NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH)– Senator Chris Murphy says he comes to New London a couple of times a year and Tuesday he toured several of the downtown businesses.

“Four stylists and I have a range of six barbers,” the owner of Bravado Barber Shop in New London told the democratic senator. “Six barbers?” the senator responded.

He continues to see small businesses on the cutting edge. 

“So you were across the street?” he asked the owner of Drunken Palette. “I was. I was at the Mohican,” she answered.

From the Drunken Palette outgrowing its old space to Dev’s Restaurant trying out new outdoor dining on a parking space patio, Senator Murphy saw some businesses thriving.

Mayor Michael Passero, (D) New London, took the senator on the downtown tour.

“There’s just so many exciting things happening here in New London,” said Sen. Murphy. “The new Coast Guard Museum will be there soon.”

The senator is pushing for that. He also says new hiring happening at Electric Boat is a boom for the city and small business.

The mayor is glad to have someone in Washington on the city’s side.

“Federal involvement is always helpful,” said Mayor Passero.

While walking through the downtown area, the senator talked to business owners and wanted to hear what they have to say.

“It’s just nice to know that you’re being recognized,” said Richard Caruso, owner of Caruso Piano Gallery.

He and his brother have been selling pianos in downtown New London for more than forty years.  His family even longer. They’ve recently seen the city improve.

“Our apartments upstairs are always filled,” Caruso told the senator.

The senator has pushed for federal grant money which is improving downtown buildings.

Still there are empty storefronts but one vacant space above Muddy Waters Cafe will soon be filled.

“New London is a great location between Boston and New York where folks can actually meet, can actually create business,” explained Felix Reyes, New London’s Director of Economic and Community Development.

He says Orsted a major player in the offshore wind industry plans to open offices in the Bank Street building.