As the pandemic has demonstrated, out of necessity comes invention. Cornwall is thriving with people working from home, building new businesses and collaborating on civic infrastructure.
West Cornwall Revitalization
The Covered Bridge district is now home to a dozen businesses that include furniture and antiques, farm-to-table food service, gifts, galleries and recreational outfitters.
Increase in Visitation
Cornwall’s natural beauty and recreational facilities, along with other tourist attractions and experience-oriented activities have increased foot traffic to its two commercial centers in West Cornwall and Cornwall Bridge.
Cornwall is making business-friendly investments, including free downtown wifi and co-working spaces, West Cornwall septic system improvements and zoning changes to encourage work-from-home.
Get in Touch
The Economic Development Committee supports local businesses, helping entrepreneurs understand the landscape and how to navigate it. Let us know of your interest, how we can help and we will follow up with you.
Meet some Cornwall business owners
In 2007 I met Jim Herity who became my husband. He would always want to go kayaking from River Road to Kent. That was our thing. In 2010 we saw a ‘for sale’ sign by a house on River Road and we moved in.
I am West Cornwall-centric. Since we moved here there has not been robust business center as there once was. I saw a need that could benefit the community. The idea of The Local was to make it a center – a place where Cornwallians could sell the things they make. The Local is now stocked with products from over 20 vendors including 6 farms, 3 chefs, artists, potters, and others. Proof that we are a town of cultivators, creators and producers.
The Local, and its next-door neighbor co- working space, The Union, are funded by the Hughes Library fund. Located on the Housatonic River, the Hughes Library has a long term goal of becoming a science and environment library.Website
Like all the towns that make up Litchfield County, Cornwall’s personality is unique. It has an independent streak that sets it apart. That independence creates an air of confidence and a “come what may” attitude. There is a deep love of place here that feels more intimate than the other towns, perhaps because of its size. Cornwall is gripped in its sense of history and name, which provides a magical connection to the past. I observe a greater value in memories here and that old-fashioned sensibility is priceless. It’s a sort of a Brigadoon.
I launched and built my business (Frank Food) in Kent. I know first-hand how deeply embedded one becomes as a business owner, especially selling food. Food is intimate in its own way and establishes a sense of connection unlike other retail experiences. I am definitely a part of the Kent community in a way that I never could have been as a resident.
Now I call West Cornwall home and have that same desire to be a deep part of this community. What better way than to create a space for us to congregate and break bread together. That idea is really a deep part of my brand DNA and the opportunity to actualize that is a dream come true. That “place” is missing in this community and I’m excited to be the person who gets to make it.Website
Bob & Meg Ensign
COVERED BRIDGE ELECTRIC BIKE
While most people would say it was borderline lunacy, I didn’t look at it like that; I didn’t look at it as a gamble. I think biking just works; the electric bike opens up the sport to so many more people.
I love West Cornwall so I decided to open the store here; there should be more to it but there isn’t. We like Sharon – we live in Sharon – but there is something about West Cornwall. We used to come eat here (at The Wandering Moose, a restaurant that for many years was the occupant of this space) all the time. Cornwall is beautiful in an unpretentious way. The bike tours we organize rely on beauty of this area.
Coming out of the pandemic our business now is more appointment based and driven by word of mouth. It is wonderful to be next to the bridge and I have noticed foot traffic increase especially during the leaf season.
To circle back, when I say I wanted to be HERE in Cornwall because to me it is a diamond in the rough; it is not spoiled. I think of all the nearby towns and there is something here so much more charming.Website
ONE ELEVEN GROUP
When John and I finally decided to leave Brooklyn we did a long search, exploring at least 8 states. Once we settled on Connecticut, we looked at probably 8 or 9 towns, finally settling on West Cornwall for our residence and our business.
The schools were a huge priority for us – we wanted excellent public schools from kindergarten through high school. We loved the river, the mountains and the idea of being part of a community. We were lucky and found a large enough building for both our agency and our home. We moved our business (One Eleven Group, a marketing agency focused on healthcare, finance, education and tourism) our employees and our family in 2009.
Fitting into the community was easier than we anticipated; we were welcomed and made to feel at home. Now I chair Cornwall’s Economic Development Committee where we support existing business and help people start new businesses here – whether writing business plans, negotiating rent, helping with promotion and marketing.Website