The Innovation Destination Hartford community continues to grow and, over the past few months, we seemed to have a theme. In addition to stories about all types of startups and entrepreneurs from all types of industries, IDH recently featured interviews with local butchers, brewers, bakers, and coffee makers—from a cottage licensed home baker to a microbakery to a small businesses that pivoted to better serve its customers. Read on for insight about starting and growing these types of small businesses in the Hartford Region.

Avon Prime Meats

This local butcher transitioned from a franchise to an independently owned small business in 2014. “We are very committed to our local community. We like being a small local business that supports other small businesses in our town and our community,” says General Manager Rocio Olivares.

Big Up Brew

Creative entrepreneur Jermaine Frazer-Phillips became a “covidpreneur” when he launched Big Up Brew in April 2021 with a mission to provide a high-quality, inclusive brand inspired by the uplifting Jamaican phrase “big up yourself.” He talks about the importance of building a local network: “It’s very foundational for us to meet people within Hartford, sit down, and have coffees. Building your network is necessary. You can’t do it alone. You have to have your foundation and Hartford has a great foundation for that.”

Bloom Bake Shop

Operating out of the Swift Factory in Hartford, Bloom Bake Shop recently participated in the reSET Retail Incubator. “It was always my plan to go to culinary school and open a bakery,” admits Co-Owner Monica Beaudoin.

Disheveled Diva

Bria Day is passionate about baking and giving back to the community, so she got a cottage food business now she’s building a reputation for her bespoke sweet treats and continuing to support the community. Her recommendation for those curious: “The cottage food license is an awesome gateway to dipping your toe in the water. It’s a way to have really low operating expenses and be able to sell your goods legally and test things out.”

Ovelle Coffee

Business owners Sasha and Ian Fay fell in love with each other and then fell in love with Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee while they were in Jamaica for their destination wedding. Their goal was to not only sell great-tasting coffee in the United States, but also, explains Sasha, “We’re passionate about letting people know the value of our coffee and the impact they have from buying with us. Our customers’ purchases provide sustainability for Jamaican farmers, who are really being hit hard because of both COVID-19 and mandatory lockdowns. We want to reinvest in those farmers and help them provide sustainability for their farms.”

Small State Provisions

It’s fair to say Small State Provisions Founder Kevin Masse is obsessed with bread. “Coming from New York City, we had lots of options where we could get really good bread. And while I think there are some fantastic bakeries here in town, I always felt like I missed something from New York, so I set out to find that by creating it myself.” And so, he did. Find out how he built his microbrewery at GastroPark.

Phantom Brewing Company

Full-time physical education teacher Jonathan Patrei shares about how his love of cooking and passion for trying new crafts encouraged him to learn to brew beer and eventually become co-owner of a local brewery. “Phantom Brewing loves being part of the beer community in Connecticut. We love being on the scene and contributing as much as we can,” he says.

Weha Brewing and Roasting Company

Okay, so this feature was much earlier in the year, but it’s exciting to note that after three years of planning, Weha Brewing and Roasting Company is open on Shield Street in West Hartford! Along the way, “We kept building momentum with our online business and have been pleasantly surprised about how much support we’ve received from the community,” said Founder Cody McCormack.

A gorgeous cookie from Bloom Bake Shop.
Big Up Brew invites you to “big up yourself.”
Disheveled Diva loves baking as well as packaging things beautifully.
Weha Brewing and Roasting provides a unique space for both beer and coffee lovers.