Plainfield Business Association holds its first meeting
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Plainfield - posted Mon., Mar. 28, 2011
On March 23, the Plainfield Business Association held its first meeting at the town hall. Business owners came together to discuss ways to create a stronger Plainfield, according to Doug Taber. “Business owners need to make it happen,” he said.
Taber and a small committee that formed over the summer invited more than 300 business owners to the meeting. “There are 780 registered business owners in Plainfield and I don’t know many of them,” he said. He hoped the meeting would be the first step towards creating a stronger business network in town - one that would stimulate business growth and town pride.
The association grew out of a summer course made possible by federal stimulus dollars channeled through the Access Agency in Willimantic. Access Community Engagement Manager Kate Fortier said the Driving Communities curriculum is aimed at getting representatives from within a community to identify problems and then work in small groups to discuss action plans to resolve them.
The premise of the program is to work with a community’s assets, Fortier said. Sixty people participated in the six-week program. They came up with three action plans: create a youth group; build a community garden; and start a business association.
“Six months later, every action item is a reality, which is just stunning,” Fortier said. Using grant money from the Plainfield Police Department, Friday and Saturday youth nights for kids from sixth grade through high school will be held at All Hallows Church. The Bridge Garden will be at the Plainfield Memorial School. Rototilling will begin in late March.
Taber said that the number-one complaint he has heard from Plainfield residents is that while cities to the north and south are holding community events, Plainfield’s offerings were slim. Taber, who owns two small businesses in town, said, “Business owners have to network. We have to get out there.” The business association will charge no fees. “By us holding the event ourselves, we’d make the marketing and budgeting decisions. We’d do everything,” he said. “We want to promote local businesses without creating a bureaucracy.”
The association plans to hold its first major event on Aug. 6 at the town hall grounds. There will be live entertainment, activities for children, a car show, and a variety of vendors.