HARTFORD-Five hundred gathered in the Marriott hotel downtown to kick off the 175th birthday celebration of Stanley Black & Decker.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, state Attorney General George Jepsen and New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart were all in attendance.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was scheduled to speak, but fell ill and couldn’t attend. His wife Cathy, however, was there on his behalf.
The event celebrated the history of the New Britain company by showing the documentary “Celebrating the Tools that Built America” to Stanley executives, workers and event sponsors for the first time.
Money raised from the gala will support the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, which helped create the documentary.
Many of the speakers acknowledged that despite some companies taking their headquarters out of Connecticut, it was honorable and noteworthy that Stanley Black & Decker continues to stay in the Hardware City.
“(They’re) always on the leading edge, but they don’t forget where they came from,” said Bronin.”
The three-part documentary opens with an animated look at founder Fred Stanley, and is called “The Early Years.” It is followed by “The Do-It-Yourself Years.” The third segment features Stanley’s current CEO James Loree, who talks about the company’s future, changes and technology. It is 60-minutes long, but guests last night got a rough cut, sneak-peek look into it.
“(It’s) a hell of a Connecticut story that’s never been told,” said President and CEO of Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, Jerry Franklin.
Guests were greeted with a cocktail hour before the event with drinks and hors d’oeuvre as well as a dinner, and live music and dancing. The talk of the night were the flower center pieces on each table that held screwdrivers and measuring tables in the vases.
Loree emphasized the importance of supporting CPBN.
CPBN hired Emmy Award winner Bailey Pryor of Groton and Telemark Films to shoot the documentary. Telemark, under executive producer Pryor, has a reputation for high-impact sports films.
Cost of the film ranged between $100,000 to $200,000. Franklin said Stanley did not put any money into the project.
“We raised funds for the documentary from the sponsors, people who bought tables to attend,” he said.
The network will broadcast the documentary in Connecticut sometime in September, and then offer it to other public broadcasting networks around the country next year.