small business

Harriet Jones

News this week that the book world will soon mark the end of an era. Roxanne Coady, doyenne of independent booksellers, is putting up the “for sale” sign on her creation, RJ Julia. The store has been a fixture in Madison for more than 20 years. WNPR’s Harriet Jones went to visit.

You only need walk in the front door at RJ Julia to know this is Roxanne Coady’s mission. Coady left a lucrative corporate career when she was turning 40 to begin this personal passion. Now 22 years later, she says it’s time to move on again.

The General Assembly reconvenes later this week for a session that looks to be jam-packed with issues. The state’s largest business organization says lawmakers will have a difficult balancing act. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Harriet Jones

The City of Stamford hopes to attract high-tech entrepreneurs with a new initiative to convert its Old Town Hall into a business incubator. 

Stamford’s gracious, marble-lined Old Town Hall occupies some prime real estate in the center of town, but it hasn’t served as a hub for the town since the 1960s. Now it’s bustling once again.

“It’s a center of gravity and it works for the whole community.”

Locavesting

Feb 6, 2012
Shai Barzilay (Flickr Creative Commons)

Investment options are endless...Apple, Walmart, Starbucks, Microsoft, Exxon Mobil...but how about countless numbers of local startups around the country?

They might not be the most obvious investment choice. But many people call small business the backbone of our economy and the cornerstone of our communities.

So why aren’t we investing more in them?

Today, a look at investing locally or what our guest and author Amy Cortese calls locavesting. Her book looks at this new movement and explains how to profit from it.

Harriet Jones

The owner of Grote & Weigel says he’s still hopeful of finding a buyer for the troubled meat processing company. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones, the historic Bloomfield firm is due to shut its doors in less than two weeks.

The smokehouses at Grote & Weigel’s Bloomfield headquarters are still running, for now.

“We’re reaching a point where we’re running out of meat now and we’re running out of casings and all the other supplies we need to make the hotdogs.”

Harriet Jones

Connecticut Senate Democrats say they want to tweak the jobs bill that passed in last fall’s special session, in order to make it more effective for businesses. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Senate leaders chose the shopfloor of a successful Connecticut manufacturing business to make this announcement, Adchem Manufacturing Technologies in Manchester. Senate President Don Williams.

Harriet Jones

A Connecticut company is partnering with NASA and Harvard University in an initiative that it hopes will bring a whole new level of efficiency to the federal government. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Topcoder, based in Glastonbury, was founded just ten years ago, but in that decade it’s become something of  a touchstone in the tech community.

“The idea that nobody is as smart as everybody is catching on now.”

Harriet Jones

The state of Connecticut has made its first loan under the small business express package. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, it comes just days after questions were raised about the program’s paperwork problems.

Scott DeFelice CEO of Oxford Performance Materials shows Governor Dannel Malloy the new equipment his company has invested in since moving into this new South Windsor facility in August.  Malloy is here because Oxford is the first company to get a loan under the state’s small business express package.

jimg944, creative commons

It’s already in place in New York - a grading system for restaurants. Soon, Hartford diners will find out if their favorite hotspot makes the grade.

This new grading system is also in place in Stamford, Norwalk, and the Farmington Valley.  How does it work?

Starting this month, Hartford health inspectors will begin checking each of the city’s 1,300 restaurants for cleanliness and safety. Following the inspections, restaurants must display their letter grades - “A” or “B.”  But there’s no, C, D...or a “For God’s sake don’t eat here.” Why not?  

Sujata Srinivasan

Last year’s jobs bill set aside $100 million as a loan pool to help small businesses grow and create jobs. It’s dubbed the Small Business Express Package, and applicants were promised a quick turnaround. State officials have been touring the state to explain the program to businesses that might benefit. But as WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan reports, they have yet to finalize a loan.

Unemployed veterans hope new tax credit initiatives at the state and federal levels will help them find jobs. Some Connecticut businesses say they’re just waking up to the opportunity.

Harriet Jones

If you want to start your own business, your age may be a critical factor in your success. But not in the way you might imagine. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Picture an entrepreneur. Are you thinking of a young, intense 20-something, up all night writing computer code? The reality, more often than not, is at the other end of the age spectrum.

“This is my place of business, which is two filing cabinets and a used laptop and a used monitor. Starting a new business you’ve really got to improvise.”

Courtesy: Eugene Montano

2011 was a challenging year if you were running a small business. WNPR’s Harriet Jones has been speaking with small business owners in Connecticut about the year just past, and looking ahead into 2012.

2011 was supposed to be the year the economic recovery really picked up steam. For small business owners, it depends where you were standing.

“It’s been the toughest year, definitely been the toughest year.”

For many companies, cloud computing is still kind of a fuzzy concept. But the IT professionals tell us that 2012 is the year it will come into sharp focus. Many businesses will spend this year figuring out how the cloud make sense for them, and how to integrate it into their IT strategies. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Harriet Jones

December’s a pretty intense month for many people – but imagine if you were a Christmas tree farmer.  As this busy season comes to a close, WNPR’s Harriet Jones visited Staehly’s Tree Farm in East Haddam to find out what kind of a year this has been for the state’s tree growers.

“Hi there… how are you….”

From the Occupy Wall Street movement to uproar over the prolonged power outages during the October snowstorm, people’s engagement in public space is alive and growing. A New Haven-based start-up is harnessing technology to make city governments and other public entities more accountable and efficient. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan reports.

Getting On The List

Dec 12, 2011
J Holt

Municipal contracts can be an important source of income for small businesses. But it’s not always easy to find a way through the maze of red tape to get the work. Hartford has been trying particularly to help small contractors, and women and minority-owned businesses to benefit from city contracts. WNPR’s J Holt brings us the story.

Rosemond Frett has been in business in Hartford for fourteen years, but she’s never had a contract with the city itself. She says when she first registered her company with the state in 1997, she did seek out opportunities.

Harriet Jones

Connecticut has been obsessed this year with questions about economic development. How much public money should be spent to help private businesses create jobs?  Which investments make the most sense with limited resources?  Many towns are dealing with these questions on the local level. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on a successful entrepreneur in Groton – who needs help from the town to create more jobs.

Connecticut’s small businesses may not yet have seen the full impact of the state’s two disastrous storms. That was testimony given to the Governor’s Two Storm Panel, which heard Wednesday from business owners and representatives. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Harriet Jones

The failure last week of the super committee on debt reduction has implications in many different walks of life. Connecticut’s small farms are among those who have been left in limbo. That’s because a new, and significantly different version of the Farm Bill was to have been attached to the super committee’s proceedings. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Farm policy in the US has for decades revolved around huge agribusinesses

Harriet Jones

Black Friday is an established Holiday tradition, as we work off the turkey with a visit to the mall. But small, local retailers often get left out of the spending spree. The relatively new concept of Small Business Saturday is an attempt to put that right. WNPR’s Harriet Jones has the story.

Charge card giant American Express began the Small Business Saturday campaign in 2010. One year on, the concept has expanded.

Chion Wolf

We keep hearing that the job prospects for young workers aren't very good. So, what if they start their own businesses? 

Today, we're live from the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford for the last Small Business Breakfast of the year. It's taking place as part of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Business Expo.

Chion Wolf

Thousands of small businesses around the state were closed down for days by the recent power outage. Now that the lights are back on, many are working on insurance claims to recoup their losses. But as WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports some are in for a nasty surprise.

This is A Little Something, a small independent bakery in West Hartford’s Park Street. Owner Beth Bolton says the power was out here for five days.

Harriet Jones

The foremost experts in the tree care industry have gathered in Hartford this week, just as the state’s power system is devastated by snow damage to trees. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Just as chain saws are being fired up and tree crews are working round the clock across Connecticut, delegates from all over the country flocked to Hartford Thursday for the annual Tree Care Industry Association conference. Mark Garvin is President of the Association. He says attendance is down this year.

Harriet Jones

For many people struggling without power, the answer has been to find a hotel room and hunker down. That’s meant a rush for the shoreline hotels and guest houses in Southeastern Connecticut, which was unscathed in the storm. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

One Year To Go Global

Oct 31, 2011

Exporting is increasingly important to Connecticut’s economy. The state has a core of companies large and small that have led the charge into international markets, but there’s potential for many more to follow. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on a new initiative to help small businesses take their first steps overseas.

Business organizations in the state have given a qualified welcome to the jobs legislation that passed the General Assembly this week. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, it’s been dubbed a “good first step.”

Two major bills aimed at boosting job creation in Connecticut have passed the legislature in a special session. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Lawmakers Wednesday approved a $626 million effort to revamp Connecticut’s economic development strategy. Among other measures the jobs bill contains a grant and loan program for small businesses, plans to streamline state regulation, new approaches to workforce development and tax credits for hiring the long-term unemployed. House Majority leader Brendan Sharkey.

Harriet Jones

Big box stores are under pressure. A drastic drop in consumer spending has gone along with a shift to making purchases online. But what does all this mean for the small independent retailer? WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, it may actually represent an opportunity for the main street mom-and-pop store.

The retail industry is in turmoil. But while big box stores come and go, some things remain the same.

It’s well known that Connecticut’s economy is heavily dependent on defense spending. But concern usually centers around the state’s big employers like Electric Boat and Pratt & Whitney. A new survey aims to demonstrate what the effects might be of defense cuts on small subcontractors. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Cutbacks in the nation’s defense budget, once unthinkable, are now firmly on the table.

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