- The Orange Business and Community Expo took place at High Plains Community Center on Wednesday, June 14.
Visitors enjoyed the food, served both inside and out, and visited a number of booths set up by local businesses and community organizations.
Always a favorite destination, the Beardsley Zoo brought along some interesting creatures and shared a lot of information about the state’s one and only zoo.
Here are some photos from the day:
Former First Selectman Mitch Goldblatt, Selectman Peach Reid and Frank Pifko from the United Illuminating Company interviewed Grimmer for the job of building several aspects of economic development in Orange.
“That was 14.5 years ago. They saw something in me and I got the job,” Grimmer said. “For this I am grateful.”
Grimmer became the town’s first full time executive director in September 2001.
The job, he said is building the town through business recruitment and retention. “I’m fortunate to have been able to do things beyond that, including introducing the first Orange Business Expo 14 years ago and the Orange Life Magazine, now in its sixth year.”
The Orange Economic Development Corporation (OEDC) is a not for profit organization to support the town’s economic development efforts.
Many other communities have their own economic development office and need to pay staff, maintain the office and provide healthcare. Orange is fortunate to have the EDC acting as the support to the town. The town provides the OEDC with $60,000 of it’s (approximate $200,000) yearly operating budget, then it’s up to the OEDC to get the additional resources by fundraising. A significant portion of income is obtained through ad sales for the Orange Life Magazine and the business expo generates a good income, according to Grimmer. The magazine and expo also promote town businesses and highlight the good work of people of Orange.
Grimmer said through his position, he’s been able to work with amazing companies like UI and participate in bringing some great companies to town.
One of his best memories of his tenure is seeing the completion of the Edison Road extension, which was on the books in the Orange Industrial Plan since 1963. Grimmer spent a good part of an 8 year period piling up both state and federal grants and slowly but surely the extended road created business opportunities.
“Before Aurora Products moved here, they wanted to know if the road would actually be extended,” Grimmer said. “I assured them it would, and now the company is on its third expansion since coming to town.”
Grimmer said the town has benefited from the teamwork of the OEDC. “I have some awesome leaders: First Selectman Jim Zeoli; Alan Fischer, always steady at the wheel; and Armand Cantafio who I can always bounce ideas off of.” he said. “The critical element to my success here is the tremendous leaders I’ve had behind me.”
The Farmer’s Market is not an OEDC activity, but in this case, Zeoli expressed interest in having one in Orange and Grimmer said, “I’ll do it.” He confessed that he always stepped up because it was important to participate in community and business activities.
The key to his longevity at the OEDC was that the Board of Directors gave him the rope to go out and participate in community organizations and activities like the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Orange.
“It made my job more enjoyable because of the personal contacts I’ve made over the years,” he said.
Zeoli said losing Grimmer is happy and sad. “We became good friends and he does an outstanding job for the town. It’s unfortunate that he’s leaving after 15 years, but I fully understand. This is an advancement for him and a step up. He’s going back to where he started. I wish him good luck.”
“It’s going to be hard to replace him,” Zeoli said. “People don’t realize how much he does: The Artisan Festival, Rotary Lobsterfest and Rose Sale,The Business Expo and the Chamber of Commerce. He’s the driving force behind the Farmers Market and he excels in reaching out to property owners.”
Zeoli said Grimmer has town information embedded in his brain. “When you ask him something, he knows the answer in minutes.” — Orange Live can attest to this. When we asked how long Edison Road was in the works, he seamlessly turned to a crowded bookshelf and took out a small folder from 60 years ago.
Zeoli said it will be a huge challenge to replace him after 15 years of experience on the job. “He’s leaving a huge void, but for his personal career, it’s a step up and in these tough economic times every step up makes life easier.”
As far as leaving Orange, Grimmer said he feels good that he did his best here and noted that he is leaving a lot of friends behind.
A New Opportunity
Grimmer’s last day with the OEDC is April 29. Until then it’s business as usual with him working feverishly on getting the May issue of Orange Life ready and preparing for the Orange Expo.
On May 2 he is starting his new career as the Shelton Economic Development Commission President and COO of the organization.
[NOTE: On May 2 he will become the vice president of the Shelton Economic Development Commission, then, on Aug. 3 will replace the retiring James Ryan as President.]
The job description is different from what he did in Orange — there will not be a “Shelton Life” Magazine. His focus will be on grants administration, revitalization and Brownfield Remediation along the river front.
Grimmer, 50, is a Shelton resident and began working in the Shelton Community Development office as an intern in 1987 while attending Penn State University — so he really is “going home.”
The town of Orange has some huge shoes to fill in finding a replacement for Grimmer, but the search will go on and a notice will be posted in the near future.
Orange Live wishes Paul the best of luck and a lot of happiness in his new venture. Orange’s loss is Shelton’s gain. Let’s hope his replacement can continue putting out a quality Orange Life Magazine — the BEST hard copy news resource in the town of Orange.
Spaces are filling up quickly, so if you haven’t registered yet, why not do it today?
Here is the latest press release from the Orange Economic Development Corporation:
The Orange Economic Development Corporation will host the 12th Annual Orange Business and Community Expo on Wednesday, June 12, 2013, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For the second year, the Expo will be held at the High Plains Community Center, 525 Orange Center Road, Orange. Paul Grimmer, Executive Director stated, “Last year we received many positive comments regarding the new venue. We had a significant increase in public attendance. The public access and central location definitely helped to spur increased visitations to this one-day event.”
Exhibitor space is limited to 56 booths. Seventy eight percent of booth space is sold out at this time. Exhibitor Booths are reasonably priced at $300–all exhibitors will be provided with an 8 foot booth space with pipe and drape, linen topped table, and 1 chair.
Exhibitors will have their business information listed in the Expo Program Book, marketing materials placed in Welcome Bags, company name listed in OrangeLife Magazine (sign-up by May 10th), and activities.
Electricity, which is very limited, may be provided for an additional $100. Once again, exhibitors will be able to sell their products on-site. This is especially advantageous to home based businesses that sell directly to the public.
If you are interested in becoming a vendor, you may register on-line at the OEDC website, OrangeEDC.com/expo.htm or call the OEDC office at (203) 891-1045.
If you cannot participate in the Expo this year, your business can still have a presence. For just $75, we will include your marketing materials in the Expo Welcome Bags, which will go to attendees and vendors. Send 500 copies to us or we can make the copies for you for an extra $75. You may also place an ad in the Program Booklet; sizes and prices vary.
As always admisions is Free and open to the Public. Paul Grimmer said that, “The Beardsley Zoo will be exhibiting at the Expo this year promoting their first annual “Orange Days”. The event will be held this coming September. Come check out the Beardsley Zoo’s animal ambassadors.” We have many activities planned at the Expo this year—activities and admission is FREE and OPEN to the public and include the following:
Beardsley Zoo – Petting Zoo
Seminars (4) – “Overcoming Stage Fright” Presented by Toastmasters, Inc.
“Mastering Quickbooks – Q & A” Presented by Dressler Santaus, LLC
“Building your Brand Name” Presented by Red Rock Marketing
“Go Mobile – Building Apps for your Business” Presented by In Your Phone Mobile Aps
Restaurant Raffle – Register for your chance to win a restaurant gift package from various Orange restaurants
Donation Center – Bring your gently used items to the Helping Hands Booth on site.
As always we are pleased to thank all of our Sponsors who help make this event possible. The 2013 Orange Business & Community Expo sponsors include:
Premium: The United Illuminating Company and Southern Connecticut Gas Company
Gold: Cohen and Wolf, P.C., Orange Economic Development Commission, Taylor Rental / Parties Plus, Yale University, NORTHEAST Electronics Corporation
Silver: CHEF’S Equipment Emporium
Bronze: Bruegger’s/Jamba Juice
Media: Orange Town News
For more information please call the Orange Economic Development Corporation office at (203) 891-1045 for more information or visit the OEDC website at THIS LINK.
The Expo is free to visit and Open to the Public.
This year’s sponsors include:
GOLD: Cohen and Wolf; Yale University; Northeast Electronics Corporation and Orange Economic Development Commission.
SILVER: Chef’s Equipment Emporium
BRONZE: Bruegger’s and Jamba Juice
Media Sponsor: Orange Town News
Additional Corporate sponsors are still sought.
The Floor Plan will include space for 54 exhibitors
Exhibitors are allowed to sell their products and services on site
Vendors need to have booth ready for 11 am opening
Booth Cost is $300 and includes:
Sign up for a booth early, as they fill up quickly
Any business or individual who has questions may contact the OEDC Office at (203) 891-1045, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Public Invited – Visit the Expo – Free Admission – Free Activities:
Attend Seminars – Pending seminars include: Constant Contact and QuickBooks
Expo Raffle – For a chance to win a restaurant gift package; (2012 winners were: Katalin Baltimore, Charlene Carrette, Kathi Kidd, Connie Maffeo
Network – Network with Expo visitors and 54 business vendors
Shopping – Vendors will be selling their products on site
Food – Food available throughout the day
NOTE: Orange Live debuted at the 2012 Expo nearly one month after launching. It was a great way to get our name out there and everything has been wonderful since. I recommend the expo to any business no matter how big or small as a great way to meet potential customers and fellow business owners.
Originally Published on: Mar 18, 2013 @ 2:14 p.m.