It was January of 2020, and West Haven’s Economic Development Commission – which had languished for some time, with only two commissioners remaining – was fully stocked and hot out of the gate: the commission had several meetings and began planning several projects. Optimism was high – and then it all came, like everything else, to a screeching halt.
The commission is back in business, however, and is launching a new project which aims to spotlight street-level businesses in the community via our local newspaper. Each month, the commission will highlight a selection of the vibrant small businesses that we have in our city – and you can learn all about them right here in the Voice.
The commission sees this as a morale booster, and a very appropriate fit with the Centennial celebrations. Called Hidden Gems, the column will make more visible the many small businesses that contribute to our quality of life.
According to AdvanceCT, 80% of economic development in the state consists of small businesses. The column is a point of departure for readers to explore or support the ones we have here in town.
Each month, the panel will take a survey of 3-5 businesses on a given theme. Themes will reflect the changing seasons we enjoy here in the Nutmeg state; e.g., in the fall it will most likely be holiday gift-giving leading up to Small Business Saturday; in the spring, it could be preparing for proms.
“West Haven has an amazing array of quality restaurants of all types, and they have by and large survived the shutdown and continue to need our support,” said Christine Gallo, Chairman of the EDC. “In addition, we have a myriad of other small businesses which add so much to West Haven – and it seems that residents are not always aware of many of them. This column intends to not only bring customers to businesses that wish to serve them, but also to introduce businesses to customers who may be looking for specific concerns to patronize. I think people will be surprised by just how much there is in town when it comes to unique small businesses.”
Gallo also added that the EDC is working with AdvanceCT on setting up a workshop that will outline baseline data and strategies for small businesses in West Haven.
The Economic Development Commission holds public meetings at City Hall and always welcomes community input; check the city’s website for the next meeting date, time, and agenda.