NORWALK — Two entrepreneurs showed Lt. Gov. Nancy S. Wyman on Friday how state money is being put to work in Norwalk to invigorate the local economy.
Wyman was given a tour of Ola! Foods, LLC, which recently expanded its operations on Woodward Avenue with the help of a $100,000 state grant, according to Ola! Foods Founder & President Dina Houser.
The lieutenant governor, state lawmakers and local elected officials also toured 71 Wall St., where Wall Street Theater Co. is beginning renovation of the former Globe Theater.
Wyman praised the unfolding project, which she described as the goal for many urban areas.
“This is what we’re all talking about, what everybody talks about all the time, bringing our cities back to life,” Wyman said.
Wyman was joined by state Sen. Bob Duff, state Rep. Christopher R. Perone, Mayor Harry W. Rilling and several Common Council members.
Duff thanked Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Wyman for their support of the project.
“We believe that this area, which has had an infusion of state dollars, is ripe for revitalization and can really shine the way it did,” Duff said.
Houser showed Wyman how she used the $100,000 state grant to expand her business and purchase equipment.
The elected officials were given a tour of operations, from the office to the kitchen to the shipping-and-receiving area.
Ola! Foods now employs a half-dozen people and sells its 100-percent natural, gluten-free granola to more than 3,000 stores, largely on the East Coast.
Wyman and others took immediate notice of the sweet aroma throughout the building — testament to the ingredients used to create Vanilla Almond, Chocolate Banana Chip, Cranberry Orange Pecan and No Nut Vanilla granolas.
“It’s really not a complicated product,” Houser said. “It’s about good, simple ingredients.”
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By ROBERT KOCH
The Hour Staff Writer
Hour photo / Erik Trautmann