Businesses Flock to Southington

Consumer confidence is down and the economy is struggling. At a time when there's concern about businesses leaving the state, Southington is seeing a boon.

At least a dozen businesses, including big retail chains and small mom-and-pop stores, will open in Southington in the coming year.

"Southington offers a high degree of value to both residents and business owners in town and by that, we have a very low tax rate. We have a high level (of) services that we offer to our community," Lou Perillo, the town's economic development coordinator, said.

Southington offers tax breaks to new businesses and existing ones that want to expand, he said.

"We are part of the enterprise zone, which is a state offering. If you're a manufacturer you get a five-year break. Our town has also been cognizant of existing properties that may want to expand, which may not be in the enterprise zone. We'll offer them a break as well."

One existing business taking advantage of the tax incentive is Dean's Stove and Spa, which opened in 1979.

"Being a small business person myself, I need that financial help whichever way I can get it," Dean Michanczyk said. "We started here 31 years ago I want to help the downtown area as much as I can."

About two years ago, he wanted to open another businesses and Hearthstone Pub became a reality three months ago.

The restaurant has added almost 50 jobs in the town and, together, Michanczyk's two businesses now employ 90 people.

Perillo and Michanczyk said Southington's central location right off of Interstate 84 makes it attractive.

"(Interstate) 84 has approximately 74,000 cars a day driving through Southington," Perillo said.

Earlier this year, the town got a boost from the openings of BJ's Warehouse and Shop Rite. The two created more than 400 jobs. BJ's moved into an 111,000-square-foot location on Spring Street behind Staples. Including the warehouse store, it also has a gas station.

Dora Theriault, a longtime resident, said she's never seen this kind of growth. "I've been here for almost 50 years now."

The news businesses opening are a mix of restaurants, retail, manufacturing and industrial, including Moe's Southwest Grill in the Shoprite Plaza, which will open in February.

Zingarella's Italian restaurant will soon open on West Main Street and SRS National Trucking Company will open sometime next year.

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