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Perception – is it everything?

April 5, 2011

Cindy Donaldson, Director of Marketing & Personal Lines Sales - Founders Insurance Group

As many of you know, I’m pretty involved in our local community of Torrington. As chair of the Economic Development Commission I have a good view of the business climate in our city. Torrington is one of those classic mill towns that fell on rough times in the 70’s and 80’s. As the mill’s closed, small family owned businesses shut down – so did our Main Street. The glorious mixed use buildings built in the roaring 20’s became base camp for drug sales and “undesirables”.

Perception. Back in the “day” Torrington was considered the hub of Litchfield County – – for jobs, shopping and entertainment. Life was good – as was the perception. When the big boxes blew into town and the factories closed – our Main Street became a ghost town – and with the shops went the perception that Torrington was a good place to work and raise your family.

How do you fix a negative perception? It takes time. You’ve all heard the old adage that a person will tell 1000 people about a negative experience but may not even tell a single soul about a great experience. It’s no different when it comes to cities. Changing perception takes time because you have to change your reputation.

For Torrington – there is light at the end of the tunnel. A group of volunteers took action. The Warner Theatre – a national icon, was to be torn down in the 80’s – volunteers raised money and saved the Art Deco treasure. Today over 100,000 people visit the theatre annually.

Our downtown is being revitalized thanks in part to the Torrington Development Corporation, Arts, Culture Torrington – the arts & cultural commission for the city, entrepreneurs, citizens and a strong administration lead by Mayor Ryan Bingham. We’ve all recognized that Torrington will never be what it was in its “Day” – but perhaps it will be better. Things are happening, we are moving forward and with that will come new businesses, new jobs and increased revenues for our existing businesses.

Stores are filling up, people are moving back downtown and once again the perception is starting to change. Baby steps.

Founders Insurance Group is a proud member of the Torrington Community!  Many of our employees live here in town – including yours truly.  We are excited to watch our city come back to life and with that watch our business grow.

The moral of the story: Things can always change – you simply need to take action.

Come visit our fine city of Torrington – I think you might be surprised!

Cindy Donaldson

Resident, Worker & Advocate

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