By TAYLOR HARTZ
To celebrate its 126th annual ainner at the Aqua Turf Club on June 17, Anthony Mattiolo, Chairman of Board for the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce, called 2015 “a year of change” for the seven regional chambers.
Throughout the evening, the chambers recognized the marketing and branding initiatives that have shifted Bristol’s businesses this year.
In his President’s Annual Report published in the banquet’s program, President and CEO Jim Albert said the chamber is “hoping for big change in the future.”
Yet as the chambers celebrated success, progress, and change, the chambers recognized two businesses that have made their mark on the history of commerce in Bristol.
The annual awards given to small and large businesses honored companies that have impacted and served the Bristol community for decades.
The Distinguished Small Business of the Year award is given annually to a small, often family-owned business that has left a positive impact on the community.
This year, the Chamber recognized Hamelin & Sons Inc.
Celebrating its 70th year of service, Hamelin & Sons Inc., has been servicing Bristol residents’ automotive needs since it’s founding by Ernest and George Hamelin in 1946.
The shop is now run by brothers Michael and David Hamelin, who have owned the business for 31-years.
Speaking at the dinner, Michael Hamelin shared that receiving the award caused him “to think about where we came from as a business,” and reflect on the three-generation legacy that his shop holds in Bristol.
As their larger honoree, the chamber presented Bristol Hospital with the Distinguished Large Business of the Year award.
Founded in 1921, Bristol Hospital cares for more than 40,000 patients each year and has 154 licensed beds available for patients.
Kurt Barwis, president and CEO of Bristol Hospital, accepted the award and spoke highly of the culture and the “heart and soul” that make the hospital a longstanding and important part of the community.
With many Bristol businesses having generations worth of service and commerce,
the chamber’s CEO and President said the most difficult part of the award process was sifting through hundreds of qualified candidates.
As they welcome new businesses throughout the city and celebrates the success of those who opened their doors decades ago, Albert said the annual award winners are chosen for their contributions to both “economic and quality of life community involvement.”
While Albert said he could not even begin to count the many ways Bristol Hospital benefits Bristol and impacts the greater region, he praised the Hamelin brothers for their service on several committees and their commitment to economic development in the downtown region. Albert said both were recognized for their “intense involvement” in the community over the lifetime of each business.
By TAYLOR HARTZ