BRISTOL - The Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce will recognize local small business owners on Monday, April 30, at its inaugural Small Business Appreciation Breakfast.
It will run from 8 to 9 a.m. at DoubleTree by Hilton, 42 Century Drive, with registration at 7:30.
Cindy Bombard, president and CEO of the multitown chamber organization, said event is being held in honor of National Small Business Week, April 29 through May 5.
“National Small Business Week is the time to recognize these local owners who have proven their commitment to our community,” said Bombard. “When I drive around the city of Bristol and visit with chamber members, I notice the longevity of many of the businesses in our community.”
Businesses to be honored include Crystal Diner, Haberfeld Enterprises, Rosie’s Laundry Company, The Basket Place and Vallee Shoe Services.
Thomas O. Barnes, chairman of the board of Barnes Group Inc., will be the keynote speaker.
“His family has been very good to the city of Bristol and when I approached him with the idea of doing this event he was very supportive,” said Bombard. “After all, seven or so generations ago, someone in the Barnes family was tinkering in a garage and that later turned into Associated Spring and the Barnes Group.”
Crystal Diner, at 43 Main St., was purchased by Alex Hamzy 16 years ago.
He served in Iraq as a linguist from 2007 to 2008. During that time, the diner was run by his wife, Selma.
The diner has since undergone kitchen renovations, and expanded its menu along with its hours. It will remain open for dinner during the week and serve as a 24-hour diner on the weekends.
Haberfeld Enterprises, owned by Dave Haberfeld, was established in 2008 and over the last 10 years has purchased and renovated 40 properties in Bristol.
“He is an entrepreneur who has upgraded and flipped numerous buildings in town,” said Bombard. “He is a landlord who takes great pride in his buildings and takes care of them. He is also the owner of the Bristol Talks Facebook page.”
Rosie’s Laundry To., 1290 Farmington Ave., is owned by Maureen Callahan, whose family roots in Bristol go back 100 years. Her mother’s likeness serves as Rosie’s logo.
“Her first location is in Avon but she chose to expand into Bristol,” said Bombard. “She is a great example of an entrepreneurial spirit.”
The Basket Place, at 825 Farmington Ave., which offers floral arrangements and gifts, is owned by Eleanor Mercier, who has been self-employed since she opened Steven’s Fruit & Gift Basket in 1970.
Before, she worked at her parents’ business, Steven’s Bakery and Deli on North Main Street, until it closed.
The Basket Place has had several locations over the years but has always remained in Bristol.
Valee’s Shoe Services, at 184 West St., is a second=generation business. Owned by Mike Valee, it was started by his father, Joe, in 1948. The business moved from its original location in the Mamatseos Building to West Street in 2004 after the original building was torn town.
“I remember when I was a little girl my father would go there to get his Cordovans serviced,” noted Bombard.
Bombard encouraged people to attend the breakfast and show their support for local businesses.
“To me, this is what the city of Bristol is all about,” said Bombard. “These are people who live in this community and invest time and money into it. They employ people and make a good living by selling good products and providing good services to the people of this community.”
Sponsors include Webster Bank, Farmington Bank, United Bank, Bristol Hospital, ConnectiCare and D’Amato Construction Co. Inc.
Admission is $25. To register, call 860-584-4718 or visit centralctchambers.org.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached a