55+ City Businesses Opened In 2012

Allan Appel PhotoAs goes Orange Street Hairstyles, so goes New Haven small business, it seems.

The shop’s owner, Stacey Quattlebaum, has her nifty barber pole, her sign and new decals on her doors. She has a new employee who specializes in razor cuts with a softer than silk badger hair brush. Best of all, business has been going well. 

Quattlebaum (pictured at right above with the new employee, Tabitha Lynch) opened the shop in February. It was one of the first of at least 55 new businesses that sprang up in town during 2012.

Economic Development Deputy Director Tony Bialecki made the announcement at the regular meeting Tuesday of the city’s Development Commission. The numbers are preliminary and likely exceed 55, Bialecki said.

His department plans to come up with final numbers of businesses and employees added along with an analysis at the end of the month. Bialecki said the official total is likely to exceed 55 because many start-ups out of incubators like The Grove are not being reported, and even some biotech and other technology start-ups don’t get recognized officially until they move into an office or commercial location.

Click here to read the lsit of 55 new businesses.

No matter the final numbers, the harvest of new firms well exceeds the 38 new businesses that Bialecki and his colleagues identified in 2011.

Bialecki said his office had record of only three or four businesses closed in New Haven in 2012.

Click here for a story of how Quattlebaum’s first-ever business was faring in the spring.

Click here for a copy of the preliminary list with the 55 businesses listed by name, neighborhood, and, in a few instances, number of employees.

Of the 55, approximately 25 are listed as being located in a part of downtown, such as Reynolds Fine Art on lower Orange Street. Another nine or 10 are Dixwell, with one in Newhallville and one in Fair Haven.

By far the largest new employer is Lenny & Joe Fish Tale restaurant, which replaced Leo’s at Long Wharf. The city’s document states it will employ 100 people.

Another restaurant, this one downtown, comes in next in terms of employees: Shake Shack expected to employ 60, full and part time, while Harbor Freight in the Dwight neighborhood employs 10 people, according to city records.

Boris Itzahaky’s Infinite Wellness employs three people, as does Reynolds Fine Art and Nuts 4 Nuts, a new food cart. Tomatillo Taco Joint and Therapy, both in the Broadway district employee five people, according to city documents.

Bialecki emphasized the preliminary nature of the list.

When she was opening her business, Quattlebaum wanted to put up a large sign. She said she experienced an initial shock from city bureaucrats whom she contacted about the process, cost, legal, and engineering hurdles she’d have to jump through. So she opted to go a different route: To put up a very small sign that required no zoning or aldermanic approvals. Her new shingle sticks out less than three feet over the sidewalk. With no danger of clunking people below badly enough for insurance or requiring specially engineered bolts, the whole shebang became affordable, with a permit costing only $80.

“It took me forever, but, oh my God, the city was helpful,” she said.

What could the city do more for her fledgling business in the year to come? Allow her a sandwich board outside to advertise her specials like the new badger-brush razor cut that Tabitha Lynch is offering.

Alas, the city’s rule now is that the sidewalk is too narrow, with no sandwich boards permitted between Elm and the Ninth Square, Quattlebaum reported.

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posted by: anonymous on January 11, 2013  2:40pm

This is great news!  The fact that half opened downtown seems to show that the investments of the Town Green District are paying off and creating hundreds of jobs. 

Now, if only the New Haven powers-that-be would stop preventing BIDs from expanding to other parts of New Haven, or in the cases where they do exist, from expanding beyond their tiny boundaries and limited roles.