Chamber presents options for getting healthy

Bob Carbonell, owner of the Woof Pack, right, speaks to potential customers Cathryn Stranieri and Ron Grabowski at the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce Health and Wellness Expo at Bristol Eastern High School Saturday. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)



The Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce hosted the third annual Health and Wellness Expo on Saturday, March 9, at Bristol Eastern High School, which featured vendors and information regarding all sorts of wellness.

“I think in today’s world, everybody is more health conscious of what we eat, exercise, mind wellness, and all of that, I just think it’s the generation that we are today. Everybody has become more and more aware of a healthy lifestyle,” said Cindy Bombard, president and CEO of the Chamber. “It’s one stop shopping, is how I look at it. You bring everybody into one area, it’s easy for people to come and take a look of what’s available to them.”

Bristol’s Park and Recreation department helped the conversation about healthy living at the Health and Wellness Expo. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)

“Wellness comes in all forms,” said Bombard, referring to first time attendee, Woof Pack, a full service dog daycare facility located at 30 Cross St., Bristol.

Founder and owner Bob Carbonell, said he opened the facility about a year and a half ago as a way to meet the needs and wants of local pet owners.

“It started because half a dozen of us brought our dogs to local daycares and none of us were 100 percent satisfied, so we started talking, let’s start our own, and fill in the gaps that we’re not finding elsewhere,” said Carbonell.

For Carbonell and other pet parents, they were looking for cage-free facilities that we staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“That’s where it started and from there it just expanded to let’s just do everything to accommodate everybody. That’s kind of what we do, and we’re having fun with it,” said Carbonell. “We surround ourselves with passionate individuals and that makes all the difference in the world.”

Woof Pack offers a wide variety of training and grooming services on their three acre property, as well as boarding services. To learn more about the daycare center, please visit,

Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce
Executive Suites at 440 N. Main Street, Bristol, CT 06010
Tel: (860) 584-4718

Expo attendees could also learn about the coming together of human and animal wellness by speaking with Shepard Meadows Therapeutic Riding Center, 733 Hill St., Bristol. Shepard Meadows offers equine-assisted programs for people of all ages. For those interested in volunteering at the facility, there will be a new volunteer orientation on Friday, March 22, at 4 p.m. More information is available online at,

Kristopher Jones, program director at the Bristol Hospital Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine, manned on of Bristol Hospital’s many booths, offering a wealth of knowledge to the community about the ways the community hospital aims to support the Bristol community.

“As the population ages and the body starts to wear down a little bit, people develop wounds – diabetes, venous disease with swollen legs,” said Jones. “There’s definitely a need in the community to educate that we have this great service at Bristol [Hospital], and that they don’t have to live with these things, and we can take care of them.”

Jones’ booth had handouts regarding the different types of wounds that can be treated at the Wound Care Center, such as diabetes or foot ulcers. There was also information regarding different forms of treatment, such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which utilizes an atmospheric pressure greater than the pressure at sea level.

Bristol resident, Tina Stella, said attending the expo is a wonderful way to fill her reference files for the future, and that she would absolutely attend the expo next year.

“It’s always such a wonderful source of information of all kinds, things we need now, things we need in the future and we don’t know we need yet, it’s endless,” said Stella.

Stella took a moment to watch a demonstration put on by Hartford Healthcare’s Tallwood Urology and Kidney Institute.

TUKI administrative fellow, Ashley Bodamer, and administrative assistant, Amy Reynolds, used a replica to demonstrate how the kidneys filter toxins out of your body.

Residents could talk with Marco Palmeri, director of the Bristol-Burlington Health District, about various services available to them, such as Narcan training, tick analyzation, and radon testing for the home.

“We are responsible to make sure that all residents in Bristol and Burlington, and throughout the whole state of Connecticut, are able to access the healthcare services that they need. ,” said Palmeri. “We may not provide the healthcare services ourselves, but we make sure that those in the community who need whatever healthcare services – mental health, physical health, oral health, whatever it may be – can access those services, and make sure there’s no barriers to accessing those services. That’s the role of a health department in Connecticut.”

Palmeri said the department’s focus for the upcoming year is prevention, be it the prevention of the use of opioids, tobacco addiction, or preventative health services, such as the senior oral health program or the oral hygiene partnership with the Bristol Public Schools.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at