Scarecrow Fest 2017 Winners

Scarecrow Fest 2017 saw many creative scarecrow entries. Votes have been tallied, thanks to the generosity of the folks at Zip06, and we are pleased to announce the winners:
#1 William Raveis Old Saybrook
#2 Middlesex Cardiology
#3 Silhouettes Hair Salon

Congratulations and thank you to all who participated!! 


Middlesex Cardiology Associates

Silhouettes Hair Salon Old Saybrook

Inaugural Pop Up Sale

Survey Says...

Sixty three businesses and organizations participated in the inaugural "Merchants Pop Up Event" held June 15, 16, and 17. The post "Pop Up Event" survey results are in and despite a very rainy Friday, many merchants reported positive results. The survey results that follow reflect a 44% response rate.

Pop Up Event Old SaybrookWas the Pop Up Sale successful for you?

42% yes
23% no
35 % other

Would you participate next year?
100% yes

Comments and suggestions for improvement:
"More social media posts of the event as it's taking place. More balloons. Get the maps out to the businesses sooner so customers can plan their time."

"Keep it the same weekend...Fathers Day! Proved to be a wonderful combination."

"Make it a 4-day event and do not do it on Fathers Day weekend."

"More advertising"

"I had great traffic all 3 days!!!"

"Work hard to get more participation from merchants that are not on Main Street, and especially go after those in the OS shopping center" *editor's note: Seven shops from the Old Saybrook Shopping Center participated.

"Maybe having something going on in the green? A small festival or concert? Even a road race to help bring people into town."

"I think it's a great event and should definitely be done again. Once the word gets out more, the sale will be more successful."

"I got 4 new customers!"

Member Spotlight: Kathy Duggan

Manager, Denali
75 Main St. Old Saybrook

How can Chamber members benefit from your company?

Members have access to the use of the community room at no cost, as does the rest of the community. Our awesome staff can help prepare you for your next adventure.Kathey-Duggan_Denali_2017

What are your primary responsibilities?
Day to day operations, hiring, training and helping the store achieve financial goals. Finding opportunities for involvement in the community in a way that supports our goal of getting people outdoors.

What do you love about your job?
Helping customers find just the right item for the their next great adventure. Whether that adventure is a walk down Main Street or hiking in The Whites. We live in such a beautiful area of the state--it's a joy to encourage people to enjoy it.

Name your favorite Chamber service, program or event.
I just attended my first Chamber meeting and enjoyed the opportunity to meet and chat with other members. Posting job opportunities on the site is also a great benefit.

What are some of your interests or hobbies?
Anytime I can spend outdoors--hiking, kayaking, biking or just hanging out in my hammock. Time spent with my children--now that they are grown men--is always precious!

What is your personal philosophy on how to be successful?
Break every goal up into small manageable parts and tackle one at a time. Find at least one highlight from every experience and celebrate it. Appreciating the small successes will lead to bigger successes. Not every success is defined in a monetary way. Being kind, generous and thoughtful are all characteristics I see in successful people.

New Member Spotlight: Kevin Frechette

Owner, Skypics LLC

Describe your ideal customer:Kevin Frechette

Just about everyone falls into this category! The home owner: unique pictures of your home or property. Your family cruising down the river on their new boat, an aerial of that special day for the album. Your imagination is the limit. For the business person: stunning pictures for real estate sales, or for your web page. Storm damage surveys, structure inspections, and so much more.

What are your primary responsibilities?
Following F.A.A. Guidelines and Procedures to ensure that safety and privacy concerns are addressed prior to each flight.

What do you love about your job?
The view!!
And the look on clients' faces every time they see their photos!

Name your favorite Chamber program or event:
The Chili Fest! A great day to socialize, taste all the incredible chili recipes, meeting people that come from different towns to join in on the fun.

What are some of your interests or hobbies?
Flying, restoring cars, "tinkering". I love working with my hands, fabricating, and making something from nothing.

What is your personal philosophy on how to be successful?
The right attitude. Giving customers what they want and more. Taking the time to be creative. I put myself in the customers' shoes and make sure I deliver what I would expect to receive.

5 Business Trends to Pay Attention to in 2017

It’s that time of year when we’re busily wrapping up one year and focusing on the next. This year has been a roller coaster of upsets and it has a lot of people nervous about what’s on the horizon in this country and the global economy.

2017 is bound to be an exciting year. Here are five business trends that are likely to have the largest effect on your organization:

 5 Business Trends in 2017

The Freelance Economy
Forbes recently published an article that referenced a large-scale survey of the growing freelance (or gig) economy. It’s expected the number of U.S. Freelancers will reach 55 million this year, up 1.3 million from last year. Freelancers now make up 35% of U.S. workers.

What does this mean for your business?

One, it probably means you will be working with freelancers in the future. Freelancers can help you extend your offerings for less money than a permanent hire. It also means there’s a good likelihood that talent will continue to leave the traditional corporate setting and your contracted “employees” may be people you’ve never met face-to-face.

Personalization for Everyone
Personalization is an increasing trend in marketing. This isn’t exactly new to 2017, but expectations are on the rise and personalizing your offerings to your audience is less of a trend and more of a must-have. So why am I listing this as a trend? Because businesses will need to embrace this growing customer expectation and the only way to accomplish it so that it scales is through data. If you aren't currently collecting data on customer preferences and activity history, you need to be.

Everyone is looking for a tribe and personalizing your sales approach and customer communications will make people feel like you “get” them.

Value of Content
Content will continue to evolve and most businesses are starting to realize the value of it. This means soon content production will become what a Twitter stream has – lots out there, not all of it valuable. Everyone will be producing e-books, whitepapers, and checklists for download. The playing field will become very crowded as marketing agencies and departments are touting this content as a necessary part of marketing today.

In order to stand out in content, your pieces will need to be well-researched and answer the questions your customers and potential customers have. Written content will take on a much more professional quality. Even short pieces will need to be meaty. Video will become an essential part of your content creation. Which brings us to the next trend…    

Increased Video
Video is hot but will become hotter. With opportunities on platforms like Facebook Live and others, you can expect more and more businesses will embrace “teachable moments” and shares on videos. There will be more of a focus on “real” and “transparent” than fully produced, commercial pieces. You can expect a lot of “in the moment” video captures.

It’s a way of drawing your audience in, solving their problems, and being a resource for them. It’s also entertaining and that’s a major part of this trend. People want infotainment. They want to be entertained and they want information. If you can give them both, they’ll be more likely to share and enjoy your pieces. Remember, people want to do business with people they know, like, and trust.

Everyone Gets a Trophy
Business people lament the issues with giving everyone a trophy in children’s sports because of the expectations this sets, but as the oldest wave of Millennials begins to hit their mid-thirties and take on more manager roles, we’ll start to see a kinder, gentler business atmosphere that offers a lot of opportunity for team projects and mentor programs. We can also expect a lot of change in the feedback process. Once a year reviews will fade into obscurity and be replaced with more consistent feedback.

Millennials have a desire for every voice to be heard and this may become a source of frustration on the part of Gen Xers who just want to get the work done. 


Getting Prepared to Rock 2017
What can you do to prepare your business for these trends? Decide how they fit into your business goals and strategy. Don’t produce content because this article says it’s important. Instead, look for ways to create things that will be helpful to your audience and be aligned with your business goals. While none of these are “flash in the pan” trends, it’s important to embrace them in a way that works for your business and audience.  


Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect to their audience through content for higher conversions and greater loyalty. Her articles have appeared in Associations North (formerly Midwest Society of Association Executives’) Magazine,, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at and the Event Manager Blog.

Christina’s an introvert who loves presenting and working with groups to help improve their storytelling and content marketing, yet she feels incredibly awkward at cocktail parties.


Congratulations 2016 Chamber Award Winners

Each year the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce recognizes members in three categories for outstanding commitment to the community and to the Chamber. The awards were announced at the Chamber's Annual Meeting & Silent Auction, held December 6 at Saybrook Point Inn. The 2016 Annual Awards recognize Fitzgerald Painting, Business of the Year, Vista Life Innovations, Non-Profit of the Year, and Kay Hall, Volunteer of the Year.


Fitzgerald Painting was selected as Business of the Year for its positive influence in the community. Fitzgerald Painting,  an exemplary business and employer, was founded by Chuck Fitzgerald in 1987 and next year will mark thirty years of doing business in Old Saybrook and the surrounding area.
Chuck Fitzgerald
Chuck Fitzgerald receives Business of the Year award


Vista Life Innovations of Westbrook was awarded Non Profit of the Year for its dedication to assisting people with learning disabilities, and for its engagement within the community.

Vista Life Innovations

(l-r) Judy Sullivan, Executive Director, Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce; Robert Bradley, President, Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce, Helen Bosch, Chief Executive Director, Vista Life Innovations with Brian Ruddy, Malley O’Shea and John Tillinghast


Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Kay Hall, an Old Saybrook resident who has donated many hours assisting the organization over the past four years, whether at the Arts & Crafts Festival, Chili Fest, or Business Expo as well as behind the scenes at the Chamber office.

Kay Hall Volunteer of the Year

Volunteer of the Year Kay Hall, with Chamber president Robert Bradley

Old Saybrook Chamber Announces 2017 Board of Directors

OLD SAYBROOK, CT – (December 7, 2016) – The Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce, a member driven organization dedicated to enhancing the economic vitality and quality of life in Old Saybrook and its surrounding communities, is proud to announce the 2017  Board of Directors, who were elected at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting held December 6, 2016 at the Saybrook Point Inn.

old Saybrook Board of Directors 2017
Executive Committee
President: Robert Bradley, Primary Residential Mortgage
1st Vice-President:  Leigh-Bette Maynard, Liberty Bank
2nd Vice-President:  Mark Appellof, Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley & Lower Valley Care Advocates
Treasurer:  Dave Carswell, Guilford Savings Bank
Secretary:  Elaine Beame, Beame Realty
Past President: Lori Woll, Mystic Marriott

Board Members
Leland McKenna, Middlesex Hospital
Dan Price, Full Power Radio
Trish Maselli, Clear Cut Accounting Services
Lauren Harris, Harris Outdoors  
Marlee Santoro, MAR Floral & Botanicals  
Jack Marroney, Lighthouse Home Care
Michael Perry, Old Saybrook Neighbors Magazine
Brett Elliott, Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center
Sharon Lewis, AdviCoach
Kara Ganssle Pachniuk, POP Weight Loss
Cathy Carter, Saybrook at Haddam
Chantal Lawrence, Total Design Source

Through a core of volunteers and a professional staff, the Chamber provides leadership, support, and networking within the business community. The Chamber hosts community events and serves as a catalyst to promote tourism, to support educational outreach, and to act as an information resource and public relations center.

Photo: Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce 2017 Board of Directors. Back row l – r: Mark Appellof, 2nd Vice-President, Brett Elliot, Sharon Lewis, Michael Perry, Dave Carswell, Treasurer, Jack Marroney, Robert Bradley, President, Dan Price. Front row l – r: Leigh-Bette Maynard, 1st Vice-President, Chantal Lawrence, Kara Pachniuk, Lauren Harris, Marlee Santoro, Cathy Carter,  Elaine Beame, Secretary, Lori Woll, Past President,  Judy Sullivan, Executive Director, Trish Maselli, and Karen Pinette. Missing from photo, Leland McKenna.

Shop Local on Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is November 26SS_Logo_Blue

Let's show our support for small businesses by Shopping Local on Saturday, November 26. Afterall, independent business owners and small businesses are the backbone of our community.


Here is a sample of some of the #shopsmall specials offered by our members:

Eclectiques Unique Decor

10% off one item
Exceptions any artist work.
Door prizes - refreshments from 10:30 till 4
Jewelry, gifts, sea glass, candy, whimsical decor, mermaids, upcycled furniture, locally made coastal signs, local olive oils, dips, etc.
1029 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook
POP Weight Loss
POP is offering 15% off our 6 week, 3 month, and 6 month programs. 
You must call or come in on Small Business Saturday in order to receive this promotion.
455 Boston Post Road #6, Old Saybrook

CrossFit Invigorate
Open 9am to 12pm. Come in on Small Business Saturday and take a free class!
5 Custom Drive, Old Saybrook
Fred Astaire's Bloom Ballroom
All gift certificates on sale! The more you buy the larger the savings!
No minimum purchase. Buy as many gifts as you need, one per named recipient. Get one for every friend and don't forget your loved one!
174 Main Street, Old Saybrook

Vintage Home Decor
20% off all Dining Furniture, Dinnerware & Cocktail Accessories including Waterford Crystal, Baccarat, and Simon Pearce. Perfect for holiday entertaining.
821 Boston Post Rd. Old Saybrook

Vista Life Innovations
Sales event at Creations
712 Boston Post Rd. Madison

Harris Outdoors
Our mantra: unplug the tech and get outdoors! 

Stop in for coffee, tea and cookies, and dog treat samples for your four legged furbabies.

We will be offering a snowman ornament workshop.  Make a $5.00 donation to Youth and Family Services and you will receive a 2016 Harris Outdoors Snowman to decorate and hang on your tree!

Harris Outdoors will be a "Giving Tree" location for Youth and Family Services. Stop by and sponsor a child for the holidays. We will deliver the gifts to Youth and Family on December 16th for distribution to families. We will also be collecting wrapping paper and supplies for distribution.

Watch our FB page for specials.
889 Boston Post Rd. Old Saybrook

Chalk Mercantile
We will be having 2 raffles, one for Maison Blanche Vintage Furniture Paint and one for Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint.  Sign up for our email newsletter to be entered.
891 Boston Post Road. Old Saybrook

TGBC Consulting
25% discount on 6 month business leader coaching engagement
Old Saybrook

Blackhall Outfitters
Open house on Nov 26. Watch our FB page for events and promos.
We will be offering up our biggest discounts on all in-stock, leftovers, demos and pre-paddled kayaks and SUPS.
132 Shore Road, Old Lyme

Take 20% (!) off any photo booth package when purchased Nov 25 - 27. Booking now for 2017!
Old Saybrook

Before ~N~ After Dog Services
10% off In Home Dog Training Consultation Gift Certificates

Southern Exposure
30% off all in stock Lucchese boots and slides Nov 25 - 27
Don’t miss this great opportunity to celebrate “Small Business Saturday” ALLLLLL weekend with us!. Lucchese has been handcrafting their boots since 1883 using only the finest Leathers and Craftsmanship.
264 Main Street Old Saybrook, and in Mystic

20% off the entire store for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday
143 Main Street, Old Saybrook

Fitness on the Water
20% off all class and private packages
1921 Boston Post Road #3, Trolley Square
Westbrook, CT

MAR Floral & Botanicals 
10% off any floral arrangement ordered on Saturday 11/26.
This includes any preorders for local deliveries, holiday parties, teacher gifts, Christmas Eve. Think ahead for the holidays! We will also raffle a holiday goodie basket. Open 9-1 on 11/26.
140 Main Street, Old Saybrook

Pearls & Plaid
Free scarf with every purchase while supplies last!
1330 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook

Take up to 30% Off select styles from The North Face. November 23-28
Receive a $100 Holiday Card with your purchase of $250 or more. November 25-28
75 Main Street, Old Saybrook

Design Essence
20% off everything in the store, including gift certificates
1oo Main Street, Old Saybrook

Scarecrow Fest Winners

Creativity was on display with more than 50 scarecrows adorning the streets and sidewalks of Old Saybrook and Westbrook--all part of the annual Old Saybrook Scarecrow Fest. Votes were cast online, thanks to Zip06, who made online voting a breeze. This year winners were recognized in four categories: whimsical, traditional, spooky and most creative scene. And the top vote getters are:
Penny Lane Pub: Traditional
Essex Savings Bank: Whimsical
Saybrook Country Barn: Spookiest
St. John School: Most Creative Scene
Scarecrow Fest Winners

A Flutter in Time: Faerie Houses Around the World & Across the Ages

October 1 - 30, 2016
Wee Faerie Village

OLD LYME, CT, August 31, 2016 – The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, CT presents A Flutter in Time: Faerie Houses Around the World & Across the Ages on the grounds of museum’s campus from October 1 through 30. Visitors follow a “Time Traveler’s Guide” to thirty-two hand-crafted faerie scenes. It’s a time-bending adventure of global (and miniature) proportions! One minute visitors are in ancient Babylon, then 13th century France, next they could be in Victorian Spain, or even outer space in 2817! All ages will marvel at the detail and craftsmanship as they visit Irish faerie folk from the 18th century and a Polynesian faerie from 20th century Hawaii.

Last year nearly 16,000 visitors enjoyed the 2015 event, Whimsical Kingdoms during its month-long run. This year’s Wee Faerie Village is the eighth of the Museum’s annual outdoor creative installations. Challenged to create their scenes using natural materials, most artists work for at least six months on their creations. “I had great time collecting palm thatch, sea grasses, banana leaves, bamboo, driftwood, and sea shells for my Polynesian faerie village," notes Jessica Zydeek of Cromwell, CT. “I wanted to include the diverse cultural and architectural styles of Hawaii, from humble ancestral huts to the grand palaces of King Kamehameha.” Artists are selected from across Connecticut and a few from outside the state. This year, students from Deep River Elementary School, Nathan Hale Arts Magnet School (New London), the Interdistrict School for Arts and Communication (New London), and Haddam-Killingworth High School created time-altering creations. This annual event has come to signify an enriching, not-to-be-missed outing for visitors of all ages.

Special Events

As part of its Wee Faerie Village exhibition, adults and families with children can enjoy a month of faerie-themed activities. Events include a visit from Mary Poppins, a Pirate Day, parties, performances, book discussions, and craft activities. Many events are included in Museum admission. Visit for a complete list.