Best Places To Start A Business

The consumer finance website NerdWallet has named Greater Bridgeport one of the best places to start a business. These studies can get a little tricky when Bridgeport, Connecticut’s largest city, is grouped into a larger population area of Fairfield County. Still, with more housing Downtown and Steelpointe Harbor under construction, new foot traffic will buoy businesses, according to two Downtown business operators featured in this video.

From city Communications Director Brett Broesder:

The study examined and analyzed 183 metropolitan areas with 15,000 or more businesses and populations over 250,000, considering six metrics to assess the top markets to open a business. In each place, the study looked at the average revenue of businesses, the percentage of businesses with paid employees and the number of businesses per 100 people, all key indicators of success.

The findings: Location is one of the most important factors in business. A business’s location shapes its customer base, its workforce and its access to capital and mentorship. The report also concluded that smaller markets pay off. All of the locations in the top 10 list have populations under one million.

Chris Jarrin, of Fruta Juice, on Fairfield Avenue in downtown Bridgeport which recently celebrated its second anniversary, said he has seen the growth. He said he even saw surprisingly steady business during the recent blizzards.

“Downtown Bridgeport really doesn’t stop,” he said. “We’re seeing a steady increase in foot traffic and only expect it to increase when the hundreds of new apartments are built. I only see it getting better once as Downtown North and Steelpointe Harbor move forward. It’s an exciting time.”

Becca Bryan, of B:Hive Bridgeport, a co-working space downtown, said she and the entrepreneurs who share the B:hive have received great support for the city and sees great potential to grow.

“Bridgeport is a great place to do business. Bridgeport is the best,” she said. “It’s got so much room to grow. There’s a lot of space and energy and interesting people. The reality is there are people moving here to start something new.”



  1. These are the people I enjoy talking to. These people represent the future of our city. I was reading a post on the video with Brandeis Hall talking about his investment and belief in the city. An individual Jose Arriaga stated how he lived here for 35 years, that Bridgeport was disgusting and how he moved out blah blah blah, you get my drift. The guy is a real idiot to take the time to write such a nasty post. I don’t think he realized his real name would be used as his assumed name was Golden Dragon. He is the epitome of those who left the city and have a need to insult it and the people who live here. He must not have had any family or friends left behind and after 35 years that must really suck. I’ll bet this guy would feel right at home on this blog. I think it is great that there are positive people under the radar who quietly go about their business spreading positive energy.

  2. Another gem from the ministry of public enlightenment.
    The report said the Bridgeport – Norwalk – Stamford market, not Bridgeport. Nothing like using inductive reasoning when the facts of a report do not support your contrived message.

  3. Here’s a local “business story” I heard and wrote up two weeks ago about Melissa Bernstein attempting some business activity that is GREEN, and how the City works, the first part of the story mostly in Melissa’s own words:

    “One year ago I made a decision to do something green and do it in Bridgeport where I live. I had been attracted by honeybees for years, and spent about one thousand dollars last spring to purchase two wooden hive bodies, two colonies, and various supplies. Starting an apiary was more an activity initially than a business to provide an income. However I had a name in mind that I wanted to use, Amber Apiary, and I knew enough to register that as a trademark in the Town Clerk office. I also hoped to build it up so that someday I could earn money from my bees. I filled out the paperwork that they provided and had three copies notarized at my expense.” And so Melissa Bernstein told me about honeybees.

    “I was very excited to start this new venture. When I set up my two wooden hives and moved in my two honeybee colonies, I was told to expect the first year to be a building year, where the bees would settle in, make provisions for the winter and become productive in 2015. The first thing I learned was that agriculture has risks. One of the two colonies absconded (flew away) in the first week to find a new home.” (Perhaps they did not feel the concern and understanding of the Office of Planning and Economic Development (OPED)? But then, as it turns out, neither did Melissa.)

    “The results of my first year as beekeeper were as follows: two complete hive bodies, including drawn out comb and honey stores, one colony of bees, tools/gear, and some leftover feed and supplies. I made zero sales, because I had to leave honey stores for the winter. Since last year’s colony did not survive our harsh winter weather, as was common across the region, I have ordered another colony for the spring 2015 season which should arrive in May, and this new colony will be my only stock in the coming year.

    “This spring, the City of Bridgeport sent me a Personal Property Assessment Notice. Apparently I had failed to provide them with a report on my business income ($0) and the Business Property Personal that is subject to taxation (less than $300). They had assessed my business property as having a value of $3000, then added a fee of 25% of that sum as a penalty for not filing, totaling $3750. The Personal Property Assessment Notice stated that I could appeal this assessment, so I made use of that opportunity at City Hall to share copies of my receipts for the 2014 season. I was told that the bill is what it is because I had not filed last fall, and that if I did not pay it the interest would continue to accrue. I cannot afford to pay this bill that is ten times what it should be, nor can I afford an attorney to fight for me. I am happy to pay my fair share, but this bill is not fair.”

    “So my second season as a beekeeper is about to start, and I am a little wiser about the risks. I believe that if OPED were truly interested in attracting and retaining small businesses (and in encouraging the city to “BGreen,” they would provide information, through the Town Clerk’s Office, about when and how business property should be declared with the Tax Assessor’s office. I have never started a business before, and I am not psychic! But if I had been directed properly from the beginning, I could have filed my business information in the fall and avoided all of this.””

    Above is a story told to me by Melissa A. Bernstein. I was intrigued and offered to write up her experience on the chance that someone at City Hall might see a real opportunity to assist in the formation of informed taxpayers rather than adversaries wasting time and fighting each other. And I wonder how many of the dollars sitting in the City listing of unpaid taxes-Business Property Personal accounts have come about because of similar City process? Is Melissa suddenly vaulted into the big leagues where annual interest and penalties have placed Ricky DeJesus with $130,000 of similar outstanding levies? An abatement maybe like Fletcher Thompson? Green can stand for environmentally friendly. It can also indicate new and vulnerable, such as Amber Apiary was as a business activity. And it has always stood for money in the American mind. What is a fair way to find resolution to this? Time will tell.

    And now for the rest of the story. At the appeals process the City reduced the original $3,000 evaluation by 50% and the 25% fine by 50% thus reducing the original assessment from $3,750 to $1,875. Seemingly generous but when her records provided to Appeals showed only $1,000 total was spent and the majority of that does not meet the personal property test, it makes a listener wonder how much of what the City says is due for Personal Property Business tax to the City is for real? Perhaps an amnesty day of some type, especially if a high percentage of that total is comprised of annual interest or fees that were tacked on? How business friendly can we get? Time will tell.


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