small business

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.

The Lamont Jobs Plan

Oct 6, 2011
Chion Wolf

Last year U.S. companies spent more than $26 billion advertising on the Internet. They’re on track to surpass that record number in 2011. In the latest in our occasional series, WNPR’s Harriet Jones looks at the small Connecticut companies who are benefiting from that trend.

Times might be hard in many industries right now, but at the offices of WebSolutions in Meriden, you’d never know it.

J Holt

While they were once called “necessaries”, there hasn’t been much need for them since plumbing moved in doors. That hasn’t discouraged one Connecticut small business owner. WNPR’s J Holt brings us the story of a craftsman who’s built a business around building outhouses.

Kathy Dillner- “I just love this. It makes me so happy to look at it. You know, I always wanted one.”

Harriet Jones

The rise of the Internet has changed the face of marketing for small companies.  And for some, it’s changed the way they do business entirely. In the second of our occasional series, WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on one small Connecticut business that’s gone completely virtual.

As any UConn fan knows, the business of sports is big business.  Scott Yeager is showing me round the warehouse of his sports apparel company, Husky Wear.

And the list goes on. And on.

Chion Wolf

Economists worry about a “double-dip” recession as the state and federal governments try to create jobs.  

We’re live today at the Connecticut Science Center for one of our quarterly Small Business Breakfasts.  It’s done in conjunction with our Small Business Project, where we look at how entrepreneurs are faring in this economy.

courtesy Plastic Forming Company

Small businesses everywhere are learning the lesson – adapt to technology or die. Consumers increasingly look for both marketing and retailing online and companies need to meet those expectations or lose sales. In the first of a series of reports on the rise of social media in marketing, WNPR’s Harriet Jones looks at how one manufacturer is facing up to the challenge.

The prolonged slump in the housing market has been tough on the economy and tougher on anyone trying to sell their home. It’s also been a trial for realtors, most of whom don’t see a paycheck from one long-delayed sale to the next. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Jordan and Elizabeth Hudak are members of that rare species, serious home buyers. They’re viewing a house in Avon. You might think they’re sitting pretty… not so, says Elizabeth Hudak.

Revisiting the "Amazon Tax"

Aug 26, 2011
J Holt

The passage of an internet sales tax in Connecticut earlier this year was highly controversial. Even the commissioner of the Department of Revenue Services warned the state might suffer economic damage. WNPR’s J Holt brings us the story of one company dealing with the consequences of the new law.

Warchol- “Go get it!” (Dog panting)

That’s Josh Warchol and his dog Jesse. For the last three years, Josh has been senior engineer for a small software company called Fanzter

Even in these uncertain times, the federal government has a lot of tax dollars to spend. But if you run a small business, taking advantage of that opportunity can seem pretty daunting. A recent conference in southeastern Connecticut aimed to demystify the process of doing business with the feds.

WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Three Rivers Community College in Norwich hosted this day-long seminar, organized by the office of second district congressman Joe Courtney.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Amid all the many tax changes taking place in Connecticut right now, more than 70,000 businesses are receiving a special bill from the state Department of Labor. The cash will go toward paying interest on federal loans that the state has taken out in order to keep paying unemployment benefits. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Mark Richards runs an IT consulting and recruitment company in Shelton, and he employs 25 people. He’s already grappling with changing his payroll to impose a higher income tax on many of his employees.