Chamber Member News | April 2021
Celebrating Our Members
April 2021
Welcome New Members:
A warm welcome to our newest members!* We encourage you to connect with them soon and see where your next partnership can be!

*Joined 3/1/2021 - 4/1/2021
Member Spotlights
Welcome to New Member Thrive Drumming
Tom Snyder, who has more than 30 years of drumming and percussion instructor training, is the owner of Thrive Drumming, a drum lesson studio located in Waterbury. Thrive Drumming offers lessons for beginners and as well as those with previous experience.

Snyder has performed at CBGB’s in NYC, Carnegie Hall, Baby Monster Studios in NYC, Scandinavia, and countless small clubs and backyards during his career.

In person lessons at Thrive Drumming studios features two drum sets ready to go, so the student and instructor can play together at the same time. No getting up and switching places for teacher demonstrations! Studio Lessons are by appointment at the studio or in an online remote setting. For more information contact Tom at 860-471-9241 or by email at Lessons can be scheduled online here: Save 60% on a onetime half-hour trial lesson! Choose the half-hour trial lesson.

Ideal Fish: Supplying Healthy Fish Through Sustainable Aquaculture
Eric Pedersen is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Ideal Fish, an aquaculture company that raises branzino, trout, and salmon. Pedersen describes his fish as healthy, all natural, and safer than wild caught. Pedersen and Ideal Fish’s innovations were recently profiled in The Waterbury. Click here to read the full story.
“We are much more a fish biological production facility—where we grow them in a way that optimizes the DNA of that organism, so that they grow more quickly without stress and without disease. In here, they are treated better than in nature,” Pedersen says. “We’re doing something really special that I think is going to change the way that seafood is supplied…not only in this country, but I think globally, in time.”

Events From Your Fellow Members
April 8: Zoom Event: "The Economy & The School of Hope" presented by the Children's Community School featuring Jim Smith of JCSmithAdvisors

The public is invited to join a Zoom session hosted by Children’s Community School and featuring Jim Smith on Thursday, April 8 at 4:00 p.m. Zoom sessions have replaced school tours as a way to share information on school issues and keep social distancing. This session is titled “The Economy & The School of Hope" with featured guest Jim Smith.

Smith is the President/CEO of JCSmithAdvisors and former Chairman and CEO of Webster Bank. He serves as Co-Chairman of the Board of AdvanceCT, a not-for-profit whose purpose is to drive business development, economic growth, and job creation in CT. Smith previously served as Co-Chairman of the Connecticut Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth. He serves as Chairman of Trinity Health of New England, and as Chairman of the Hartford Bishops Foundation in affiliation with the Archdiocese of Hartford.

The session will lead with CCS Board Member and moderator, Sue Mellitt, asking Jim his views on the economy statewide and Waterbury specifically and why he calls CCS the "School of Hope." Hear his story of meeting a future president at CCS and what that student is doing now. The session will close with questions, after which Jim will remain for discussion as time allows. Register in advance at to get the Zoom meeting link or call 203-575-0659 ext. 212.

Children’s Community School lays the foundation for the urban student’s educational success by offering a robust curriculum and unique experiences, by developing their individual character and by cultivating strong parent involvement. 

Love Yourself Thursday, April 8: Free Virtual Health & Wellness Class: "Magnetic Energy to Support the Body."
New Path Wellness Group presents free Virtual Health and Wellness classes every Thursday on Zoom. Next up on Thursday, April 8 at 7 p.m. is "Magnetic Energy to Support the Body." Be healthier, wealthier, and sleep better. Join us on “Love Yourself Thursday.”

For more information, visit: New Path Wellness Group Events

Wheeler Clinic to Offer Virtual Information Session and 10-Week Class for People Interested in Becoming Foster Parents
There is a pressing need for foster families in Connecticut, and Wheeler is hosting a virtual informational session and a 10-week virtual course for individuals interested in fostering a child or youth. During this challenging time, especially, individuals and families are considering how to make a meaningful difference.

A one-hour virtual informational session that provides an overview of the need in Connecticut and the foster parent process with Wheeler will be held on: April 22, 2021 at 7 pm
Meeting sign-in credentials are available at

Wheeler is offering a 10-week virtual course called TIPS-MAPP, Trauma-Informed Partnering for Safety and Permanence - Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting, to prepare prospective foster parents and families for the role of fostering a child or youth. Classes run on Monday evenings from May 10 through July 26, 2021 from 6 pm–8 pm.

TIPS-MAPP is delivered by Wheeler’s dedicated team of specialists, social workers, and clinicians who work closely with foster families from the start and continue as supportive teammates throughout the fostering process.

TIPS-MAPP Course Schedule: (Classes run from 6-8 pm on Monday evenings).
Pre-registration by May 3, 2021 is required by contacting Wheeler’s Foster Care Specialists.
  • May 10, 2021: Welcome - About Our Program
  • May 17, 2021: A Foster Care & Adoption Experience
  • May 24, 2021: Losses & Gains
  • May 31, 2021: NO CLASS DUE TO HOLIDAY
  • June 7, 2021: Helping Children with Attachments
  • June 14, 2021: Healthy Behaviors
  • June 21, 2021: Helping Children with Birth Family
  • June 28, 2021: Helping Children Leave Foster Care
  • July 5, 2021: NO CLASS DUE TO HOLIDAY
  • July 12, 2021: The Impact of Fostering & Adopting
  • July 19, 2021: Perspectives in Fostering/Adoption
  • July 26, 2021: Endings & Beginnings

The program is open to prospective parents from all walks of life. Participants can be married, single, or part of a domestic partnership. They can own or rent their homes. Parenting experience is a plus but not required.

Individuals who attend the informational session and/or 10-week course are under no obligation to become licensed foster parents.

To register for Wheeler’s TIPS-MAPP course, or learn more about the 4/22 informational session, contact Wheeler’s Foster Care Specialists, Michelle Martins at 860.707.5068, or Allison Casinghino at 860.637.5586, or send an email to

Pre-registration and an application process are required, and the registration deadline is May 3, 2021.

Quassy Amusement & Waterpark opens for its 113th season on Saturday, April 24
Quassy Amusement & Waterpark opens for its 113th season on Saturday, April 24. The amusement park is located in Middlebury and is family-owned. New this season, Quassy Amusement & Waterpark will host a “Totally Rock’n Drive-In Laser Light Show.”
“We’ve been working on this concept for quite some time and have finalized details with the production company,” Quassy President Eric Anderson said. “This will be a fantastic family show and set up like a drive-in theatre in our main parking lot.”

The weekend shows will start just after Labor Day with carload admission tickets available online for each scheduled evening.

Full-color laser graphics will be projected onto a huge screen while numerous aerial laser beams fill the night sky over the audience. The 30-minute production will be choreographed to popular music.

“We will also be incorporating our annual fall food drive with the event,” Anderson added. “Patrons may donate nonperishable food items – if they desire – when attending the laser shows.”

The park official noted that a limited number of tickets will be available for each show and that more information will be available in coming weeks.
For more information about Quassy Amusement & Waterpark visit

Applications Now Open for the Fourth Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator Program
Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars, is now accepting applications for its next program and is seeking startups from around the world that are developing innovations surrounding Connected Living, Next Gen Entertainment, Future of Work, and Personalized Experiences. 

Founders are encouraged to apply now through May 12, 2021 for this year’s program, which begins in August 2021.  The accelerator is part of Comcast NBCUniversal’s LIFT Labs, a comprehensive program that helps elevate startups through programming, mentorship from Comcast NBCUniversal leaders and partners, and educational resources designed to help entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. Since its launch, 32 companies from around the world have completed the accelerator program, and 75% have secured pilots or agreements with a division or business unit of Comcast NBCUniversal. The LIFT Labs Accelerator specifically focuses on helping founders sharpen business models, understand product and market fit, gain valuable connections and insights, growth tactics and fundraising strategies.
Applicants selected by Comcast NBCUniversal and Techstars will participate in a 13-week program followed by a Demo Day scheduled for November 2021. The startups will work directly with mentors and product experts from across Comcast NBCUniversal’s businesses. For more information, including access to free resources, visit follow @LIFT_Labs on Twitter

Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust Seeking Sponsors for 5k Trail Run
Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust is thrilled to announce their sixth Field & Forest 5k Trail Run which will take place at the Van Vleck Sanctuary in Woodbury on June 4th.

We are actively seeking sponsors for this wonderful fundraising event. Help support a local nonprofit and get your business name and logo out to our 200-400 participants and in our catalog, which is distributed to 9,000+ families in the region. This is a great way to show your support of the natural world, youth education, and land preservation. Sponsorships, which range from $100 to $1,500+, are due by May 1. For more information, visit or call 203-263-3711.

To learn more about the sponsorship levels, click here.

Upcoming Events at Foxwoods
Main Street Waterbury Perfecto Cigar Dinner (May 7)
Main Street Waterbury is hosting its Annual Cigar Night on May 7, 2021 from 5:30pm - 9:30pm at La Bella Vista, 380 Farmwood Road, Waterbury. Spend a relaxing Friday night with great friends, great food and great cigars - al fresco style. Tickets include 4 premium cigars, food catered by La Bella Vista, wine, beer, and scotch/bourbon sampling. Not to mention, the opportunity to win some great raffle prizes! Tickets can be purchased online for $80 each or $75 each with 2 or more tickets. Tickets will be limited, first come first served. No tickets will be sold at 'door'. Purchase tickets online at:
Hosted by The Smoke Easy Cigar Parlor with support from the Brass Mill Center and Nutmeg Fine Wines & Spirits. Sponsorships are available, please contact Anabela Maia at to learn more.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Offers a Wide Variety of Spring Semester Courses and Events
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UConn Waterbury is pleased to announce details of its spring 2021 semester. OLLI offers academic and social learning experiences to anyone 50 or over. All OLLI's classes are currently taught online, while still offering the broad range of courses and learning experiences for which Connecticut's only OLLI is known. 
During the spring semester, in addition to over 40 of the high-quality courses for which OLLI is known, a diverse and entertaining calendar of special events is available with something for everyone: 
  • April 8th, 1:00 p.m.: The Romance, Writing, and Art of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, presented by Professor Taylor Hagood, Florida Atlantic University  

  • April 30th, 7:00 p.m. Back by popular demand! OLLI presents Heather Pierson, a pianist, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, and performer, whose inspiring live performances and growing catalog of releases delve into Americana, Blues, New Orleans Jazz, vocal chants, instrumental piano, and poignant folk music. 

  • May 22nd, 1:00 p.m.: The Waterbury Symphony Orchestra presents an afternoon of chamber music featuring faculty and staff from UConn School of Music and WSO Cultural Ambassador, Dr. Vincent de Luise. In-person, socially-distanced event. Members and invited guests only. 
All events are free for OLLI members. Non-members pay a $10 registration fee to attend most events. There is no educational requirement to join OLLI. Many classes are developed and taught by individuals who volunteer their time to share their knowledge and experience with other members. 
Registration for the OLLI Spring 2021 semester opened February 1. Session dates are February 15th to April 30th. Daytime and evening courses are offered every week during the semester, Monday - Friday. Annual registration is $65, with classes starting at $5.
For registration and further information, visit OLLI's website at:, email or call 475-222-6261 / 6232.
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Member News and Updates
Exchange Club of Waterbury Hosting Food Drive to Benefit the Waterbury Baptist Ministries and Waterbury Police Activity League
The Exchange Club of Waterbury and its Foundation are hosting a food drive from April 15th to April 30th. The proceeds of the food drive will benefit the Waterbury Baptist Ministries and the Waterbury Police Activity League (PAL).

You can drop off donations at any of these locations: O’Rouke & Birch Florist, 170 Freight St., Waterbury; Jarjura Farm Market, One Market Square, Waterbury; FD Community Federal Credit Union, 281 Meriden Road or 601 Watertown Avenue, Waterbury.

Drop off between the hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday or 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Please note that the FD Community Federal Credit Union on Watertown Avenue is closed on Saturdays. Monetary donations can also be mailed to Waterbury Exchange Club Foundation, P.O. Box 9244, Waterbury, CT 06724. If you need assistance in picking up donations, please contact any Exchange member, including Erik Anthony (203)-819-3924 or Ginny O’Rouke Cookson at (203)-206-8338.

Advertise on WATR for Around $20 Per Commercial
Here at WATR 1320 AM and 97.7 FM we have the only local, live talk show in Greater Waterbury. Talk of the Town features guests discussing a myriad of topics and welcomes phone-in questions and comments. As election day rolls around, the exchanges are especially lively and poignant. Our morning drive program "Tom Chute and You" starts the day off right with music, news, contests and surprise guests. Advertising on our station is a great way for your message to reach thousands of listeners who are either listening on-air or streaming, for around $20 per commercial. e-mail for more information.

Hartford Healthcare Independence at Home Now Hiring Caregivers
Hartford Healthcare Independence at Home is a private duty homecare of Hartford Healthcare and is looking to hire new staff, especially in the Waterbury area as the provider has a growth of new clients requesting their services! If you are interested in learning more, contact Katherine Guildner at 860-471-7826.
Once a member of our team, you will get alerted when cases come up that are within 20 miles of your home and that fit the hours of your availability. Since you have the ability to build your own schedule, all positions are per diem. Our caregiver positions pay $15/hr, reimburse for mileage while working, and match 401k up to 3%! In addition, joining this team is also joining Hartford Healthcare, where you have endless opportunities to make the next step forward in your career. If you or anyone you know might be interested, please call us at 860-471-7826! 

Valued Technology Services is Waiving the First Month of IT Support for Chamber Member Companies that have 5 to 25 Employees Using Technology Around the Office; Includes Free Initial Network Assessment
Have a slow, buggy computer that’s driving you nuts? Contact Valued Technology Solutions to have a certified technician come to your office to conduct a comprehensive Network Health Assessment at no cost or obligation to find out what’s causing your problems and offer options for resolving it moving forward.

Why Hire Us? 3 Reasons:
1.     We guarantee to have a live person answering our phones and in the rare case where all technicians are busy, we guarantee to return your call within 30 minutes or less. We also guarantee that we’ll have a knowledgeable technician working to resolve your problem within 60 minutes or less.

2.     We use highly secure, propriety software that allows us to access your PC or network (with your complete permission, of course!) right over the Internet, enabling us to diagnose and fix 94% of all computer problems instantly, on the spot. No more waiting around for a technician to show up.

3.     We fix all problems right the first time. We feel you shouldn’t have to pay us to learn how to fix your network. Valued Technology Services has no on-going contracts; we offer month to month contracts.
To schedule your FREE Network Health Assessment, call 203-706-6738 or visit

Branagan Communications Consultants LLC Marks 28th Year of Sole Proprietorship
Barbara Branagan-Mitchell, the owner of Branagan Communications Consultants LLC, has announced the 28th anniversary of her public relations, publicity placement, writing and editing, and marketing communications agency. Barbara assists businesses and organizations across Connecticut to raise positive awareness of their company or organization and products or services through creating publicity placement campaigns. These campaigns frequently include press releases, event listings, captioned photos, and public service announcements sent to print and broadcast media outlets, including daily and weekly newspapers, radio and television stations, and community news outlets. Barbara offers free phone consultations to help businesses and organizations identify timely news angles about their activities, achievements, products, and/or services. To learn more, visit, or call Barbara at 860-210-0149 or email to

Barker Specialty Celebrates 70 Years in Business!
Cheshire’s Barker Specialty is pleased to announce they are celebrating 70 years in business! The promotional products company was started in 1951 by Gloria and Herb Barker who had a vision that tangible marketing products would one day become a critical advertising medium. Their thought was that useful products, those that can be seen repeatedly, would be a popular way to carry a branded message.
“I am so proud that my parents’ vision has become a reality and the company they started in their kitchen has become one of the premier promotional products companies in the country with nearly 80 employees. While I am saddened Gloria and Herb are not here to share our 70th anniversary, I am thrilled they were both here for our 65th, and we are committed to continuing the wonderful legacy they created,” says Gerry Barker, President of Barker Specialty.
What started as a desire of Gloria and Herb’s to share in the joy people receive when getting a gift of a promotional item has turned into a thriving second generation family-owned business. In addition, they wanted to create a work environment where respect for fellow employees and clients was paramount. This mentality extended to the greater community where Barker Specialty has and continues to give job and internship opportunities, donations and volunteers to many worthwhile causes and organizations.
Barker Specialty continues to thrive and stand out as a leader in the promotional products industry. With multiple recognitions including most recently the 2020 PPAI Pyramid Award for Technology, Barker Specialty is committed to growing and adapting to offering the best services for our clients for years to come!
About Barker Specialty
Barker Specialty has been the one-stop source for all promotional and marketing needs for over 70 years. We are a service oriented, innovative promotional marketing agency, specializing in promotional products, logo’d merchandise, apparel, premium gifts, awards, tradeshow displays and signage. Call (800) 227-5377 or visit for more information.

Welcome Spring With a Wine Tour Through Gateway Limousine
Been cooped up all winter and ready to do some exploring? Now that spring is upon us, and COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to relax, why not treat yourself to some much anticipated celebration? What better way than to go on a leisurely wine tour? Just give Gateway Limousine a call at 203-753-5466 and we will be happy to help you choose from the many vehicles we have to fit your needs.

Alltown Fresh Launches Benefits App
Alltown Fresh has launched a new mobile app that allows customers to use contactless payment, earn and redeem rewards, place orders for food, and more. The app can be downloaded from both the Apple App Store and Google Play. 
Traveler IDC: Your Source For Everything Electrical; now EASA Accredited
The Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA) recently announced the approval of Traver IDC as an EASA Accredited Service Center, the first EASA Accredited motor repair facility in New England! The criteria for becoming EASA Accredited are based on ANSI/EASA AR100: Recommended Practice for the Repair of Rotating Electrical Apparatus and The Good Practice Guide of The Effect of Repair/Rewinding on Motor Efficiency.
Joining as 1 of only 147 of more than 1700 EASA member companies worldwide to achieve this accreditation, the Traver IDC Team stands firmly on the belief that good practices, quality services, and expertise in electromechanical repair and maintenance are the foundation of helping facilities like yours succeed.

The Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA) recently announced the approval of Traver IDC as an EASA Accredited Service Center, the first EASA Accredited motor repair facility in New England! The criteria for becoming EASA Accredited are based on ANSI/EASA AR100: Recommended Practice for the Repair of Rotating Electrical Apparatus and The Good Practice Guide of The Effect of Repair/Rewinding on Motor Efficiency.
Traver IDC Motor Repair Services:
-AC Motor Repair: From mechanical rebuilds to full rewinds, dynamic balancing, winding analysis, vibration analysis, core loss testing, steam cleaning, dip and bake, UL recertification, and comprehensive machine shop capabilities,
our team can help. 
-Motor Rewind: You’re covered with comprehensive winding testing and verification, full rewind of special coils and stators, calibrated burnout process, calibrated baking process, dip and bake, and VPI upon request. 
-Mechanical Services: When you need gearbox rebuilds, pump rebuilds, vibration testing, laser alignment, & coupling inspections, service is just a call away.
Traver ID also offers the capacity of their state-of-the-art Motor Repair and Machine Shop with the capabilities for boring, drilling, shaft brazing, metallizing, milling, and more. The Traver IDC team is confident we can help your facility - the proof is in the accreditation!

The Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board Seeking Employers to Join its Summer Youth Employment Program
The NRWIB Summer Youth Employment Program places youth ages 14-21 in local jobs for career exploration in their interested field. The program provides wages and career experience for youth in our communities, with NRWIB providing the wages and your business providing the experience! Registration runs from April 1 to May 31. For more information, call 203-574-6971, ext. 471 or email To register as a summer worksite, visit

SharedWork Program Offers Solutions for CT Employers
Connecticut Manufacturing Assistance Center
Upgrade your business with the help of CMAC, an industry leading specialist in hand assembly and quality assurance. At CMAC, the quality, care and control are the same as you would want in your own facility. Let us take your hand assembly needs and execute them to your specifications and on your schedule.

Planning your next move?
Look no further! The Connecticut Manufacturing Assistance Center is here for all your hand assembly and quality assurance needs. Centrally located in Waterbury, CT, CMAC’s unique operation can assist by providing a high quality and on time product for you. For more information contact: Zachary Westfahl 920-204-4969 or email

AARP Connecticut Offers Year-Round Discounts
AARP Connecticut offers members terrific year-round opportunities to save money and connect them with people and places in their community while supporting local, nonprofit educational and cultural venues.

Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall – AARP members can enjoy great discounts on admission and memberships to a variety of Connecticut museums and cultural attractions, local theater, musical performances, educational classes, and more!

New offers are added throughout the year so bookmark and check back often for information about current discounts for AARP members and updates. Special restrictions may apply, so please be sure to read all offer details before purchasing. For information about discounts for AARP members from exclusive merchants and national retailers, click here.

Palace Theater Affinity Program
Did you know that as a Chamber member you get special discounts to select shows at the Palace Theater? As an affinity member, you receive a minimum 10% discount off most Palace events with the opportunity to receive even larger discounts on certain performances. When you purchase tickets by phone at 203-346-2000, or in person at the Palace Theater Box Office, mention to your sales and service representative before the point of purchase that you are a Waterbury Regional Chamber Member and would like to take advantage of the Affinity Discount. If you are purchasing tickets online, at, use the Promotional Code: WRC. Please keep in mind that some restrictions may apply and discounts may only pertain to certain seating sections based on performance restrictions. For more information on show specific discounts, please contact the Palace Theater Box Office at 203-346-2000.
Text "chamber" to (203) 496-4462 to receive a few updates or reminders from the Chamber. You can respond to any text and we will receive your response!
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