Hartford Looks To Vacant Storefronts To House iConnect Winners
By JENNA CARLESSO
June 12, 2013
HARTFORD —— The city is eyeing vacant storefronts along Pratt and Trumbull streets to house the four businesses it chose as winners of its iConnect program.
In April, after reviewing more than 40 applications, the city selected as its winners Hartford Prints, a family-run paper goods store and studio; National Exhibitions and Archives, a pop-up museum and print-on-demand gallery; Farm Shop, an urban farm hub that will sell organic food and supplies; and Natural Dogs and Cats, a pet store selling dog and cat food. The program will establish the businesses for an eight-month trial period in hopes that they will be successful enough to remain open permanently.
City officials have pinpointed the following storefronts as potential locations: 42½ Pratt St. for Hartford Prints; 80 Pratt St. for Farm Shop; 100 Trumbull St. for Naturally Dogs and Cats; and an as-yet-undisclosed location between 100 and 200 Trumbull St. for National Exhibitions and Archives, according to Kristina Newman-Scott, Hartford's director of marketing, events and cultural affairs.
The city is still working to finalize those locations, she said.
Additionally, WNPR will occupy a remote space on Trumbull Street, where it will sometimes broadcast "Where We Live" and "The Colin McEnroe Show," Newman-Scott said. It will share the location with Deft Collective, a co-work space designed to attract entrepreneurs and people from the business community who could benefit from a group setting.
The city is also working to bring a pop-up marketplace to Trumbull Street, called Handmade Hartford, which will sell items made by local artists.
The first store could open as early as July, city officials said.
iConnect is partly funded by a $100,000 grant from a state program working to draw more people into cities and towns through arts and cultural activities. The city is contributing $65,000 toward the effort as part of its federal grant matching program.
The shop owners will qualify for free or reduced rent, plus a subsidy for utility bills.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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