Middletown lost business champion in Buzzy Levin

June 12, 2017

By: Larry McHugh

Middlesex County lost a great man on June 2 when Jerome “Buzzy” Levin passed away. Buzzy was a mentor and close friend, and I will be forever grateful for his support both personally and professionally. Buzzy served as President of Malloves Jewelers until 1992. He was an outstanding local businessman and a strong community supporter. Middletown was lucky to have Buzzy at the helm of this important local business and is lucky today that Buzzy’s son Marc continues to lead Malloves in that same tradition. Buzzy was a strong supporter of Xavier and Mercy and of the old Mx Corporation in the 1970’s. I will never forget how supportive he was of me when my name came up for the chamber job in 1983. Since I started here almost 34 years ago, Buzzy was right there with me every step of the way. In 1996, the chamber was honored to present Buzzy with our Distinguished Citizen Award. If there was ever a proper description for Buzzy Levin, it is Distinguished Citizen. In addition to the chamber, Buzzy supported a number of other local organizations during his time as a key member of the business community including the Congregation Adath Israel Synagogue, the Middletown Elks, the Kiwanis Club, the B'Nai B'rith, the Middletown Jaycees, the Connecticut Retail Jewelers Association, the Middletown Transit Authority, the Middletown Park and Recreation Board, Russell Library, the Middletown High School Building Committee, Middlesex Hospital, Liberty Bank and many more. He served six terms on the Middletown Common Council and was critical to the development of baseball at all levels in this community. Buzzy led a life well lived, and we are all better because we knew him. Our thoughts and prayers and with his wife, Harriet, his children, Marc and Faith and their spouses, his grandchildren, his entire family and network of friends, and his Malloves family at this difficult time. Buzzy Levin was one of the best, and he will be missed by all of us.

A busy June continues in Middlesex County as the chamber calendar continues to be packed with events and activities.

Our 122nd Annual Awards Dinner was held last Wednesday evening at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell. The event, which was enjoyed by over 350 chamber members, friends and guests, honored five outstanding Middlesex County citizens and three Middlesex County high school seniors and marked the official passing of the chamber’s chairmanship from Essex Savings Bank President Greg Shook to Guilmartin, DiPiro & Sokolowski Partner Rick Morin. I want to take a moment to thank all of our members that attended the Annual Dinner, and I especially want to thank past chamber Chairman and longtime supporter Anthony Assante for doing a fantastic job as Master of Ceremonies. Greg did a terrific job over the past year in the important chamber leadership position of Chairman of the Board. We thank him for his service. I know our staff looks forward to working with Rick as we continue to work every day to move Middlesex County forward.

Another busy week kicks off tonight when Mattabesett Canoe Club at Harbor Park hosts a members-only Business After Work networking reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. We expect a nice crowd for what is sure to be a fun night of late spring networking on the Connecticut River. Danny Cronin and his Canoe Club team will put out a great spread of food and drink as always, and the atmosphere on the water will undoubtedly be top notch. I thank Danny for hosting and look forward to a great Business After Work event.

Excitement is building for Middletown’s 20th Annual Cruise Night On Main, powered by NAPA, which will be held this Wednesday from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. in downtown Middletown. In addition to the City of Middletown and the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, sponsors for this free annual downtown event include Title Sponsor; NAPA; Diamond Sponsors Jackson Chevrolet and Middletown Downtown Business District; Gold Sponsors Apple Rehab, Liberty Bank, and the Flood Law Firm, Silver Sponsors AAA and Serv Pro of Middletown & New Britain, and Bronze Sponsors First & Last Tavern, Middletown Area Transit, Lyman Orchards, Middlesex Music Academy and All American Productions. Additional event supporters include: City Church, Untouchable Towing LLC, Dunkin Donuts, Eli Cannon’s, and Garage Guys Car Club, and assisting at the event is The Eastern Chapter Over the Hill Gang Car Club and the Connecticut Military Car Club. Hundreds of cars are expected to line both sides of Middletown’s scenic Main Street from Washington Street to the South Green. Free parking for the evening is available at the MiddleOak Corporate Center Garage on College Street and the Melilli Parking Arcade Main Street will be closed between Washington Street down to the South Green with vintage cars for viewing, band entertainment and outstanding vendors. Music and food, combined with an array of pre-1992 classic vehicles, will make this a family-friendly and fun event for everyone. Entertainment includes Four Barrel Billy who will play on the Showmobile from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., an All American Productions Fashion Show, and WMRD / WLIS Radio which will be in front of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce playing oldies music. The Over the Hill Gang Car Club DJ will be located by Brew Bakers, spinning tunes from the 50’s & 60’s; Harvest Wood Audio will provide sound on the Showmobile in front of Bank of America, and WCNX Radio will be in the Gazebo on the South Green playing oldies and Beach Ball Trivia. Sponsor awards will be announced at 8 p.m. The awards include Best In Show Award – Powered by NAPA, Veteran’s Choice Award – presented by Jackson Chevrolet, Main Drag Award - presented by Middletown Downtown Business District, Liberty’s Choice Award - presented by Liberty Bank, Apple Rehab Choice Award – presented by Apple Rehab, AAA Diamond Award - presented by AAA Cromwell, The Sparkling Clean Award – presented by Servpro of Middletown & New Britain and Mayor’s Choice Award- presented by Mayor Daniel Drew. This event will benefit Middletown youth programs, including the Hal Kaplan Middletown Mentor Program, Middletown Recreation Programs, and the Middletown Summer Youth Employment Program. I want to take a moment to thank all of our sponsors and supporters, along with our Cruise Night Planning Committee, for their hard work and dedication to the event. Please join us downtown on Wednesday night for what is sure to be an outstanding 20th Annual Cruise Night on Main.

Another installment of the chamber’s successful KeyBank Workshop Series is scheduled for Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. at the chamber office. This session, titled Reputation Management 101-The Positive and Negative Side of Online Reviews, is presented by Lauren Middleton of Forest City Marketing. The workshop will focus on proper responses to positive and negative reviews, how to encourage clients and customers to review your business, and how to spot fake reviews. Lauren will provide examples of reviews from Facebook, Google Plus, and Yelp. For more information or to register, please visit www.middlesexchamber.com. I would like to thank Lauren for taking the time to present this important content, and KeyBank Market President Jeff Hubbard and his team for their continued support of this workshop series.

Our divisions and committees continue to be very active across the county. This week, meetings of our Expo Committee, Durham & Middlefield Division, Tourism Steering Committee, Legislative Committee, MCSAAC Advisory Board and Affordable Housing Committee are all scheduled at different points. We continue to appreciate the outstanding support of our membership on so many fronts.

One of the best weeks of the year, Travelers Championship week, is almost upon us. This year’s tournament, taking place June 19- 25, is again packed with an outstanding player field which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Zach Johnson, Marc Leishman, Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, and 2016 champion, Russell Knox, who will serve as guest speaker at our Travelers Championship Member Breakfast Meeting on Tuesday, June 20, at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell. We look forward to welcoming Russell, currently ranked 38th in the Official World Golf Rankings, back to Middlesex County. The Member Breakfast Meeting, sponsored by Travelers Companies, begins with networking at 7 a.m., breakfast buffet at 7:30 a.m., and meeting program from 8 to 9 a.m. I will have much on the activities of Travelers Championship week in next week’s column, but please visit www.travelerschampionship.com for more information.

One of the key components of the chamber’s workforce development initiatives, the Middlesex County Spring Career Fair, is also scheduled for Tuesday, June 20 at the Radisson from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Over 40 companies from throughout the labor market area will be seeking people whose skills run from professional, technical, manufacturing and administrative. Prior to the job fair, a special Meet and Greet will be held from 9:30-10:45 a.m. at the hotel. This gathering is designed to connect employers in the key fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Advanced Manufacturing, Finance, and Healthcare, to qualified job seekers that are interested in careers in those fields. I will have more information on the Career Fair and related activities in next week’s column, but please visit www.middlesexchamber.com for more information.

The summer heat is upon us, and the chamber is on the move.  

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