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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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!
Norwich – Mayor Peter Nystrom warned fellow members of the City Council Monday to “keep your weekends open” for council workshops on issues including reviving his proposed economic development bond, creating a charter revision commission and discussions on waterfront development.
Nystrom delivered his sixth State of the City address as mayor Monday, mixing a celebration of development accomplishments over the past year with calls for city leaders to work together on development issues in the year ahead.
“It should be noted that change through economic development is a long-term proposition that takes focused teamwork and dedication to implement and benefit from,” Nystrom said. “We have a talented team of professionals, passionate and dedicated leadership, a highly flexible and resourceful utility, and, a community ready to embrace change.”
Additional Gift is to Focus on Funding for Entrepreneurship & Small Business
NORWICH, Connecticut (December 10, 2018) – The Chelsea Groton Foundation recently presented a grant donation of $100,000 to NCDC’s Global City Norwich program, to be used specifically for assisting multicultural entrepreneurs and small business owners who are interested in occupying storefront spaces in the Downtown area, or who currently own businesses and are looking to grow.
Funds will be used to identify and train entrepreneurs, build partnerships in order to help entrepreneurs find appropriate storefront spaces and funding for their businesses, and create a thriving downtown environment that will ensure increased traffic in area businesses.
“Since the launch of Global City Norwich, we’ve already seen a positive impact on the Norwich community. People came out in droves for the festivals that were hosted this summer and fall. Now, the Chelsea Groton Foundation is thrilled to give another grant to Global City to really focus on developing and assisting multicultural entrepreneurs and small business owners, an area that’s very important to us,” shared Michael Rauh, President and CEO of Chelsea Groton Bank and President of the Chelsea Groton Foundation. “Small business activity is critical to the success of any downtown area, and it will be no different in Norwich. There are incredibly talented entrepreneurs and small business owners in Norwich and the surrounding areas, and we’re looking forward to supporting them through this grant.”
“We believe our business community should be a reflection of our diverse and vibrant community. The Global City Norwich program is focused on removing the barriers to entrepreneurship through collaborations, business education and shared resources. The talent and our future business leaders live amongst us and this program lends to pave the road to business ownership,” explained Bob Mills, President of NCDC.
The first grant presented by the Chelsea Groton Foundation was to assist with the launch and development of Global City Norwich, a multi-cultural program that brings people together to participate in rich, diverse, multicultural experiences that the residents of Norwich and its surrounding communities have to offer.
To view parts of the grant presentation, and to gain a better understanding of the positive impact Global City Norwich has and will continue to have on area business owners, watch this video.
About the Chelsea Groton Foundation The Chelsea Groton Foundation was formed in June 1998 as a Section 501(c) (3) organization. Initially endowed with a $2 million donation from Chelsea Groton Bank, and recently gifted an additional $5 million from the Bank, the Foundation has, to date, awarded over $3.2 million in grants to hundreds of scientific, educational and charitable organizations located within the Bank’s market area. To learn more, visit www.chelseagroton.com/CGFoundation.
About NCDC / Foundry66 NCDC is a private 501(c) (3) development corporation founded to improve the economic condition of Norwich, its Downtown, waterfront and Business Park. Foundry66 is a co-working space dedicated to helping create and support microenterprise businesses in the area. To find out more about us and our mission, please visit www.askncdc.com and www.foundry66.com.