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Spotlight on Main Street Bridgeport

Spotlight on Main

Downtown Bridgeport: Fueled by Creatives

Presented by Sacred Heart University office of Community Engagement

Fueled by creatives, arts and entertainment, dining and nightlife, Downtown Bridgeport is evolving into an inclusive, affordable and multicultural Downtown. Connected to highways, trains and buses, it can be easily accessed by car or foot. Once vacant daytime office buildings are being converted into residential units, encouraging even more dining and nightlife in the city center. Downtown Bridgeport’s historic amenities are being brought to life through adaptive reuse and mixed-use projects. Public art is bringing vibrancy and engaging creativity in public spaces. 

Presentation Highlights

Our Spotlight on Main event introduced downtown professionals, economic development officials, and municipal leaders from across the state to this multicultural district. This event included:

Learn More: 

View Pictures from this event

Photos Courtesy of Daniel Recinos

  • CMSC Executive Director, Michelle McCabe

  • CMSC Board Member, Kelvin Ayala

  • Matthew Shields, Sacred Heart University

  • Lauren Coakley Vincent, President & CEO of Bridgeport DSSD

  • Bill Coleman, Bridgeport Office of Planning and Economic Development

  • Mayor Ganim

  • ES Barraza, Endangered Studio

  • Alicia Cobb, Art Simplicated

  • CMSC Staff

Watch the Presentation

CMSC in the Media

Video courtesy of Stephen Krauchick of Doing it Local 

With thanks to our Sponsors!


Presenting Sponsor

Sacred Heart University Office of Community Engagement

Social responsibility plays a role in our curriculum, events and student activities. SHU offers Volunteer Programs, Service-Learning opportunities and Service Immersion Programs to suit everyone – every aspiration, every career goal, every social interest.

Visit their website


Spotlight Partners

CEDAS

CEDAS, the Connecticut Economic Development Association, is a not-for-profit organization committed to advancing the practice of economic development within the state of Connecticut. CEDAS is the premiere association for economic development professionals, providing a forum for the economic development community and sponsoring educational programs and seminars to benefit those in the field. 

Visit their website


Bridgeport Regional Business Council

The largest business association in the region, the 600 member Bridgeport Regional Business Council (BRBC) is comprised of six affiliates: the Bridgeport, Stratford and Trumbull Chambers of Commerce, Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation, Leadership Greater Bridgeport and the Women’s Leadership Council.

Visit their website

Fairfield University Center for Social Impact

Grounded in Fairfield University’s Jesuit, Catholic mission to share its intellectual resources for the betterment of the community and to educate students to be socially and morally responsible, the Center for Social Impact connects community and campus to create high impact academic opportunities that address local, national, and global challenges and develop individuals committed to creating a more just and equitable world.

Visit their website


M&T Bank

M&T Bank is committed to building a stronger community–Together. Our purpose is to understand the individuals and the businesses in our neighborhood, so we can create the right opportunities for the people we serve.

Visit their website

The Recinos Company

Here to help you connect with your audience through understanding that everything worth doing starts with passion, and that’s something that we all have in common. Whether you’re looking to connect with your clients through photos, videos or music, our team will always work with you to unlock and release that passion into your work. 

We create honest, vulnerable & relevant content that resonates with your customers and community. We aspire to increase engagement and add value to your customers and brand. 

Visit their website


Spotlight Supporters

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CMSC Summit: Addressing Blight & Vacancy On Main Street

CMSC Summit

Addressing Blight & Vacancy on Main Street

Presented by Liberty Bank

Main streets are the face of the community. They welcome visitors, provide residents and community members with a sense of identity, house many small businesses, and host the arts, culture and entertainment that bring life to a municipality. Empty storefronts and blighted properties in downtowns and village centers drag a community down, undermining economic vitality and pride of place for surrounding buildings and businesses.

View Event Photos

View the Blight Panel

View the Vacancy Panel

Speaker Bios & Presentations

  • Michael Andreana, Pullman & Comley

  • Sarah Bodley, reSET co/ BL&D

    Sarah Bodley, Executive Director of reSET Social Enterprise Trust, is a nonprofit professional with over a decade of experience leading organizations focused on entrepreneurship and the arts. A former professional modern dancer, Sarah earned a BFA in Dance from SUNY Purchase and an MBA in Sustainability from Bard College. She is passionate about systems change, sustainability, equality and justice, and believes that business should be a positive force for change in the world.

    View Sarah’s Presentation (PDF)

  • Kevin Brown, Norwich Community Development Corporation (NCDC)

  • Julie Carmelich, SHPO

  • Jonathan Delgado, City of Bridgeport

    Jonathan Delgado serves as a Sr. Economic Development Associate for the City of Bridgeport’s Office of Planning & Economic Development. In this role, he works with developers, business owners and local community through the administration of various City programs and initiatives. Previously, Jonathan served as Assistant Director for Community-Engaged Research in Fairfield University’s Center for Social Impact, where he worked with staff, faculty and students to design and implement research projects with community partners. Jonathan received his Bachelor of General Studies degree from the University of Connecticut, and his Master of Public Administration degree from Fairfield University.

    View Jonathan’s Presentation (PDF)

  • Chris Edge, Town of Berlin

    Chris Edge has been the Economic Development Director for the Town of Berlin since January 2015.  He works with companies, individuals, entrepreneurs and others to enhance Berlin. This includes guidance with local government, programs and resources to launch from home into a storefront, move to town, and expand in town.  Previous work – finding employment for individuals with intellectual disabilities, and a part-time commercial real estate agent.  Has been a foster parent for almost 19 years and resides in Avon with his wife, 2 sons and 2 daughters.

    View Chris’s Presentation (PDF)

  • Kevin Gremse, Grow America

    Kevin Gremse is an economic development professional with over three decades of experience. As a Senior Director at Grow America (formerly NDC), Kevin manages a team of professionals who work in over thirty municipalities in the eastern United States. Kevin coordinates a multi-disciplined set of economic and housing development services, including technical assistance, training, and small business lending, and tax credit equity investment to a wide range of clients. Kevin advances the work of Grow America’s affiliated programs, including its federal tax credit programs, its public facility development division, and its small business lending company in client communities. Kevin has used his working knowledge of business credit and real estate underwriting and proven experience with federal, state, and local economic development incentive programs to structure business and real estate development transactions exceeding $6 billion throughout the country.

    View Kevin’s Presentation (PDF)

  • Dan Pesce, Director- Main Street Waterbury

  • Peter Ludwig, CT Green Bank

    Peter leads market engagement for the Connecticut Green Bank’s commercial building solutions. He helps building owners, contractors and other partners understand and access green energy financing programs for commercial and multifamily buildings.

    View Peter’s Presentation (PDF)

  • Rista Malanca, Northwest Hill Council of Governments (NHCOG)

  • Brian McCann, Pullman & Comley

    Brian is a partner at the law firm Pullman & Comley.  He represents businesses and individuals before municipal boards and commissions, and prosecutes and defends administrative appeals regarding issuance and denial of municipal approvals. 

    Prior to joining Pullman & Comley, Brian served as Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Norwalk for fourteen years, and, in that position, he counseled officials in the performance of their duties, drafted and implemented new ordinances (such as a blight ordinance, and a zoning citation ordinance), prosecuted hundreds of injunctions to enforce code violations, and defended the City in hundreds of administrative appeals.

    View Brian’s Presentation (PDF)

  • Yvonne Zhao, City of Hartford

    Yvonne Zhao is the Director of Small Business Initiatives and Support at the City of Hartford. With expertise in economic development and entrepreneurship, she leads initiatives such as the Hartlift program and the Small Business Facade program. Yvonne is a certified entrepreneurship development professional through the International Economic Development Council. Before her tenure at the City of Hartford, she contributed to regional economic development efforts in upstate New York, where she gained valuable insights and experience in downtown revitalization and main street development through collaborative public-private partnerships.

    View Yvonne’s Presentation (PDF)

With thanks to our Sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor

Summit Supporters

Summit Exhibitors

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CMSC Summit: Positioning CT Main Streets in the Social Media Landscape

CMSC Summit

Positioning CT Main Streets in the Social Media Landscape

Presented by Intuition Media Group

During our fall summit we dove into the ever-evolving relationship between marketing and Main Streets, exploring the pivotal role social media plays in influencing residents and visitors, and how online audiences can be converted into real-life customers.  

Event Highlights

  • 2 Case Study panels featuring local Main Street professionals & social media influencers
  • A conversation with CT’s Chief Marketing Officer, Anthony Anthony about the state’s new Make It Here campaign. 

This event was approved for 4 credits for certified planners. With thanks to our AICP Certification Maintenance Provider FHI Studio

View Pictures from this event

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Watch the Presentation

Panel Discussion 1 – Unlocking Digital Creation for Your Main Street

Panel Discussion 2 – Cultivating an Ecosystem of Creators

Keynote Discussion with Anthony Anthony

View all webinars

With thanks to our Sponsors!


Presenting Sponsor

Intuition Media Group

Intuition Media is a global leader in influencer marketing.

We are an award-winning influencer marketing agency serving the most iconic brands since 2008. We connect trend-setting creators with insight-based strategies.

From ideation to implementation, our experiential strategists develop campaigns that connect with your target audience and utilize influencers to drive engagement and enhance credibility.


Visit their website

Spotlight Partners

Key Bank

Key Bank’s roots trace back 190 years to Albany, NY. Today, KeyCorp is based in Cleveland, OH, and we’re one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $195 billion.

Visit their website


Spotlight Supporters

CBIA

CBIA is the leading voice for Connecticut business

We support the innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders shaping a vibrant, dynamic Connecticut with opportunities for all–and connect business executives with each other and with legislators.


FHI Studio

FHI Studio integrates expertise in a wide array of services and technical disciplines. Across planning, engagement, mobility, and design, we look at the whole to understand the parts of every project. From internal brainstorm sessions to client, stakeholder, and public workshops, we bring a diversity of knowledge and the creativity to get things done.

Our four studios work together to ensure comprehensive and thoughtful solutions, demonstrating our commitment to continual learning and collaboration.

Fuss & O’Neill

Fuss & O’Neill is a nearly 100-year-old engineering and science-based firm with offices in each New England state, and New York.

We specialize in planning, design, and construction work in the transportation, water, environmental, buildings, and energy market sectors. We thrive at the intersection of industry and community issues such as economic development, livable communities, complete streets, Environmental Justice, and climate change while offering traditional public and private services. We count more than a dozen Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies as part of our extensive list of clients.



Summit Exhibitors

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Spotlight on Main Street Windsor

Spotlight on Main Street

Downtown Windsor: Creating an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Presented by Windsor Federal

Windsor’s historic downtown is brimming with possibility. Conveniently situated between Hartford, CT and Springfield, MA, residents enjoy easy access to public transportation and commuter rails. Many development projects are underway in Windsor, with entertainment venues and residential buildings bringing new life to the center. A visit to Windsor’s downtown might entail a walk on the Windsor Center River Trail, a paved 1 mile loop trail connecting downtown and the historic district alongside the Connecticut River; experiencing the growing arts scene with a visit to Windsor Arts Center; or attending one of Windsor’s many community events on the green.

Presentation Highlights

Our Spotlight on Main Street event introduced downtown professionals, economic development officials, and municipal leaders from across the state to this historic, walkable district. This event included:

View Pictures from this event

  • Windsor Arts Center

  • Thanks to our sponsors!

  • Delicious cupcakes from Moneta Moments

  • Amazing food from Likkle Patty Shop

  • Exciting development is in the works in Windsor

  • Fun raffle by First Town Downtown

  • Rep. Jane Garibay mingles with the crowd

  • CMSC’s Michelle McCabe welcomes the crowd

  • Windsor Mayor Donald Trinks welcomes attendees to Windsor

  • DECD Commissioner Alexandra Daum talks about the importance of vibrant downtowns

  • Rep. Garibay describes the work and impact of Windsor’s downtown

  • Windsor Federal Savings President & CEO Luke Kettles shares how they support the community

  • CEDAS’s Kevin Bielmeier highlights the strong collaboration between CMSC and CEDAS

  • Windsor Arts Center Sarah McKay describes the wonderful contribution the arts community has on Windsor

  • Economic Development Director Patrick McMahon talks about the multiple transit and residential projects underway

  • First Town Downtown Executive Director Ken Fredette shares their many activities

  • Windsor Chamber of Commerce President Andrew Surprise

  • With thanks to our Presenting Sponsor Windsor Federal

  • Inside co-working & community space, Windsor Worx

  • Exploring the Farmers Market

  • Talking with the owner of The Bean coffee shop, one of our in-kind sponsors

  • Touring the renovated Windsor Federal building

  • Touring the former Plaza Theater, being renovated into a hotel and banquet space

  • Windsor Town Hall

  • Windsor Chamber of Commerce

  • Developer Greg Vaca talks about the transformative mixed-use building coming to the downtown

  • CMSC’s Jen Hunter greets people at the reception

Watch the Presentation

With thanks to our Sponsors!


Presenting Sponsor

Windsor Federal

Windsor Federal opened its doors in 1936, founded out of the Great Depression with a mission of neighbors helping neighbors, providing community members with a safe place to save money, finance homeownership, and invest in the future. Today, they have eight offices and over $750 million in assets, and are the only Mutually Chartered Institution headquartered in Hartford County.
 
At Windsor Federal “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” is much more than a tagline for us; it speaks to our culture, and values, as an organization. We’re here for you – our customers, neighbors, and communities. 


Resources

Visit their website

Spotlight Partners

CEDAS

CEDAS, the Connecticut Economic Development Association, is a not-for-profit organization committed to advancing the practice of economic development within the state of Connecticut. CEDAS is the premiere association for economic development professionals, providing a forum for the economic development community and sponsoring educational programs and seminars to benefit those in the field. 

Visit their website


Windsor Chamber of Commerce

The Windsor Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting businesses and the community. The Chamber’s mission is to provide voice for the Business Community on issues of public policy; to help businesses to work together for their mutual benefit and to advocate initiatives that enhance the town’s (region) economic vitality and quality of life.

Visit their website

Spotlight Supporters

FHI Studio

FHI Studio integrates expertise in a wide array of services and technical disciplines. Across planning, engagement, mobility, and design, we look at the whole to understand the parts of every project. From internal brainstorm sessions to client, stakeholder, and public workshops, we bring a diversity of knowledge and the creativity to get things done.

Our four studios work together to ensure comprehensive and thoughtful solutions, demonstrating our commitment to continual learning and collaboration.


The Loomis Chaffee School

At Loomis Chaffee, our mission is to inspire in students a commitment to the best self and the common good.

Through rigorous academic programs, myriad opportunities to put learning into practice, championship-level athletics, expansive performing and visual arts programs, and all the distinct benefits of a top-ranked boarding school, we empower students to reach their goals and make a real and immediate difference in the world.


Windsor Historical Society

Our mission is to invite people to connect with Windsor’s evolving history by preserving, interpreting, and sharing our community’s artifacts and stories.

Fuss & O’Neill

Fuss & O’Neill is a nearly 100-year-old engineering and science-based firm with offices in each New England state, and New York.

We specialize in planning, design, and construction work in the transportation, water, environmental, buildings, and energy market sectors. We thrive at the intersection of industry and community issues such as economic development, livable communities, complete streets, Environmental Justice, and climate change while offering traditional public and private services. We count more than a dozen Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies as part of our extensive list of clients.


PC Development Group

We offer a wide variety of computer related services, including some of the best prices on service repairs of anyone around.  We offer new and refurbished desktops and laptops and have a full retail store with all the computer components you need. You’ll get the same great service whether we’re repairing your computer at the store or we’re working on your business network.  Our professional staff is always here to help. 


In-Kind Sponsors

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Spotlight on Main Street – Downtown Torrington

Spotlight on Main Street

Downtown Torrington: It’s Happening Here!


Presented by Charlotte Hungerford Hospital

Torrington’s Main Street, touting one of the country’s largest collections of Art Deco Buildings, is in the heart of the city’s Cultural District. The wide sidewalks, beautiful landscaping and public art displayed throughout the area make it a great place to take a stroll. Visitors can enhance their experience by visiting one (or more) of the vibrant restaurants, galleries, shops and museums that line this quaint New England street. Torrington Main Street is perfect if you’re looking to take in a theatre performance, create a memory with your grandchildren or planning a fun night out.

View the Presentation

Mayor Elinor Carbone and Rista Malanca, AICP, Director of Economic Development, discuss the proactive steps the city took to enable the city’s many successes.


Event Overview

Our Spotlight on Main Street event, co-sponsored by CEDAS, introduced downtown professionals, economic development officials, and municipal leaders from across the state to this historic, walkable district. This event included:

View Related Webinars

Mayor Carbone and Rista described several actions they took to improve their downtown’s walkability and make it inviting to residents, visitors and businesses. Learn more about how you can do the same with our video series on the 4 Point Approach.

View the videos


Other Resources

The arts & culture community is thriving in Torrington. Click the links to see the latest happenings.

About the Cover Photo

The banner photo was provided courtesy of Main Street Torrington and features Dennis Polisky & Maestro’s Men during their annual Oktoberfest event


View Pictures from this event

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With thanks to our Sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor

Charlotte Hungerford Hospital

Hartford HealthCare is creating a better future for healthcare in Connecticut and beyond. We are a community of caregivers engaged in developing a coordinated, consistently high standard of care, using research and education as part of care delivery. We create and engage in meaningful alliances to enhance access to services and invest in technology and training to develop new pathways to improve the timeliness, effectiveness and accuracy of our services.

Resources

Visit their website


Event Partner

CEDAS

CEDAS, the Connecticut Economic Development Association, is a not-for-profit organization committed to advancing the practice of economic development within the state of Connecticut. The Association encourages communication among its members by providing a forum for discussion and information exchange.

Spotlight Partner

Torrington Savings Bank

Torrington Savings Bank’s steady, strong banking practices have made them a trusted and reliable bank since 1868. Conservatively guided and strongly capitalized, they are committed to their mutuality and to providing quality products and services to meet the financial needs of the individuals, families, and businesses in their communities.


Spotlight Supporters

Brooks, Todd & McNeil Insurance

Brooks, Todd & McNeil works hard to make your insurance decisions effortless and trustworthy. You can rely on the solutions they offer and count on their friendly, local service. They are proud of their long agency history providing families, non-profit organizations and commercial businesses in CT with insurance. They have been serving Connecticut since 1839.


Commercial Sewing, Inc.

Commercial Sewing has specialized in the marine and power sports markets with a focus on producing canvas products for Original Equipment Manufacturers, Distributors, and Dealers.


Good Earth Advisors

Good Earth Advisors is a woman-owned and operated consulting firm specializing in community planning, development services and public engagement. Inspired by the prospect of positive change, we see opportunity in each challenge—using planning as a pathway to progress.


Herbst & Herbst LLC

Conveniently located in Torrington since 1973, you can contact us with all your real estate, business, and estate planning needs. From our downtown Torrington location we are able to serve the needs of clients throughout Litchfield County. 

O&G Industries

O&G Industries, Inc. is a leading provider of construction services and products in the Northeast.

Our portfolio encompasses numerous market segments, with projects that span in size and scope. Our clients include some of the most well-respected brands in the region and throughout the world.

Remember When Vintages & Antiques

32 Years and counting in the lighting and antique business.  We have the largest selection of restored antique lighting, chandeliers, wall sconces, and lamps in the area. Our master restorer, Mr. Rit, does  museum quality restorations and has done restorations for the White House, the Torrington Historical Society  as well as numerous other venues.


Torrington Development Corporation

The Torrington Development Corporation will plan, lead, direct and coordinate comprehensive efforts to improve the City’s economic base.  The purchase, reclamation and development of property and the procurement and administration of funding and/or loans will be carefully managed to support a vibrant community.


Torrington Downtown Partners

Torrington Downtown Partners was formed in September 2010 by a group of investors who recognized an historic opportunity to shape the revitalization of downtown Torrington, Connecticut.  Their goal is two-fold: To break the cycle of absentee ownership and vacant storefronts in the heart of downtown, and to involve the community at-large in making decisions about and being a part in the turnaround and rehabilitation of a key part of the city.


White Flower Farm

White Flower Farm is a family-owned nursery based in Northwest Connecticut. Since 1950, we’ve been growing a wide range of ornamental plant varieties, and delivering them to gardeners all over the country. Our mission is to help gardeners succeed by supplying top quality plant material, comprehensive cultural information, and superior customer service. Whether you are an experienced horticulturalist on the lookout for unusual cultivars, or a newcomer to gardening, we’re here to help.

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Spotlight on Main Street: Middletown

Spotlight on Main Street: Middletown

  • CMSC: DT Middletown

  • CMSC: Middletown Main St

  • CMSC: Q Williams w guests

  • CMSC: Lt Gov Susan Bysiewicz

  • CMSC: DBD Coord Sandra Russo-Driska

  • CMSC: Middletown PD Chief Erik Costa

  • CMSC: Dominick DeMartino_DeMartino Development

  • CMSC: DeMartino Housing Rehab

  • CMSC: JR Hargraves Redev 1

  • CMSC: JR Hargraves Redev 2

  • CMSC: JR Hargraves_Hargraves Development

  • CMSC: JR Hargraves Redev Renderings

  • CMSC: KidCity 1

  • CMSC: KidCity 2

  • CMSC: Mayor Ben Florsheim

  • CMSC: Rep Quentin Williams

  • CMSC: Middletown DBD

Since 2013, CMSC and CEDAS have partnered on our Spotlight on Main Street networking events, where a hosting CMSC community shares how they have addressed local obstacles and achieved success in their downtown through collaboration, economic,  and community development.

In October 2022, CMSC & CEDAS members were treated to a behind-the-scenes view of the seven walkable blocks of Middletown’s Main Street, home to nearly 200 independent businesses from family-owned for generations to brand new, nestled along the Connecticut River. 

This event presented by

Highlights included:

  • A Welcome Reception on the Community Health Center Rooftop 
  • Guided walking tours of the downtown
  • A Closing reception hosted by the Inn at Middletown

With thanks to our host the Middletown Downtown Business District, a CMSC member community and speakers:

  • Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz
  • Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim
  • Jen Alexander, Chair, Downtown Business District
  • Sandra Russo-Driska, Downtown Business District Coordinator
  • Middletown Police Chief Erik Costa
  • Dominick DeMartino, DeMartino Development
  • JR Hargraves, Hargraves Development 
  • Larry McHugh, President, Middlesex County Chamber

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    Sandy Hook Village Market Study

    • Newtown Calls in Pros for Sandy Hook Economic Recovery

    Sandy Hook Village Market Study

    In June 2013, the Town of Newtown selected a team organized by Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC) to coordinate an economic recovery consultancy for Sandy Hook Village. CMSC collaborated with Arnett Muldrow & Associates of Greenville, SC, and with NetMark Associates of Canton, CT to work closely with the Town and the Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity (S.H.O.P.) to examine the market for Sandy Hook Village for shopping, dining and gathering, to engage more people to come to Sandy Hook, and to craft a marketing and promotion toolkit for the Village to better share its assets with residents, visitors, and investors.

    The goal of this work was to assist Sandy Hook Village business and property owners with short-term steps to market the community alongside long-term initiatives to foster continued economic activity and investment in Sandy Hook Village. The branding and marketing strategy that resulted serves as a guide for helping the Village’s businesses market to their existing and expanded customer base, helping officials of the Town of Newtown and S.H.O.P. recruit additional investment to the community, and guiding decisions to continue to drive customer traffic to the village.

    A Compassionate, Community-led Approach

    The consultancy process began with a series of meetings in the community. CMSC worked with the consulting team and a steering committee comprised of Town Staff, Economic Development Commissioners, and S.H.O.P. representatives to discuss the scope of the project, directing the project from start to finish. The team also met with shopkeepers, stakeholders, School District and Town officials, and others to gather input and feedback. 

    Through community input and market analysis, Connecticut Main Street team presented Sandy Hook with a market report and corresponding marketing and branding campaign along with other steps to implement the new branding campaign.

    The resulting branding campaign is still in use by Sandy Hook Village. S.H.O.P. also joined the CMSC member network and remains an active member ten years later.

    Interested in learning how we can help your community discover its unique voice?

    Check out these helpful videos or learn more about becoming a CMSC member

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    © Connecticut Main Street Center 
    P.O. Box 270, Hartford, CT 06141 | 860.280.2337