bonappetitHAMDEN: The bad news was that Roland Blakeslee was closing the well-known cheese and specialty food store, Bon Appetit at 2979 Whitney Avenue that he ran with his wife, Annie, for 47 years.

Then the good news followed as a long time customer Gina Rossi Priest agreed to taking over the business.

Priest is not a foodie newbie, her experience began in the food, beverage industry with her first hospitality job as a “coat check girl,” at The Pavilion Restaurant in 1978. Priest eventually became one of that restaurants few female servers.

smallbusinessHOUSTON: Don’t look to the Nutgmeg State for a lot of positive thinking small business owners. According to a study by Womply, a technology and data company serving small businesses nationwide, it that claims fore than 100,000, small business customers.

According to the firm’s study Connecticut ranks No. 41 nationally for small business optimism. There is somewhat better news for the job seekers with 15% of owners planning to add staff this year which ranks the state #17 nationally.

The study, which polled 4,700 small business owners in all 50 states, revealed what’s driving optimism or pessimism on Main Street and how small business confidence (or lack thereof) might translate into actions like hiring or expansion.

location astoriaNEW YORK: Can New York style pizza get a slice of the New Haven and Connecticut market?

The Artichoke Basille’s Pizza, franchise which says it is “the nation’s largest and fastest growing New York pizza concept,” has signed a multi-unit franchise deal to bring its “larger than life” slices and whole pies to the greater Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut areas.

Franchisee Matthew Rusconi is looking to open the first location by year’s end and is actively scouting real estate opportunities in Hartford County, New Haven, Middletown, and Cromwell.