2005 WINTER SEASON

Litchfield, CT --
Contact: Janet L. Serra
Ph: 800-663-1273
Email: lhcvbnwct@aol.com
For Immediate Release

Back in the early 90 's, when dozens of downtown department stores were going out of business, the Howland-Hughes department store in Waterbury ran a "staying in business sale". Hank Paine, whose family had owned the store since 1922, was determined that this "Grand Old Lady" founded in 1890 would survive, and he came up with a unique way to do this. The entire first floor of the building became The Connecticut Store, the first and only store dedicated to products made in the state. For shoppers in the market for special holiday gifts, The Connecticut Store is a trove of unexpected treasures and discoveries. The Yankee Magazine Travel Guide named the store a must see. Shoppers may learn a bit of Connecticut history while finding unique gifts. For example, few may be aware that the Waterbury Button Company has been supplying buttons for U.S. military uniforms since the War of 1812. Today they make buttons for most of the services, for marching bands and state police departments nationwide, as well for companies from Donna Karan and Polo to J.C. Penney. Handsome gift sets of blazer buttons sold here include buttons designed for professions such as doctor and lawyer, and for hobbies like sailing or tennis. History buffs should relish replicas of the buttons made for the officers and crew of the ship Titanic. This is also the only company licensed to create buttons featuring the state seal for all 50 states. That family standby, the Wiffle Ball, is another Connecticut product, born over 50 years ago in Shelton, and still a family-run business. Balls, bats, flying saucers, official caps and signature ties are among the offerings in their Waterbury outpost. The only real Christmas tree ornaments in world is the claim of AKA Collectibles of Waterbury. Reindeer, birds, trees, snowmen, animals, and lighthouses are among their wooden Christmas ornaments hand cut from recycled Christmas trees. Woodbury Pewter also makes unique Christmas ornaments as well as Christmas bells with wreath and tree designs plus tankards, bowls, vases and other special gift items. Pez candies and their clever, collectible, character candy dispensers made in Orange, Connecticut make great stocking stuffers. One of the most artistic companies represented is Bovano of Cheshire, with delicate and realistic glass enamel sculptures of birds, butterflies, and flowers. Also unusual are the hand-hammered copper weathervanes by John Garret Thew of Norfolk. Interesting furniture pieces made by state artisans include expandable tile-top oak tables by Hollwoods of Meriden, a horseshoe coffee table, a desk that expands into a table, and a toy giraffe clothes horse. Holiday offerings from Liberty Candle of Bolton include handmade votives, tapers, floats, and scented candles. To add to the holiday spirit, visitors can see the elaborate Santa's workshop that was part of the Howland-Hughes store 's Christmas display. The Connecticut Store is located at 120-140 Bank Street in downtown Waterbury, phone 800-4SHOPCT. Those who cannot shop in person may order many items via the website, www.ctstore.com. For more information about holiday events in the area and to receive a free copy of UNWIND, a 112-page color guide to lodging, dining and all the attractions in the area contact Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 968, Litchfield CT 06759-0968, call 800-663-1273, or check the Internet at www.litchfieldhills.com.