The New Milford Economic Development Corporation is relatively new to town.

Yet it is establishing roots in the hopes of nurturing the economic vitality in the community with long-lasting impact.

Nicholas Gazetos, chairman of the corporation, describes the nonprofit group as "an independent resource that is active in promoting the economic vitality of Greater New Milford in conjunction with maintaining the excellent quality of life we enjoy."

The corporation is not affiliated with the town's economic development commission; it is a separate entity.

"We want to be sure we can be the first point of contact for developers, people looking to come to the area and people who want to learn what other opportunities are available," said Luigi Fulinello, the town's economic development supervisor, who is president of the corporation.

He cited the corporation's ongoing partnership with the town of New Milford on development and redevelopment.

"The town and the corporation share a vision of ongoing support for appropriate economic development for new businesses moving to town as well as existing businesses," Gazetos said,

"Eighty-five percent of job creation is through existing businesses; new job generation is crucial for a community's economic vitality," said Gazetos, who has been active in the corporation since the initial concept was discussed by Vin Nolan, the town's former economic development supervisor.

Debbie Bauman, owner of Barkery Boo'tique on Bank Street, said she would "love to see the town grow and thrive" and it would be "welcome" if the corporation could help foster that growth.

Debbie Pritchard, a member of the corporation and a co-founder of Chemical Marketing Concepts in town, said "businesses have a good relationship with the town.

"In 30 years (as a business owners), I've seen a big change (in town)," Pritchard said of how business and the town relate to each other).

Working with town officials regarding regulations and other key issues, "(the town) is about as friendly as it can be," Pritchard said.

Established as an independent nonprofit organization in 2011, the corporation is trying to increase employment opportunities through the establishment and expansion of business and industry.

"We're tasked with supporting economic development in Greater New Milford, with an emphasis on providing financial support -- where appropriate and within limits -- promotion of Greater New Milford as a place to do business, advocacy for the benefit of the business community and outreach to small business," Gazetos explained.

Additionally, the group is striving to preserve and expand the tax base, establish partnerships with regional, state and national economic development organizations, and assist the town with the planning and development of projects and other related activities.

To date, the organization has organized two programs -- the Village Center façade improvement program and the microloan program (see related story).

For more information about the corporation and its programs, call Economic Development Corporation President Luigi Fulinello at 860-355-5001 or email lfulinello@newmilford.org.