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Mayor Segarra Announces Launch of iConnect Downtown Storefront Revitalization

(September 19, 2013) Mayor Segarra announced today an official launch date of October 11 for iConnect, Hartford’s downtown storefront revitalization program, with a satellite location for WNPR and two new businesses, Naturally Dogs & Cats and Hartford Prints!.   The iConnect program is partially funded through a grant from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Office of the Arts for the purpose of converting empty storefronts into mixed use spaces. The City’s Marketing Events and Cultural Affairs Department, who administers the project, received over 40 applications from which a total of 5 businesses were selected. 

“iConnect offers a glimpse of what Downtown Hartford will look like in the future,” said Mayor Segarra. “It’s great to hear the excitement from the businesses about being in the Capital City. Change takes time but this is a first step towards pushing our creative economy forward and creating a roadmap to success for some of our entrepreneurs.”

"iConnect Hartford is poised to be the next evolution of storefront reuse and creative entrepreneurial incubation," said Margaret Bodell, Chief Visionary Officer of CreateHereNow, a DECD placemaking program and one of the nation’s experts in Storefront Revitalization programs.  

Naturally Dogs & Cats, located on 100 Trumbull Street will offer premium pet food and supplies made and sourced within the U.S.A. with a concentration on products made in New England. Owners expressed interest in collaborating with local artists to create a line of pet attire and accessories and exhibit pet inspired artwork in the store.

“As a start-up business, we are excited about the opportunity that the iConnect program has offered to us,” said Bob Marshall, co-owner of Naturally Dogs & Cats.  “We are looking forward to the coming months and to seeing more foot and paw traffic on the streets of Hartford.”

“With a residential retail occupancy rate of 99% and many of our residents having pets, there isn’t a better fit for our community at Trumbull on the Park than Naturally Dogs & Cats,” said Maria Lamari, Property Manager.  “The iConnect Program gives a small business a jump start while providing a much needed service to Hartford residents and visitors alike.”

Selected businesses receive up to $2,000 for build-out and set up assistance and free rent in a Downtown storefront for 6 months. iConnect has received commitments from two property owners including Northland Investment Corporation and Lexington Partners for approximately 6,000 square feet of retail space. Hartford Prints!, a letterpress studio owned by three sisters born and raised in Hartford will be located on 42 1/2 Pratt Street. WNPR will broadcast both The Colin McEnroe Show and Where We Live with John Dankosky from their satellite space at 231 Trumbull Street at least once a month. National Exhibitions & Archives and State of Makers stores will open in early winter.

"We're excited to be a part of a program that helps to bring economic development and vitality to downtown Hartford and we look forward to iConnect's continued success," said Peter M. Standish, Senior Vice President, Northland Investment Corporation. 

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For Immediate Release: September 19, 2013
Contact: Kristina Newman-Scott
p. (860) 757-9016
c. (860) 986-1439
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HARTFORD CITY HALL ADDRESS: 550 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103 PHONE: (860)757-9311 HOURS: 8AM - 5PM