Matt Bevin, the owner of Bevin Bros. Manufacturing Company, and Senator Richard Blumenthal, will announce an initiative to help “Keep the Bells in Belltown” at a press conference at 11 a.m. on Friday at Bevin Bros. Manufacturing, 10 Bevin Road, in East Hampton.
Without revenue coming in until the temporary factory on Watrous Street is up and running, Bevin is launching a new initiative packaging and selling bells that survived the fire.
"All the revenue of which is something that allows us to keep on moving forward until we can actually start selling new products again," Bevin said on Thursday. "That's kind of what this is about."
The press conference also will be used as an opportunity to provide an update on the company's progress as it attempts to rebuild following the fire on May 27 that destroyed the bell factory and PSI Plus.
"We want to give people an update as to where we stand," Bevin said of the press conference, "and give people the opportunity to be a part of that."
Thousands of surviving sleigh bells are being individually packaged with a 20-page Bevin Bell Story and will be sold at the East Hampton Old Home Day fairgrounds to keep the bells ringing in Belltown.
“In America, we get back up when we are knocked down,” Bevin said. “Our 180-year tradition of making bells in Connecticut will continue. This is truly the rebirth and continuation of an American Dream.”
Bevin said he is still hearing from people across the country and around the world, including Friday when he got a note and a contribution from a woman in North Carolina. She received a tour of the factory from Bevin's grandfather, who took the time to show her around. That was 45 years ago. She didn't forget.
"How does that not put a pep in your step," Bevin said. "It's encouraging. It reaffirms my confidence that we live in the greatest nation on earth. We live in a nation where people truly deep down still give a hoot about each other, about supporting the things that are the fabric of this country, the things that make this country move forward."
As invaluable as every contribution and every note has been, it is the companies from the area and even Canada that have unselfishly stepped up to provide the kind of assistance that has allowed Bevin to dig out and move forward. Those companies include:
- Clondalkin Group, an international folding carton manufacturer in Portland
- Diebec, a precision steel-rule die company in Montreal
- GHP Media, a national commercial printing company in West Haven
- Nesci Enterprises, a tool, die and machine shop in East Hampton
- RJ Phil, photographer in East Hampton
- Weintraub & Company, graphic designer in Middle Haddam
"These are companies that have stepped forward in a significant way and have done things with no beneift to themselves," Bevin said. "I hope they get some credit for this. These are people who have volunteered significant amounts of time and resources, the use of their facilities, the use of equipment they have, the use of skills and talent they have, the production capabilities they have to make some of the boxes and things that will be revealed [Friday] at the press conference. Those types of things. These people didn't need to do that. They didn't have to. Ee didn't ask them to. These are people who stepped forward saying, 'Hey, what can I do to help? Here's an idea I have. What can I do'"
As an example, Beving brought up Ralph Nesci of Nesci Enterprises on Summit Street.
"Simple, unassuming type of business, the type of business that exists in every little town," Bevin said. "It's easy to become invisible. With nothing in it for him, he stepped forward and said, 'Listen, my place is your place. Anything I have is yours. You tell me what you need, we'll make it available to you.' Just a standup guy. Great guy. That's the kind of thing that just reinvigorates my confidence in America."
Bevin won't be in town just for the press conference, he will be here as well to help celebrate Old Home Days. Better yet, he will lead the Old Home Day Parade on Saturday, riding in a horse-drawn carriage ringing with a multitude of Bevin bells and followed by a Bevin Bell float made by staff and local volunteers. The parade starts at 11 a.m., beginning at the high school and winding its way through the town's traditional parade route, heading east on Route 66 and down Route 196 to the Village Center.
Bevin has brought his family along to be a part of the parade, including the newest member, Jonah, who is 5. Bevin was in Ethiopia a few weeks ago and returned with his adopted son, who will be seeing his first parade.
"And he'll be in it, which is even better," Bevin said. "It will be fun. It's exciting. The world is an oyster to him right now and it's fun for us to see that through his eyes."
The Bevins are in the process of adopting three more children, all siblings, who, Bevin hopes, will be joining the family in a couple of months.
is being held at the Center School grounds in the Village Center on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Bevin Bros. Manufacturing and PSI Plus recently from the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), which administers the Small Business Express (EXP) program.
Residents and businesses can donate or leave comments at a web site established by Bevin Bros. Manufacturing.