Press Releases

Governor Dannel P. Malloy


Gov. Malloy Announces Latest Round of Small Business Grants

Avon, Bloomfield, Hartford & Suffield Companies Receive Grants to Assist in Job Growth

(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that five more small businesses have qualified for grants through the state's Small Business Express Program (EXP). Created as a part of the bipartisan Jobs Bill approved last October, EXP is designed to assist in the expansion of small businesses and promote job creation.

"This program responds to the needs of Connecticut's small business community, encouraging expansion and job growth here in our state," Governor Malloy said. "Businesses of every kind are using these funds to leverage their own investments, so their companies can develop new products, serve new markets, become more competitive and - most importantly - create new jobs."

In total, EXP will provide $100 million to help the state's small businesses hire more employees and fund capital investments. The program, administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), offers loans and matching grants to Connecticut companies with fewer than 50 employees at the time of application.

The five small businesses announced today are:

  • Back East Brewing Company LLC of Bloomfield was incorporated in July 2009 to produce and sell handcrafted ales and lagers. The company's ownership is investing $220,000 and receiving a matching grant of $81,672 to fund new production equipment that will help the brewer meet growing demand. The project will create one job, and retain two others.

  • Salamander Designs LTD , also in Bloomfield, designs and manufactures home organization and entertainment center furnishings, historically sold through large electronics retailers. The company will invest $323,000 and receive a $100,000 matching grant, plus a $250,000 Job Creation Incentive Loan. These funds will support Salamander's recent market diversification effort to include smaller retailers, improve its direct-to-consumer online distribution effort, expand their product line, and hire and train an additional six people, bringing their full-time staff to 25.

"These grants show that the state legislature and Governor Malloy believe in Connecticut companies' ability to grow, hire and succeed," said State Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford), who is Senate chair of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee. "We know other states are making similar investments to protect and grow their economies, and Connecticut is doing the same."

"Connecticut's unemployment rate remains lower than the national average, and our businesses are continuing to add new jobs. This is welcome news and a welcome change for our state," said State Senator Eric Coleman (D-Bloomfield). "I am very pleased to see two additional Bloomfield companies add new workers to their payroll by taking advantage of the programs created in last year's Jobs Bill."

"I am proud that two small businesses in my district have been chosen to receive a Small Business Express Program Grant," said State Representative David Baram (D-Bloomfield). "Salamander Designs LTD is an innovative company that designs and manufactures a unique line of entertainment furnishings. Undoubtedly, Salamader Designs LTD is a community based business that has vision and commitment that will help revitalize Connecticut's economy. Back East Brewing Company LLC is another small business that in just a few years has grown into a thriving brewery that has developed fine ales and lagers which have attracted quite a following. Residents of Bloomfield and Windsor can be quite proud of these two local businesses and we trust that they will serve as successful examples for other small companies hoping to grow as we move out of this recession."

"It is really great to see businesses right here in our community expanding and growing with the support of the state," said State Representative Matthew Ritter (D-Hartford, Bloomfield). "Both Back East Brewing and Salamander Designs are great fits for the Small Business Express program which will help add jobs to our local economy."

  • Smith Whiley & Company , a specialized investment management and financial services firm in Hartford, is introducing its fourth sponsored investment fund. It will retain 12 jobs and create three more. To fund the marketing cycle for this new product launch, it is receiving a $100,000 matching grant and a $250,000 Job Creation Incentive Loan.

"Job creation is critical to encouraging long-term economic growth and that is what makes the Small Business Express program a solid investment for the state," said State Representative Douglas McCrory (D-Hartford). "It's great to see a Hartford company adding jobs and I hope more of our local small businesses will apply for and qualify for this new program."

"Encouraging job creation through our new Small Business Express program is a great investment by the state, particularly in our cities where the economic impact can have the greatest effect," said State Representative Matthew Ritter (D-Hartford, Bloomfield). "The financial services and insurance industry remains a cornerstone of greater Hartford's economy and this is the type of targeted assistance that will help keep this critical sector vibrant."

  • Circle Commerce of Avon, originally formed in 1980, designs, sells, and maintains computerized business application systems to allow businesses to accommodate the online and telephone sales markets. The company is combining $256,000 of its own money with a Job Creation Incentive Loan of $250,000 and a matching grant of $100,000 to engage a firm to design and implement its new marketing effort and will bring on eleven new hires over the next twenty-four months.

"When we passed the jobs bill last year we were looking to support businesses and economic growth," said State Representative Brian Becker (D-Avon, Farmington, West Hartford). "This is a great example of how the legislation helps our existing small businesses expand and create jobs."

  • Kelly Container Inc. of Suffield specializes in portable, reliable, and professional refrigeration and freezer containers. It will use a $100,000 matching grant to purchase machinery and equipment, expand its product line and enhance its marketing. The project will retain ten jobs and create one additional position.

"Our collective focus is on helping small businesses grow and expand right here in north-central Connecticut," said State Senator John A. Kissel (R-East Granby, Enfield, Granby Somers, Suffield, Windsor, Windsor Locks). "This is a sound investment which will enable Kelly Container to retain and grow jobs. It makes a lot of sense to be making these investments, and I applaud the governor for doing so."

For more information on EXP or to apply for the program, visit the Small Business Express Program web page or contact Michelle Lugo at DECD at 860-270-8052 or .