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Year in Review - 2014 Norwalk Business

A look at some business headlines in Norwalk this year

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Norwalk, CT | Added on December 24, 2014 At 12:02 PM

I'm Priscilla Lombardi and here's what made news in business for Norwalk in 2014.

Popular book store chain Barnes & Noble will be shutting its doors at 360 Connecticut Avenue by the end of 2014.  Barnes & Noble vice president of Development David Deason released a statement saying the lease will officially expire on January 31st of 2015. Barnes & Noble was not able to extend the lease with the property owner.

"It's a shame," said Reed Corbo, Norwalk resident. "I don't know where I'm going to hang out now. I liked the Starbucks too, but I could go to another Starbucks, but I'd rather go to a book shop so I could read books."  

"We come here all the time to do homework just because it a comfortable place to be and I like that it's so close because the next one is at a mall and it's super annoying," said Kirkpatrick.

Norwalk has also seen many new businesses open this year, including BMS Baking Co., Jersey Mikes, A Frontier Communications retail center, Align Chiropractic, and EVEN hotel.

"This is a true American story, where people have a passion about a business," said Mayor Harry Rilling at BMS Baking Co. "They put together a small family business and they enjoy what they do, they're taking chances and we're going to wish them well because we know they're going to be successful as they continue to grow here in Norwalk." 

Redevelopment on Wall Street accelerated during 2014 with the historic Globe Theatre renovation and groundbreaking of the $46 million Wall Street Project which will add residential units and retail space to Wall Street Place, allowing growth for new businesses.  

"We've seen a lot of projects fall apart and not be put together as a result of the great recession, but to be here on this absolutely beautiful day with a great development team, a great development itself, it doesn't get any better in Connecticut on any day than here in Norwalk," said Gov. Dannel Malloy

 "Over time, we are going to put 600 people in the downtown area, which is 600 people who don't live here now. This is the least populated part of the city and we're going to put a lot of people on the street," said Kenneth Olson, CEO of POKO Partners, LLC." 

This summer mayor Harry Rilling appointed Elizabeth Stocker as Norwalk's new economic Development Director after a six month-long search. Stocker replaces the Agency's former director Tad Diesel, who retired at the beginning of the year. 

"Through the networking process I hope to find out more about what other kinds of businesses are looking to relocate or expand," said Stocker. "So I want to do a lot of networking to try to find out what the climate is here, what's available here, so I have a lot of catching up to do, to learn about what exactly we do have, what our assets are." 

"The expressions that she made about how she's going to approach this position were really exactly what we were looking for," said Rilling. "Somebody who is going to go out and market Norwalk, reach out to different individuals to encourage them to come in to show them what our community is all about, and show the wonderful diversity that exists within our community."

Norwalk participated in Small Business Saturday, with an official proclamation of the day from Mayor Rilling.  Small Business Saturday is sponsored throughout the nation by American Express. Local business owners throughout the city say supporting a small business in any way possible is crucial to its survival. 

"Big Box stores don't need it because people are going to go there," said Brown. "Small businesses is what keeps the community together and keeps it moving. It pays the rent, it helps, it feeds us," said Connie Brown owner of Connie B's clothing boutique. 

"We are a real mom and pop shop," said Taste of Holland owner Jan Schenkels. "So far business has been good."

I'm Priscilla Lombardi and that's what made news in business for Norwalk this year. Thanks for watching and we'll see you in the new year!


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