small business

End May Be Near For Hartford Cabaret Series

Apr 20, 2014
David Borawski

Dan Blow, the noted Hartford-based fashion designer who creatively refashioned himself into one of the city’s most industrious and illustrious concert producers, plans to pull up stakes in Hartford to live in the Bahamas; shutter his clothing business, sell his elegant Woodland Street condo, and in a severe blow to the local music scene, perhaps end his enormously popular Music@Japanalia series held primarily in his West End boutique.

Alan Yu / WNPR

In New Haven, there's a furniture shop where everything is designed, hand-made, and shipped by just one employee working with cardboard.

Now Zachary Rotholz of Chairigami is working with manufacturers in Connecticut to scale up production of his cardboard furniture, and even make it high-tech.

Customers chat, read the paper and order sandwiches and espresso drinks at the counter of August First Bakery & Cafe in Burlington, Vt., but there's something different here. Where there used to be the familiar glow of laptop screens and the clicking of keyboards, now the devices are banned.

"I was here working on my laptop when I looked over and saw that there's a sign that says 'laptop-free,' " says Luna Colt, a senior at the University of Vermont.

J Holt

By the time Bristol's West End Pizza was ready to open its doors on Saturday morning, there were a dozen patrons already outside, waiting to get in. You may have heard of a flash mob. Well, this is a financial version. The family owned pizzeria was the target of a "cash mob," which is essentially a group of people joining forces to give a business a really good day. 

J Holt

Many cities promote minority and women owned businesses by hiring them to provide services. But Hartford is going one step further -- with a mentoring program. 

Shane Kelly is an ironwork contractor, and his company, Kelly Steel, has been a certified minority-owned business for years. He wants to expand his business into more areas of his industry. "I've been apprehensive, you know," he said. "No one wants to mess up."

Google. Twitter. Facebook. Back before they got big, companies like these were just startup ideas, born in dorm rooms and run out of garages. Then came the venture capitalists: rich, older men ready to fund the brilliant ideas of younger, creative men.

But what if you are a woman with a startup idea? A new study says you might not do so well. It's been well-documented that businesses started by women receive very little venture capital money.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

The latest employment report from the state Department of Labor showed a hopeful pick-up in job creation in Connecticut last year. But it also revealed a big loss in jobs in the first month of this year.

Peter Bond/flickr creative commons

From Faith Middleton: One of the nation's most interesting thinkers, writer Frank Rich talks with us about his analysis of what's happened to Fox News. Essentially, Rich says liberals and centrists keep falling for the Fox game, by responding to Fox's silly stories, like the so-called war on Christmas, or the birther controversy. The bait is offered time and again, and usually taken. Witness MSNBC's constant responses to Fox “news” reports.

Harriet Jones

The state's poor business climate is a perennial complaint for Connecticut's largest business organization. And now it's launched a campaign to make it an urgent priority. 

Sujata Srinivasan

As the pace of the gubernatorial campaign picks up, with the position up for re-election this November, Governor Dannel Malloy is making minimum wage a top priority issue. A further increase in the minimum wage is one of the most politically polarizing debates the legislature is likely to see this session. 

Pratt & Whitney

Connecticut set a new record for exporting goods and services in 2013, one of just 16 states to do so. Connecticut is also punching above its weight in the value of the goods it sends abroad.

The legislature’s higher education committee heard testimony on Tuesday over a bill aimed at improving sexual assault policies on Connecticut college campuses. The proposal would change how schools report sexual assaults involving both students and employees.

Near the end of his State of the State address last week, Governor Dannel Malloy discussed his propsosal for universal preschool by expanding state-supported early childhood education spaces by 4,000 over the next five years. The plan is already garnering nationwide attention. Malloy said the initiative would be a first in Connecticut history.

Ingram Publishing / Thinkstock

The Secretary of the State has unveiled a new online tool for businesses to help them get off the ground.

According to Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, the web resource has a very simple aim. "If you were a small business person who just wanted to start your own business for the first time," she said, "where would you start, and how would you do it?"

Jason Neely

A task force created to examine the sale of cats and dogs in Connecticut pet stores has issued its recommendations to curb the sale of animals that come from puppy mills. 


The Malloy administration wants to set aside more cash to help the state's manufacturers. The proposal seeks authorization from the legislature to set up a $25 million fund to help advanced manufacturing companies.


The proposal to address the behavioral, mental, and emotional needs of children is a requirement passed under legislation that was passed by the General Assembly last year. The plan is in response to the shooting in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. DCF is looking to create the plan with help from families along with experts and other advocates. It should be completed by October.


Supporters of social entrepreneurship are once again lobbying lawmakers to create a new business structure in the state. They want Connecticut to pass a law allowing social enterprises to register as B-Corps, or benefit corporations. That would set them apart from other business entities that don't have a declared social mission. 

Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

While we've heard a lot in the last few months about public health care exchanges, another, less publicized change is taking place in the world of employer sponsored health care: private exchanges.

T. Charles Erickson

It’s that time of the year when miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and sweet Tiny Tim electrify the Hartford Stage with their heart-warming story, like they have these past 15 years. But now, in honor of the theater's 50th anniversary season, the production has redesigned costumes, more special effects, and new lighting.

The holiday cheer is much needed. The multiple award-winning Hartford Stage, like its counterparts nationwide, has struggled through the tough economy.

New Year's resolutions: Sometimes we make them; usually we break them. The annual goals are intended to bring out the best in us — but what if you're already extremely accomplished?

These five women have worked hard to help others, through businesses, innovation and writing. Four of them were speakers at the TEDWomen conference earlier in December in San Francisco (Katrina Alcorn was an attendee).

Sujata Srinivasan

I’m with production manager Eryka Wright on the shop floor of East Hartford-based Onyx Spirits Co. LLC, which makes handcrafted Prohibition-era moonshine. While some workers carry boxes, Wright and one of her employees are doing the chicken dance. "We do random dance outbreaks to keep the blood flowing and keep the energy high," she said.

Wright supervises employees with developmental disabilities. They're trained by MARC Inc., a state-funded, Manchester-based not-for-profit chapter of ARC, a national advocacy group for people with disabilities such as autism, Down's syndrome, and fragile X. The organization places workers at companies across Connecticut, including Bob’s Discount Furniture, Gerber Scientific, and McDonald’s franchises. 

Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte / Thinkstock

Stamford-based Frontier Communications announced plans to buy the landline service of AT&T in Connecticut. About 1.4 million households in Connecticut will be affected by the sale of the business, which includes Internet subscribers and U-verse video customers. 

Sujata Srinivasan

The state Department of Consumer Protection is expected to award licenses by early 2014 to producers and dispensaries for the newly legalized medical marijuana market. In a ripple effect, other companies are also gearing up to grow market share in a new industry, estimated at $1.7 billion nationally by the Wall Street Journal, and predicted to quadruple in size during the next five years. 

Chion Wolf

It’s our monthly broadcast, live from our iConnect downtown storefront. Today we kicking off an evening of pop-up shopping: the Small Business Night Out featuring over 15 vendors. We also preview a community conversation looking at how we are shaped by our surroundings.

Harriet Jones

It’s been a momentous year for the gun industry in many ways, and for Connecticut’s gun makers more than for most. Events in Newtown changed the landscape for an industry which some people feel is implicated in the tragedy.  

WARDJet / Creative Commons

Manufacturers who want to solve technical problems or use new advanced processes are being offered state assistance. The Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology in East Hartford is looking for up to five small or mid-sized companies for its Manufacturing Technical Assistance Program

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill, said she may seek the authority to dissolve companies that don't comply with state registration requirements.

All businesses forming in the state must register with the office each year. 

Sujata Srinivasan

The public will soon have access to a one-stop web portal for information on tax credits and direct financial assistance the state is offering to help businesses grow and expand in Connecticut. Governor Dannel Malloy at a press conference in Bloomfield said taxpayers have the right to know what their state government is doing to promote economic development and job creation. 

The Obama administration is delaying yet again online signup for small businesses through the Affordable Care Act. The program was intended to make it easier for small employers to provide health insurance to their workers on a more equal footing with big business.