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Organizations partner up to help small businesses in Hartford

The program helped 12 Hartford-based micro-enterprises through an 8-week workshop that provided training on all thing's retail operations

HARTFORD, Conn. — Two organizations partnered up to support local businesses, primarily women and BIPOC (Black Indigoes People of Color) owned. 

The goal was to launch and scale their companies within the greater Hartford area. 

Joshua Jenkins, Partner with Breakfast Lunch & Dinner (BL&D,) a community venture building studio, said there was a sense of urgency to revitalizing Hartford's retail landscape. He said this is why BL&D joined forces with ReSET, the non-profit entrepreneur support organization, to produce a retail incubator program. 

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The program helped 12 Hartford-based micro-enterprises through an 8-week workshop that provided training on all thing's retail operations.

Bloom Bake Shop owners and sisters Alex Pilon and Monica Beaudoin were among the dozen in the program's cohort. 

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 "Bloom Bakeshop is family-owned, women and minority-owned, and it's a huge passion for Monica and me," explained Pilon. 

That passion turned into a bake shop reality in September 2020.  The sisters said they've been thriving with the community's support. Now, more than a year in, they're looking to grow even more. 

"We're looking to open a store in downtown Hartford, and we want to expand from our bake goods that everyone's grown to love to a cafe," said  Beaudoin.

To help make that a reality, the Bloom Bake Shop sisters use community resources like the retail incubator program. But, Jenkins said it was that the eagerness to grow and expand fueled the program in the first place. 

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 "We wanted to create a few different vehicles that small businesses can work off of, to then basically climb a staircase leading them to success," said Jenkins. "The idea was to create building blocks that would then lead to opening up a brick and mortar yourself."  

Sharing that same vision of growth and collaboration, Pilon said, "If your passionate about if, you're willing to put in the work. Then, just go for it." 

The retail incubator program will celebrate its piolet cohort on October 28 during Know Good Nights

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at rharrington@fox61.comFollow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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