Author Cynthia Parzych of Glastonbury was at the Manchester Public Library in late November to talk about her new book Connecticut Made.
She began her talk by sharing some interesting facts about the entrepreneurial history of CT. Apparently, CT has been a center for invention, manufacturing, and innovation and has had an entrepreneurial spirit since John Winthrop, Jr obtained a charter from the British Government to establish a colony here in 1662. He encouraged scientists and alchemists to join him and the iron industry and manufacturing began.
Some other innovative businesses from CT include:
- First tissue paper
- Oldest continuously operating newspaper
- One of the first banks
- First cookbook
- First dictionary
- First phone exchange set up in New Haven
- First payphone
- Friction ignited matches
- Mickey Mouse watch, Waterbury clock co
- Silly putty
- Mounds & Almond Joy
- Peach & chicken breeds
Ms. Parzych launched her writing journey by returning to her hometown of New Britain. She had grown up in the “Little Poland” section. She took a nostalgic walk re-tracing the steps her family took each Saturday morning 50 years ago on their weekly food shopping trips. She recalled fond memories of visiting the various shops on Broad St. which unfortunately no longer exist. She was excited to discover that Martin Rosol’s and Avery’s survived. Visiting them helped her to clarify something:
“Both these New Britain businesses offer something I think we have all lost and what we may all be looking for in our communities today – good quality products, made by real people we know, products that get us excited or remind us nostalgically of the good things from our past that we owned and/or ate when life was a bit simpler. Social interaction, friendly people who are informed about their product and what goes on in the community around them, who possess a generosity of spirit and offer a social context for our daily lives from interactions with those shopkeepers, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances we run into and who support these businesses. Businesses like this are the glue which keep a community together and gives a town or city pride and these are the kind of businesses I wrote about generally in my book.”
Ms. Parcych chose businesses for her book which:
“All had interesting stories behind their success intertwined with a lot of local history. They all produce excellent locally made product, have friendly and informed customer service and attract customers who care about these businesses, customers who engage with each other because of their enthusiasm for the products….”
I have enjoyed reading the book. The research about the history of the owners and products have inspired me to plan trips to check out some new places in the state.
Two Manchester businesses made the book:
- Divine Treasures at 404 Middle Turnpike, West
- The Spicemill at 191 Adams St.
I have been to Divine Treasures and agree with Ms. Parzych’s assessment of the products in her book where she describes “heavenly hand-made chocolate treats”. I am planning to visit The Spicemill and report back.
In my mind, there are many more Manchester establishments (new and old) which could be included. Readers of this blog may even have their own favorites.