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Clinton pride is something Dave Elder is proud to show, and he’s now doing just that from the head of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. (Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
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Dave Elder has been in Clinton for about 12 years and started a local business soon after. His involvement in the community has grown ever since and last month, the Clinton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors selected him as chairman. He’s taking the helm at an exciting time for the organization.
Dave works for WCTY, a country radio station in Norwich, and owns the Clinton-based customized sporting goods store Town Pride, based in Post Office Square, along with his wife Christine.
“I was approached a few years ago to join the chamber. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. I’ve made lifelong friends,” Dave says.
Dave says the goal of the chamber is to support the local economy through networking and sharing ideas amongst the different businesses in town.
“We’re promoting shopping local to keep money here and keep employees here,” explains Dave.
The makeup of the chamber encompasses businesses from a wide variety of backgrounds, from restaurants to service businesses to retail stores. Dave says sometimes this means the chamber has to take into account that something that’s good for one type of business may not benefit another type of business.
“It’s a delicate balance. We’re always trying to get a different gamut of people,” says Dave.
According to Dave, the chamber is always looking for new members, especially those who are willing to volunteer to serve on one of the various committees in the chamber. Dave says that interested people can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the chamber at 860-699-3889 or visit www.clintonct.com for more information.
Recently, the chamber has been busy undergoing several important changes. Following the retirement of previous executive director Ken Hartley in 2018, the chamber recently named Paul Orsini its new director. Dave says Orsini’s background in business and finance means “He’s the right person to be our leader.”
Additionally, the chamber is well underway to begin preparations for the annual Summerfest fireworks celebration done at the end of summer. The event was unexpectedly canceled in 2017, but its return in 2018 was very well received.
“We heard a lot of positive feedback last year and we’re very excited to be back,” Dave says.
The event typically takes part in late August, but this year will be pushed back to Labor Day weekend. The plan is for the event to be held during the day with family activities, food and beer vendors, and more at the Town Hall and Town Beach, before ending with a fireworks show at night.
Dave says one of his favorite aspects of the chamber is the opportunity it gives him to work with a wide swath of groups interested in nonprofit and charity work.
“I can’t say enough about this town,” Dave says, adding that he has also has very high regard for the work of town employees, including the Police Department and Public Works Department, that help with events.
Other groups he enjoys working with include Families Helping Families, Shoreline Community Women, and the Clinton Rotary.
“That’s what I love about this town and this chamber. It’s all about giving back. When businesses support the nonprofits and charities, it comes back two-fold,” Dave says.
Dave originally grew up in the Norwich area. Dave still works in that area as the program director for WCTY radio, which is owned by Hall Communications, a family-owned company that operates several other radio stations along the east coast of the United States. Dave handles music, promotional work, and does a daily afternoon drive time show from 3 to 7 p.m.
“It’s a great company and a great job,” says Dave, noting he has been with the station for 26 years.
Dave says his experience with the promotional work and communications has helped him bring ideas to the chamber to use.
When he’s not working or volunteering with the chamber, Dave and Christine like to spend time together with their son Zachary. Christine is the president of Clinton Little League, so Dave says the family is often at games. Occasionally, Dave will even bring radio equipment and announce the games, too.
Dave is also active in the Cornerstone Church in Clinton.
Asked his favorite aspect of Clinton, Dave talks fondly of the tight-knit feeling of the small town.
“If you’re in trouble someone will come help. I just can’t say enough about the chamber and the nonprofits in this town,” Dave says. “They truly make you feel welcome.”
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