National Small Business Week recognizes entrepreneurs and small business owners across the country. According to the Small Business Association, “more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.”
We plan to celebrate National Small Business Week by highlighting business events in our community, community partners, and our financial solutions. Help us celebrate National Small Business Week next week by shopping local!
James W. Lyman, Owner, View Entertainment based in Norwalk
“I need a partner that moves as quickly as I do and First County Bank does that for me.” ~ James Lyman
James W. Lyman is a busy entrepreneur, and his business moves quickly. He’s the owner/operator of View Entertainment based in Norwalk that specializes in Video and DVD distribution. Serving the entertainment industry primarily, View Entertainment has been in business for more than 20 years. James is the kind of entrepreneur who likes fast answers from people who hear what he’s saying and think about what he needs. He believes in partnership and wants to work with like-minded people who are true community partners. It’s this mind-set that brought him to partner with First County Bank, that and his desire to support local business.
Michael Totilo, Managing Partner of Totilo & Company, LLC based in Stamford
“When a client trusts you, you can give them referrals and First County Bank has always come through.” ~ Mike Totilo, Managing Partner, Totilo & Company, LLC.
Mike Totilo is managing partner of accounting firm Totilo & Company, LLC based in Stamford. He’s been a Certified Public Accountant in Stamford for more than 30 years offering a range of accounting, auditing and bookkeeping services.
In addition, Totilo is a member of the Stamford Planning Board and a long standing customer of First County Bank for both his personal and business needs as well as the needs of his clients.
Attorney Abby Bates, Partner at Roberts & Bates, P.C., Stamford, CT
“First County Bank is really more than our bank; they’re an invaluable partner.” ~ Attorney Abby Bates
Abby Bates is a successful attorney and partner at Roberts & Bates, P.C. based in Stamford, Connecticut. Born in New London, Connecticut, Abby Bates earned her bachelor’s degree from Smith College and her JD from Northeastern University School of Law. She was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar and practiced there from 1978 to 1981. She then moved to Greenwich, Connecticut with her family where she was admitted to practice in 1982 and joined the firm of Roberts, Cousins & Sweigart in 1983. Today known as Roberts & Bates, Bates became partner of the firm in 1995 and has been there ever since.
Serving clients in lower Fairfield County and throughout Connecticut, her practice areas include Residential Real Estate, Commercial Real Estate, Banking and Estate Planning. She has been an active member in the community, serving two years as co-chair of The Parents Exchange, sponsored by the Junior League of Greenwich, and has been a member of the Greenwich Choral Society since 1982 as well as serving on its Board for many years. In addition to her involvement in the community, Abby’s firm has been a long-time business customer of First County Bank.
Richard J. Margenot
“I have First County Bank on speed dial” ~ Richard Margenot
Richard J. Margenot would be the first person to tell you that he wears many hats. As a multi-faceted Attorney with more than 21 years of legal practice in Connecticut and New York, he deals with a variety of clients who all have different needs. From buying houses to incorporating a business to setting up living trusts and much more, clients turn to Richard for his expert advice. He has a busy law practice specifically focusing on real estate, probate litigation, estate planning, conservatorship and business matters. Essentially, his practice is dedicated to wealth and health and the strategies to preserve each. Other hats Richard wears include an executive board member position with the Greenwich Council Boy Scouts of America and serves as vice president of operations. Richard is also a member of the board of directors for the Montgomery Pinetum Park Coalition Inc.
Vincent Vetrini’s business, County TV & Appliance, has been a staple in Stamford since 1952. The guiding principles behind his business are traditional values of honesty, courtesy, great prices and service. He doesn’t compromise with the quality of products he sells or the sales staff he hires, saying, “They are the best in the business with an average of 18 years’ experience selling appliances and electronics.”
Although he had always leased warehouse space, an opportunity arose where he could purchase a large warehouse for his inventory. For Vincent, it was unchartered territory. So he did what many area businesses do when they need real estate help; he called First County Bank for its assistance. Continue reading
Star Wines & Spirits is a 4th generation family owned business in Stamford that opened right after Prohibition in 1933. It was one of the first liquor stores to obtain a permit in Connecticut. Keir Curran, owner of Star Wines & Spirits, has been running the business since Jan. 1, 1998, when his uncle decided to retire.
“My uncle wanted to keep the business going so he asked me if I would take it over. I was nervous and at the same time very excited to become a business owner at such a young age,” says Curran. Continue reading
When Stamford native Jim Ferraro was a student at Trinity Catholic High School, he worked part time at Stamford Florist as a delivery boy. When he graduated they offered him a full time position and shortly after the owners asked if he wanted to take over the business. He discussed the opportunity with his family and decided to say yes. In 1977 at the early age of 20, Jim Ferraro became the small business owner of Stamford Florist.
“I knew that, at minimum, if I upheld the same business standards of service and quality we would succeed. Always answer the phone with a smile. The word ‘no’ is not an option,” says Ferraro. Continue reading
Bill Jensen, owner of Darien Toy Box. Photography by Megan Dey Photography
When you walk into Darien Toy Box on the Post Road in Darien, Connecticut, you might feel as if you’ve been magically transported into the fantastical world of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium filled to the brim with unique toys from around the world, collectables and an animated jungle with Winston, a life size Orangutan that moves and tells jokes to children. Ever since he was a child, Darien Toy Box owner Bill Jensen otherwise affectionately known as Mr. Bill, Bill or Chief Toy Man, wanted to make toys and dreamed of having his own toy store. Loving all kinds of toys as a kid, he had a special affinity for LEGO’s® and the WBritain® brand name of toy and collectable soldiers. Continue reading
As a child, Woody Oldrin grew up on an 18 acre property called Round Meadow, in Darien, Connecticut. His parents were avid environmentalists and horticulturists. Oldrin’s dad, in addition to working would spend days cutting the field and his mom would be busy planting tomatoes. Their love for nature and the environment was intoxicating. It’s no wonder Oldrin’s parents would be the inspiration for what would become his life purpose – a career in landscape design/build.
In 1994 after a stint as partner in a landscaping company, Oldrin decided to branch out on his own and open Round Meadow Landscapes in Darien. Decidedly concentrating on the residential market, he started the company by working out of his home with just himself and a couple of used trucks. Oldrin decided to target the residential market because he felt it was more satisfying to beautify people’s homes by using a unique approach to landscape design. His specialty, and what he is known for locally, is using indigenous, non-invasive plants to create beautiful, native environments for homeowners. In his own words, “creating an oasis that makes coming home feel like getting away for the weekend.”
“It’s gratifying to enhance their quality of life by nature, it gives me a sense of purpose every day,” says Oldrin.
In 2006, after 12 years of steady growth and a desire to expand, Oldrin met with First County Bank about applying for a business mortgage on a piece of property to house his company. He met with Jim Darling, a Vice President in First County’s Commercial Lending division. Soon after he closed on a mortgage, opened a business checking account and a line of credit which, he says, was key to keeping his business growing.
“First County Bank gave me my big break. I had met with several other banks at the time and immediately liked the people at First County Bank. They are a lot like me in that they’re not the biggest; however they are the best quality.”
Today Round Meadow Landscapes has 15 full time employees and 12 trucks! His vision; to continue to strive to be the best and revitalize area homes and neighborhoods with native plants, greens and floras…naturally.