Friday, May 07, 2021

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Saybrook Chamber’s Great Takeout Giveaway Extended Through May

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Juliana Pisanzio of La Marea Ristorante is one of the restaurateurs taking part in the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce’s Great Takeout Giveaway. Photo courtesy of the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce

Juliana Pisanzio of La Marea Ristorante is one of the restaurateurs taking part in the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce’s Great Takeout Giveaway. (Photo courtesy of the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce )

Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce’s Great Takeout Giveaway, designed to support local restaurants, will continue through Friday, May 8, thanks to the enthusiasm and generosity of donors.

The program was the brainchild of chamber member Steve Norton of Saybrook Wealth Group, who approached the Chamber with the idea and initially funded it. (His donation was matched by the chamber.)

Begun on March 23 and promoted on Facebook and Instagram, the initiative asks residents to photograph their takeout receipts from Old Saybrook restaurants and send them to the chamber via social media or email. Each day, one participant is chosen at random to receive a $100 gift card to a local restaurant, which is sent to the winner by regular mail.

There’s no limit on the number of receipts residents can submit.

“Multiple receipts are encouraged and increase your chances of winning,” said the chamber’s Executive Director Judy Sullivan by email.

Norton realized early on that local restaurants would be hit hard by the COVID-19 health crisis.

“I wanted to support them while creating an incentive for others to do the same,” he said.

The contest was planned to run for 10 days but has been extended twice as businesses and residents reached out to the chamber with offers of support, according to Sullivan. The most recent extension, from April 12 through May 9, was made possible by donations from Susan Taylor of Farmers Insurance Agency, the Old Saybrook Rotary Club, the Old Saybrook Republican Town Committee, Maria Pietrosante: Allstate Insurance, and an anonymous Old Saybrook resident, said Sullivan.

“Many of our small businesses are struggling during this very difficult time and this is one way we can help a business segment and the community at the same time,” she said.

David McFarlin was one of the earliest winners. He submitted his receipt from Rosemary & Sage and on March 26 was announced as the winner of a gift card for...Rosemary & Sage. (Most other winners have been awarded gift cards from a restaurant other than the one they initially supported. The selection of gift cards is also random, according to Sullivan.)

“We have a number of favorite restaurants in town,” McFarlin said. “Rosemary is a favorite—we love the food, we love [owner] Nancy and her staff.

“Rosemary’s is like Cheers,” he continued. “You go in and they know your name. My wife and I like to sit at the bar and have a cocktail and have dinner.”

McFarlin’s parents recently gave his wife, Lynn, and him a check to spend on gift cards for local restaurants in honor of Lynn McFarlin’s upcoming birthday. The two bought gift cards at La Marea Ristorante, The Tea Kettle, Al Forno Trattoria, and—of course—Rosemary & Sage.

Dave McFarlin thinks the chamber’s contest is a great idea.

“I watch it every day to see who wins,” he said. “We do takeout now about twice a week. Lynn’s asked me a number of times to resubmit our receipt, but I’ve said, ‘Nah, we’ve already won once. Let’s let somebody else win.’”

The chamber, he said, does “a lot of really good things...This is one way to keep the support going for the local businesses.”

Receipts may be emailed to info@chamberoldsaybrook.com or submitted via the Chamber’s Facebook or Instagram pages. Receipts must be dated between March 20 and May 5. Further information may be found at www.oldsaybrookchamber.com/giveaway.


Aviva Luria covers news from Old Saybrook and Westbrook for Zip06. Email Aviva at a.luria@shorepublishing.com.

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