The volunteer organization SCORE, a resource partner of the federal Small Business Administration, has announced that it will open a mentoring center here this month with the support of the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce.

The group, formerly known as the Service Corps of Retired Executives, offers free business advice to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Its experienced executives share their expertise to help existing businesses grow and to guide new businesses to a successful start-up. All services are free and confidential.

SCORE will operate its center on the first and third Wednesday of each month from the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce, 12 Roosevelt Ave.

The team will be led by Buz Sawyer who has been in the advertising and marketing business since 1978.

Sawyer told The Sun that he and his wife bought a second home in Stonington three and half years ago with the plan of moving here full-time from New York City. They did so last October, when Sawyer left the agency business, but he continues to serve on the board of an ad agency group owned by a private equity firm, and coaches the agency’s leadership.

Previously he held executive and advisory positions with Hyper Island, a digital media school; Cheil Worldwide Inc., part of the Samsung Group; and Wieden+Kennedy, a Portland, Ore.-based advertising agency with many national clients, including Nike, ESPN, and Delta Airlines. He is also a board member of Hyper Island.

Other team members are Sharon Sisitzky, of Stonington Borough, a recently retired computer sciences college professor specializing in information technology; and Barry LaVista, of Mystic, who was involved in the management of global supply-chain activities in the chemical and marine industries.

In a press release, Sawyer said team members had met with Blunt White, chairman of the Stonington Economic Development Commission; Jason Vincent, the Stonington planning director, and Tricia Walsh, former chamber president. “Each shared their support and enthusiasm and are excited about the return of SCORE to support the growth of small business in the area,” Sawyer said.

“If you want help getting started with a new business idea, SCORE can help you write a business plan, learn about e-marketing, small business loans and much more. Or if you have a small business and would like some suggestions for growing it, contact us,” Sawyer said.

To schedule an appointment with a SCORE mentor, or to learn more about being a mentor yourself, contact the group at, send an email to, or call 860-388-9508.

SCORE said it welcomes Spanish- speaking and bilingual clients and volunteers.

Southeast CT SCORE has mentoring locations in New London, Waterford, Norwich, Middletown, Old Saybrook, Essex, Guilford, Madison and now Mystic.


Buz Sawyer of Stonington, a veteran of the advertising and marketing business, will head the SCORE team in Mystic. | Photo courtesy of Buz Sawyer