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Julie Daly Meehan, COO MetroHartford Alliance with Governor Lamont


Barry Alexander, Founder of Aquiline Drones


Connecticut feels an economic boost as more people see the state’s advantages during COVID-19

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, more than twice the number of people moved to Connecticut compared to the year before.According to Gov. Ned Lamont and some of the state’s business leaders, that influx has provided a much-needed economic shot-in-the-arm.

“Who would have thought it?” Lamont said Tuesday during a press conference at the headquarters of Aquiline Drones in Hartford. “Last year was one of our biggest years in terms of starting up businesses and one of our great years in terms of real estate. And it’s not just in certain parts of the state, it’s all over the state.”

Carol Christiansen, president of the Connecticut Association of Realtors, said 2020 was the best real estate market in the state in a decade. And as we head into the spring selling season, which is always traditionally a hot time for real estate sales, Christiansen said the demand for home shows no signs of abating.

“We have more buyers now than we have homes that are available,” she said. “We’re down to about a two month supply in terms of inventory. Selling a home right now usually produces multiple offers.”

Lamont predicted Connecticut’s economy “will grow incredibly more confident” as spring arrives and more of the state’s residents get vaccinated.

Aquiline Drones is an example of a small business that is succeeding in Connecticut, he said

The six-year-old company has 55 of its 130 employees working out of its headquarters in the Stark Building. Aquiline is preparing to hire another 25 workers in a few weeks, said chief executive officer Barry Alexander.

“You know the saying about how it takes a community to raise a child?.” Alexander said. “Well, small businesses need communities to be supportive, in order to thrive.”


MetroHartford Alliance’s COO, Julie Daly Meehan also spoke at the press conference.


As a representative of the MetroHartford Alliance and the Hartford Chamber of Commerce, which are focused on business development and expansion, I’m encouraged by the information we’re hearing here today.


One of the ways we recognize success in our region is by celebrating the resiliency of businesses that are thriving despite the pandemic.


COVID-19 has created new challenges—and new opportunities for businesses throughout our state. I want to shine a light on our restaurant industry, which exemplifies innovation and is adapting to customers’ changing needs.


Family-owned Aurora’s Bakery just opened this month. These first-time business owners jumped on the opportunity to meet the needs of the local Guatemalan community by providing authentic food right here in Hartford. Now, people throughout the state can enjoy this cultural experience closer to home.


The Place 2 Be fueled business growth, even during the pandemic. They leveraged their edgy branding and strong social media presence while adapting their already unique experiential dining. They also began offering takeout and delivery for their infamous brunch box. With these strategies, they were able to open a second location in Hartford and they’re expanding into West Hartford.


Before COVID-19, Parkville Market was on track to open a 20,000 square ft food hall with communal dining and events. They quickly shifted and put extra safety efforts in place with outdoor pick-up windows and courtyard dining. So much work went into creating and opening this space. We’re grateful we now have Connecticut’s first food hall, featuring 23— and counting— international food vendors.


These are just three examples of dynamic business growth in Connecticut—and the Hartford Chamber of Commerce supports businesses like these every step of the way. The MetroHartford Alliance has a broad and powerful regional voice that amplifies our Chamber’s efforts, extending the reach of Hartford businesses past city limits into our region and state.


We will continue to support business growth and expansion, building on the positive momentum here in Connecticut.