Last week, I joined Fair Haven small business owners, Alderwoman Migdalia Castro, Alderwoman Stephanie Bauer, Frank Alvarado, Managing Director of the Spanish American Merchants Association and the Executive Director of the Gran Avenue Village Association, to tour the thriving Grand Avenue business district.
Businesses are flocking to Grand Avenue and Fair Haven. Start Community Bank, Hancock Pharmacy and many other smaller businesses are choosing Grand Avenue to take advantage of the vibrancy of the business district.
Fair Haven businesses and business property owners have been significant beneficiaries of the City's Facade Improvement Grant Program. Citywide, over the last two years, roughly $700,000 in facade grants have leveraged close to $2 million in total project value. Fair Haven grantees include: Start Community Bank; Mary Wade Home; Fair Haven Community Health Center.
The broader Fair Haven neighborhood has been the scene of ongoing economic development successes including the River Street MDP. New businesses like New Haven Awning and Capasso Restoration are locating to the area as well as is the proposed relocation of Colony Hardware from Stiles St to the base of Blatchley Ave. Total investment in the area so far is just under $21 million, $11 million of which comes from the City – the balance from State and Federal sources.
The tour of Grand Avenue comes as the City concludes its celebration of National Small Business Month. (See below for more highlights from National Small Business Month)
Call for Volunteers:
New Haven Promise is seeking volunteers for CollegeCorps, a community-based program. This summer CollegeCorps volunteers will go door-to-door to speak with parents about New Haven Promise and how a Promise scholarship can benefit their child.
This summer CollegeCorps will launch as a pilot program. CollegeCorps volunteers will be knocking on doors and speaking with the 2,019 families of the students who signed a New Haven Promise pledge form. By signing the pledge form, students promise to earn good grades, have good attendance and demonstrate good civic behavior—required criteria for a New Haven Promise scholarship.
The first community canvass will take place in the Dixwell/Newhallville neighborhood, where many of the 2,019 pledge form signees live.
New Haven Promise is asking community members to spend a few hours over the summer volunteering as a CollegeCorps member. To join the college-going campaign as a volunteer, call 203-776-6473 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The first canvas will take place on Friday, June 24 (4-6 p.m.) and June 25 (1-4 p.m.). The canvases will be preceded by a volunteer training at Bethel AME Church (255 Goffe St.) on June 17 (4-5 p.m.) and 18 (12-1 p.m.).
CollegeCorps volunteers will also hand out ‘parent kits’, which offer parents and guardians helpful tips on how to be involved in their children’s education and how to prepare them for college. The parent kits were designed by a volunteer group of community members who, on a daily basis, work closely with students and parents. Group members include:
New Haven Promise is a two-prong program. New Haven Promise: Scholarship provides up to full tuition at in-state public universities and colleges and up to $2,500 to in-state private nonprofit universities and colleges for qualifying New Haven public school students who live in New Haven. New Haven Promise: Partnership is the support system designed to create a college-going culture in all New Haven Public Schools (NHPS) and in the community.
Health Matters Tip of the Week:
The risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke rises along with the temperature and humidity. When the heat starts to rise - slow down. Drink more fluids - avoid liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar. Stay indoors or in shaded locations; wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing; and limit your outdoor activity to morning or evening hours when it is cooler outside.
Green Tip of the Week:
Pay bills online and stop paper billing to help save paper. Electronic billing saves over 18 million trees per year and it reduces transportation fuel use.
Highlights from National Small Business Month:
Cast Iron Soul Restaurant - First Anniversary: The Economic Development staff helped celebrate the first anniversary at Cast Iron Soul. Located at 550 Congress Avenue, Cast Iron features high quality soul and 'nu soul' dishes that have unique and amazing flavors. Chefs and owners Steve Ross and Shayla Crawford have over 20 years in restaurant experience between them. They have traveled the world in search of eclectic flavors to compliment their outstanding dishes.
United States Small Business Administration - Connecticut Awards Breakfast: The Connecticut division of the Small Business Administration held its annual awards breakfast at Amarante’s Sea Cliff at 62 Cove Street on May 24. The City of New Haven’s Clayton Williams, was honored as SBA’s Connecticut Minority Small Business Champion. Clay is the City’s Small Business Development Officer and the award is given to an individual who has fulfilled a commitment to support the advancement of small business opportunities for minority business owners. SBA noted that Clay is a staunch champion for small business in New Haven who can always be found going beyond the call of duty and volunteering his time to help minorities to get their share of the American Dream.
Clay is very deserving of this recognition for he has long been a champion of small/minority business in New Haven. Not only does he bring his impressive professional credentials to bear in his job but boundless energy and enthusiasm for his work.
Façade Improvement Grants: The Office of Economic Development also recognizes small businesses through its highly successful façade improvement program. This program provides a reimbursement grant equal to 50% of the cost of approved facade improvements to commercial and mixed use properties, with a maximum grant of $30,000 for items such as new signs, lighting, painting, landscaping etc. During 2010, Economic Development assisted small businesses to complete nine façade projects. The City contributed $300,000 which leveraged approximately $3.1 million in private investment. Some examples include the new signs at Gallo’s Appliance Center at 1362 State Street and Howard K. Hill Funeral Services at 1287 Chapel Street.
Pilot Entrepreneur Program: Through this pilot program the Office of Economic Development seeks to assist New Haven small businesses and new entrepreneurs to conduct business with some of New Haven's larger businesses and/or to help facilitate a worthy new business concept. For new entrepreneurs, this opportunity comes with ongoing hands on counseling with the City’s Small Business Development Office.
To date, the City has completed a successful match between Camillion Hair Clinic, a local minority/woman-owned business, and the new Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven. Economic Development staff worked with both Smilow and Camillion and supported Camillion with a small business loan to support expected business growth from this match.
The Office of Economic Development and its partner the Economic Development Corporation of New Haven support business in many ways from providing direct technical support for businesses on business, marketing and financing plans to making connections for business to banks, investors and non-traditional lenders. For more information about the City’s economic development programs, contact (203) 946-2366 or email@example.com or visit them online at www.cityofnewhaven.com/economicdevelopment
Very truly yours,
John DeStefano, Jr.
Contact Name: Adam Joseph
Contact Email: AJoseph@newhavenct.net
Contact Phone: 203-946-7660