Karen Brinker was very surprised to receive a telephone call – less than one week ago – about hosting an event for Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney.
As a woman who owns two business franchises with a total of 24 employees, Brinker had been on a list of possible hosts for the campaign. But she did not know that at the time.
Since then, it has been a whirlwind of activity as Brinker prepares for Romney’s arrival today at her AlphaGraphics franchise on Main Street in downtown Hartford, near the former G. Fox building. After last Thursday’s telephone call, an advance member of Romney’s team arrived on Friday to check out the site, and Brinker did not receive confirmation that the event would actually happen until Monday – 48 hours before Romney’s arrival.
Behind the scenes, she had not known that telephone calls were being made to Hartford area chamber of commerce officials as the Romney campaign attempted to find successful, women-owned businesses for the event.
She fit the bill.
“It’s as simple as that,” Brinker said in a telephone interview Wednesday morning. “That’s all it was.”
A non-political person, Brinker has never met Romney or been involved in political campaigns in the past.
“I consider myself a business person, and that’s the reason I said yes to the event,” she said.
So what will Romney do that President Barack Obama cannot?
“As a business owner and mother and grandmother, the biggest problem is our growing national debt,” Brinker answered. With Romney’s experience in turning around the Salt Lake City Olympics, he can do the same for the United States, she said.
A Greenwich resident, Brinker owns two AlphaGraphics franchises – one in Greenwich and one in Hartford. The Greenwich store has been open for the past 22 years and has been successful in the business of printing brochures, manuals, annual reports, mailing pieces, and anything else needed by small and large business customers. In 2009, Brinker purchased the Hartford franchise as part of a network of about 300 franchises nationwide. The network is 41 years old and is based in Salt Lake City.