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NORWICH—State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) got an earful this morning when she toured New England Glass and Mirror—an earful of good news and compliments from the company president who applied for and received two types of state business aid and has since grown his workforce by 33 percent and taken on new projects.
Sen. Osten toured New England Glass and Mirror at 31 Connecticut Avenue in Norwich’s Business Park. The company expanded there a few years ago, just before they applied for and received a $100,000 matching state grant through the Small Business Express Program. The firm also applied for and received subsidized wages for training when it hired four people under the state’s STEP-Up program.
New England Glass and Mirror President Carl Reiser said he was a ‘skeptic’ when he first heard about Connecticut’s small business programs through the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) and the Norwich Community Development Corporation (NCDC).
“I was a skeptic going in. But I was really amazed at how simple it all was. It really did work from our standpoint,” Reiser said.
New England Glass and Mirror has since increased its workforce from 15 to 20 employees, purchased a box truck and a trailer, a new computer system, laptops for employees at project sites, and new tools for the shop… The result is that they have expanded from routine repair work into fabricating windows; New England Glass is the official glass subcontractor for all of the new rest stops being constructed along Interstates 95 and 395 in Connecticut.
“Now we’re looking to get a state EXP loan,” Reiser said, referring to yet another pro-business program created by the legislature. He also volunteered to promote and talk to other companies seeking similar small business help from the state.
“I like talking to small business owners about what’s good, what’s bad, and what needs to improve regarding state assistance for small business,” Sen. Osten said. “Any company that’s using taxpayer funds, I want to make sure it’s working for them.”