Torrington is proud of its rich industrial history, which dates back to the early nineteenth century when the Naugatuck River provided power for the woolen cloth, clocks and brass industries. Later, the opening of the rail line allowed the City to continue a period of innovation and growth. Gail Borden began production of condensed milk here in 1852 while Lyman Coe became a leading producer of brass products. When a machine for making needles was invented here in 1866, Torrington emerged as the center for needle production. Other emerging industries turned out diverse products such as skates, hardware, bicycles, machines and furniture.
Torrington, a city with a rich industrial history is the commercial and industrial center of the Litchfield Hills Region, drawing consumers and a highly skilled workforce from many surrounding communities. As such, the City contains 52% of the region’s jobs and 42% of the region’s business. As a growing, thriving Community, Torrington is home to 35.2K individuals representing a 14% increase from 1980. It is projected that the City’s population base will continue to grow by 18% over the next 25 years.
Torrington is home to numerous firms on the cutting edge of technology. For example, one of the State's most innovative research and development facilities geared towards clean energy production can be found in Torrington's Technology Park. Fuel Cell Energy, Inc. is a leading developer and manufacturer of clean and efficient electrical power generators using the emerging fuel cell technology and our abundant supply of fossil fuels such as natural gas. Optiwind, another innovative company to located in Torrington is pioneering a new market in wind energy, placing medium sized wind turbines on site at schools, businesses and government locations.
Torrington contains several Business and Industrial Parks central to the Northwest Connecticut labor market. Technology Park is a collaboration between the City and Borghesi Building and Engineering Company. Located near Route 8, directly off Route 183, the Park offers development sites starting at five acres. All lots comply with the Industrial Park zone, are fully approved, and have underground utilities on site. Currently companies that are located in Technology Park include MBI Inc., Fuel Cell Energy, Gregor Technologies, Bricin's Fabulous Fried Dough, Borgenson Universal.
The Torrington Industrial Park, situated directly off Route 8, exit 46 is home to numerous manufacturing firms such as K-Tech International, Emsar, Inc., Waring Products, Screen Tech, McCoy and Nidec, Corp. The City's third park is located on Commercial Boulevard off Route 8, exit 45. Commercial Park houses diverse companies such as FCT Electronics, Quest Plastics, and Torrington Research Company.
The City of Torrington remains committed to expanding our business community. The mission of the Office of Economic Development is to recruit and retain businesses, create local jobs, and enhance the tax base. The Office acts as a liaison between the business community, City departments, state agencies and other economic development and community organizations.
Our municipality has adopted an attractive tax abatement program in order to assist businesses interested in relocating or expanding in Torrington. In 2006 Torrington was designated an Enterprise Corridor Zone. Eligible manufacturing firms that choose to locate to Torrington may receive a 5 year 80 % tax abatement.
Torrington also participates in the Litchfield Hills Regional Micro-Loan Program. This program provides affordable and accessible financing to income-eligible applicants in the 11-town Litchfield Hills region. The purpose of the program is to diversify the economic base, create and retain jobs, and to encourage and leverage private investment. Eligible uses for the loan funds include acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, purchase/installation of machinery and equipment, or working capital.
The Chamber of Commerce of Northwest Connecticut serves Torrington and the surrounding Northwest communities including Litchfield, Winsted, New Hartford, Barkhamsted, Harwinton, Goshen and Canaan. The Chamber combines efforts with other groups for continuous progress in the areas of governmental affairs, manpower, education, transportation, tourism, and regional and community development, to make the area a better place in which to live and work. Many efforts are concentrated on retaining existing businesses and industries, encouraging expansion, and attracting new enterprises to locate here.