> 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



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Events

Kiwanis Shad Derby Road Race
May 21 at Elm and Broad Street
Second Annual Clothing Drive
May 21 at CT Cat Connection, 40 Stevens Mill Lane, Windsor CT 06995
Shad Derby Day
May 21 at Windsor Town Green
Snap Back Fitness Boxing
May 21 at Stony Hill School
Tickborne Illness Support Group
May 21 at LP Wilson Community Center, 599 Matianuck Ave. Windsor
Open Classroom at the WAC Studios
May 22 at Windsor Train Station Studios
Hypertension Workshop
May 23 at Video Conference via Zoom
Intermediate II Art for Adults
May 23 at Windsor Train Station Studios
Windsor Toastmasters Club
May 23 at Zoom meeting, possible in-person meeting
Bring Your Gadgets to the Geeks
May 24 at Windsor Public Library 323 Broad Street Windsor, CT
May Business After Hours
May 25 at Windsor Chamber of Commerce office, 261 Broad Street
Advanced Adult Art
May 26 at Windsor Train Station Studios
Book Buzz Event
May 26 at Windsor Public Library 323 Broad Street Windsor, CT
Monthly Veteran's Coffee Hour
May 26 at Senior Center Cafe
Yoga Strong
May 26 at Wabi-Sabi Yoga and Wellness Center, 88 Day Hill Road, Suite 203
First Town Chat
Fridays at 161 Broad Street, Windsor
Second Annual Clothing Drive
May 28 at CT Cat Connection, 40 Stevens Mill Lane, Windsor CT 06995
Snap Back Fitness Boxing
May 28 at Stony Hill School
Open Classroom at the WAC Studios
May 29 at Windsor Train Station Studios
Intermediate II Art for Adults
May 30 at Windsor Train Station Studios
Bring Your Gadgets to the Geeks
May 31 at Windsor Public Library 323 Broad Street Windsor, CT
Advanced Adult Art
Jun 2 at Windsor Train Station Studios
Yoga Strong
Jun 2 at Wabi-Sabi Yoga and Wellness Center, 88 Day Hill Road, Suite 203
First Town Chat
Fridays at 161 Broad Street, Windsor
Second Annual Clothing Drive
Jun 4 at CT Cat Connection, 40 Stevens Mill Lane, Windsor CT 06995
Tickborne Illness Support Group
Jun 4 at LP Wilson Community Center, 599 Matianuck Ave. Windsor
Open Classroom at the WAC Studios
Jun 5 at Windsor Train Station Studios
WAC Portrait Painting Workshop
Jun 5 at WAC Train Station Studios
Gardens in the Hudson Valley
Jun 6 at Windsor Public Library 323 Broad Street Windsor, CT
Hypertension Workshop
Jun 6 at Video Conference via Zoom
Intermediate II Art for Adults
Jun 6 at Windsor Train Station Studios
Join our new Men's Club!
Jun 6 at Windsor Senior Center
Bring Your Gadgets to the Geeks
Jun 7 at Windsor Public Library 323 Broad Street Windsor, CT
Advanced Adult Art
Jun 9 at Windsor Train Station Studios
Virtual Book Club
Jun 9 at Windsor Public Library 323 Broad Street Windsor, CT
Yoga Strong
Jun 9 at Wabi-Sabi Yoga and Wellness Center, 88 Day Hill Road, Suite 203
38th Annual Chamber Cares Auction
Jun 10 at Mill Brook Clubhouse, 147 Pigeon Hill Road
First Town Chat
Fridays at 161 Broad Street, Windsor
Second Annual Clothing Drive
Jun 11 at CT Cat Connection, 40 Stevens Mill Lane, Windsor CT 06995
Open Classroom at the WAC Studios
Jun 12 at Windsor Train Station Studios
WAC Portrait Painting Workshop
Jun 12 at WAC Train Station Studios
Intermediate II Art for Adults
Jun 13 at Windsor Train Station Studios
Learn How to Lead Like a Pro
Jun 13 at Windsor Public Library 323 Broad Street Windsor, CT
Windsor Toastmasters Club
Jun 13 at Zoom meeting, possible in-person meeting
Bring Your Gadgets to the Geeks
Jun 14 at Windsor Public Library 323 Broad Street Windsor, CT
Board of Directors Mtg
Jun 14 at online
Advanced Adult Art
Jun 16 at Windsor Train Station Studios
Camino de Santiago Lecture
Jun 16 at Windsor Public Library 323 Broad Street Windsor, CT
Yoga Strong
Jun 16 at Wabi-Sabi Yoga and Wellness Center, 88 Day Hill Road, Suite 203
First Town Chat
Fridays at 161 Broad Street, Windsor
Second Annual Clothing Drive
Jun 18 at CT Cat Connection, 40 Stevens Mill Lane, Windsor CT 06995
Tickborne Illness Support Group
Jun 18 at LP Wilson Community Center, 599 Matianuck Ave. Windsor
Windsor House Tour is Back!
Jun 18 at Windsor Historical Society
Open Classroom at the WAC Studios
Jun 19 at Windsor Train Station Studios
Intermediate II Art for Adults
Jun 20 at Windsor Train Station Studios
Join our new Men's Club!
Jun 20 at Windsor Senior Center
Programs Committee Mtg
Jun 20 at online
Strawberry Festival and Vendor Fair
Jun 20 at Brown's Harvest 1911 Poquonock Ave
May Business After Hours
May 25 at Windsor Chamber of Commerce office, 261 Broad Street
38th Annual Chamber Cares Auction
Jun 10 at Mill Brook Clubhouse, 147 Pigeon Hill Road
Board of Directors Mtg
Jun 14 at online
Programs Committee Mtg
Jun 20 at online
Kiwanis Shad Derby Road Race
May 21 at Elm and Broad Street
Second Annual Clothing Drive
May 21 at CT Cat Connection, 40 Stevens Mill Lane, Windsor CT 06995
Shad Derby Day
May 21 at Windsor Town Green
Snap Back Fitness Boxing
May 21 at Stony Hill School
Tickborne Illness Support Group
May 21 at LP Wilson Community Center, 599 Matianuck Ave. Windsor
Kiwanis Shad Derby Road Race
May 21 at Elm and Broad Street
Second Annual Clothing Drive
May 21 at CT Cat Connection, 40 Stevens Mill Lane, Windsor CT 06995
Shad Derby Day
May 21 at Windsor Town Green
Snap Back Fitness Boxing
May 21 at Stony Hill School
Tickborne Illness Support Group
May 21 at LP Wilson Community Center, 599 Matianuck Ave. Windsor
Open Classroom at the WAC Studios
May 22 at Windsor Train Station Studios
Hypertension Workshop
May 23 at Video Conference via Zoom
Intermediate II Art for Adults
May 23 at Windsor Train Station Studios
Windsor Toastmasters Club
May 23 at Zoom meeting, possible in-person meeting
Bring Your Gadgets to the Geeks
May 24 at Windsor Public Library 323 Broad Street Windsor, CT
May Business After Hours
May 25 at Windsor Chamber of Commerce office, 261 Broad Street
Advanced Adult Art
May 26 at Windsor Train Station Studios
Book Buzz Event
May 26 at Windsor Public Library 323 Broad Street Windsor, CT
Monthly Veteran's Coffee Hour
May 26 at Senior Center Cafe
Yoga Strong
May 26 at Wabi-Sabi Yoga and Wellness Center, 88 Day Hill Road, Suite 203
First Town Chat
Fridays at 161 Broad Street, Windsor
Second Annual Clothing Drive
May 28 at CT Cat Connection, 40 Stevens Mill Lane, Windsor CT 06995
Snap Back Fitness Boxing
May 28 at Stony Hill School
First Town Chat
Fridays at 161 Broad Street, Windsor
Kiwanis Shad Derby Road Race
May 21 at Elm and Broad Street
Second Annual Clothing Drive
May 21 at CT Cat Connection, 40 Stevens Mill Lane, Windsor CT 06995
Shad Derby Day
May 21 at Windsor Town Green
Snap Back Fitness Boxing
May 21 at Stony Hill School
Tickborne Illness Support Group
May 21 at LP Wilson Community Center, 599 Matianuck Ave. Windsor
Open Classroom at the WAC Studios
May 22 at Windsor Train Station Studios