> Out and About: Sheila Gasper, Manager of The Blue Dragonfly

Out and About: Sheila Gasper, Manager of The Blue Dragonfly

Out and About: Sheila Gasper, Manager of The Blue Dragonfly
Interviewed by Tracy Rotkiewicz
Photo by Michael Taylor

Sheila Gasper is the manager of The Blue Dragonfly. It's a gift shop that is part of the Family Partnerships of CT. run by the store's owner, Susan Miller. Family Partnerships of CT. is an agency dedicated to assisting individuals with special needs by providing them with job sites within shops, restaurants, and helping with the Thrifty Reminder (rebranded as Courant Community in recent years). The Blue Dragonfly is a member of the Chamber of Commerce.

Sheila, a lifelong Windsor resident, started her career at Loomis Chaffee School as an administrator in the Physical Plant Department (maintenance) for twenty years until her position was eliminated. She knew Susan Miller's sister who told her Susan planned to open a gift shop in 2014. Sheila recounts, "Would you be our store manager? And I was like, okay. It was a little scary but I said, OK, I could do it! And four years later that's where I am." Since then, The Blue Dragonfly has grown and flourished. As Sheila says "It's a gift shop with a purpose," regarding the partnership with Family Partnerships of CT. "I love the people who come to the store, our customers. You know, all of our guys who work here because this is a job site for them. They do a lot of the cleaning, help set up the displays, do all of the pricing with their job coaches next to them. They're just a big part of the store."

She meets with vendors to decide on what products to stock up and sometimes it's a personal decision before the owner has the final say. "You don't know what to order, or how much. When the product comes in sometimes you might have ten of one item and if it won't sell, then you're stuck with them or put them on sale. But for the most part, our customers are great." Displays are changed often enough to keep customers guessing what's new. "You don't want to keep coming to a store that's set up the same way," Sheila advises. Perhaps that's what keeps The Blue Dragonfly in the hearts and minds of all those who enter. It certainly doesn't hurt that the shop garnered first runner-up status in the Best of Hartford Reader's Poll.

Prices are made fair. "Some people think we're too high in some things. We're really not. We're kind of in-line with everybody else. We have to pay our guys that work here. We have to pay for the shipping. I don't think a lot of customers realize what is involved in retail. It's not about just receiving the product. It's expensive to run." Sheila notes all of the maintenance and upkeep it takes to run a business itself. In the meantime, to generate more business, the shop hosts different events throughout the year. Paint parties provided by local artist Irene Hilbert are a big draw for customers.

Aside from being a lifelong Windsor resident, Sheila raised her four children here. She refers to herself as a "Windsor girl," and her husband as a "Deerfield boy." As the community grows, Sheila is excited to see the changes and growth in town, from The Windsor Station Apartments to the renovated movie plaza theater/restaurant. On her off time, Sheila loves to spend time with her grandson.

Three words that describe Sheila: Kind, honest, out-going

The Blue Dragonfly is located at 144A Broad St. (860)580-7928



Events

November Food Drive at Many Rivers
Nov 11 at 3 Barnard Lane, Suite 205, in Bloomfield
Lobster Fest
Fridays at The Tavern at Keney Park
WHS Drama Presents "CLUE"
Nov 15 at Windsor High School. 50 Sage Park Road. Windsor, CT. 06095
Big Steak Dinner
Saturdays at The Tavern at Keney Park
Dom's Fundraiser for Food Pantry
Nov 16 at Dom's Broad St. Eatery, 330 Broad St., Windsor, CT 06095
Student and Faculty Recital
Nov 16 at First Church in Windsor, 107 Palisado Ave.
Turkey and Twenty Drive
Nov 16 at Eagle on the Green by Windsor Public Library
Vendor & Artisan Fair: SagePark PTO
Nov 16 at Sage Park Middle School - 25 Sage Park Road
WF&FB Fundraiser at ACE
Nov 16 at WINDSOR ACE HARDWARE 296 Broad St.
Brunch Buffet
Sundays at The Tavern at Keney Park
Yoga Paint Party
Nov 17 at Wabi-Sabi Yoga & Wellness Center
Adult Drawing and Painting 101
Mondays thru Dec 16 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Diabetic Support Group
Nov 19 at AP1, LP WIlson Community Center, 599 Matianuck Avenue, Windsor, CT
Intermediate Adult Art
Tuesdays till Dec. 17 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Learn to Crochet
Tuesdays at Windsor Public Library
Nutritionist Talk - Supplements
Nov 19 at Windsor Public Library
Red Door of Grace Food Pantry
Wednesdays at Grace Episcopal Church, 311 Broad St., Windsor, CT
Stillness in Motion - Art Center
Nov 20 at Windsor Art Center
Burgers and Brews
Thursdays at The Tavern at Keney Park
Hot Lunch Program-60&Up
Weekdays at the Senior Center
Programs Committee Meeting
3rd Thursday at Bart's Drive In, 55 Palisado Ave, Windsor
Stillness in Motion - Art Center
Nov 21 at Windsor Art Center
Talk It Up Toastmasters Meeting
Nov 21 at 175 Addison Road, Windsor, CT
WinTech Showcase
Nov 21 at Hilton Garden Inn, 555 Corporate Dr, Windsor
Kids Movie, Craft, and Pizza Night!
Nov 22 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Lobster Fest
Fridays at The Tavern at Keney Park
Old Fashioned Christmas with Clara
Nov 22 at The Music School at Sound Crossing, 101 Palisado Ave. Windsor, CT
31st Annual "Food For Health" Drive
Nov 23 at Dr. George B. Curry of 15 Central Street
Artist Talk/Panel Discussion
Nov 23 at Windsor Art Center
Big Steak Dinner
Saturdays at The Tavern at Keney Park
Holiday Auction & Dinner!
Nov 23 at The Lodge
Brunch Buffet
Sundays at The Tavern at Keney Park
Adult Drawing and Painting 101
Mondays thru Dec 16 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Monday Morning Book Club
Nov 25 at Windsor Public Library
Monday Morning Book Club
Nov 25 at Windsor Public Library
Intermediate Adult Art
Tuesdays till Dec. 17 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Learn to Crochet
Tuesdays at Windsor Public Library
Red Door of Grace Food Pantry
Wednesdays at Grace Episcopal Church, 311 Broad St., Windsor, CT
Tacos 7 Trivia
Nov 27 at The Tavern at Keney Park
Veterans Coffee Hour
Nov 28 at Windsor Senior Center, 599 Matianuck Avenue, Windsor, CT
Lobster Fest
Fridays at The Tavern at Keney Park
Big Steak Dinner
Saturdays at The Tavern at Keney Park
Christmas Sampler
Nov 30 at L.P. Wilson
Shop Small with HBG
Nov 30 at House of Books and Games
Small Business Saturday
Nov 30 at Windsor's Small Businesses
Santa Brunch
Dec 1 at The Tavern at Keney Park
Shop Small with HBG
Dec 1 at House of Books and Games
Adult Drawing and Painting 101
Mondays thru Dec 16 at Windsor Art Center Studios
HBG Adult Game Night at LP Wilson
1st Monday at LP Wilson Rec Center
Intermediate Adult Art
Tuesdays till Dec. 17 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Learn to Crochet
Tuesdays at Windsor Public Library
Transportation Committee Meeting
Dec 3 at Chamber office
Red Door of Grace Food Pantry
Wednesdays at Grace Episcopal Church, 311 Broad St., Windsor, CT
WCC Holiday Business Breakfast
Dec 4 at Hartford/Windsor Marriott
Block Printed Gift Wrap Workshop
Dec 5 at Windsor Public Library
Festival of Wreaths
Dec 5 at Kimberly Hall North Building 1 Emerson Dr Windsor
Talk It Up Toastmasters Meeting
Dec 5 at 175 Addison Road, Windsor, CT
A Victorian Country Christmas
Dec 6 at 778 Palisado Ave., Windsor CT
Holiday Open House!
Dec 7 at Therapeutic Solutions - 96 Poquonock Ave, Windsor, CT 06095
Adult Drawing and Painting 101
Mondays thru Dec 16 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Holiday Movie
Dec 9 at Windsor Public Library
Chamber Board of Directors meeting
Dec 10 at Chamber Office
Intermediate Adult Art
Tuesdays till Dec. 17 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Learn to Crochet
Tuesdays at Windsor Public Library
Tourism Committee Meeting
Dec 10 at Chamber office
Ukulele Holiday Benefit Concert
Dec 10 at Windsor High School Auditorium
Ambassadors Committee Meeting
Dec 11 at Chamber office
Red Door of Grace Food Pantry
Wednesdays at Grace Episcopal Church, 311 Broad St., Windsor, CT
Alzheimer's Support Group
2nd Thursdays at Kimberly Hall N.
Card Stamp event to win Gift Cards
Dec 14 at House of Books and Games, Ewe and You, The Bean
Hearth Cooking Class
Dec 14 at Windsor Historical Society
Wreath Across America
Dec 14 at Windsor Veterans Memorial Cemetery
HBG Beth Caruso book signing
Dec 15 at House of Books and Games
Adult Drawing and Painting 101
Mondays thru Dec 16 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Monday Morning Book Club
Dec 16 at Windsor Public Library
Monday Morning Book Club
Dec 16 at Windsor Public Library
Diabetic Support Group
Dec 17 at AP1, LP WIlson Community Center, 599 Matianuck Avenue, Windsor, CT
Intermediate Adult Art
Tuesdays till Dec. 17 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Learn to Crochet
Tuesdays at Windsor Public Library
Red Door of Grace Food Pantry
Wednesdays at Grace Episcopal Church, 311 Broad St., Windsor, CT
Programs Committee Meeting
3rd Thursday at Bart's Drive In, 55 Palisado Ave, Windsor
Talk It Up Toastmasters Meeting
Dec 19 at 175 Addison Road, Windsor, CT
Hot Lunch Program-60&Up
Weekdays at the Senior Center
Red Door of Grace Food Pantry
Wednesdays at Grace Episcopal Church, 311 Broad St., Windsor, CT
Veterans Coffee Hour
Dec 26 at Windsor Senior Center, 599 Matianuck Avenue, Windsor, CT
Red Door of Grace Food Pantry
Wednesdays at Grace Episcopal Church, 311 Broad St., Windsor, CT
Talk It Up Toastmasters Meeting
Jan 2, 2020 at 175 Addison Road, Windsor, CT
HBG RPG nights at the Bean
Jan 4, 2020 at The Bean @ 226
HBG Adult Game Night at LP Wilson
1st Monday at LP Wilson Rec Center
Transportation Committee Meeting
Jan 7, 2020 at Chamber office
Ambassadors Committee Meeting
Jan 8, 2020 at Chamber office
Business After Hours
Jan 8, 2020 at Preserve at Great Pond, 2000 Day Hill Rd
Red Door of Grace Food Pantry
Wednesdays at Grace Episcopal Church, 311 Broad St., Windsor, CT
Alzheimer's Support Group
2nd Thursdays at Kimberly Hall N.
Chamber Board of Directors meeting
Jan 14, 2020 at Chamber Office
Tourism Committee Meeting
Jan 14, 2020 at Chamber office