Business Spotlight: Nalas Engineering

Nalas Engineering Services, Inc. started as a chemical engineering and chemistry contract research organization offering scalable solutions for critical materials for the US DoD and DoE. Being in close proximity to the many New England based Pharma and biotech companies, they were able to expand its customer base into this sector, as well as petroleum and other specialty chemical companies. In 2015, Nalas established a kilo-lab for scale-up of intermediate quantities of non-commodity chemical products.

Nalas Engineering Services, Inc. is located in the business park, at 1 Winnenden Road, Norwich CT. The industrial property offers 75,000 SF on 24 acres offering limitless possibilities for future expansion and growth.

The Nalas facility, purchased in December 2018 through financial assistance of the CT Department of Economic and Community Development (CT DECD), is just off of 395 and not far from I-95—a convenient drive for many customers based in the New England area. The Norwich manufacturing facility allows for operations expansion into commercial production with a focus on advanced and sustainable manufacturing. Nalas is a Corning certified laboratory, offering onsite training and product demonstrations for Corning’s Advanced-Flow Reactor (AFR) platform. At Norwich, they will be offering more training capabilities to its customers, local colleges and inquiring vendors.

Nalas offers wide expertise and capabilities which allows quick demonstrations for a technology or provision of rapid process development solutions for transition back to their customers. Their customers often visit the facility to witness their optimized processes, receive training on tools or certain state of the art equipment, or training in areas of expertise such as process safety, continuous processing, crystallization, and even drying.

Through the support of the DoD SBIR program, Nalas has been researching low-cost chemistry to produce CL-20 – the most powerful explosive known to man! The company is excited about this research initiative and the potential contributions to the DoD.

Being centrally located in CT, Nalas also plans for its new home to become a future site for chemical engineering and chemistry STEM programs tailored for local high school and college students. In collaboration with the State of CT and its university system, we plan to offer trainings and workshops designed to develop the state’s next generation of scientists and engineers, building a pipeline of talent that they hope will seek jobs within CT. 

The Norwich facility has since been undergoing extensive renovations, and there are plans to launch an advanced manufacturing arm of the business in 2020 once renovations are complete. 

Nalas has steadily grown since its inception in 2008, averaging 50 employees in just the last decade. This number includes year-round interns and co-op opportunities, which Nalas is committed to investing in—keeping young scientists in CT. It was with the relocation to Norwich that affords Nalas the opportunity to double their workforce in the next 10 years.

Learn more about Nalas at, or connect with them on LinkedIn or Facebook. Prefer something more personal? Call Nalas at 860-581-8477 and ask to schedule a tour or speak with CEO Jerry Salan, President Dave am Ende, or CTO Matt Jorgensen.

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


A Sit Down with Jeff Blayman

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
Jeff: I’m a life long Norwich resident with a passion for skateboarding that has encompassed so
many aspects of my life. I started skating when I was just a boy and after 32 years of sidewalk
surfing I still find it a thrill.
Q: How long have you been in business?
Jeff: I have had many jobs within the skateboard industry ranging from Summer camp instructor,
freelance videographer and at one point I had the pleasure of running an indoor skateboard park
franchise. This is what led to my current business of running my small national brand Worship
Skateboards, which started in 2003 and led to my opening the Ideal Skate Shop here in my
hometown of Norwich in 2004.
Q: What inspired you to open a skate shop?
Jeff: Oddly enough, it was never my plan to have a store. I was merely trying to help local kids
get their hands on my American made product and unfortunately there was no outlet in the
immediate area. The inspiration for the board brand however was more of a passion project that
grew out of not liking the trend of other companies writing their name on boards as if it were a
soda can. I just wanted to see the art of skateboard graphics return to being subtle messages and
dramatic art instead of corporate branding. Happily, my brand sells to almost 80 skate shops
around the country. What I love about Worship skateboards is that you can hang these
skateboards on your wall or destroy them having fun as they were intended and its absolutely
beautiful either way. I love seeing people admire the boards in art galleries as well as out in the
Q: What has been your proudest accomplishment?  
Jeff: It was again just a happy accident that became another passion project. About 5 years ago
we did a single skateboard lesson for a child on the Autism spectrum. Now years later, we have
partnered a local Non profit and created the Success on Skateboards (SOS) program. Our focus
is offering skate lessons to children on the Spectrum and those with sensory disabilities. Besides
the unbridled joy you see in the children’s faces, we find the added benefits are improved
communication, balance, trust, and independence. The same passion for the program is exuded
by the many volunteers for whom we are eternally grateful.
Q: What do you love most about Norwich?
Jeff:  Simply put, Norwich is a blank canvas. For as much as it has a glorious past, it also has a
bright future that we are constantly creating. You may have noticed that the current level of
economic development is overflowing. From civic work projects, to beautification, to multitudes
of small business’ eager to contribute to this Rose city renaissance.

Q: If someone was trying to start up their own business, what advice would you give them?
Jeff: Take the leap. The fear and trepidation that you have is normal and is truly a motivating
factor. If you translate that feeling into excitement rather than anxiety you’ll experience many a
sleepless night grinding out details and looking forward to the ideas coming to fruition. Nothing
happens when you stand still and thus momentum should be your goal.
Q: What are you most looking forward to within the next year?
Jeff: I am looking forward to seeing Norwich grow as a community and also as a destination
location that people want to travel to from abroad. I love the idea that Global City Norwich with
the help of NCDC has been exploring the international traditions and cultures through street
festivals. It’s these type of events that bring thousands of people to the city to celebrate Norwich
Thereby exposing people to all of these fascinating changes that are happening currently. There’s
no better marketing or exposure than a festival or parade putting real feet to pavement and
casting all eyes on our city center.
And as organizations in town are able to put on more events to create more reasons to celebrate
Norwich… we will continue to advance our city and celebrate it’s diversity. WE are Norwich
The Ideal Skate Shop is located at 175 Central Ave, Norwich, CT 06360. 860-334-5277 for info.

Business Spotlight: The Royal Punjabi

This summer, Norwich welcomed yet another new business: The Royal Punjabi! The Indian and chicken wing restaurant opened its doors July 16, 2018 and has been well received by the Norwich community—including NCDC! We highly recommend checking it out (if you have not done so already!) CLICK HERE to read the more about The Royal Punjabi opening!

A Sit Down with Julio Cancho

Q: Where were you born & raised?
Julio: Peru, South America.

Q: What is your role at Canggio?
Julio: I’m the owner, the executive chef, dishwasher, referee… everything you can possibly think of.

Q: When did you open Canggio Restaurant?
Julio: August 21, 2017

Q: When did you enter the restaurant business?
Julio: Right after high school, I started helping my dad in a restaurant. My first job was as a dishwasher at a restaurant in West Springfield, MA. From there, I began working for all kinds of restaurants—French cuisine in West Hartford, Mediterranean in Bloomfield, Greek/Italian in Hartford.

Q: What was your most fulfilling moment working in the food industry?
Julio: When I worked at J Restaurant and Bar in Hartford, my first executive chef job, I got to cook for a lot of people I never in my life would have imagined I’d have the opportunity to cook for. I’ve cooked for Andy Grammer, Jason Alexander, Bob Newhart, and John Leguizamo.

Q: Why did you decide to open in Norwich?
Julio: People here are great. Everyone gives you their hand and is so ready to help you succeed. One thing that we, as Norwich, have is that we work together.

Q: If someone was trying to open up their own business or restaurant, what advice would you give them?
Julio: Don’t give up. It’s easy to give up or walk-away. But follow your goals; you need to give yourself time to make it happen. There have been times that I’ve felt that it’s not worth the struggle, but at the end of the day, when I see customers loving the dishes we make for them that they come back for more—that makes it for me. You’re going to have people there to support you, keep working towards what you believe in.

Q: What are you most looking forward to within the next year or two?
Julio: Within the next two years, 1) I want to grow Canggio and make it self-sustaining with the crew that I have and 2) I want to open a prohibition-type bar (speakeasy)…with elegant appetizers and secret entrances, hopefully right here in Norwich. I like the idea of it because I feel it’s new and innovative, and it offers something different. Norwich has given me so much; I feel it’s important to give back to the community that believed in me in the first place.

Canggio’s can be found at 20 Lafayette Street, Norwich, CT 06360.

Featured Story: Foundry 66

Foundry 66 has opened its second floor! The addition features two large conference rooms, a yoga and dance studio, and media room. The new space features six offices and 12 designated desks. The design and color were inspired by Sedona Mountain Skyline. (We felt after walking up two flights of stairs you should be rewarded with a delightful array of colors & textures much like the scenery in Sedona!) F66 is hosting a variety of workshops, including Small Business Academy (collaboration with Liberty Bank) and Fall Lunch and Learns, “Creating Your Brand” and “Interactive Enneagram Workshops.”

To schedule a tour of Foundry 66 or to inquire about upcoming workshops, please contact Jill Fritzsche: or call 860-887-6964.

Preston Riverwalk and Mohegan Sun Progress

It has been in the news for many months, but the Mohegan Tribe is investing heavily in the region. Of course, they are adding many venues and improving the assets at Mohegan Sun as good businesses do.  This showed up most recently as the addition of the $80MM Convention and Conference Center which is designed to draw thousands to the region for years to come.  This was the site of the 3rd of the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction events since 2015. Many other recognizable trade shows will be hosted here, furthering eastern Connecticut as a destination for many people and organizations.

Additionally, the Town of Preston via the Preston Redevelopment Agency, and the Mohegan Tribe have agreed on the purchase of the former Norwich Hospital site in Preston, approximately 400+ acre development. The conceptual master plan shows the development including everything from residential housing and retail support services to large format entertainment and theme parks to indoor waterpark and hotels with banquet halls. In all, an estimated investment range of $200,000,000-$600,000,000 over the full buildout. If you pass by the site via automobile along RT12 or the Mohegan Pequot Bridge, or from the Thames River, you will see much of the overgrowth thinned out and huge stockpiles of clean fill accumulated on the southwestern corner of the site. This is all in preparation for environmental remediation of the soils under the old roadbeds.


Global City Norwich Hosts Peruvian Fest

On July 29th, 2018 Global City Norwich hosted Peruvian Fest 2018, a community block party which celebrated the proclamation of independence for Peru. Over 1,500 attended from areas all over New England. We teamed up with the Peruvians United of CT and reached out to the large population of Peruvians (approx. 5,000) in the Norwich community to participate with traditional folk dances, traditional music, food and art. Peruvian and non-Peruvian people attended the festival and participated as vendors. The fest boasted a giant waterslide, a llama and two alpacas, and children’s games. The only two Peruvian restaurants within our county (New London) attended the festival as vendors. The minister for the Consulate General of Peru surprised us as well as honored us with his presence. Other public officials such as the Senator, State Rep, Mayor, City Council members attended as well as many community leaders of the Norwich area and local areas. The festival speaks volumes as a direct result of the festival is the gain of two new Foundry 66 members who will be utilizing the new space upstairs for MixxedFit and Zumba classes. Global City Norwich serves to unite the community together by celebrating, supporting and encouraging all facets of diversity and culture through global themed events. With the overall objective to stimulate economic growth, entrepreneurship and community building Global City Norwich is perfectly in line with the mission and spirit of the NCDC (Norwich Community Development Corporation) as we complete the first quarter.

In addition to creating community events, GCN also gears up other projects. One of our ongoing projects is hanging global flags throughout Downtown Norwich and mounting them to store fronts. Global Flags compass a range of flags from different countries as well as tribal flags. This project since starting in June, has had an overwhelmingly positive impact in our community as well as throughout neighboring regions. Engaging with business owners, landlords and residents as we ask permission, educate and give information about GCN and the purpose of the flags has sparked cohesiveness in Downtown in just the few short months of GCN’s existence.

Meeting and engaging with a variety of different organizations and communities such as Rotary, the local library, local churches, local schools, local Chamber of Commerce, tribal leaders and tribal members, City Council members, City employees and officials, veterans as well as small and large businesses in the early stages of building GCN is an extreme necessity. Learning about the needs of the community by meeting people at their places of worship or workplace or wherever is a best fit is true engagement and has organically developed friendships, ideas, and real human connections. These relationships and collaborations are the core of GCN and the upcoming projects for 2018 and 2019 are a direct result of conversations that have taken place in the past 4 months.

Upcoming GCN events:

Polish Fest 2018 – Oct. 21
A long-awaited Polish Fest is finally coming, and it will be held on Franklin Street. With the support of many members of the Polish Fest living locally in Norwich, Greenville all the way to Colchester and New Britain, the excitement is quickly growing daily as we progress with festival plans. The famous Polanie Polish Folk Dancers from New Britain, the hall of famed Maestro’s Men, The Divine Providence Church and many more other Polish community members are all on board for this great event.

Sunday Indoor Global Markets – Nov. 2018 to May 2019

2019 Festivals: Haitian Festival, Cape Verde, Tibetan Festival, International Zombie Run, Puerto Rico Festival, Filipino Festival, Pacific Islands Festival, Mediterranean Festival, Ellis W. Ruley Art Festival and much more in the works.

More Good News for Taftville!

On September 21, there was a Phase 1 Ribbon Cutting and Phase 2 Groundbreaking at the Lofts at Ponemah Mill. The new facility is currently 97% occupied, and by the time this newsletter comes out, the 116 units of the first phase of the redevelopment will be completely filled. That’s the ribbon cutting portion. The facility had its financial closing on July 12th for the second phase (121 units), the construction of which is already 48% complete at this time!  The owners expect the lease up to be equally as rapid due to the location, the magnificent facility, and its amenities. Combine the Ponemah Mill redevelopment and the new Hills at River View Apartments (300+ units) just a bit further up on CT RT 97, Taftville is turning out to be a great location for an entirely new generation of workers.

The tenants that are locating at these two large residential facilities are generally designed for studio, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom apartments. The prime targets for residents are single individuals, couples or some single parents with a child.  To date, there are less than 30 children residing within the two facilities. Approximately 40% of the occupants work at either EB or the Subase showing the regional nature of housing.

Other indications of improving condition of Taftville is the increase in the number of calls related to locating businesses and investors considering the area. Recently, the Coordinating Committee (made up of the City’s enforcement officials, the offices of the NPU, Assessor, and NCDC have met with several entities looking for locations in Taftville.

June 2018 Newsletter

June 2018 | Newsletter

There are a number of projects currently underway, predominantly in the Downtown area of Franklin Street, Main Street, and Broadway. These developments total nearly $14 million of direct economic investment for the city of Norwich—just in Downtown alone! I am pleased to share and expand upon a few of these developments with you today:

FRANKLIN FOUNDING. It was the developments surfacing on of Franklin Street that sparked an economic expansion in Downtown Norwich. These Guys, the popular brewpub located on 76 Franklin Street, was nearly a $1 million development that started to stimulate growth five years ago. 30-66 Franklin Street boasts of three champion occupants— Foundry 66 ($400,000); Epicure Brewing ($900,000) and Rose City Fitness ($165,000)—with an additional $1 million in the pipeline for an additional three units. That’s over $2.5 million of investment in just one building!

BROADWAY BOOM. Seven out of thirteen buildings are currently in re-development on Broadway Street. The Fairhaven Building, 26 Broadway, sold late last year and will be undergoing a $1 million renovation for its 18 residential apartments. 51 Broadway, a mixed-use, retail apartment complex is nearing completion of a $400,000 renovation. Both 59 and 54 Broadway, respectively, are experiencing $500,000 re-developments. 80 Broadway, a 5,500’ sq. ft. property that has been city-owned since 1964, sold in April to a private investor. The Castle Building (former People’s Bank) at 4 Broadway, purchased in 2016, has a new anchor tenant set to move in late summer or early fall of this year.

Craftsman Cliff Roasters, an eclectic coffee roasting house at 34 Broadway, opened just last month after undergoing a $150,000 redevelopment process, aided in part by NCDC.

MAIN STREET SURGE. The infamous Reid & Hughes building of 201 Main Street was adopted by the Women’s Institute and is on track for the beginning of a $6 million redevelopment project for veteran housing. Development for this substantial venture began just under a month ago. This month, 88 Main Street began a fully-funded renovation of its mixed-use retail and residential space. 77-91 Main Street, a 3600’ sq. ft. mixed-use retail building just sold at $500,000. Eastern Savings Bank is halfway through a $1.65 million redevelopment project on the fourth and fifth floors of 257 Main Street.