BY: DIANE CHURCH
PLAINVILLE — A former restaurant has been transformed into the town’s newest bank.
“It’s so exciting when a business can re-purpose a building,” Town Council Chair Kathy Pugliese said at the grand opening for First Niagara’s new branch at 133 East Main St. The building has been vacant since Tim Hortons, a sandwich, coffee and donut shop, abruptly shuttered all its Connecticut locations in November of 2010.
The ceremony, which included a ribbon cutting, is the first of three grand openings in the area. In the coming weeks, First Niagara will have similar events at its new Avon and Rocky Hill locations. The bank entered the region a year-and-a-half ago when it purchased New Alliance Bank. It also has locations in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New York.
David Ring, the bank’s New England Regional President, welcomed the group of bank employees, community leaders, politicians and others who gathered in the bank.
“Since entering the New England market, we have opened new branches and added new bank jobs in the state, invested more than $1.5 billion in local lending to retail and commercial customers and provided nearly $10 million in sponsorships and charitable giving throughout Connecticut, more than any other bank,” he said.
First Niagara demonstrated its support for to the community by donating funds to a local organization. Cindy MacDonald, the branch manager, presented Wheeler Regional Family YMCA with a $5,000 check to support its Livestrong program, which helps cancer survivors. Bob Nenna, executive director, accepted the check. He said the donation will fund the program for 60 people.
“I’m not new to town,” said MacDonald. “I’ve also been in banking many years. I was on the YMCA board of managers and the treasurer. The YMCA serves us all.”