NORWICH – When Joseph Herndon was growing up in Ledyard, Norwich didn’t think about it much.
But when a cousin recently told him the town was on the rise, Herndon knew he wanted a business in town.
“Anyone would be a fool not to be part of the movement,” he said.
Two new companies join Foundry 66. American Stitch Lab, a screen printing company jointly owned by Herndon and Travis Chin, opens in April. Flowing Waters Massage, a massage therapy studio operated by Tiara Waters, already has clients but will officially open on April 3rd.
According to Jason Vincent, senior vice president of Norwich Community Development Corporation, Foundry 66 can host a wide variety of companies
“It’s designed to help small businesses grow, expand and even emerge,” he said.
Herndon was born in California but grew up in Southeast Connecticut. A career as a US Army airborne ranger took him across the country until he eventually settled in Queens, NY and started his business with Chin, who is also a veteran.
“We started looking into screen printing, embroidery, and graphic design, and we’ve actually gotten pretty good at it,” he said.
American Stitch Lab is clothing with a military-inspired aesthetic featuring stylized American flags and motorcycles. Customers can also commission their own designs printed on hats, t-shirts, and sweatshirts.
Herndon is excited to have “a home away from home” at Foundry 66.
Waters lives in Norwich and Foundry is less than five minutes from their home. When she attended Three Rivers Community College, Waters wasn’t sure what career she wanted to do. After having a dream about giving a massage, she heard an ad on the radio for the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy. Waters felt that this was her calling.
“I want to be a healer,” she said. “It’s not just the physical healing; It is also mental and emotional healing. “
Waters also sees herself as an outsider, having grown up as a foster child.
“When you are in care you have to find something to stick with or else you get the boot,” she said.
She wants to give back to people who need help, including employing people with intellectual and physical disabilities in her studio.
“They deserve jobs where their faces are visible and where they can live full lives,” she said.
Waters looks forward to creating a “healing, positive environment”.
“As soon as you walk into my room, I want you to melt on my table,” she said.