Her intention, she said, is to give local practitioners the chance to practice their work without having to deal with traditional overhead costs, and help people access services they might consider out of reach.
Rick Araya, a West Hartford-based chiropractor, is planning to take up residence in the space. He was offering his services in the health store Thursday — something he’s been doing on a weekly basis since late May.
Pinto was a longtime client at his West Hartford practice, he said, and convinced him to come to Torrington on a day off to offer his services to city residents.
It’s been rewarding, he said — a chance to educate folks about health and wellness, connect them to local chiropractors, and help people in need.
“People are people. They’re nice people; they need it,” said Araya. “I feel good doing it, too. … I’m starting to feel an obligation to be here.”
The chance to enter the incubator space will help him grow the effort and add to the healing quality of the work, he said.
Practitioners with a valid business license and liability insurance can sign up to be a part of the collaborative and rent time in the space, according to Pinto. She sa
id she’s also helped people interested in starting a business to form an LLC.
Yoga, massage therapy, educational workshops on fire cider and vegan foods, and other services currently are offered there, she said.
There’s a sense of mission bubbling around Pinto.
She started the “Pop Up Water Street” street fair this past summer, which brought businesses in the area out to the sidewalk to offer their wares to city residents. She plans to keep it going on a monthly basis until the cold weather sets in.
The incubator space previously was an apartment above Round N Round Antiques, which Pinto and her family fixed up, adding wooden flooring, raising the ceiling and knocking down a wall.
The health store has been on Water Street since 2014, and Pinto added a smoothie bar in July 2016.
Pinto said Thursday that she hopes to build community through her efforts and reconnect people to a sense of empathy and neighborliness reminiscent of days gone by, especially as the shopping experience, and the world at large, moves away from face-to-face interaction.
Pinto made two references when discussing her vision Thursday — she wants Mayberry, the idyllic atmosphere of the “Andy Griffin Show,” not “Logan’s Run,” an impersonal dystopia. Another example are her memories of being stuck in traffic with her family, she said, which were meaningful to her, providing a chance to talk and sing with one another.
“There’s strength in numbers,” said Pinto. “If we just pull together, we can change things.”
She loves renting the two spaces on Water Street, she said, and aims to create a family atmosphere in her store.
“I love that it’s people,” said Pinto, describing the personal nature of the rental process. “I’m helping my neighbors every time I give them a rent check.”
In the future, Pinto said, she plans to open a home-schooling collaborative in the incubator space — her children were home-schooled, and she ran such a group in the past.
Her long-term vision, she said, is to turn the incubator space into a nonprofit — connecting local service providers to practitioners in the community, and allowing local residents the chance to access services that they might consider out of reach. Right now, she shows people who come into the store what’s on offer at the space, connecting them in that fashion.
“I see so many people who want to feel well that don’t feel well,” said Pinto. “It’s your God-given right to be happy and healthy.”
Joseph Binette owns Round N Round Antiques and rents the incubator space to Pinto.
“It was just an apartment up there, and it needed some work,” said Binette. “They fixed it up.”
He wasn’t particularly excited by the idea of “Pop Up Water Street” at first, he said, but his store participated, and it worked out well. He sold inventory that had lingered in the store and was able to let visitors know of the business’ presence on Water Street,
“She’s got a lot of good ideas,” Binette said of Pinto.
More information about the Act Natural Energy Healing Collaborative is available on its Facebook page— www.facebook.com/anhwenergyhealing.