The chamber has 3 exciting business openings scheduled for Middletown

MIDDLETOWN – Before I look at another busy week from the camera, I want to start this week’s column by acknowledging once again the importance of Veterans Day, which takes place on Wednesday.

Our veterans have done so much for our nation and our community, and they have our endless appreciation and admiration. The camera crew executed a remarkable Support the troops and honor veterans Members virtual breakfast meeting on November 2nd. We are honored to have Major General Fran Evon, Adjutant General of the Connecticut National Guard, as the keynote speaker, and it was our pleasure to honor the Guard with the AT&T Veterans Support Champion of the Year Award.

We also honor Jerry Augustine of Middletown with the William J. Pomfret Veteran Community Service Award. Jerry deserves this award as a result of his excellent record of military and community service. I want to thank once again Middlesex Health CEO Vin Capece and his team for sponsoring this important event, and President Phil Cacciola along with our outstanding Troop Support Planning Committee for their great work as always.

The chamber will be well represented at Veterans Day ceremonies taking place across Middlesex County on Wednesday.

I also want to point out that it was a pleasure to attend last Wednesday’s performance of Middletown Unified Theater at Middletown High School. My friend Tony Petruzzello and his co-stars put on an inspiring performance from start to finish, and I congratulate you all on a job really well done. It is amazing that this outstanding local initiative is celebrating 10 years of performances by students of all skill levels, and I thank Karen Nocera and the entire Middletown Unified Theater team for their dedication and hard work. Keep going!

It was a pleasure, and indeed an honor, for me to say a few words at the official dedication of a tree and plaque at Palmer Field honoring my friend, the late Tom Serra, on Thursday. Tom was a giant in the city of Middletown and his impact will be felt for many years to come. I would like to thank Bill Russo for organizing the event and for initiating this dedication to Tom. Palmer Field looks better than ever, and I know Tom would be proud.

On the business development front, I look forward to three exciting celebrations this week in Middletown. I will join Mayor Ben Florsheim, Speaker of the House Tom Byrne and other local dignitaries on Tuesday morning in celebrating the 10th anniversary of Pamela Roose’s Special Handwoven.

Pam Steele has done a fantastic job with this important local business. She has also had a great impact on this community and we are proud to have her as the president of our Central Business Office and part of our Executive Committee. We look forward to celebrating 10 years and toasting many more.

We will head to 195 Main St. Thursday morning to celebrate the new location of Ash + Salt. Rachel DeCavage and her team are moving a little further south on Main Street, but will continue to provide eco-friendly and sustainable clothing for men, women and children. We wish Rachel all the best and will continue to support her the best we can.

Finally, we look forward to heading to South Main Street on Thursday afternoon for the official grand opening of Neil’s Donuts. Neil’s offers New York-style donuts and other bakery items including cakes, scones, muffins, breakfast sandwiches, coffee, and more.

Neil’s has made a big impact in Middletown since it opened, with lines stretching around the store. We are excited to have them and look forward to working with their entire team as they work to grow their brand in this important commercial corridor of our city.

This week also includes meetings of the Durham and Middlefield Division, the Cromwell Division, the Region 2 Long-Term Recovery Steering Committee, the Metro Chamber Executive Task Force, the Business and Education Advisory Council, the Board of Health Steering Committee and the latest installment of the Key Banking Workshop Series, “It’s Not Just a Logo: The Basics of Branding.”

As always, it has all the important details. We look forward to another productive week.

I would like to close this week’s column by congratulating the City of Middletown on the passage of the 21st Century Infrastructure Development Bond Program, which was approved by a wide margin as part of last Tuesday’s election. The chamber has been a great advocate for this program since it was announced, and we look forward to working with city leaders as this important process moves forward.

As I pointed out before the vote, the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce believes that the 21st Century Infrastructure Development Bond Program is critical to our future prospects for economic development in Middletown and Middlesex County.

We are blessed with a central location, a vibrant downtown, and in close proximity to the Connecticut River. It is time for us to leverage these strengths so that we can continue to move this city and this region forward. On behalf of the chamber, I thank Mayor Ben Florsheim, the Common Council, and Director of Planning, Conservation and Development, Joe Samolis, for their hard work and their vision of a bright future for our city.

The sun always shines in Middlesex County!

Larry McHugh is president of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce in Middletown.

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