Small Business | Connecticut Public Radio
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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

Franchised companies have been through very tough times, just like other small businesses during the recession, but some are betting they have what it takes to make a quicker recovery. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

This is Connecticut’s latest Wireless Zone location, in Cromwell, and it’s the grand opening day. Co-owner Matt Pensiero says for him, the cell phone business is a smart place to be.

“Maybe ten years ago it was kind of a toy, kind of, you know, something nice to have; but now, it’s a have-to-have.”

Levels of lending to small businesses took a long dip this year, before recovering slightly in May. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, it’s the first time since the height of the recession that borrowing has seen a prolonged decline.

It’s often said that credit is the lifeblood of a small business. And therefore when small businesses aren’t getting loans, it’s significant.

“Small business is at the forefront of the economy.”

Bill Phelan runs PayNet, a firm that tracks small business lending.

Connecticut will be the destination later this month for hundreds of small high tech companies from all over the Eastern United States. They’ll be here for the national Small Business Innovation Research and Global Trade Summit, to be held at Mohegan Sun. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Harriet Jones

The tall ships sail into New London this weekend for OpSail – the first time in 12 years that Connecticut has hosted the event. WNPR’s Harriet Jones visited the city to see how it’s getting ready.

Coming into New London on Eugene O’Neill Drive, you might glance across one of the city’s car parks and notice two painters hard at work on an enormous mural. Ten feet up in the air on a hydraulic platform. 

Beating the Downturn Together

Jun 30, 2012

The economic downturn has hit many of the small towns in Connecticut ’s Northwest corner hard.   As WNPR’s Lori Ann Brass reports, these “ Main Street ” business districts think they have a much better chance of surviving the economic downturn if they work together.  

 

Jan Ellen Spiegel

As Connecticut’s growing season heads towards its peak, farmers are facing greater risks from more pests and diseases than they’ve seen in recent years. The situation could turn even worse because, as WNPR's Jan Ellen Spiegel reports, a popular pest management program was cut at the last minute. And that means there will be fewer eyes on the fields, just when they may be needed most.

Can Small Be Revolutionary, Too?

Jun 27, 2012
Sarah Miner

 Tourism in Connecticut seems to revolve around a few big names. The Seaport, the Aquarium, and the casinos. These are prominently featured in the state’s new marketing campaign. But the industry is also sustained by hundreds of small businesses – inns, restaurants and small attractions. They’re wondering if they’ll get a fair shake in this new focus on state marketing. 

J Holt

Late last week it looked certain that Hartford's last remaining duckpin bowling center would close, as its owner faced mounting expenses and changing priorities. But one day after a last ditch effort to save Highland Bowl failed, the historic business experienced a dramatic turnaround. WNPR's J Holt was there.

Sujata Srinivasan

It’s been about six months since Connecticut issued its first loan under the Small Business Express program. The aid package has proved wildly popular with business owners in the state, but as WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, it’s raised some questions along the way.

What do a printing firm, a financial services company, a hardware store and a biomedical device maker have in common? They all qualify for funding under the state’s small business express program.

Chion Wolf

There’s a few ways to think about how to spur economic growth in a city. One way is through the “big bang” theory - you know, the kind of project that inspires city leaders and residents alike with dreams and promises of “revitalization.” It’s something Hartford experienced during the building of Adrian’s Landing.  

A splashy convention center - a science center - a brand new shopping area.

Sometimes those developments work - look at West Hartford’s BlueBack Square as an example.

Courtesy Tigerplish, Flickr Creative Commons

You’d think most entrepreneurs would follow the Facebook formula for success. Take an idea, bankroll it with venture capital, and float an initial public offering worth billions of dollars. But that’s not what every start-up wants. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan reports.

Connecticut Creates

May 25, 2012
Chion Wolf

We talk a lot on the show about the brain drain in Connecticut. The creativity drain, the young people’s exodus... you name it. But not all the creative people are leaving Connecticut. Some have become pioneers in their own communities. And now they are getting some attention through a new initiative called “Connecticut Creates” that that plans to profile and connect the movers and the shakers in the state. Suzi Craig is behind the project. We'll talk to her, and one of the innovators they're profiling.

Sunday Sales Begin In Connecticut

May 21, 2012
Harriet Jones

For many package stores in Connecticut, this is the morning after. They’re tallying up the take from their first ever day of Sunday sales. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

They knew it was coming, but up until last week, package store owners didn’t know exactly when.

“It’s done….”

Harriet Jones

Some Connecticut state agencies have a horrible reputation among the businesses that use them. The way they implement regulation is seen as onerous, confusing and above all, expensive. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on an effort to change that.

If you cast your mind back to the 2010 gubernatorial election, you’ll remember that state agencies and the conduct of state government took a kicking in the debates.

The legislative session just past made some major changes in the state of Connecticut. It abolished the death penalty, established Sunday alcohol sales, legalized medical marijuana and began a process of reform of the education system. But what was in it for the business community? WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

The dust is beginning to settle on the short session that finished last week, and reflection is beginning.

“From the small business perspective I think honestly there’s not much that was achieved.”

Deans from 21 top business schools around the world will gather today in New Haven. Yale University will host the first meeting of a new global network for business education.

The international focus of the Global Network for Advanced Management is something totally new in the business school world, says Edward Snyder, Dean of the Yale School of Management.  

war.ti: on Flickr Creative Commons

Entrepreneurs all over the country are buzzing about crowdfunding. A new federal law will make it possible for small companies to attract investors online. But not everyone in Connecticut is thrilled about the new rules. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Earlier this month President Obama signed into law the JOBS Act, a measure with rare bipartisan support.

Harriet Jones

Connecticut’s realtors are throwing their weight behind the effort to allow small businesses to buy into the state’s health insurance pool. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

About 600 realtors gathered at the Capitol Thursday to lobby legislators about a range of issues. But Bob Kimball, the president of the Connecticut Association of Realtors says one issue at the forefront of everyone’s mind has little to do with the housing market – health insurance.

Connecticut is a step closer to Sunday alcohol sales, after a key committee voted in favor of the measure. But the bill leaves in place many protections for small package stores worried about sweeping deregulation. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

This has been one of the consuming issues in this short legislative session – one that prompted a marathon 12-hour public hearing before the General Law Committee. Republic state Senator John Kissell said it was an extraordinary day.

Harriet Jones

A new bill before the legislature aims to provide more options for small businesses purchasing health insurance. But as WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, it looks likely to stir up significant controversy.

Carolyn Malon runs a dental practice with her husband in Farmington.

“Every day in my own practice, I see the challenges that patients, self-employed people and small employers have in assessing good quality insurance coverage.”

As a small business owner she’s backing new legislation to increase access to health coverage for a very personal reason.

Harriet Jones

In the past, attempts to reform Connecticut’s blue laws have been dominated by one simple issue – Sunday alcohol sales. But the bill before the legislature this year takes the debate much further. And it has the package store industry in uproar. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Here at the Legislative Office Building with the session in full swing, many of the conversations are about one thing.

“This has been such a significant issue in the building.”

Photo by Chion Wolf

A 2004 law requires a certain percentage of federal contracting dollars to go to small businesses owned by service disabled veterans. But a recent inspector's report from the Department of Defense finds that in 2010, more than two dozen contracts were awarded to companies that weren't eligible.  

Sujata Srinivasan

Connecticut Innovations has a new chief executive officer in charge of a potential merger and a much larger investment portfolio. Claire Leonardi spoke to WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan on how she plans to shake up the organization.

Claire Leonardi brings more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry to her new job as CEO of Connecticut Innovations – or CI – a state-funded organization in Rocky Hill that invests in advanced technology ventures.

Harriet Jones

  We’re told the economic recovery is gaining pace, but some businesses are still finding it hard to keep their footing in this changed economic landscape. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on one high profile business failure in Connecticut this week.

The tills are ringing briskly at North Cove Outfitters in Old Saybrook, but that’s because bargains are flying off the shelves in a liquidation sale. Regular customer Mike Campbell summed up the mood.

Harriet Jones

The Grote & Weigel meat processing company has been saved from closure and 40 people will retain their jobs at the Bloomfield institution. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

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.”

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.

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