Meet the Business Owners

Watch as we add more business owners who share why Old Lyme was their right choice.

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Gene Chmiel
Owner
Black Hall Outfitters

What led you to open your business in Old Lyme?

Back in 1999, I suggested to my parents, who at the time were actively retired, to consider looking at Black Hall Marina as a possible business venture. The property itself was run down, and in need of severe repair, but I felt that the location, here on the Black Hall River, and with direct access to the Great Island Nature preserve, gave it significant opportunity.   During that time, I was a marketing executive, working and living in Fairfield County, and the marina became a family working project.   For many years, my wife and kids, and I would spend our weekends up here, working, repairing, and lending a hand to the development of the property and the business. Although it was alot of work, I saw the opportunity for the location, and the future growth of the business. 

 

What do you most like about having your business in Old Lyme?

Old Lyme is unique, considering it's proximity to major metros, NYC and Boston. It is a bit of an anomaly, that we are surrounded by hundreds of acres of pristine nature preserve, wildlife sanctuaries, and expansive waterways that are completely undeveloped, in this part of the Northeast. The town's unrivaled commitment to greenspace, and preservation has created a perfect canvas for our business and the unique offering we can present to our guests.

 

What keeps you in Old Lyme?

For our business, it's the spectacular geographic location and unspoiled waterways that are right in our backyard.

 

What would you tell other entrepreneurs or business leaders thinking about bringing their business to Old Lyme?

This area of CT is becoming a massive tourist destination. The Mystic area is sprawling out and the lower CT River Area is now on the radar of visitors not only from NYC, Boston, and areas throughout the northeast, but internationally as well. Old Lyme is right in the heart of this tourism boom, and there is huge opportunity to support the needs of guests travelling to the area, as well as all of the people and families that are flocking to the area to call it home.

 
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Richard Stout
Partner
Benchmark Wealth Management

What led you to open your business in Old Lyme?  

After establishing my business based out of Hartford I decided to open my own firm with my business partner in Old Lyme in 2007, as our families were young and we wanted greater flexibility with regard to being involved with our children, their schooling, and family life. The time savings allotted us by running our business in the town in which we lived has added greatly to our quality of life. 

  

What do you most like about having your business in Old Lyme? 

Being in Old Lyme affords greater flexibility with regard to seeking a balance between work, home and life. The town offers an attractive locale that is reasonably convenient to larger metropolitan areas and our clientele footprint throughout New England and the Tri-State area. Virtual meeting capabilities, and the growing comfort with such a professional-client interface, has further enhanced the viability of operating our business from a rural, bucolic town environment.

 

What keeps you in Old Lyme? 

Old Lyme has proven to be a nice town for us to raise our children and become involved with the community.

 

What would you tell other entrepreneurs or business leaders thinking about bringing their business to Old Lyme? 

The infrastructure within the Town is limited currently. There are discussions to develop a more centralized business/commercial area centering on the logical, broader area of Halls Road. Should these discussions come to fruition in a thoughtful way, a forward thinking business owner can potentially realized the quality of life benefits offered by Old Lyme and also position their business nicely for the future with regard to being located in an attractive, active and welcoming business hub that maintains the town’s New England charm. The town also offers several options for larger business facilities and manufacturing within the industrial park which are close to routes 95 and 9, which places it well situated between New York, Boston, Providence and Springfield.

 
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Brent & Suzanne Thompson
Owners
APC Driving School

What led you to open your business in Old Lyme?  

When corporate careers brought us to Connecticut in 2002, we both chose Old Lyme as home because of its charm, small-town feel, beaches and scenery, great schools, and access to airports, I-95 and AMTRAK. It was a great little community to come home to. We launched APC Driving in 2018 and have become the driver education school of choice for many students in neighboring East Lyme, as well as Lyme and Old Lyme.

  

What do you most like about having your business in Old Lyme? 

We have had a very supportive and responsive community of customers and business supporters here. And Old Lyme is conveniently located between other New London County and Middlesex County towns. Our classroom on Halls Road is easy to get to. We were quickly able to adapt, during COVID mitigation, to virtual classes. This has further expanded our reach in neighboring communities, too.

 

What keeps you in Old Lyme? 

We have become integrally involved in community non-profit organizations, appointed commissions and elected positions. Our children are attending Lyme-Old Lyme Schools. Even though our business is only 4 miles from home, we still like to come home here.

 

What would you tell other entrepreneurs or business leaders thinking about bringing their business to Old Lyme? 

Old Lyme is a hidden gem in Southeastern CT; there is the opportunity to come here and make a difference. It is gratifying to see young retirees migrating here from other Connecticut towns. They bring new energy and insights to organizations and town commissions. We also see younger and mid-career families choosing to move here because of the schools and New England feel.

 
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Steve Morrissey
Owner
Morrissey Cycles

What led you to open your business in Old Lyme?  

For my business, the roads and woods offer great riding opportunities. Boston Post Road has a high traffic count with wide shoulders for safety.

  

What do you most like about having your business in Old Lyme? 

The townspeople have been very welcoming. Plus,  my customers travel from RI through NY and Old Lyme is a central location.

 

What keeps you in Old Lyme? 

This is my fifth year in my location and its been a great location for me. I'm on Route 1 near the Lake -- within walking or riding distance there is a hardware store, Coffee's Marketplace, and a pizza place.

 

What would you tell other entrepreneurs or business leaders thinking about bringing their business to Old Lyme? 

The town made it very easy to get my business up and running. It is a clean, safe place to have a great opportunity.