U.S. Senator Chris Murphy and Woodbridge First Selectman Ellen Scalettar toured three local manufacturing businesses on April 1. Murphy has been visiting Connecticut-based manufacturers and Scalettar has been visiting businesses in Woodbridge. Together, the two visited Modern Trousseau, Air Handling Systems and New England Brewing Company.
“Every time I visit a Woodbridge business I am impressed and inspired by the creativity and passion of our business community,” Scalettar said. “I was very proud to show this diverse array of Woodbridge businesses to Sen. Murphy, and I am glad that he shares my interest in supporting local businesses.”
Modern Trousseau, owned by Woodbridge residents Callie and David Tein, designs and creates high-end wedding dresses at their Bradley Road location. The business has 23 staff members including 10 seamstresses and sells dresses around the country in 43 boutiques and at three flagship stores. Brides choose a dress in a store and Modern Trousseau then creates that dress specifically for the customer’s body. Many brides will visit the Bradley Road location—from across the country—to try on the dress and have alterations done.
“We came to Woodbridge,” Callie explained to Scalettar, “because we didn’t want to be in New York, but we needed to be close to it. We bought a house in Woodbridge in part because of the large basement. That’s where I designed and sewed the first collection by myself in 2004.” She added that she loves Woodbridge and the local schools.
The next stop on the tour, Air Handling Systems, was just down the street on Lunar Drive. Air Handling Systems manufactures duct work to collect dust and fumes in a variety of industries, including woodworking, fire houses and more, to make it easier for employees to breathe clean air. It also makes duct work for residences and often sell directly to the consumer. The company is family owned. Woodbridge resident Jamison Scott, the third generation at the company and Executive Vice President, gave Murphy and Scalettar a tour. The facility serves as both manufacturing plant and warehouse.
Scott explained that he uses American-made steel and often buys from Connecticut-based steel producers. “The ‘shop local’ concept we are promoting in Woodbridge is something I try to do in my business, too,” he told Scalettar.
At all three stops Sen. Murphy asked about the business’ history and their competitors. Scalettar asked how the company came to be located in Woodbridge and offered Town support, if needed.
At the third and last stop – New England Brewing Company – Woodbridge resident and co-owner Rob Leonard walked Murphy and Scalettar through the retail area, where customers were taste-testing beer and purchasing growlers to go, and through the brewing area. Leonard explained that New England Brewing used to sell beer in eight states but as their popularity grew they could not meet demand. Despite expanding their operation four-fold they only sell in Connecticut. They brew six days a week and are open to the public Wednesday through Saturday.
Scalettar asked about the beers and Leonard said that four are always on offer (Sea Hag IPA, Elm City Lager, Ghandi Bot and 668 the Neighbor of the Beast) and others rotate throughout the season. Plus, there is a smaller brewing tank used for experimental small-batch beer that is only sold at the brewery.