By KAITLYN NAPLES
This year’s Central Connecticut Chamber’s of Commerce Home and Business Show was a success, said the chamber’s President and CEO Michael Nicastro.
“The whole weekend was great, we were packed,” Nicastro said, adding he felt that the new schedule of the show only being held on Saturday and Sunday was the right way to go.
Home improvement, window treatment, Bristol Rising, wickless candles, city organizations, health and wellness and more filled the Bristol Eastern High School gym and cafeteria last weekend, at the 28th annual event.
Every year, the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce-sponsored event allows for homeowners and residents to browse through a selection of businesses and community organizations, and filter through information being dispersed during the event.
Businesses from the area, not only Bristol, were in attendance, trying to expand their customer base and get recognized in other parts of the state.
The Bristol Taxpayers Association has been in existence for over one year, and has about 70 members. An association member, Donald “Pico” Gregoire, and others were providing home show goers with information about what the association does, and trying to get more individuals interested in the association.
“If more people join, we can make things better in the city,” Gregoire said, adding that the association keeps up on the happenings in city government relating to taxes and being an advocate for city residents.
Albertus Magnus College, which branched out into Bristol last spring, had representatives who were also at the home show handing out information on courses and what opportunities are available here in Bristol.
“It is going well, a lot of people are stopping by,” Jean Hunger, director of Corporate Outreach for the college, said. “We are seeing our enrollments increase.”
Nicastro said the home show brought in well over 100 vendors, adding that the craft fair, which was new this year, was also successful.
“These crafters are small businesses, and that is what the chamber is all about,” Nicastro said, adding that it is a possibility the craft show will be at the home show again.
Joan Simpson, who organized the craft fair at the home show, said on Saturday it was “going well” and that she had about 30 vendors.
Tracy Claire, owner of Sparkle Jewelry in Canton, said she attended the home show to get more exposure in a neighboring community.
The Bristol Veterans’ Council was at the home show, and council Chairman Tim Gamache was selling flag holders, as well as bricks for the walkway on Memorial Boulevard. The bricks, which are located on the Tribute Walkway, are $60 per brick and there are only about 1,000 left.
The bricks are in memory of veterans, and display the name of the veteran and the branch he or she served in. Gamache added that he was also seeking donations for the bridge behind the Korean War Monument the council wants to replace. He said the council only has about half of the amount needed to be able to complete the project.
Representatives from all aspects of Bristol Hospital were also at the home show. From the hospitals Comprehensive Spine and Pain Center were Sheila Copeland, a physical therapist, and Sherwin Wilson, aide of the department, were providing information on proper posture and educating people on back and spine pain.
“We are reinforcing that the back is the first line of defense in pain,” Copeland said, adding that in a 40-hour work week the center would see about 70 patients.
Mark Walerysiak, community liaison for Renaissance Downtowns, was informing the public on the downtown project and trying to garner up more signatures and support and raise awareness for downtown living.
“We are hoping to find people who want to live in a walkable, live, work, and shop environment,” Walerysiak said, adding that on Saturday many people had stopped by who were aware of the recent approvals by the city’s Zoning Commission, and were interested in hearing more about the project.
Even though Saturday was rainy, Nicastro said the home show was busy through the early afternoon. He said he was once again pleased with the Giants organization, who sent linebacker Spencer Paysinger, who was sponsored by Covanta Energy.
Over the next few weeks, Nicastro said all parties involved in creating this year’s home show will gather to go over what worked and what didn’t.
“We were very pleased with the overall performance of this year’s home show,” Nicastro said.
The home show was put on by both the chamber and Comcast Xfinity, and was produced by Jenks Productions.