Norwich officials trying to stay in touch with businesses through COVID-19 crisis

THE DAY (April 7, 2020) — The COVID-19 picture for Norwich businesses is predictably bleak, with restaurants struggling, people working from home and even those allowed to remain open seeing supply chains cut off and business dwindle.

Officials at the Norwich Community Development Corp. have been contacting local businesses and landlords to try to inform them of the ever-changing array of state shutdown orders, state and federal relief packages and local support programs as the COVID-19 crisis continues into the foreseeable future.

An open Facebook group, Norwich COVID-19 Business Resources at bit.ly/norwichcv19fb, shares information on everything from COVID-19 prevention to business relief programs available and ideas from similar Facebook pages and groups for helping businesses.

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The Royal Punjabi providing free meals for the community

THE BULLETIN (April 3, 2020) — The Norwich restaurant is giving free hot vegetarian meals to the community to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gurpreet Singh, owner and manager of The Royal Punjabi Restaurant in Norwich, wants to help the community for as long as he can, especially while the COVID-19 response leaves people out of work.

“I’ll try to do my best,” he said.

The Royal Punjabi is serving free Grab and Go Hot Meals, on Mondays and Fridays, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., just outside the restaurant on 198 Main St. The meals are vegetarian.

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Norwich community supports each other in tough times

THE BULLETIN (March 27, 2020) — The Coronavirus pandemic has offered plenty of trying circumstances, and media coverage of it. It can get depressing for those living it, reading about it, and even writing it.

But this week, Jason Vincent, the senior vice president of The Norwich Community Development Corporation, was eager to share the good news on Norwich’s response to the coronavirus.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now,” he said.

In an email that was sent to Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom and members of the Norwich business community, Vincent highlighted responses being taken by the community to support one another during these trying times.

“When you see your neighbors stepping up and doing what they need to do, they’re the real heroes in a time like this,” he said.

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In downtown, shops keep the lights on for one last day

THE BULLETIN (March 20, 2020) — J.R. Chiappone stood behind the counter at his store, C&S Pawn Shop, wearing latex gloves. The sign on the front door of his longtime downtown Norwich business said that only one customer will be allowed in the store at a time.

Sitting a few feet from Chiappone while they practiced the art of social distancing was his friend and employee, Jeffrey Collins.

They are working and staying open during this world-wide pandemic because, “Our community needs us,” Collins said.

While many businesses continue to close their doors, Main Street in Norwich clung to signs of economic life on Friday afternoon.

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Emergency loans, tax extensions for Connecticut businesses

THE BULLETIN (March 19, 2020) — With all the shutdowns and voluntary closures related to the coronavirus, Gov. Ned Lamont said the economic situation is worse now than the recession of 2008.

“Back in a normal recession, we had 5,000 unemployment claims a week,” he said. “We had 12,000 unemployment claims yesterday.”

Lamont held a conference call with Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) chair David Lehman and DECD Deputy Commissioner Glendowlyn Thames on Thursday. The purpose of the call was to communicate with businesses what the plans were at the state level to alleviate economic strain.

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Massage therapist, screen printing shop coming to Foundry 66

THE BULLETIN (March 10, 2020) — When Joseph Herndon was growing up in Ledyard, Norwich wasn’t much on his mind.

But when a cousin recently told him the city was on the rise, Herndon knew he wanted a business in the city.

“Anybody would be a fool to not be a part of the movement,” he said.

Two new businesses are coming to Foundry 66. American Stitch Lab, a screen printing shop co-owned by Herndon and Travis Chin, will open in April. Flowing Waters Massage, a massage therapy studio run by Tiara Waters, already has customers, but will formally open April 3.

Jason Vincent, senior vice president of the Norwich Community Development Corporation, said Foundry 66 is able to host a variety of different businesses

“It’s designed to help small businesses grow, expand and even emerge,” he said.

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Nordson manufacturing plant plans big expansion in Norwich

THE DAY (February 7, 2020) — Local and regional economic development officials on Friday cheered the submission of plans for the long-awaited manufacturing expansion by Nordson EFD LLC in the Norwich Business Park, expected to bring a variety of manufacturing jobs to the region.

Nordson, the former Plas-Pak Industries, manufactures precision measuring and dispensing devices for medical and manufacturing uses at its plant at 10 Connecticut Ave. in the Stanley Israelite Norwich Business Park. The company submitted plans this week for a 53,880-square-foot, or 37%, expansion to the existing 142,782-square-foot building.

The expansion plans come as the Concentra Urgent Care Center moved out of the building to the former Shoeniverse shoe store at 315 W. Main St.

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City of Norwich Receives Grant Extension and Seeks Additional Sites for Brownfield Assessments

In late 2016, the City of Norwich was awarded a $384,000 brownfields assessment grant ($185,000 for petroleum sites and $199,000 for hazard substance sites) from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The funding allows the City, utilizing its consultant Tighe & Bond, to perform Phase I through Phase III environmental assessments and remediation planning on an undetermined number of commercial and non-residential sites through-out the City. Recently, the City was notified by EPA that the grant would be extended for an additional nine-months, to September 30, 2020, to continue to provide no-cost environmental assessments for brownfield sites that qualify. In response to this announcement, the City is continuing to solicit interest in the program from owners who are actively looking to redevelop their property in the near future.

Norwich, a city with significant industrial heritage, encourages remediation and redevelopment of brownfields sites to contribute to its overall improved health and the vitality of the community. A “brownfield” is an abandoned, vacant, or underutilized property where redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of contamination. For more information, please contact Deanna Rhodes, AICP, City of Norwich Director of Planning & Neighborhood Services at 860/823-3767 or by email at [email protected]

MelRose Denim leaves Foundry 66 for private studio

THE BULLETIN (February 4, 2020) — When Viking Fuel moved into the former Wonder Hostess Bakery Thriftshop on West Main Street in 2013, there was a lot of work to do on the building. This included fixing the heating and redoing the parking lot. However with so many things to do, owner David Spurgas said addressing the old sign by the road was not on his list of priorities.

“We would sell it, because people tell us it has value,” he said.

Throughout the city, there are numerous signs for businesses that aren’t around anymore. Some are freestanding, like the Wonder Hostess Bakery Thriftshop sign in front of Viking Oil.

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Bell to open new co-working space in downtown Norwich

THE BULLETIN (January 27, 2020) — Robert Bell, owner of Bell Logistics, LLC, has worked from his Norwich home for almost the entire time since establishing his company in 2009. He wanted to get an office space so he “can continue to look like a legitimate business,” while also offering opportunities to other businesses.

The Norwich B2B (Business to Business) Center will open on Saturday. Located at 65 Main St., The B2B Center has room for five offices, with space for one or two employees, a conference room, and a co-working common area. The building the B2B Center is in is not owned by Bell, but is owned by the Norwich Savings Society, LLC.

So far, the B2B center will be occupied by Bell’s company and UNIFY Business Solutions. However, Bell will let other businesses make use of just the common area and the conference room at a cheaper rate than having one of the offices.

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