NCDC vice president to become Killingly economic development director

THE DAY (May 13, 2020) —Jill Fritzsche, vice president of the Norwich Community Development Corp. and instrumental in getting the Foundry 66 shared workspace facility open and expanded, will leave the agency Friday to become economic development director in Killingly.

NCDC President Robert Mills announced Fritzsche’s departure Wednesday and said it’s a loss for the Norwich economic development agency, but a “great career opportunity” for Fritzsche.

“We’re going to need to find three people,” Mills said of the prospects of finding a replacement for Fritzsche.

Mills said NCDC will take its time to find a new replacement.

Fritzsche has served as vice president of economic development and the community manager of Foundry 66 for the past three years. During her tenure at NCDC, she oversaw the expansion of Foundry 66, tripling its occupancy and programming. She launched the creation of the pop-up shop concept for small retail ventures in the Sunlight Emporium Building of the complex, bringing retail back into the downtown.

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Locals cautious, but excited, for reopening

THE BULLETIN (May 1, 2020) — Bozrah resident Charlie Rutchick believes the time to start reopening businesses is “past due.”

“I’ve got kids sitting at home, going broke,” he said.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced his plan Thursday evening to reopen businesses in Connecticut. Starting on May 20, a variety of businesses, including retail establishments, hair and nail salons, and various forms of outdoor recreation and activity, will begin to reopen. The plan is conditional based on whether the number of cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations from it continue to drop, among other factors.

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Global City Norwich Receives Statewide Recognition

(April 2020) This month, the Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC) announced that the Global City Norwich Program is a recipient of this year’s Awards of Excellence. Global City Norwich, being recognized for its excellence in Events & Programming, is one of eight initiatives from communities across Connecticut set to receive the award. 

According to the CMSC, the annual Awards of Excellence was established in 2003 to “recognize outstanding projects, individuals and partnerships in community efforts to bring traditional downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts back to life, socially and economically.”

Global City Norwich is a multi-year project supporting the revitalization of Downtown Norwich and is funded by the Chelsea Groton Foundation, whose mission is to support the ongoing commitment in partnership for the long-term growth of the community. 

“I can think of fewer programs more deserving of this award than Global City Norwich,” comments Michael Rauh, President and CEO of Chelsea Groton Bank. “Stimulating economic activity in our historic Downtown while engaging with broader cultural communities who call Norwich home is exactly what Chelsea Groton Foundation is proud to support.” Over the last two years, the program has hosted more than a dozen cultural experiences in Downtown Norwich, including festivals celebrating Peruvian, Polish, Dominican, and Cape Verdean cultures. 

“It is an honor to receive this recognition from the Connecticut Main Street Center,” says Global City Norwich Liaison Suki Lagrito, who has led the charge for the Norwich initiative since its inception in 2018. “But this recognition isn’t about our efforts,” Lagrito remarks, ”It’s really a testament to the cultures and communities that have embraced Global City and have supported us in enriching Norwich’s economic activity and have leaned into celebrating its overall vibrancy.”   

In addition to celebrating Norwich’s diverse community, the initiative has also partnered with the Norwich Community Development Corporation (NCDC) in an effort to increase the occupancy of storefronts downtown. Through various educational programming and outreach efforts, Global City Norwich is attributed to about 30% of new businesses in Downtown Norwich since 2018, leveraging over $300,000 in economic investment and spending. 

As for the program’s next steps, Lagrito and NCDC will continue to support cultural groups and provide business education programs, with a renewed focus on cultivating spaces in Downtown Norwich. According to NCDC President Robert Mills, programs such as Vanilla Boxing will help to activate vacant spaces by removing the barriers preventing entrepreneurs from moving in. “We’re also in the process of sourcing entrepreneurial curiosity through working labs with local high school and college students,” Mills shares. 

Joining Norwich among the communities with organizations and initiatives receiving recognition are Bridgeport, New Britain, Manchester, Rockville, Simsbury, Waterbury, and Windsor Locks.

CMSC will present each award locally in the community in which the project is located later this year.   

To learn more about Global City Norwich, please contact Suki Lagrito at [email protected] or 860.304.8505.

To learn more about the CMSC Awards of Excellence, please contact Marketing & Development Director Christine Schilke at [email protected] or 860.280.2356.

Help Line Now Available for Spanish Speaking Businesses

(April 2020) NCDC is happy to announce a partnership with the City of New London that will allow our Spanish speaking business owners a ‘Help Line’ to navigate available relief programs. Please call 860-437-6309 or email [email protected] to make an appointment. Now is the time where partnerships are vital in getting information to all of our small business/ non-profit owners. We are all in this together.

NCDC se complace en anunciar una colaboración con la ciudad de New London que les permitirá a nuestros propietarios de pequeñas empresas de habla española a utilizar el Centro de Ayuda para evaluar los programas de asistencia disponibles. Por favor llamar al 860-437-6309 o enviar un correo electrónico a [email protected] para hacer una cita. Este es el momento vital para proveerles información a todos los propietarios de pequeñas empresas y organizaciones sin fines de lucro. Estamos juntos en esto.

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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