In The News

A middle-aged woman with glasses poked her head into a not-yet-opened store at the Connecticut Post mall in Milford as three women inside worked to prepare the enterprise.

“Hi, I just wanted to wish you well,” she said. They thanked her and went back to their work.

It was a fleeting moment like you’d see ahead of any store opening, except this was not any store and the greeting took on extra meaning.

Pandemic Launches a Wave of Black-Owned Businesses

A team of economists in a recent analysis of eight states is reporting a surge in business registrations in the weeks after the public received federal stimulus payments. The increase was particularly dramatic in majority Black neighborhoods. 

But Black business owners and people familiar with the Black business community in Connecticut say that furloughs and available funds weren’t the only factors that drove people to become entrepreneurs — in many cases, the new businesses were born out of a need to escape from the stress of the pandemic.

Best of 2020: Minority businesses: Wounded by COVID, but key to inclusive revival

This story was originally published on December 7, 2020.

Tia Woods had been the coordinator of a dance program. It closed but left her with space in East Hartford. She had a business idea: Woods, who is Black, knew many minority artisans needed space to show and sell their products.

So in February 2019, she created what she called a “modern consignment boutique” called “ITS the Room,” a kind of mini-mall where minority entrepreneurs, crafters and artists could set up shop. After a year, things looked promising. She had as many as 18 vendors, and people were coming in the door.