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.
(l. to r.) Michael P. Beldotti, James F. Beldotti, James H. Darling, of First County Bank, and Christopher G. Beldotti, at Good Bread Bakery in Port Chester, N.Y.
Small Business Profiles debuts today with a profile on Stamford-based family owned business Beldotti Bakeries.
James Beldotti’s son wanted to make bread. Literally. He was pretty convinced that he didn’t want to go into the corporate world, and wanted to buy the bakery he had been working at throughout his college years. So James Beldotti, got on the phone to First County Bank and started talking bread. The money kind this time. And soon his son Michael was in the baking business, and James Beldotti could get back onto the golf course and enjoy his retirement. That is until his other son Christopher decided he wanted a bakery as well. And that’s when the personal relationships with First County Bank really began to make a difference.