Locally owned discount store opening soon in Norwich

THE BULLETIN (July 5, 2019) — If you’re looking for bargains, you’ll soon have another option in Norwich.

Steals & Deals will be opening its doors in a few weeks next to Staples at Norwich Landing at 45 Salem Turnpike. The plaza also is home to KFC, River Vallery Surgery Center, Sprint, Great Scot! and a Red Cross blood donation center.

“We’re almost ready to open up,” said Jason Haller, who owns the business with his wife, Tammy Haller.

The store will sell open box and liquidated closeout merchandise, Haller said. Items will include tools, home fixtures, cleaning supplies, small appliances, bedding, decor and clothing.

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Norwich highlights downtown development progress

THE DAY (June 19, 2019) — Norwich — City leaders, business owners and enthusiastic advocates hosted a Connecticut Main Street downtown preservation conference Wednesday highlighting the varied efforts to revitalize downtown Norwich, from festivals to financial incentives to free consultations with city permitting agencies to help entrepreneurs with business plans.

More than 100 participants attended the morning conference in the historic Wauregan Hotel ballroom prior to walking tours of downtown with four tour leaders pointing out new and mainstay businesses, renovations underway and troubled long-vacant properties.

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Norwich downtown ‘has turned a tremendous corner’

NORWICH BULLETIN (June 19, 2019) — At a conference Wednesday in the city’s downtown, Chelsea Groton Bank President and CEO Michael Rauh explained that redevelopment efforts often have been stymied by a Catch-22.

Businesses are reluctant to open here because there aren’t enough customers, and customers are reluctant to shop here because there aren’t enough businesses.

Then the problem is compounded by a supply of old deteriorated buildings that may need expensive renovation work that can’t be profitably paid for.

“We knew the building owners were struggling,” Norwich Community Development Corp. President Robert Mills told about 80 people at the conference held in the ballroom of the Wauregan. “We recognized part of this market’s weakness is lack of feet on the street.”

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Crowd celebrate at Norwich’s first Cape Verdean Festival

NORWICH BULLETIN (May 26, 2019) — A large and happy filled Franklin Street on Sunday afternoon to celebrate at the first Cape Verdean Festival.

Tents selling a wide variety of food and other goods and others staffed by local nonprofit organizations filled the block in front the building where organizer Global City Norwich is headquartered.

A stage was set up in a parking lot at Franklin and Bath streets, and children and their parents flocked to a pair of bounce houses in another parking lot.

“I think it’s great, it’s awesome,” said Cheyenne Campbell of Norwich, who came with her three children as well as other relatives. “It’s definitely a good turnout for the first time, that’s for sure.”

Members of Cape Verdeans United, a Norwich-based charity, had a tent at the festival, where they were selling Cape Verdean food, including bacalhau — salted cod — rice and beans, and pastel de peixe, which is a pastry containing fish.

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Bicycle shop owner finds better deal in Norwich

NORWICH BULLETIN (May 23, 2019) — Apollo Ziembroski opened his first bicycle shop, in Danielson, for $200. He is moving to downtown Norwich – and says he got a better deal.

Apollo Cycles is expected to open at 56 Broadway in June. Ziembrowski was at the shop on Thursday, and said electrical work, drywall and inventory are the big things on his list before opening. The artificial turf on the first-floor outdoor walls of the building will be removed.

Ziembroski, 26, is going all-in for Norwich. He will live in an apartment just above his store.

He said the Norwich Community Development Corporation reached out to him to come to Norwich.

“I had no intention of moving,” said Ziembroski, who closed his shop on Furnace Street in Danielson last month.

NCDC’s package for him to move included, he said, a grant for outdoor signage, a low-interest loan and partial lease reimbursement for seven years.

Ziembroski says Norwich is a great cycling area. He says Camp Moween in Lebanon has about 15 miles of trails.

“It’s a good place,” he said. “It’s really well thought-out.”

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New development commissioner visits Norwich, New London, Groton

THE DAY (May 21, 2019) — In a two-day tour of southeastern Connecticut, the state’s newest Department of Economic and Community Development commissioner focused on growing cities, capitalizing on the state’s natural assets and leveraging Opportunity Zone status.

David Lehman, a former Goldman Sachs executive the state Senate confirmed as commissioner in March, visited New London and Norwich on Monday, and Norwich and Groton on Tuesday.

His second day included a meeting with the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments at its Norwich office, meetings at Electric Boat and the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point campus, and a tour of the Naval Submarine Base.

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Haitian heritage, history fill Norwich’s streets

NORWICH BULLETIN (May 18, 2019) — Revelers outfitted in red and blue packed several downtown sidewalks and streets Saturday as the city’s first official Haitian Flag Day event roared to life.

Along Bath and Franklin streets, that flag, with its parallel red-and-blue bars, was waved in hands, draped over shoulders and tied into bandanas by residents who danced, hugged and laughed to a soundtrack pumped out from nearby speakers.

Under a tent overhang, Mirlande Daniel, owner of Norwich-based Mommy’s Delicious Food restaurant, set up serving trays filled with black rice, fried plantains and jerk chicken. Daniel, a Haitian emigrate, said she hoped the street festival would give attendees a better sense of her native country.

“Not a lot of people know about Haiti or even where it is,” she said. “We have a beautiful history.”

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Hotel developer purchases former Norwich Elks Club on Main Street

THE DAY (May 15, 2019) — A Cromwell hotel developer purchased the former Elks Club building, more recently the Majestic Rose restaurant, at 352 Main St. on Wednesday and plans to complete renovations aborted several years ago to create a boutique hotel.

RCN Capital LLC, which took over ownership in 2016 of the vacant 1843 former mansion home of mill mogul John F. Slater, sold the building Wednesday to Ganesha Hospitality LLC for $400,000, according to land transaction records filed in the Norwich city clerk’s office.

Developers Amit Maran and his uncle, Harry Patel, have been looking at the building for several months after they saw it listed on a website featuring business properties for sale, Maran said.

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Norwich receives top Chinese artwork as appreciation gifts

THE DAY (May 2, 2019) — A welcoming gesture to help a new downtown business owner open a new Chinese market and tea café sent ripples across the globe, and on Wednesday, 14 top professional artists in China stopped by to donate artworks to city leaders in a cultural exchange and act of appreciation.

The artists are in the Northeast touring and hosting art seminars at Yale and Harvard universities, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an exhibit in Manhattan.

The Norwich stop was added when Sharon Chu, executive director of the North American Chinese Culture Foundation, based in Mansfield, learned how Norwich officials and volunteers with Global City Norwich assisted business owner Mei He, also of Mansfield, in her plan to open A&S Marketplace, a Chinese market in the Thayer Building at 16 Franklin St. The market will open in mid-May.

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A Sit Down with Claire Marchand

Q: What do you love most about Norwich?

Claire: I love the energy in Norwich. My studio is Downtown in Foundry 66, so I feel as if I am in the heartbeat of [the City’s] rejuvenation. I can feel it when I walk into businesses here and I can feel it in speaking with the owners. I love being able to talk about the various places and movements in Norwich, like Global City Norwich, with my out-of-town clients, who can’t wait to come back. Even when there are disagreements or slightly different visions, we are all working towards the same goal of revitalization. There’s definitely an energy here and I think everyone can feel it.

Q: If you had to give someone advice about freelancing, what would you tell them?
Claire: Charge your worth. At the same time, you should always, always be striving to improve what you do and what you offer. You are your business’s charismatic leader, so no matter where you are or who you’re with, you are your brand and you have to carry it well.

Q: What are you currently passionate about right now? 
Claire: I’m really passionate about my job. I think it ties into what I love about Norwich and why I want to be a part of what’s going on here – when I walk down the street, I’m passionate about the things I’m seeing and the people I’m seeing. I love being able to provide a unique experience for my clients while simultaneously providing them with the highest level of service that I can.

Rose Arts Festival is also coming up on June 29 and I’m looking forward to coordinating the photography coverage and marketing the event!

Q: What are you most looking forward to within the next year?
Claire: Being able to continue photographing a wide range of people, with a focus on headshots and branding. It’s amazing the kinds of people I’ve had an opportunity to work with, the things I’ve learned, and the challenges I’ve faced. I want to continue to be challenged!

See Claire’s work atwww.csmarchand.com