2020 Annual Report - South Windsor Chamber of Commerce

South Windsor Chamber of Commerce

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P: (860)644-9442 | F: (860)648-1911




To engage its members and the
community in the pursuit of
excellence and economic growth by
fostering a collaborative business

We are the premier regional
organization supporting economic
development in collaboration with
the business community and

We believe in our members;
We believe in our community;
We will be fiscally responsible;
We will operate with honesty
and integrity.



Partner with our community; Stay relevant and be progressive; Promote the goods and services of our membership;
Provide effective, timely communications; Be the voice of our members; Provide relevant programming and benefits;
Encourage membership participation in programs and activities; Effectively represent our memberships’ interests to
town and state government.

Executive Committee

Board of Directors

Michael Sanzo, President

Sweyden Dibble

Imperial Oil & Plumbing Co.

Charles Schwab Co., Inc.

Samantha Gonzalez, President Elect
Manchester Community College

Meghan E. Smith, Vice President
Kahan, Kerensky & Capossela, LLP

Annie Mohanty, Secretary
New York Life

Gladys Oritz, Treasurer
People’s United Bank

Elaine AbouAkar, Past President
Century 21 ALLPoints Realty

Jennifer Lovett
Crystal Financial Insurance Services

Vasanth Kainkaryam
4 Elements Direct Primary Care, LLC

Colleen Sullivan
South Windsor Physical Therapy Plus

Kimberly Gassett-Tenenbaum
Berkshire Bank

James Babcock
NewHeight Creative LLC

William McAllister
Harmony Wealth Strategies

Chamber Team
Amy Pinard, Communications & Member Services Coordinator
Dorothy Pitochelli, Operational/Financial Manager

Stacy Camiros
Webster Bank

Kevin Cooney
South Windsor Volunteer Fire Department

Michael Maniscalco
Town of South Windsor

Hussam Saada
Precision Mortgage, LLC

A Message From Our President
The year 2020 has 3 months left and we can only hope it means a return to ‘normal’. While the world’s been in
turmoil, The South Windsor Chamber has continued to thrive, and, in many ways, strengthened our capacity to
support our membership and greater South Windsor Community.
Looking back to our meeting a year ago, September 2019 seemed like simpler times as we freely ‘gathered’ in a large
group setting over at Maneeley’s, something I’ll never take for granted now…We left with energy to burn and events
on the calendar.
In October of 2019 Stacey Camiros chaired our incredible Restaurant Crawl that helped to support over a dozen South
Windsor restaurants and brought people out to try some new eats.
The winter started off busy as ever with our 1st Annual Job Fair at the Parks & Rec. Building. We’re thrilled to report
the event led to 3 job placements and an opportunity to create a “HireLocal” resource, both are wonderful outcomes,
a wonderful accomplishment. To finish out the year, we gathered in style with well over a hundred people at the finest Holiday Social ever, all thanks to
Kimberly Gasset-Tenenbaum.
After the New Year, we celebrated Warming Hands, Warming Hearts with ERCCA - and on January 29th, we donated hundreds of winter garments to the
South Windsor Human Services Department. But, January also brought the first 7 confirmed Covid-19 cases to the States. As news came in, we continued
planning for moving locations and our events like the Greater Hartford Women’s Conference, The First Responder’s Breakfast, the Golf Tournament,
Restaurant Crawl, and more. With an exciting slate ahead, everything stopped in March and the pandemic panic began.
As The WHO announced a global pandemic and began making noise in the headlines, our local economies grew eerily silent. Schools, sports, and businesses
then began to shut down. Information and guidance lacked for the individual and for businesses.
In March we held a meeting and decided to proactively close our doors to the public to protect our amazing staff. Later we were able to set up the office
systems to work remotely. This enabled us to continue working for the community and be a resource everyone can trust.
We sponsored the Unsung Hero’s parade signs which was amazing to be part of, or watch on Facebook. Then, without a place for businesses to detail their
current operations and update their hours, pickup windows, etc, we launched Open for Business- South Windsor - an online directory and Facebook group
that was used by hundreds of business and thousands of visitors. We provided weekly, sometimes daily, Covid-19 updates to our membership from local
legislators, town officials, the CBIA, and the Department of Labor. With such unprecedented times, we provided many of our services free to members.
April brought a “new normal”. Face masks, home schooling, home offices, and social distancing became a way of life. The pandemic panic buying continued,
but our community was able to get almost everyone they needed. Unfortunately, we began to see that some events would not be feasible as planned and
had to postpone.
In May, the United States reported its 100,000th Coronavirus death. With so much terrible uncertainty, we stayed a resource for our community with PPE
loan information, unemployment resources, and much more - thanks to our diverse group of supporting members. As some businesses started to grow, we
launched the HireLocal program to help connect local businesses to local residents seeking work.
Also, in May, we started packing and sorting through 51 years’ worth of ‘memories’ in preparation for our move down the street to our new home. With the
move, we reduced overhead and deepened our connection with the Town of South Windsor, which, in turn, will be reinvested back into our community. This
move was A LOT of work and I would like to thank all who supported that initiative from the beginning almost a year back.
June brought some light. We were blessed with the opportunity to yet again provide two scholarships to two graduating South Windsor High School seniors.
To-Date, The South Windsor Chamber has awarded $58,000 in scholarships to South Windsor students.
In July we had my personal favorite event, the Summer Sizzler Chaired by Elaine AbouAkar. With many vacations and summer activities still on hold, it
provided our membership an incredibly affordable opportunity to advertise their products, not to mention the fun daily drawing videos on Facebook.
The fun continued into August, thanks to our determined Golf Committee Chaired by Colleen Sullivan and Jill McAllister. We hosted one of the best golf
outings in years and it was great to be outside and see some faces in a larger group setting again.
September has been busy too. We’ve launched our BizTalk podcast thanks to James, Annie, Vasanth and Jennifer and we’ve already posted 3 episodes of the
short conversations with business professionals.
So, while 2020 has been challenging to navigate and impossible to foresee, we can proudly say we have been a guiding beacon, and we will continue to be
such for our members and community.
It has been my honor to serve as the South Windsor Chamber of Commerce President for the last 12 months and I am thrilled to serve our membership as
President for another term. What the next three months hold is anyone’s guess but the Chamber will be there to help.


Michael Sanzo, President
South Windsor Chamber of Commerce

Meeting the Needs of Our Members
Interested in serving on a committee, looking to get involved in a new area of the Chamber, or would simply like
more information about a committee or group? If so, please contact the Chamber at 860-644-9442 to learn more
about how you can get involved!

Restaurant Crawl Committee
Holiday Social Committee
Golf Tournament Committee
Nominations Committee
Greater Hartford Women’s Conference Committee
Strategic Planning Committee
Business and Expansion Awards Committee
Scholarship Committee
Member Outreach Committee
Finance Committee
Legislative Relations Committee
BizTalk Committee
Business Person of the Year Committee
Technology Committee

Morning Business Networking Groups
SPARK – A New England Technologies Cluster
The Chamber President, with the advice and counsel from the Executive Committee and Board of Directors, determines all
committees and groups for the South Windsor Chamber of Commerce. The President assigns all chairpersons and
assists the chairpersons with the selection of committee members. At least one member of any committee will be a
member of the Board of Directors. The President and Chamber staff will serve as ex-officio members on all committees. All
committee members will be in good standing at the Chamber.

Meeting the Needs of Our Members
The Chamber continues its efforts to engage members and the community through its websites, social media
platforms, electronic newsletters, print newsletters and mailings, and email communication. These outlets allow the
Chamber to remain on the cutting edge of digital communications as well as provide traditional forms of
communications to our membership.

By the Numbers



223 Members
30 New Members
5 Grand Openings
47 Total Events
5 Signature Events
3 Business After Hours
22 Networking Events
4 ERCCA Events
1 International Travel


24,600 page visits to the Chamber website
24 eNews electronic newsletters to Chamber members
2 issues of Connections, printed newsletter
632 “likes” for the GHWC’s Facebook page
452 Welcome Packets sent to new SW home owners
2,109 Online Member Directory page views
252 Electronic communications sent






Member Services




Member Services

Major Highlights 2019/2020
Annual Meeting &
Business Person of the Year
September 19, 2019
At the SWCC Annual Meeting, reports from key executives
provided the membership with accomplishments for the past
year and discussed goals for the coming year. Jay Murtha,
owner of Jay’s Landscaping, was recognized as the Business
Person of the Year with acknowledgements from his business
partners and community leaders.

Holiday Social
December 10, 2019
This social event included Business & Expansion Awards,
Volunteers of the Year, $10,000 Cash Raffle Drawing and a
silent auction! The event was held at the Lodge at Maneeley’s
with over 150 attendees. Volunteer of the Year Award
recipients included Jill McAllister of Tonsha Marketing Agency,
Peter DeMallie of Design Professionals, Priscilla Snow of Post
Road Stages, Theresa Samsel and Joan Walsh. The lucky winner
of the 2019 $10,000 Cash Raffle was Jay Samsel.
Business & Expansion Award Recipients
Small Business of the Year: Hale’s Floor Covering, LLC
Family Business of the Year: Aqua Pool & Patio
Business of the Year: New England Silica, Inc.
Beautification Award: Brookdale South Windsor

South Windsor Restaurant Crawl
October 16, 2019
To showcase the wonderful cuisine and culinary talents of our
neighbors, the Chamber hosted its 2nd Restaurant Crawl. The
Crawl included breakfast, lunch and dinner featuring 14 local
restaurants and eateries. For $25, participants were afforded
a different taste sensation at each stop throughout the day.
Breakfast was held from 7-9am, lunch 11am-1pm and dinner
5-8pm. Participating restaurants included Dunkin Donuts, The
Red Cabin, Between Rounds Bakery Sandwich Café,
Giuseppina’s Bakery, Happy’s Nutrition, Bear’s Smokehouse,
DQ Grill & Chill, Oakland Pizza Company, Burtons Grill & Bar,
Ted’s Montana Grill, Red Heat Tavern, Flatbread Company,
Rasham Restaurant and Sakura Garden.

Job Fair
December 4, 2019
The SWCC held a Job Fair to help connect local job seekers
and employees. The event was held at the South Windsor
Parks & Recreation Department and included 21 participating
local companies.

ERCCA Warming Hands, Warming Hearts
January 29, 2020
The 6th Annual Warming Hands, Warming Hearts event was
held on Wednesday, January 29th, 2020 at Georgina’s
Restaurant and Banquets in Bolton, CT. Leading up to the
event, each ERCCA Chamber collected clothing donations for
needy children in the town each Chamber serves. This event
brought together hundreds of guests with great networking for
a great cause. Following the event, the winter clothing
donations were dropped off to the South Windsor Human
Services Department.

Major Highlights 2019/2020
COVID-19 Response
During the ongoing coronavirus/COVID 19 crisis, many of our
member businesses and nonprofits have experienced
significant hardships, due to lost customers, revenues and
future opportunities. Given these extraordinary
circumstances, the SWCC continues to work hard to help our
members and local businesses endure. This includes:
“Open for Business – South Windsor” Online Directory
The SWCC created an online directory to share local business
updates during the outbreak of COVID-19. Whether it was
curbside service, delivery options, online stores or other
special offers, we wanted to help spread the news! The
listings included company name, category, updates and
contact information all available for the public to search.
Facebook group, Open for Business – South Windsor. This
Facebook group was created by the SWCC for local businesses
to notify the community about their latest updates and
services AND for community members to use as a
resource. We encourage you to join, share and post in this
group and show support for our local businesses.
South Windsor Chamber members received one FREE
eblast. For a $150 value, member businesses were able to
promote whatever sale, new product, updates, etc. via eblast
sent out to all the Chamber’s contacts.
Important Covid-19 updates through email communications
and social media pages. We are receiving regular updates
from our officials at the local, state and federal levels, and will
continue to share those updates as quickly as possible.

COVID-19 Information Webpage
The SWCC has created a page on the Chamber website to
keep people up to date with information during the COVID-19

The SW Hire Local initiative was created by the SW
Chamber to help support and connect local businesses and
job seekers. Any local business is able to advertise job
openings on the Chamber website for free. Local job
seekers can also submit their resume for free.

SWCC Scholarship Winners
For over 30 years, the South Windsor Chamber of Commerce
has participated in the Dollars for Scholars program. The
current program provides graduating seniors with plans to
attend college, the opportunity to receive a scholarship
towards their degree in business or a business-related field. In
2019, the chamber allocated revenue raised from proceeds of
our yearly events to fund 2 scholarships: $1000 each to a
female and male senior. They were awarded in early June
2020. The recipients were selected based on criteria that
included GPA, extracurricular activities, and college selection.
To date, there have been 60 scholarships awarded in the
amount of $58,000.
The SWCC was proud to announce the 2020 recipients of our
scholarships, South Windsor High School Seniors Aicha Ly and
Phillip Ayotte. Aicha will be attending Eastern CT State
University, Philip will be attending UCONN.

Summer Sizzler
Chamber members were offered an opportunity to become a
Day Sponsor by donating a raffle prize with a minimum value
of $50 and the calendar filled up fast! Day Sponsors had their
logo’s displayed on the Chamber website, on Social Media
Posts and on Flyers and Posters.
For $10 per entry, people were able to enter their names as
many times as they desired. Each weekday from July 1st to
July 31st, a winner was drawn with all non-winning tickets
carried over to the next day’s drawing. Staff had a blast
traveling to a different Member location, with the winner’s
name being announced via Facebook Live.

30th Annual Golf Tournament
August 27, 2020
The 30th Annual Golf Tournament was held at Topstone Golf
Course and included 81 golfers. Golfers enjoyed a full day of
golf with carts, breakfast, lunch provided by Red Heat Tavern,
dinner, raffles and prizes. In addition, there were numerous
on-course contests including a Hole-In-One, an airgun game,
longest drive for men and women. Golfers also participated in
and 50/50 raffles.

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