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Groton Town Council Adopts TIF Policy

At the March 6, 2018 Town Council meeting, the Council adopted the Tax Increment Financing Policy by a 9-0 vote. This was a key vote and step in establishing TIF in Groton, and will let developers and property owners know that TIF is now possible in Groton. 

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 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:

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 , 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!


PR Links for 2016 Annual Breakfast 

Westerly Sun Article Published Dec. 8, 2016, and updated Dec. 12, 2016

The Day Article Published Dec. 8, 2016