Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that five Connecticut small businesses located in Manchester, Middlebury, North Haven, Rocky Hill and Stafford Springs have qualified for assistance through the state's Small Business Express Program (EXP). The program was created as a part of the bipartisan Jobs Bill passed during last year's jobs special session to encourage business expansion and job growth.
"The Small Business Express Program helps businesses who perform valuable services in their local communities, as well as companies bringing new products to national and international markets," Governor Malloy said. "Both types of businesses are important to a growing and vibrant Connecticut economy. Whether it's mom and pop on Main Street or small tech company with big idea, small businesses will lead the way to our economic recovery."
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 businesses announced today are:
North Haven Ceramic Tile & Floor Covering qualified for a revolving loan in the amount of $100,000, which will help the company purchase additional inventory and hire subcontractors to meet rising demand for its services. The company will retain ten positions.
"Connecticut's small businesses are the backbone of our economy. We need to help them make the necessary connections so they can create and in this case maintain jobs," State Senator Len Fasano (R-North Haven) said. "We need to encourage growth among our small businesses if we are going to achieve a real and lasting economic turnaround."
Weise Choice Tree Services, a licensed tree care company in Middlebury, is receiving a revolving loan of $26,000, a matching grant of $26,260, and investing company funds of $26,260 in the latest mobile access software for crews in the field, computers and other machinery and equipment. The company will add one position.
Onyx Spirits Company of Manchester plans to invest $165,235, plus a $100,000 matching grant, in hiring and training employees, increasing production capacity and expanding distribution throughout New England. Connecticut's first legal moonshine distiller, Onyx has exceeded sales targets for statewide distribution since selling their first case of ultra premium American moonshine in October 2011.
"Onyx Spirits is one of the best examples of an entrepreneurial business that I've ever seen. These guys do it all," State Senator Steve Cassano (D-Manchester) said. "It's incredible what they've done in an old factory building, and their product is outstanding. This is a state investment that's well spent."
"Onyx is a great Manchester small business and our state government is helping them do what they do best -- create jobs and generate economic activity for the Manchester area and State of Connecticut," State Representative Geoff Luxenberg (D-Manchester) said. "I have met with the entrepreneurs that started Onyx and worked hard to make sure the Town of Manchester and State of Connecticut are working to support them instead of getting in their way."
Stafford Motor Speedway will combine its own $78,000 and a matching grant for the same amount to make capital improvements, including repair of a deteriorating racetrack surface. The company has been a destination for auto racing enthusiasts from across southern New England since 1970. Today, about 110 weekly automobile races, plus monster truck events and auto and motorcycle swap meets are hosted at the track in Stafford Springs. The project will retain four jobs.
Enermore, LLC in Rocky Hill is receiving a $150,000 loan and a $100,000 matching grant. The funds will be invested with $1,450,000 of company money in developing a new line of consumer skin care products and marketing them domestically and internationally. Enermore is creating three new jobs.
"Enermore uses cutting edge research to produce natural hair and skin care products right here in Rocky Hill, Connecticut," State Representative Tony Guerrera (D-Rocky Hill) said. "This investment of Small Business Express funding will spur continued economic expansion and job growth."
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 Michelle.Lugo@ct.gov.