> 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

Kick-Off to Summer Art Week
Jun 18 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Bring Your Gadgets to the Geeks
Wednesdays at Windsor Public Library
Evolution of Bradley Airport
Jun 19 at Windsor Historical Society
Lunch & Learn: Business Financing
Jun 19 at Hilton Garden Inn, 555 Corporate Dr
Red Door of Grace Food Pantry
Wednesdays at Grace Episcopal Church, 311 Broad St., Windsor, CT
Talk It Up Toastmasters Meeting
Jun 20 at 175 Addison Road, Windsor, CT
Hot Lunch Program-60&Up
Weekdays at the Senior Center
Strawberry Festival
Jun 22 at Brown's Harvest 1911 Poquonock Ave
Windsor Art Center Tag Sale
Jun 22 at Windsor Art Center
Call for Artists - Member Show
Jun 23 at Windsor Art Center
Keney Park PGA jr. League
Jun 23 at Keney Park Golf Course
Drawing and Painting 101 for Adults
Jun 24 at Windsor Art Center Studios
How to Hire Top Talent
Jun 24 at Wilson Branch Library, 365 Windsor Ave
Monday Morning Book Club
Jun 24 at Windsor Public Library
Summer Movie Series - Planet of the
Jun 25 at Windsor Public Library
Bring Your Gadgets to the Geeks
Wednesdays at Windsor Public Library
Red Door of Grace Food Pantry
Wednesdays at Grace Episcopal Church, 311 Broad St., Windsor, CT
Summer Concerts on the Green
Thursdays at Windsor Town Green
Veterans Coffee Hour
Jun 27 at Windsor Senior Center, 599 Matianuck Avenue, Windsor, CT
Edward Jones Grand Opening
Jun 28 at 697 Poquonock Ave (Price Choppers plaza), Windsor, CT 06095
Mid-20th C. Tiki Drinks & Culture!
Jun 28 at Windsor Historical Society
Christopher Martin Art Show
Jul 1 at Windsor Public Library Artspace
Drawing and Painting 101 for Adults
Jul 1 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Young Artist’s Watercolor Day
Jul 1 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Summer Movies Series
Jul 2 at Windsor Public Library
Bring Your Gadgets to the Geeks
Wednesdays at Windsor Public Library
Red Door of Grace Food Pantry
Wednesdays at Grace Episcopal Church, 311 Broad St., Windsor, CT
Windsor Business Connection
1st Wednesday at Bart's Drive In, 55 Palisado Ave
Summer Concerts on the Green
Thursdays at Windsor Town Green
Talk It Up Toastmasters Meeting
Jul 4 at 175 Addison Road, Windsor, CT
Christopher Martin's Art Reception
Jul 6 at Windsor Public Library Artspace
Drawing and Painting 101 for Adults
Jul 8 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Summer Movie Series
Jul 9 at Windsor Public Library
Bring Your Gadgets to the Geeks
Wednesdays at Windsor Public Library
Business After Hours
Jul 10 at Northwest Park, Lang Rd, Windsor
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.
Summer Concerts on the Green
Thursdays at Windsor Town Green
Yoga at the Windsor Art Center
Friday at Windsor Art Center
Windsor Art Center - Member Show
Jul 13 at Windsor Art Center
Windsor Garden Club Garden Tour
Jul 13 at Windsor, CT
Drawing and Painting 101 for Adults
Jul 15 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Diabetic Support Group
Jul 16 at AP1, LP WIlson Community Center, 599 Matianuck Avenue, Windsor, CT
Summer Movie Series
Jul 16 at Windsor Public Library
National Hot Dog Day
Jul 17 at The Tavern at Keney Park
Bring Your Gadgets to the Geeks
Wednesdays at Windsor Public Library
Red Door of Grace Food Pantry
Wednesdays at Grace Episcopal Church, 311 Broad St., Windsor, CT
Ukulele for Beginners-B
Jul 17 at Windsor High School J113
Summer Concerts on the Green
Thursdays at Windsor Town Green
Talk It Up Toastmasters Meeting
Jul 18 at 175 Addison Road, Windsor, CT
Windsor Art Center - Artist Talk
Jul 20 at Windsor Art Center
Hot Lunch Program-60&Up
Weekdays at the Senior Center
Drawing and Painting 101 for Adults
Jul 22 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Monday Morning Book Club
Jul 22 at Windsor Public Library
Summer Movie Series
Jul 23 at Windsor Public Library
Bring Your Gadgets to the Geeks
Wednesdays at Windsor Public Library
Red Door of Grace Food Pantry
Wednesdays at Grace Episcopal Church, 311 Broad St., Windsor, CT
Summer Concerts on the Green
Thursdays at Windsor Town Green
Veterans Coffee Hour
Jul 25 at Windsor Senior Center, 599 Matianuck Avenue, Windsor, CT
Yoga at the Windsor Art Center
Friday at Windsor Art Center
Summer Concerts on the Green
Thursdays at Windsor Town Green
Drawing and Painting 101 for Adults
Jul 29 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Summer Movie Series
Jul 30 at Windsor Public Library
Blood Drive Windsor Historical Soc.
Jul 31 at Windsor Historical Society
Bring Your Gadgets to the Geeks
Wednesdays at Windsor Public Library
Red Door of Grace Food Pantry
Wednesdays at Grace Episcopal Church, 311 Broad St., Windsor, CT
Photojournalist Jessica Hill Art
Aug 1 at Windsor Public Library Artspace
Summer Concerts on the Green
Thursdays at Windsor Town Green
Talk It Up Toastmasters Meeting
Aug 1 at 175 Addison Road, Windsor, CT
Drawing and Painting 101 for Adults
Aug 5 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Summer Movie Series
Aug 6 at Windsor Public Library
Bring Your Gadgets to the Geeks
Wednesdays at Windsor Public Library
Red Door of Grace Food Pantry
Wednesdays at Grace Episcopal Church, 311 Broad St., Windsor, CT
Windsor Business Connection
1st Wednesday at Bart's Drive In, 55 Palisado Ave
Alzheimer's Support Group
2nd Thursdays at Kimberly Hall N.
Summer Concerts on the Green
Thursdays at Windsor Town Green
Yoga at the Windsor Art Center
Friday at Windsor Art Center
Drawing and Painting 101 for Adults
Aug 12 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Monster Madness Art Day
Aug 12 at Windsor Art Center Studios
Summer Movie Series
Aug 13 at Windsor Public Library
Bring Your Gadgets to the Geeks
Wednesdays at Windsor Public Library
Business After Hours
Aug 14 at Edward Jones, Poquonock Ave, Windsor
Red Door of Grace Food Pantry
Wednesdays at Grace Episcopal Church, 311 Broad St., Windsor, CT
Summer Concerts on the Green
Thursdays at Windsor Town Green
Talk It Up Toastmasters Meeting
Aug 15 at 175 Addison Road, Windsor, CT