HARTFORD, Conn. -- The Connecticut Department of Agriculture here has opened a specialty store that will showcase products of Connecticut-based companies.
Called the Connecticut Creative Store, the 25-by-18 foot unit is located on the second floor of the CDA building, and boasts over 100 products from 50 different suppliers.
"We help to get them started and it's another venue for marketing their products," said Bill Hopkins, a marketing representative for the CDA.
Products are displayed on blonde-wood fixturing and include such items as jams, jellies, mustards, candies, salsas, maple syrup, honey, vinegars, specialty sodas, pastas, olive oils, dressings, horse radish, and sauces. The store does not carry beer or wine, but will soon offer cheese products and a section of smoked meats. In the nonfoods area, Connecticut Creative carries the "CT Grown" line of clothing and University of Connecticut Huskies apparel. The unit is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays.
According to Robert Pellegrino, the bureau director of marketing and technology at the CDA, the new store will be a boon to the state's specialty food industry and will help promote the agriculture industry in the state of Connecticut.
The new store not only caters to consumers, Hopkins said, but also serves as a showcase for other retailers who may wish to purchase these homegrown products for their stores.
"The store brings in buyers, retailers, exporters and wholesalers," Pellegrino said. "They can come in and sample the product to see if they'd like to sell it in their own store. That is very important to us."
Sampling is done every day at the store, according to Pellegrino. In addition to advertising in local papers, magazines and on the radio, the CDA sends a bulletin to all major retailers in the area and offers a 10% discount to their employees. State department employees also receive a discount.