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Fresh Start teams up with Community SolutionsTo Create Furnishings for the Swift Factory

December 7, 2021

It certainly was exciting when Patrick McKenna, Senior Project Manager for Community Solutions and licensed architect reached out to Anne O’Brien and Rich Carmen from Fresh Start to build furnishings for this exciting, landmark project, the Swift Factory property conversion.

Working closely with Patrick’s team, the Fresh Start crew designed custom conference tables, dining tables, coffee tables and an impressive reception desk. These furniture designs incorporated the old wooden timbers found during the factory’s renovation as well as parts from the gold plating machinery. This afforded a creative way to have the history of the building to be usefully on display, a story that The Swift Factory intended to preserve. When the exterior courtyard was being built, McKenna ordered some Fresh Start comfort chairs and benches for its delightful atrium garden that allows tenants to relax & enjoy a meal in comfort.

The Swift Factory, once the largest gold leafing manufacturer in the country and part of the City’s economic heart employing over 300 residents, fell to the late 20th century industrial decline. Closing in 2005, the 100 plus-year-old site sat vacant, facing demolition. The local NRZ community group with Hartford Preservation Alliance rallied to save the buildings. The Swift Family donated the entire campus to Community Solutions in 2010, which was later added to the National Register of Historic Places.

After an extensive community engagement, Community Solutions has now achieved its goal of transforming the Swift Factory into a multi-purpose community and entrepreneurial hub. It features incubator kitchens for budding culinary businesses, office coworking spaces for local entrepreneurs and ample flexible space for community use fostering neighborhood growth and revitalization.

We are so proud to have successfully partnered with Community Solutions. The project exemplifies how working together can make a difference in changing lives and improving disadvantaged communities.

Fresh Start Pallet Products is a 501c3 non-profit based in Hartford, Connecticut. Fresh Start provides people the opportunity to rebuild themselves, their lives and in turn build high quality furniture and more for their customers.

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