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. 

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

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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.

Bethel Auto Shop Turns A Passion Into A Livelihood

Aug 17, 2011
Sarah Miner

If you have a hobby that's a passion, you might occasionally have thought of turning it into a business. Actually achieving that is very rare – but that is exactly how automotive shop EFI Logics in Bethel, Connecticut began. WNPR's Sarah Miner reports.

Back in 2008,  the stock market began to plummet, businesses were downsizing, people were getting laid off. The economy was heading into the worst recession in a generation. Jack Laverty and Chris  Schoen-Kiewert saw it as a great opportunity.

Gary Choronzy

Over Chef Bun Lai's creative, soulful, and sustainable cuisine - at the restaurant his mom started when there literally were no sushi restaurants in Connecticut - we gathered with three guest editors: Pam Landry, Mary Scanlon and Randye Kaye - our "fabulous female broadcasters in transition."

These are smart, funny women, and their pitches reflected their shared sensibilities, with questions ranging from preparing for your next job (Pam), to correcting your friends (Mary), to modern-day "choice paralysis" (Randye).

We hope you enjoy the show!

Harriet Jones

It’s a question on the minds of many business owners right now – are we in for a double dip recession? With slower economic growth and a stalled unemployment rate, business confidence seems to have plummeted. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

courtesy Tangoe

One of Connecticut’s fastest-growing tech companies has just gone public, selling shares on the Nasdaq for the first time. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, software provider Tangoe chose an interesting moment for its debut on the markets.

Flickr Creative Commons, phogel

No matter what you think of trucks and truckers, trying going a day without anything that made at least part of its way to you on a truck. It would be a quiet day, I think. 

Harriet Jones

A tiny Connecticut company that’s making innovative skull implants for trauma victims has just shipped its first product.  Kelyniam says its rapid-response device is different than anything else on the market. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, the company is employing skills and techniques usually associated with the aerospace industry.

In the lobby of Kelyniam Global’s small unit in a Canton business park several plastic skulls sit on glass shelves. The company’s CEO is James Ketner.

J Holt

From changing market forces, to waning interest, a family business can face challenges on all fronts. WNPR’s J Holt brings us the story of a New Britain family that has kept their company moving forward with a balance of tradition and flexibility, and now has their fourth generation engaged in the business of making meats.

About 20 years ago, Joe Perez and some friends went to see former New Britain Red Sock Ellis Burks play at Yankee stadium. Every time he came by their seats they’d shout,

Harriet Jones

The rest of Connecticut might groan at summer gas prices, but in Fairfield County, four dollar gas has a whole different meaning. Small businesses especially, pay the price for the county’s transportation woes. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

When gas prices spiked this year, and gas was more than $4.30 a gallon in southwest Connecticut, the help wanted ads began going up all over Fairfield County.

Harriet Jones

Cleaning up contaminated land is a massive problem around the world. Pollutants can threaten human health and hold up redevelopment projects. One young Connecticut company called Verutek has just patented a new approach to environmental remediation. 

John Collins has dealt with environmental pollution throughout his career.

“There are so few good remedial technologies and so much contamination. There’s like, 294,000 contaminated sites in the United States that have not been cleaned up.”

Harriet Jones

Connecticut hopes to grow a significant cluster of high-tech companies in fields such as fuel cells, advanced manufacturing and medical devices. But one of the stumbling blocks can be finding cash to develop new and unproven ideas. WNPR’s Harriet Jones looks at efforts to fill the funding gap for emerging technologies.

Jolinda Lambert is the CEO of a company called Innovatient Solutions that’s just about 18 months old.

J Holt

If you imagine a summer camp based on a farm, kids learning about crops and barnyard animals probably come to mind. But profit margins and business plans? Not likely at the top of the list. WNPR’s J Holt brings us a story of one farm taking camp in a new direction.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Swiss bank UBS has been a huge presence in downtown Stamford for more than a decade. It’s the city’s biggest employer, with some three thousand workers, and its biggest taxpayer. But for months, rumors have been flying that the company may relocate some or all of those people back to Manhattan. WNPR’s Harriet Jones takes a look at what that might mean for the city’s business ecosystem.

A group of UBS traders arrives for lunch at Fiesta Restaurant on Stamford’s Atlantic Street.

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