HARTFORD, Conn. — It's National Small Business Week and the perfect opportunity to recognize local small businesses in Connecticut, especially after the past two difficult years during the pandemic.
Small Business Week has been celebrated for the last 50 years, highlighting local entrepreneurs that make up the backbone of the economy.
For entrepreneurs, it starts with an idea that for some, turns into a reality.
"I just feel like the community needs something different to do with friends," said Ajia Loomis, owner of ALL Love Candles in Manchester. "It’s one of a kind, you come in with your friends you create your own candle you can pick a cent and decorate and make a candle."
The woman-owned business opened its doors in March and in just that short time, has been lighting up the community.
"I had someone come in and do a TikTok and it went viral so we’ve been so busy and I’m really grateful," said Loomis.
Over on Main Street in East Hartford is Janet Pierson's small business, Eden's Florist.
"I’ve been in this business for over 12 years and it’s a great business to be and I love it," said Pierson.
The business is booming and blooming, especially with prom season, wedding season and Mothers Day right around the corner.
"It’s crazy busy – when I say crazy busy we’ve lost some of our workers due to the pandemic and all that, but it’s a lot of work overnight we have to work a lot," said Pierson. "The business has grown nicely and we appreciate all our local clients who come in. We cater to our local clients."
While it's been a difficult few years for many small businesses, some actually saw some progress during the pandemic. At Ron-a-Roll in Vernon, roller skate sales were way up during the pandemic and the business is using that momentum rolling into the summer season.
"We came out the other side and business has been great since," said owner of Ron-a-Roll, Jason Seplowitz. "Skate sales have gone up 600% nationwide, so many more people have their own skates which means more people are coming out to skate in sessions here."
The rink is a family business that is a staple of the community.
"We’ve been here since 1990 so going on 32 years. It was my father's originally and I took it over about 15 years ago," said Seplowitz.
The Small Business Administration said it's important to celebrate the state's local shops not only this week but every week to support shopping small.
"Supporting our small businesses each and every day not only helps us but it helps our community and America as we recover from the pandemic," said Catherine Marx, District Director of the Small Business Administration of Connecticut.
Small Business Week runs until Thursday, May 5.
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