© Roger Salls Photography

Tuesday, December 7, 2021 – Trumbull, CT – Bridgeport Regional Business Council held their 2021 Holiday Dinner and Leadership Awards at Trumbull Marriot Shelton featuring Keynote Speaker Stew Leonard Jr.

Bridgeport Landing Development was proud to present Deb Sims and her team at NRZ East End Market & Café with the Resiliency Award. Bridgeport Landing Development is happy to sponsor this award again this year, an award that recognizes an individual or an organization that fights through challenges to remain relevant and helpful. Certainly, that defines the East End NRZ Market and Café and its leader Deborah Sims. The initial idea behind the Market & Café was to provide healthy local produce to the East End community when grocery stores seemingly didn’t want to be there.

“Every time I go to the East End NRZ to talk to Deb, I am in for a surprise. Not only about what her and her team were able to accomplish, but what they have in the planning stage as well as what they need,” says Steve Tyliszczak, Development Administrator for Bridgeport Landing Development. “They accept the reality of a situation, have a sense of purpose, and are flexible in their thinking and listening.”

As people found themselves in need of job opportunities as well as fresh healthy foods, Deborah and the Café were there to help them and to grow their services within the East End of Bridgeport. The East End NRZ Market & Café offers programs like healthy lifestyles, dietary management, job training, gardening for beginner’s classes, violence prevention & mentoring, hydroponic farming and more. The work of Deb and her team was nationally recognized when they won the Aetna 2019 Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge by American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties.

“We are about figuring out how to do ‘life’ better. It’s a very rewarding journey and we have an amazing team…. without them there would be no market,” said Deborah Sims, Executive Director of East End NRZ Market & Café. “We kept our doors open 7 days a week during Covid; we became a senior center, everyone had a password, we fed everybody. We didn’t know what we were becoming but we did it, because that’s what it is about.”

BLD is also proud to say that Bridgeport Boatworks was honored with the Paul S. Timpanelli Leadership in Economic Development Award presented by Newtown Savings Bank. Harry Boardsen, owner of Bridgeport Boatworks, received the award for the growth and expansion of his business and continuing to make Bridgeport a marine destination by offering top-of-the-line services.

© Roger Salls Photography

“We would like to thank everybody at BRBC. We’re a newcomer here in Bridgeport and we love it here and the opportunity we have here,” said Harry Boardsen, Owner of Bridgeport Boatworks. “These types of opportunities, with infrastructure, equipment, capacity, and personnel only exist in one place in Connecticut, and that place is Bridgeport.”

Bridgeport Boatworks not only brought in larger players like Hornblower and North Sails to Bridgeport, but is also creating new jobs with these partnerships. Harry and Boatworks are actively working with the community to provide training to the local workforce and support the area in which they are located.