandise
Mystic, CT - The Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce announces that the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival Committee is in search of artwork for the 60th Annual Mystic Outdoor Art Festival’s promotional merchandise to be sold during the event scheduled for August 12-13, 2017.
Each year, the GMCC seeks out talented graphic artists from around the region to submit their artwork to be used for all promotional merchandise associated with the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival. Artwork submissions must capture the essence of summertime in Mystic, and follow the guidelines presented on the GMCC website.
All artwork submitted to the MOAF Committee becomes the property of the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce. Artists should submit their designs to Stephanie Healy, Marketing Manager for the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce by March 1, 2017. The chosen design may also be utilized for other promotional material related to the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce Outdoor Art Festival.
The art festival committee will review all entries, and make its final decision by April 30, 2017. For more information about art submission, please call Stephanie Healy, Marketing Manager, ext. 305, Lauren Giliberto, Events Manager, ext. 302, or visit www.mysticchamber.org for submission guidelines.
About the mission of the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce: Our mission is to advocate for business and tourism, promote business alliances, provide valuable benefits and services to our members, and to serve as a strong community partner in the economic development efforts in the the Greater Mystic area.
PR Links for 2016 Annual Breakfast