CT Checkup: Old Saybrook’s Chamber of Commerce holds virtual auction to support local, small business


OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. (WTNH) — Old Saybrook’s small businesses and nonprofits are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. Now, the town’s Chamber of Commerce has found a way to support them. 

Executive Director Judy Sullivan told News 8, “It’s a virtual auction, it’s going to run for three weeks starting on the 25th. The committee is working now to gather items.” 

So far, items like virtual cooking classes, guided tours, and even a day of golf with the first selectman are up for grabs. 

Starting next week, those looking to participate can visit the chamber’s website, register for the auction, and bid away. 

All proceeds will go towards local small businesses and nonprofits that apply through the chamber’s website. 

“Certainly our small businesses are the backbone of our community and we want them to stay here for a very long time,” Sullivan explained. 

Businesses on Main Street are among those offering their services for the cause, including Penny Lane Pub. 

“I think it’s going to raise a great awareness for the small businesses of the town as well as a lot of money for them I hope,” said owner Alex Foulkes. 

The pub is contributing a $100 gift card to the auction. It can be used at any time. Foulkes has high hopes for how much money he’ll raise. 

“Our goal is a thousand bucks or so,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.” 

Right down the street from Penny Lane Pub, another hot ticket item is being offered by the  Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. 

“We are auctioning a movie night for 25 of your closest friends in our theater, surround sound, HD projection, you pick the movie,” he explained. 

Executive Director Brett Elliot says that although they are not yet able to reopen, he was eager to be able to support his community. 

“We know the town is going to rally behind us when we do get to reopen and we want to rally behind them right now,” he said. 

The Chamber is still taking items for the auction and Sullivan says that amidst all the negativity, she’s excited to provide a unique way to give back. 

“We’ve heard such doom and gloom,” she said. “So it’s kind of nice to do this in a fun way.”

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