International Hartford Micro Grant Program to assist small business owners

In a meeting with members of the Upper Albany Merchant Association, Erwin Hurst, Sr. informed that International Hartford works closely with several organizations including HEDCO to offer various business services and micro-grant opportunities to minority entrepreneurs. There is currently a micro-grant program in amounts up to $10,000 for which small business owners may apply. Grants will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis until funds are depleted.

According to its website, International Hartford is a non-profit organization dedicated to the creation of jobs in Hartford for immigrants and refugees by helping them become entrepreneurs and build their businesses. Through business classes and financial consulting, as well as loan preparation and step-by-step assistance, the organization focuses on supporting the entrepreneurial initiative of Hartford immigrants to ensure starting a business in Connecticut is easier and more feasible with help from the organization. Connecticut welcomes immigrants and International Hartford helps them create jobs in Hartford.

Regardless of your country of origin, if you need help starting a business in Connecticut or finding your way, International Hartford will assist you on diverse projects. Contact Erwin Hurst at (860) 490- 4557 or visit the International Hartford website for further details.

CT DOT mobility study: $10B plan to transform travel in Greater Hartford

The Connecticut Department of Transportation is allowing the public a chance to weigh in on its envision to reshape transportation in the Greater Hartford area.  The changes would create new opportunities for redevelopment and recreation, both in Hartford and East Hartford.

Two meetings are scheduled to inform the public and garner public opinion as they explore the components of the Greater Hartford Mobility Study. The first meeting will be held at the Chrysalis Center on Homestead Avenue on  Thursday, November 9, and the second meeting will be at the Cultural Community Center, Chapman Place in East Hartford, on  Thursday, November 16.  Both meetings will convene at 6 PM and end at 8 PM.

In both meetings, the study team will host an open house from 6 PM through 7 PM with displays and allow the public a chance to speak with members of the team. At 7 PM there will be a formal presentation outlining the next steps, including state and federal environmental reviews, after which there will be time allotted for questions and answers.

The recommendations outlined in the mobility study report are in the earliest stages, developed partly via discussion with local officials, and neighborhood groups. However, there are hurdles in terms of federal environmental assessments and securing financing that must be cleared for the larger projects, as reported by the Courant.

The center of the study has four major highway projects including the addition of two bridges over the Connecticut River to ease traffic congestion and restore connections between Hartford and East Hartford communities. The plan would include:  relocating the I91/I84,  lowering I84 as it passes through Hartford, rail, bus, and pedestrian access, plus dozens of smaller projects that would start long before the big-ticket highway improvements, maybe within the next five years. The projects could take decades to complete and cost more than $10 billion.

According to the Courant, Kevin J. Burnham, a supervising engineer at the DOT, said “These public information meetings for the Greater Hartford Mobility Study are one of the many ways we are reaching out to community members and stakeholders to both inform and gather feedback about each component of the study.”

Members of the public are encouraged to sign up to receive email updates and provide study comments on the website.  For additional information access the Hartford Courant or follow the Greater Hartford Mobility Study on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Source: Kenneth R. Gosselin | kgosselin@courant.com| Hartford Courant, November 7, 2023.

 

Hartford to pay $10M settlement in ballpark development litigation

The Hartford Courant reports that after seven years and $6M in legal fees, the City of Hartford has negotiated directly with Arch Insurance Company and reached an agreement to settle the city’s dispute with the former developers — Centerplan and DoNo Hartford LLC — who were fired by Mayor Bronin from the unfinished Dunkin’ Park in 2016, and one year later, the mixed-use development around the 6,100-seat stadium. The $9.9M settlement is outlined in Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin’s letter to the city council calling for payment to the Arch Insurance Company that financed the completion of the Dunkin’ ballpark.

The city was victorious in a jury trial in the case in 2019. The developers successfully appealed that decision and won a new trial that was set to begin in the spring. During an afternoon news conference at Hartford City Hall, Bronin reiterated his belief that the city would yet again be on the winning side, but the prospect of years of further appeals — costing as much as $6 million — plus years of stalled redevelopment around Dunkin’ Park made the settlement the right option for the city.  Bronin continued by saying that the settlement “represents an opportunity not only to eliminate those legal fees but to remove the cloud of this litigation altogether […] and to allow the city of Hartford to move forward with the development of the parcels around the baseball park and to ensure the new administration can come in without the distraction of ongoing litigation.”

Since 2016, the city has paid about $6 million in legal fees to outside firms with expertise in construction law. Those fees, plus the costs of defending and settling the lawsuit bring the total expenditure closer to $16 million. Stamford-based RMS Companies — the developer who replaced Centerplan and DoNo Hartford — have completed one phase of the development around Dunkin’ Park, specifically the $50 million, 270-unit apartment known as “The Pennant”.

However, the litigation blocked RMS from advancing to the second of four planned phases for more than a year, but RMS’ founder and chief executive Randy Salvatore remained committed to the development.  According to the Courant, Salvatore said, “I’m obviously very excited about the whole thing,” Salvatore said Thursday, of the settlement. “We’re gearing up right now to go, so I’m hopeful that we can have a groundbreaking by the end of the year.”

North Crossing’s second phase identified as “Parcel B” will have 532 apartments, a 541-space garage, and 10,000 square feet of storefront space with construction costing $120 million. Parcel B development will be completed in two phases. The first phase will include 228 apartments and the planned parking garage. The remaining 304 apartments will be completed in the second phase.

According to the Courant, at the news conference, Bronin said moving forward with North Crossing was important for several reasons including:

  • Generating new taxes to help pay off the city’s costs in building Dunkin’ Park.
  • Rebuilding the momentum behind the city’s revitalization.
  • Fueling economic development.

Louis R. Pepe, an attorney for the former developers issued a statement Thursday that said: Centerplan and DoNo Hartford “are very pleased with the settlement of the claims they had against the City of Hartford in this matter, and they look forward to recovering additional compensation for their losses in the continuing litigation against the design professionals for the stadium project,” the Courant reported.

The new trial was scheduled for April 2024, but with this settlement, both sides have agreed that there would be no further litigation in this matter in the future. Visit the Hartford Courant for more details.

Source: Kenneth R. Gosselin, Hartford Courant, October 26, 2023. kgosselin@courant.com.

Stalled Development, Mounting Fees, and Court Delays: Uncertainty for Planned Development around Dunkin’ Park

The future of development around Dunkin’ Park remains unclear as the latest legal endeavors by the City of Hartford to regain control of the land are pushed closer to the end of the year. A hearing scheduled to commence this week was delayed potentially until late November. Consequently, plans for the mixed-use development of parcels close to the City’s minor league ballpark remain stalled as the City’s legal fees continue to mount.

Both the City and the former developers – Centerplan and Do No Hartford – have been in a legal battle that has ensued since Mayor Luke Bronin fired the developers, thus creating a need to determine who has the legal right to develop the land around the ballpark. This long-running dispute could last for years, but earlier this summer both sides publicly hinted at a potential settlement, but they are still firmly dug in for the long haul.

According to the Hartford Courant, an attorney for Centerplan and Do No Hartford suggested a potential opportunity to resolve the dispute regarding claims that the City wrongfully terminated the developers. In late July, Louis R. Pepe, a partner in the law firm McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney, & Carpenter in Hartford, told the Courant, “… litigation is seldom the best way to resolve disputes like this. Centerplan and DoNo are open to any reasonable proposal to end the current standoff or to engage in mediation for that purpose.”

Pepe continued, “Unfortunately, the city has made it clear it will not sit down with Centerplan and DoNo, and so there can be little doubt who must bear the responsibility for the freeze on the parcels in question.”

In a statement to the Courant, City Corporation Counsel – Howard Rifkin – disputed assertions that the City was not open to talks to resolve the litigation. He agreed that litigation is not the best approach to resolve these kinds of issues, and the City is confident it will prevail – yet again -in a jury trial, as it did in the first trial. Rifkin continued, ” … we take seriously our fundamental obligation to protect taxpayers. The City has never closed the door on [the] discussion to resolve this litigation, and we are certainly open to reasonable resolutions – but I’d put a lot of emphasis on the word ‘reasonable’.”

City records indicate that Legal fees have already topped $6 million.  This long-standing legal battle has been pushed back until at least mid-November. A delay was granted due to the Judge’s trial schedule. Centerplan and DoNo Hartford blame the city because its flawed designs resulted in cost overruns and delays in the ballpark construction. The previous developers also moved to regain control of the development around Dunkin’ Park.

In retrospect, after terminating Centerplan and DoNo from the contract, the City hired another developer to complete the  6,100-seat Dunkin’ Park. It opened for the 2017 season of the Yard Goats (a year later than previously scheduled). In 2019, a superior court jury sided with the City’s decision to terminate Centerplan and DoNo Hartford.

After its 2019 victory in the wrongful termination lawsuit, the City of Hartford contracted RMS Companies to take over the redevelopment. The 270 apartments included in the first phase are now completed, but the litigation regarding who has the right to develop has prevented RMS from breaking ground on the second phase of four planned phases.

Last year, the Superior Court ordered a new trial due to the ambiguity of who has legal control over the stadium and its design. Centerplan and DoNo Hartford have argued that the City of Hartford’s flawed design created cost overruns and delays in the construction. The barrier to further development intensified when a Superior Court judge ruled that a decision regarding the right to develop should be made after the new trial and a decision on the wrongful termination issue. The new trial is scheduled for April 2024.

In the meantime, RMS Salvatore,  in his commitment to move forward, entered into a contract to purchase the neighboring campus of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and has announced plans to build a phased-in-mixed-use development on the RPI campus. Hence, approval is now sought for $16.6 million in financing (set aside for the next phase of North Crossing) to be potentially used for the first phase of the planned development on the RPI campus.

 

Source: Kenneth R. Gosselin, Hartford Courant, (Monday, October 2, 2023) kgosselin@courant.com

Hartford Flood Compensation Program

Application for compensation under the Hartford Flood Compensation Program begins today, September 1, 2023.  The application form,  a guide to completing the application, and instructions for completing the application are available on the  Office of the State Comptroller’s (OSC) website. The links below provide easy access to the documents:

    • The step-by-step guide on how to submit the application may be accessed by clicking here.
    • The application form may be accessed by clicking here.
    • The instructions for applying may be accessed by clicking here.

According to the OSC, completed applications and supporting documentation must be submitted in one of the following ways:

    1. By mail: Attention: Office of the State Comptroller/Hartford Flood Compensation Program, 165 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT 06106
    2. By email: HartfordFloodHelp@ct.gov
    3. In-person: Blue Hills Civic Association, 1229 Albany Ave, Third Floor, Suite 306, Hartford, CT 06112

STEP-BY-STEP APPLICATION AND REVIEW PROCESS

    • STEP 1: Complete the application and gather supporting documentation (including proof of Hartford residency, proof of ownership of property, and all insurance documentation (including policies and claim information) – if applicable
    • STEP 2: Mail or email the application WITH supporting documentation to the locations outlined above.
    • STEP 3: An eligibility determination (or request for additional information) will be made within 30 days of receipt of your completed application (applications are only complete once all supporting documentation has been provided).
      • Applicants who are deemed eligible must hire an estimator or contractor (approved by the program administrator) to conduct an onsite visit to verify the damages and provide an estimate verifying the cost to repair those damages.
        • In some instances, a virtual inspection, photos, or video documentation of damages may be submitted instead of an onsite visit (at the discretion of the program administrator).
        • All documentation, estimates, photos, and videos will be reviewed and approved, denied, or modified by the program administrator.
      • STEP 4: Once an administrator’s final determination is made, payments will be mailed to approved applicants at the residential address provided on their application. Appeals of a decision by the administrator must be done in writing and sent to:

Office of the State Comptroller, 165 Capitol Avenue, Hartford CT 06106.

      • All appeal determinations by the Comptroller and/or its third-party administrator will be final.

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION NEEDED

      • Two (2) forms of Proof of Identity. Acceptable forms of identity are listed in the next section.
      • Two (2) forms of Proof of Hartford Residency. Acceptable forms of Hartford residency are listed in the next section.
      • Proof of ownership of real property. Acceptable proof of ownership is a property tax bill.
      • Documentation of any insurance claim submitted and/or paid.
      • Documentation showing repairs that have already been completed.
      • An inspection report that is deemed eligible by the program administrator

ACCEPTED PROOF OF IDENTITY DOCUMENTATION (As proof of identity, you must present copies of two (2) forms of identification):

      • US or US Territory Birth Certificate or Registration of Birth (Hospital issued and Puerto Rico issued before July 1, 2010, is not acceptable; foreign place of birth see Non-US Born)
      • Unexpired US Passport or Passport Card
      • Unexpired Foreign Passport
      • Certificate of Naturalization (N-550 or N-570)
      • Certificate of Citizenship (N-560 or N-561)
      • Unexpired Permanent Resident Card (I-551)
      • US Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240, DS-1350 or FS-545)
      • Social Security Card
      • Unexpired Connecticut-issued ID card, driver’s license, or learner’s permit
      • Out-of-State US photo driver’s license £ US Territory or Canadian photo driver’s license (Unexpired)
      • Out of State US or Canadian-issued photo learner’s permit
      • Certified school transcript
      • A baptismal certificate or similar document
      • Marriage or Civil Union Certificate
      • Court Order: Must contain full name and date of birth (i.e., name change, adoption, marriage, or civil union dissolution)
      • Connecticut State Permit to Carry Pistols or Revolvers
      • US Military ID or dependent card with photo
      • Military discharge/separation papers (DD-214)
      • State or Federal Employee Identification with signature and photo and/or physical description with or without date of birth
      • CT Department of Correction certificate (CN101503)
      • Pilot’s license (issued by the US DOT Federal Aviation Administration)
      • Employment Authorization Document (I-766 or I-688B)
      • Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)
      • Federally Recognized Tribal Member ID card
      • DHS Trusted Traveler Cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)

ACCEPTED PROOF OF HARTFORD RESIDENCY DOCUMENTATION (You must provide copies of two (2) different forms of documentation from the list below to prove Connecticut residency):

These documents must show your name and your Hartford residence address, be dated within ninety (90) days (unless stated otherwise below), and be computer generated (typed). Acceptable documents are:

    • Postmarked mail
    • Bill from a bank or mortgage company, utility company, credit card company, doctor, or hospital
    • Bank statement showing the name and mailing address of the bank
    • Pre-printed pay stub showing the name and address of your employer
    • Property or excise tax bill dated within the previous 12 months
    • Valid unexpired CT driver’s license, learner’s permit, or ID card with the same address
    • Current valid homeowner’s, renter’s policy, or motor vehicle insurance card or policy dated within the previous 12 months
    • Current valid Connecticut motor vehicle registration
    • Current motor vehicle loan statement for a motor vehicle registered in your name
    • Residential mortgage, lease, or rental contract signatures from all parties needed to execute the agreement and dated within the previous 12 months
    • Change-of-address confirmation from the United States Postal Service showing your prior and current address (Form CNL107)
    • Official school records showing enrollment
    • Report card

APPLICATION CHECKLIST

  1. Completed Application
  2. Supporting documentation
  3. Inspection report (deemed eligible by the administrator)

Hartford Flood Compensation Pilot Program

According to a news release by the Office of the State Comptroller, on June 12, 2023, Governor Ned Lamont signed into law the 2024-2025 biennium budget, which established the Hartford Flood Compensation Program. This is a $5,000,000 pilot program overseen by the Office of the State Comptroller and the focus of this grant program is to provide financial assistance or reimbursement–for things such as repairs–to eligible owners of real property in the city of Hartford who experienced damage caused by flooding on or after January 1, 2021.

The news release continues:

On June 26, 2023, Comptroller Sean Scanlon joined public officials and advocates to formally announce the grant funding for the Hartford Flood Compensation Program.

On August 2, 2023, Comptroller Scanlon announced the appointment of Dr. Gary Rhule as the Hartford Flood Compensation Program administrator. The following week, on August 10, 2023, Comptroller Scanlon announced that the application will be available September 1, 2023. The below graphic outlines the application steps. In the meantime, if you are a Hartford resident who was impacted by flooding from January 2021 to the present, it is important that you maintain and/or compile documentation on damage and associated costs.

Please contact the Blue Hills Civic Association at (860) 560-7360 or visit 1229 Albany Avenue, Third Floor, Suite 306, Hartford, CT 06112 to request an application or if you have questions or concerns.

You may also sign up to receive updates from the Office of the State Comptroller on the Hartford Flood Compensation Program by accessing the Comptroller’s website and providing the required information on the site.

Hartford Sewer Backup and Sewer Flooding Pilot Project

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the US Environmental Protection Agency have recently announced the sewer backup and sewer flooding pilot project. This project focuses on sewer separation, sewer rehabilitation, and private property stormwater separation in the North End that is being conducted by Hartford’s sewer utility, the MDC. DEEP will share information on this long-term project from time to time and as progress warrants updates. Copies of the Hartford Sanitary Sewer Overflow Fact Sheet and the Sewer Backups and Flooding Update may be viewed by clicking on the following links:

  1. Hartford Sewer Overflow Fact Sheet_August 2023 (1)
  2. Hartford North End_Sewer Backups and Sewer Flooding Update_Aug2023 (2)

 

HEDCO – SAMA Small Business Grant

According to information retrieved from the HEDCO website, HEDCO and the Spanish American Merchants Association (SAMA) have partnered with the Officer of the Governor, the State of Connecticut, and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to provide grants of up to $30,000 to small businesses throughout the State of Connecticut.

The program will not only assist with funding but it will also connect small business applicants to the organizations’ Ecosystem of Providers. Info from HEDCO’s website is provided below:

This ecosystem will include lawyers, accountants, human resources, insurance agencies, marketing firms, and other providers to supply small businesses with the resources they need to start-up, sustain, or grow their enterprises – many resources which are too expensive or unattainable otherwise.

This program is designed for businesses seeking growth and long-term success. It will require an assessment process to identify and analyze areas of need. Experienced professionals will be available to guide participants through the process. The outcome offers valuable insights into strengths, weaknesses, growth opportunities, and strategies for overcoming challenges.

Eligibility
This grant program requires that your small business must:

  1. Go through the assessment process provided by the program
  2. Be a for-profit business with no more than 25 full-time and/or part-time employees.
  3. Be a registered business operating in Connecticut.
  4. Be in good standing with the Department of Revenue Services (DRS)
  5. Be in good standing with the Department of Labor.
  6. Have been conducting business for a minimum of one year.

Terms and Conditions

  1. Grants up to $30,000 are offered subject to the following disclaimer, “The amount you have requested may not equal the amount you are approved for.”
      • Zero percent interest rate
      • No application fee
      • Closing fee of $500.00
      • Grants do not have to be paid back to HEDCO, Inc. unless funds are used to cover ineligible expenses. The business must show documentation of expenditures in accordance with your cash flow projections.

Application and Approval Process – Submit the following documents:

Application Apply Online, (before starting the application, be sure to have the relevant documents [itemized below] ready to upload).

  1. Latest tax return for 1 year (business and personal) or Profit and Loss for prior year
  2. Year-to-date Profit and Loss Statement
  3. Status Letter from Department of Revenue Services How to get a Status Letter
  4. Status Letter from Department of Labor Request Letter of Good Standing
  5. Cash flow projections for 12 months Download Cash Flow Projections Sheet
  6. Source and Use of Funds Form Download Source and Use Form
  7. Statement about how these grant funds will be utilized to help grow your business.

Apply Now!

For additional information about the program and assistance with the completion of your application call HEDCO at (860) 527-1301 or email applications@hedcoinc.com

Repeated flooding brought an end to this CT business. ‘My heart was crying, because we work hard.’

The Hartford Courant reports that when Max Kothari and his wife bought the Star Hardware store their vision was to provide jobs and service to the city and its residents. However, to the Kotaris’ dismay, the last four storms that brought flooding and sewage to the neighborhood have forced them to close their doors for good to the community that they have loved and cultivated throughout the years.

Kothari said that the most recent two storms finally did the store in, as he kept acquiring inventory damages. He said that the remaining inventory will be given to Habitat for Humanity. While the store is permanently closed, the appliance and window portion remains open at the building next door and no employees will lose their employment, he said. He expressed his belief that the closing of the hardware store is a casualty of the city government choosing not to take action.

Kothari said that every time it rains, a nearby retention pond overflows into the building, which causes flooding damage within the hardware store – and which has happened to him four times.

“The mayor knows that the leaks are coming from the pond (in the back of the store), but we are not getting (help)…,” Kothari said. “It’s just put a nail in the coffin for the hardware store, as we are struggling with other things…closing the hardware store has nothing to do with our hardware community or our customers. Our customers are still coming…We believe (it was due to) lack of competency on the part of the city government.”

“It is an incompetency factor that we need to bring out…that people are just not managing our affairs with the city correctly, and then hiding behind this always (as an) environmental issue and…a weather issue…that was a conscious decision to ignore the North End and it’s very disheartening,” he said.

Mayor Luke Bronin said Monday, “I suspect that Star Hardware was suffering from the understandable challenges of competing as an independent business in an industry dominated by chains, and it’s perplexing that Mr. Kothari feels the need to make the statements that he’s made — which are neither accurate nor fair — about a city that has tried very hard to help him.

“The city has committed significant investment in the north end of Hartford, with tens of millions of dollars of additional investment in process today — including along North Main Street near Mr. Kothari‘s property, from broadband expansion, to housing, to the recent announcement of a $19 million streetscape grant for North Main,” Bronin said.

“The city has taken a direct and active role in attempting to resolve the issues of flooding near Mr. Kothari’s property, including submitting an application to the state’s Community Investment Fund to expand the retention pond adjacent to his property. That project, which would cost more than $6 million…and would primarily benefit Mr. Kothari’s property, was not selected for funding — but it has remained a priority ask for the city,” Bronin said.

Further, Bronin said, “following the severe floods in 2021, we convened multiple conversations between the Housing Authority, the MDC, and Mr. Kothari, in an attempt to broker a resolution that would help address Mr. Kothari’s issues— even though those conversations were complicated by the fact that Mr. Kothari had threatened legal action against the MDC and the Housing Authority. Ultimately, the only way to eliminate the risk of flooding on Mr. Kothari’s property is the same as it is elsewhere, and that is massive, long-term investment in upgrading an ancient storm sewer system that’s overwhelmed by the increasingly intense storms.”

Bronin also, in previously offering support to residents, has noted the sewer systems were built more than a century ago, “for the most part. It’s an ancient system” and that there is work being done to separate the sewer from the storm sewer, “so that when there’s flooding, it doesn’t back up and put sewage back into people’s basements.”

Kothari’s decision to close came less than a month after Gov. Ned Lamont and his administration in June committed $85 million in state funding from the state Clean Water Fund and related funding for a pilot program to address sewage overflows in streets and basements in North Hartford. Residents and businesses there have been chronically impacted by the long-term recurrence of flooding.

The Clean Water Fund is administered by state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and is used by the state to provide financial assistance to municipalities for projects addressing wastewater. The new money is expected to be applied to 12 projects proposed by the Metropolitan District to increase protections from sewer and stormwater-related flooding and backups in North Hartford, with the project estimated to cost $170 million in total.

Officials also have said that, coupled with the $85 million commitment, the biennial state budget that Lamont signed creates the Hartford Sewerage System Repair and Improvement Fund, a pilot grant program overseen by State Comptroller Sean Scanlon that will provide support to Hartford residents impacted by flood damage on or after Jan. 1, 2021.

Kothari said that making the decision to close the store has hit residents and his employees the most, as they have developed strong friendships with community members who have patronized the store throughout the years.

“It’s been the hardest on the employees, because they every day helped people. And suddenly those same people when they come through the other door, (and) say ‘Hey, can I just get a can of paint? Hey, can I just get this? Hey, can I get that?’ We have to now say no…,” he said.

“Even though you don’t realize it, it’s the same contractor that walks into the neighborhood that does X amount of work, this will be the same person that lives down the street. Emotionally, it’s very, very hard to absorb, after such a long history, something like this can happen,” he said.

Kothari said that while many of his employees disagreed with the decision and wanted to try to figure out a way to keep the business open, the losses kept coming one after the other with the recent storms, leaving him with no other choice.

One of his employees, Sam, has been working at the store for 25 years – opening and closing the store, said that it was very hard for him to hear the hardware store is closing, as he made many friends with community members.

“My heart was crying, because we work hard…the heartbreak. We miss friends, it’s been 25 years…we feel it bad in our heart, because we have been through every day like that…When we see the weather, we are scared,” he said.

Another employee of the hardware store, Lloyd Brown, has also worked there for 25 years and said that it is difficult to see the store close.

“To be honest, I felt really bad about that. Because I’ve been in the system with the hardware (for) so long…I have other customers that come in and feel the same way,” he said.

Now that the hardware store is closed, the workers said, residents will have to travel to other surrounding towns. as this was a primary business for many community members to get their keys made, get screws or locks for their home projects, or buy a can of paint.

Kothari said that he is truly grateful to the North End Community for supporting the store throughout the years.

“The most important thing (that) needs to (be said) about today: I cannot be more thankful to the North End community,” he said. “There are folks in our community that will leave Home Depot to buy stuff at my place. The only reason is because they cared, because they knew we cared here. We used to issue credit to contractors, just at face value, all those things the community (will) miss,” he said.

Source: Deidre Montague, Hartford Courant, July 11, 2023