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Anne Hay is relatively new to Westbrook, but she’s digging in to take an active role in civic life. (Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
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Anne Hay had worked in the wine business for more than 15 years for both suppliers and in restaurants. About five years ago, however, she decided it was time to go out on her own.
“I said it’s going to be a struggle, but I can do this,” Anne says.
Anne cashed out her 401K, sold her car, and got a loan from a coworker to start her own wine importing business, Snarky and Spirited.
While there are many benefits to starting your own business, there can also be drawbacks and frustrations. For Anne, a Westbrook resident, those frustrations are “the mind-numbing paperwork” and the lag time between setting up a contract with a client and when the product is actually delivered, which can be several months.
“The sales part is really fun, but it can be very frustrating,” Anne says.
Anne says that over time, she has been able to increase her business from being active in one state, to 11 states.
“I started growing the brand on my own,” Anne says.
In what Anne says is a normal part of the wine business, Anne has moved several times in her life. She has lived in Texas, Colorado, Washington D.C., and finally Westbrook.
She says it’s hard to choose one single place as her favorite.
“It sounds cliché but there’s something nice wherever you go,” Anne says.
Anne says due to the national parks, cleanliness, and nightlife, she had a lot of fun in Washington D.C. When she lived in Colorado, Anne says she enjoyed the friendliness of the people, and the outdoor recreation opportunities the state afforded her.
As for the Connecticut shoreline, Anne says she also appreciates the beauty of the area.
“I think it is beautiful on the water,” Anne says. “It’s nice to close to New York and Boston. If you want to go experience that energy, you can...Connecticut brings in the best of both worlds.”
As for a lesson that living in so many different locations have taught her, Anne says, “The more cultures you’re exposed to, there’s a lot more similarities than differences.”
For Anne, that exposure isn’t just passive observation.
“I always tried to get involved wherever I live,” Anne say.
Though she’s only lived in Westbrook for less than two years, Anne has already run for a spot on the Board of Finance in 2017. Anne was not always active in politics, but says she became energized by some of the events surrounding the 2016 election.
“I voted and researched issues and thought I was a good citizen,” Anne says.
However, Anne says that now she is more active in pursuing political goals she believes in working with like-minded people. After the previous chairperson of the Westbrook Democratic Town Committee (DTC) stepped down, Anne decided to seek the position and won.
“My strength is to bring people together, to be welcoming, and to organize people,” Anne says.
Anne says the Connecticut Food Bank is a cause that’s close to her heart.
“It’s asinine that we don’t give more food away,” she says. Anne finds a way to donate food or money when she can.
“It’s a nice feeling,” Anne says.
In her spare time, Anne likes to stay active. Between the DTC and her job responsibilities, Anne is hard pressed for spare time and tries to make the most of it. Anne likes to study foreign languages, and right now spends 30 minutes in the morning trying to learn Italian and 30 minutes in the evening trying to learn French.
“You should never stop studying,” Anne says.
Anne’s husband, Daniel Burgio, has family that is Italian and Anne says part of her motivation to learn Italian is to have a way to better communicate with them. Anne used to participate in martial arts, but as her schedule got more full she had to replace that activity with running to find a way to remain active, as well as kayaking in the summer time.
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