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2013 in Review: The Year's Most Important Business Stories

A look back at the stories that mattered most to Newtowners in 2013.

Note: Our year-in-review series covers the most relevant stories of 2013 in the Newtown business community.

Sandy Hook Continues to Revitalize: 
Many Sandy Hook businesses received a $500,000 STEAP (Small Town Economic Assistance Program) grant to help them recover in the wake of the Dec. 14 shooting. With the help of Newtown's Economic Development Council and the Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity, businesses put the grant to work throughout the year.

GE Gives Newtown $15 Million to Build New Community Center: 
General Electric, which employs more than 150 Newtown residents, donated funds to build and run a community center, officials announced in November. "The reality is, having a place where people could come together makes a lot of sense in terms of recovery," said town facilitator Anne Alzapeidi, a GE employee. "We have a lot of wonderful services in town, but the GE employees felt this would be a good opportunity."

Local Starbucks Finds Itself In Controversy: When advocates declared Aug. 9 "Starbucks Appreciation Day" because of the national coffee chain's policy on allowing guns, the location on Church Hill Road became the center of a national news story. Although the store closed early, supporters and detractors alike gathered outside in the rain to voice their opinions. Starbucks later changed its policy.

New Businesses Open in Sandy Hook: A clothing resale shop, a cafe, a new age gift shop and a restaurant were among new businesses in Sandy Hook center. The Foundry Kitchen and Tavern has become a local favorite; "Labels + Tags" offers eco-friendly vintage clothing; Village Perk has given residents a traditional Italian cafe experience with an unparalleled view of the Pootatuck River; and Unique Blessings is a small shop with a bounty of positive energy.

'The Newtown Way': In 2013, Newtown's Economic Development Council launched a campaign to remind shoppers the importance of buying local. EDC coordinator Betsy Paynter said about $68 of every $100 spent in town stays local. "If you go to Butcher's Best and buy your sandwich from [owner Steve Ford], he also buys services from a local lawyer or accountant, so that money circulates business-to-business," she said.

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