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. 

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.

 

Harriet Jones

Connecticut’s small businesses took a hit from Hurricane Sandy last fall, but they fared better than their counterparts in New York and New Jersey. WNPR’s Harriet Jones looks at a new study from insurer The Hartford.

 

Despite the economic downturn, aerospace is a thriving international business. But for small manufacturers in Connecticut, it can be a challenge to plug into global markets. This summer, some of them will have a chance to show their wares at the famous Paris Air Show. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan reports.

Harriet Jones

Small business owners from around Connecticut came to Hartford this week – urging the Governor and the legislature not to add to their burdens. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

                                                   

When pundits talk sometimes about Connecticut being business un-friendly, this is an example of what they mean.

 

“I wrote all of the senators, all the representatives, I wrote Malloy’s office, I put phone calls in, I put emails in, and I have never received a single reply from anybody.”

 

When Hurricane Sandy blew across the Northeast it caused devastating damage to the boating industry. The losses could amount to more than half a billion dollars. And as WNPR’s J Holt reports, Connecticut’s marine industry is still feeling the effects four months later.

Harriet Jones

Connecticut is once again facing a fight over the beer and liquor industry. After the introduction of Sunday sales, this year the focus will be on alcohol pricing. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on a lesser known tier of the industry -- the distributors.

 

 

At a massive warehouse in West Haven, a forklift shifts several cases of beer to be loaded for a delivery. This is the premises of Star Distributors, one of ten liquor and beer distributing businesses in the state.

 

Nurturing Home Grown Business

Feb 27, 2013
Sujata Srinivasan

Economic recovery is often tied to increasing exports and attracting foreign investments. But some economists say it’s just as important to grow what’s known as the “non-tradable” sector - small businesses that provide products and services for people who live here. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan reports.

 

History major Maggie Downie was working in museum education when she realized she wanted to start her own business. 

 

Sujata Srinivasan

State officials have warned businesses and municipalities to clear roofs of snow loads to prevent possible collapse from the weight. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan reports.

 

Heavy rain on Monday in addition to three feet of snow over the weekend, is putting quite a bit of load on rooftops. Gov. Dannel Malloy at a press conference in Branford:

 

Chion Wolf

A few years ago, we broadcast from "The Grove" in New Haven's Ninth Square, when it was part of "Project Storefront" - an attempt to breath life into a neighborhood that needed help.

Now, this co-working space, which draws entrepreneurs from all over, is part of a state-sponsored innovation "hub" - as well as a center of activity for a thriving neighborhood.

Sujata Srinivasan

The state unemployment rate dropped for the second month in a row in December. But the numbers have been volatile with intermittent highs and lows that sometimes don’t seem to add up. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan takes a look at why short-term figures may not always show the long-term picture. 

Global Jet, Creative Commons

Driving through downtown Hartford, you’ll see a lot of empty storefronts, plenty of parking garages, and some impressive high rises. And while the city has a hard time getting businesses to fill the office space - now at 26% vacancy -- developers can’t build housing fast enough to meet demand.

In fact, several of those old office buildings are being retrofitted for new housing. So people are voting for downtown housing with their dollars, but is there enough retail to keep feet on the street?

Sujata Srinivasan

Microfinance – or small-scale loans – has rapidly grown into an international business that connects investors with impoverished borrowers around the world. Currently, microfinance institutions (MFIs) operate in over 100 countries and fund more than 92 million borrowers, according to the Microfinance Information Exchange. For-profit firms like Stamford-based Developing World Markets (DWM) invest in MFIs in India, which in turn provide loans to poor entrepreneurs, primarily women.

Legislators appear to have stepped away for the minute from significant changes to tax advantaged retirement accounts in the latest attempt at a fiscal cliff fix. That’s welcome news for those who say right now most Americans don’t do enough to save for retirement. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Surveys consistently show that working for or owning a small business is a woefully bad way to plan for your golden years.

Harriet Jones

One group that didn’t get the Christmas present they were hoping for this year is the nation’s credit unions. They want to expand their lending to small businesses, but as Harriet Jones reports, regulation – and opposition from the banks -- stands in their way.

Many credit unions have a history of humble beginnings, and the Charter Oak credit union, based in Groton, is no exception.

“We were born in the Electric Boat boatyard, out of a lunchbox where five people put in $25.” 

Cindy Papish Gerber

I try to be a happy person, and I’m becoming more and more aware of the fact that to be truly happy, you have to look beyond yourself. (This seems particularly true when you consider recent events.) So I decided to pose the question “what role should things like “volunteerism, charity and giving back” play in our lives?

Google Images

A city corner that's been called the gateway to Hartford's Latino community is now a series of empty lots -- and efforts to develop them failed a few years back. But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, city officials say they're ready to try again.

It's been about three years since the the Connecticut Science Center sued some of the contractors who built it, looking to recoup some of the money it lost from a faulty roof. Now, as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the science center has resolved some -- but not all -- of those claims.

courtesy mberggr, Flickr Creative Commons

The state of Connecticut is offering financial incentives to small businesses to carry out research for large corporations. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, the state is acting as a matchmaker for new projects

 

Innovation is expensive and often risky. It also requires many creative thinkers to get it working. That’s why increasingly many big technology-based corporations are looking for new partnerships and ways to outsource research and development functions.

Harriet Jones

While shoppers gear up for Black Friday – maybe even for the midnight doorbusters on Thanksgiving  – small businesses are hoping they won’t be forgotten in the holiday rush. This weekend marks the third annual Small Business Saturday. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

If you’re a regular traveler on I-95, the name Clinton might bring to mind the big outlet mall that looms over the highway near that town.

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