Entrepreneurs right at home in Bantam Arts Factory
Lily Toussaint is the owner of Bantam Blooms Florist located in the Bantam Arts Factory. BZ photos
A pair of young entrepreneurs who are enjoying business success after striking out on their own help define the vibrant commercial center that is the Bantam Arts Factory.
Lily Toussaint, 24, a Litchfield High School graduate, and Kyle Crocker, 31, well-known locally as a fitness trainer, are establishing their businesses in the three-story brick factory at 931 Bantam Road.
The building, once the home of the Connecticut Electric Switch Manufacturing Corp., is headquarters for 23 businesses and is one of the centerpieces of Bantam’s revival as a commercial center.
Toussaint is the owner of Bantam Blooms Florist and is in her third year in business after graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She provides flowers and floral arrangements for weddings, showers and special occasions, and meets daily orders from customers looking to make that special someone happy.
Toussaint worked for a floral designer in New York City while in college and after graduation worked at a floral shop in Roxbury before deciding it was time to start her own business. Floral arrangement runs in her family, too, as her mom, Sue Deering, is a florist. Deering lends a hand at Bantam Blooms Florist.
“I’ve always had a passion for floral design and with the experience I had gained, thought it was something I could do myself,” she said of the decision to open Bantam Blooms Florist. “I love what I’m doing. I can do my own thing and be creative, and I have the freedom to make my own hours.”
Being in business for herself gives Toussaint time to pursue one of her other passions: coaching. She is in her third season as coach of the Litchfield High School field hockey team. Toussaint, who played field hockey at LHS, led the Cowgirls to the Class S state tournament last year.
For more information on Bantam Blooms Florist, go to bantamblooms.net or contact email@example.com.
Kyle Crocker, owner of Calisfit, is his space at the Bantam Arts Factory.
Crocker is the owner of Calisfit, a private personal-training business that is currently serving nearly 50 clients between the ages of 13 and 82. After almost five years as a personal trainer at Litchfield Hills Fitness, Crocker decided it was time to go into business.
“This gives me more freedom to reach a broader crowd and help as many people as I can,” Crocker said. “Some of my clients wanted to train in a private space and this allows for that to happen, so it made sense.”
Crocker is a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He specializes in corrective exercise and performance enhancement, helping his clients improve strength, balance, flexibility and mobility. Crocker also specializes in mixed-martial arts conditioning.
Clients come to Crocker for help in improving not only general fitness and athletic performance but also to speed recovery from injuries and stroke. Knee injuries, joint pain, tendinitis, shoulder impingement, back pain and restless leg syndrome are some of the common ailments Crocker sees in his work.
Calisfit is located in a space with a high ceiling and large windows, an environment he finds conducive to working with clients. As his business grows, Crocker plans to expand his space and add locker rooms and showers.