Small Business

WNPR’s small business coverage elevates understanding of the challenges faced by small business, educates policy-makers, and highlights the vital role of small business to the state’s economy. 

Jan Ellen Spiegel

Governor Dannel Malloy pointed small businesses in Connecticut who were affected by Superstorm Sandy to a new state website, Connecticut Recovers, to apply for a share of $10.5 million in federal grants. The site is intended to streamline the process of filing for relief.

Chion Wolf

It’s Harvest Time for farms all over Connecticut, and that means a growing number of small farms that work on the “community supported agriculture” model. In CSAs, members share the risk of a volatile New England growing season, and share in the bounty as well.

First in a series about small businesses in America.

Small businesses are celebrated and exalted as the hard-working, most deserving members of the political economy. They get tax breaks, and they're touted as the engines of job creation.

But a basic question: What is a small business? It turns out there is no one definition.

Classifications Of Small

Harriet Jones

Officials' estimates say that in the next twenty years there could be as many as 30,000 drones flying in US airspace. Depending on your point of view, that's either a great technological leap forward, or a very scary prospect. Businesses are similarly divided about our drone future.

Tucker Ives / WNPR

Have you visited the Quiet Corner lately? In nighttime satellite imagery, it shows up as a swath of darkness in a field of twinkling lights. This rural area is larger than you might think - it’s about half the size of Arizona’s Grand Canyon, and about ten times the size of Acadia National Park in Maine. And it’s almost 80 percent forest and farmland.

iConnect/Hartford

In the spring, the city of Hartford launched the iConnect program, meant to fill vacant storefronts with new businesses. It's an idea that's been tried - with some success - in cities like New Haven, but Hartford's "Pop-up Storefront" has taken months longer than expected.

Harriet Jones

  It’s been just over a year since Connecticut began to create an ecosystem for entrepreneurs. Dubbed CT Next, the system has launched four hubs, hosted many events, signed up hundreds of nascent companies and spent almost five million dollars. But as it goes into its second year it has changed direction and some are left wondering if enough has been achieved.

MSNBC

A Connecticut businessman running for the Republican Senate nomination in Kentucky is taking on charges that he's not conservative enough.

Matt Bevin owns the Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Company in East Hampton, Connecticut. After the factory was destroyed in a fire last year, he received $100,000 in state grants to help him rebuild.

Angel investors pump a lot of cash into start-up businesses in this country - by some accounts about $23 billion a year. But some say they'll back off from looking for new opportunities if the Securities and Exchange Commission implements new rules on funding -- rules that are due to go into effect September 10. The irony is that the rules were supposed to make it easier for start-ups to find seed money.

J Holt

Hartford's Downtown gained another dining option this week, and one that's been a long time coming. For the two institutions behind it, fresh food and good coffee are just the starters. WNPR's J Holt has more.

When the Downtown branch of the Hartford Public Library underwent a major renovation in the early two thousands, a three story tall, glass walled atrium space was built right up front, with the intention of it becoming a cafe.

Diane Orson / WNPR

With law school grads facing a tough job market, some entrepreneurial attorneys are trying out hybrid businesses. One Connecticut attorney has opened a shop that combines his passion for the law with his skill as a barber.

Donald Howard says he first got the hybrid-business idea working as a paralegal for a personal injury attorney who doubled as a sports agent. Then he saw the concept again on a reality television show.

"It was a guy in California who did Legal Grind, a coffee house and a law office."

Harriet Jones

It's a common story for a personal passion to lead to a business opportunity. For one Connecticut entrepreneur it was the convergence of two passions -- baseball and art -- that launched her on the road to success. 

 

 

"Well, I grew up listening to the Red Sox on the radio, and on the only station that we had on our TV, you know, back in the Seventies. And my dad was a baseball coach and an umpire, so we just grew up with the Red Sox as sort of part of the family."

Sujata Srinivasan

Social entrepreneurship is becoming a buzzword with more people looking to solve social problems through the private market. In the conclusion of a three-part series on corporate social responsibility, WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan looks at how entrepreneurs and policymakers are growing this sector.

Sujata Srinivasan

Many companies are finding that conscious capitalism is good for the brand. What's called corporate social responsibility can also boost employee morale and sometimes even the bottomline. In the second of a three-part series, WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan looks at the ways in which businesses are making virtuous practices work for them.

“The fishing now upstream since this fish ladder went in is premo; it’s extraordinary. It’s much better than it’s ever been. I’m just psyched you guys have done it.”

Hartford's La Paloma Sabanera Closes

Jul 1, 2013
Johnathon Henninger

After a nearly decade long presence in Hartford's Frog Hollow neighborhood, a popular coffee shop and community hub closed its doors at the end of June.  

The story of the closing of La Paloma Sabanera Coffee House is a hard one to tell right. There's the recession, controversy over the new Hartford busway, an absentee landlord and a difficult rent negotiation, and even some tough winter weather. 

Iacobucci- "So it always seemed like we'd be able to take two steps forward, and one step back."

Johnathon Henninger

After a nearly decade long presence in Hartford's Frog Hollow neighborhood, a popular coffee shop and community hub closed its doors at the end of June. WNPR's J Holt brings us its story.

 

The story of the closing of La Paloma Sabanera Coffee House is a hard one to tell right. There's the recession, controversy over the new Hartford busway, an absentee landlord and a difficult rent negotiation, and even some tough winter weather. 

Sandy Hook Center Coming Back To Life

Jun 18, 2013

For months after the Newtown school shootings last December, area shops and restaurants struggled to find customers in the Sandy Hook neighborhood. That trend may finally be reversing as a number of new businesses open up.

I’m standing at the doorway of Foundry Kitchen and Grill, a new restaurant in the Newtown neighborhood of Sandy Hook. Back in March this place was still under construction. Now, it’s buzzing with diners, even during lunch hour in a district that’s lost one of its major daytime customer bases: Sandy Hook Elementary School. 

Ragesoss (Wikimedia Commons)

Running a restaurant is hard. Most fail the first year, and most of the rest fail soon after. Those who make it are rewarded with long hours, lots of bureaucracy, and the knowledge that they’re doing what they love.

Burlington Mom's Products Reach Whole Foods

Jun 3, 2013

When her husband's work relocated their family to Connecticut, Ada Rios' primary job was raising her toddler. Shortly after she began to develop the skin condition eczema. It forced her to rethink her entire beauty regimen. 

Burlington Mom's Products Reach Whole Foods

Jun 3, 2013

When her husband's work relocated their family to Connecticut, Ada Rios' primary job was raising her toddler. Shortly after she began to develop the skin condition eczema. It forced her to rethink her entire beauty regimen. 

Commercial insurers are very close to revealing the rates they’ll charge for healthcare plans under the new Connecticut healthcare exchange. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, it’s been a long, uncertain road to get here.

No matter the industry, small companies are more dependent than ever on their computer networks. And it turns out those networks are more at risk than ever – because of the explosion of personal wireless. WNPR’s Harriet Jones explains.

                                      

No matter the industry, small companies are more dependent than ever on their computer networks. And it turns out those networks are more at risk than ever – because of the explosion of personal wireless. 

J Holt

Businessman Chris Runyan isn't one to follow a trend. In an online, downloadable world, he's built a successful brick and mortar business. And, in a time when companies are moving out of state, he relocated from Arkansas to Connecticut to do it.

When Chris Runyan moved to Connecticut in 2009, he came with the intention to start his own business. He said, "My goal was to get six stores on the ground in three years." 

J Holt

Businessman Chris Runyan isn't one to follow a trend. In an online, downloadable world, he's built a successful brick and mortar business. And, in a time when companies are moving out of state, he relocated from Arkansas to Connecticut to do it. WNPR's J Holt met him.

When Chris Runyan moved to Connecticut in 2009, he came with the intention to start his own business.

Runyan- "My goal was to get 6 stores on the ground in 3 years." 

The debate over the Amazon tax seemed to put e-commerce giants on one side of a bright line, and brick and mortar businesses on the other. But the fact is that the distinctions between real and virtual businesses aren't so clearly defined.... as WNPR's Harriet Jones reports.

 

Manufacturing might seem to you and me to be the ultimate brick and mortar business. It's an industry where you make things you can drop on your toe in a building you can walk into. Not so, says David Drake.

 

"All the commerce I do is done electronically."

 

Sujata Srinivasan

Almost six months after Superstorm Sandy, some businesses are still fighting to get back on their feet. Pop’s Grocery, a 52-year-old corner store in Bridgeport, was inundated by floodwater during the storm. As part of her series on recovery after Sandy, WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan went back to visit.

J. Holt

The 2013 Craft Brewers Conference was held in the nation's capital this past week, and it drew over 6,000 attendees from an industry growing steadily amid an otherwise struggling economy. As WNPR's J. Holt reports, Connecticut's Craft Brewing industry is experiencing an explosion of it's own.

Mark Sigman: "Basically we're just transferring the second round of water, hot water, into the mash tun here." 

Chion Wolf

In his State of the Union address, President Obama issued a challenge:

"To grow our middle class, our citizens must have access to the education and training that today’s jobs require. But we also have to make sure that America remains a place where everyone who’s willing to work hard has the chance to get ahead."

Sujata Srinivasan

Specialty foods like handcrafted chocolate and gluten-free organic pasta may be pricey, but some small business owners say they’re seeing a pick up in demand. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan reports on how entrepreneurs in the high-end food business have pulled through the recession, priming their business for growth.

 

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