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Looking Back At 2016: Fairfield County's Top Business Stories Of The Year

Sikorsky President Dan Schultz outlines a plan to keep the company headquarters in Stratford.
Sikorsky President Dan Schultz outlines a plan to keep the company headquarters in Stratford. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- From General Electric moving its global headquarters out of Fairfield, to small mom-and-pop shops opening up all over the county, Fairfield County was bustling with business activity throughout the year.

Here are some of the top business stories of 2016:

After years of looking, General Electric announced it would move its corporate headquarters from Fairfield to Boston along with 200 of its 800 workers. GE’s decision raised concerns about the impact on the local and state economy, with officials worrying that the relocation would have heavy repercussions in both the labor and real estate markets from Greenwich to Trumbull. Experts say the company’s decision to move was fueled by its desire to have access to younger, tech-savvy talent. GE opened its new headquarters in Boston in August, and in November, Sacred Heart University agreed to purchase the Fairfield property.

A massive project that would bring 700,000 square feet of retail space in a new mall in South Norwalk took another step toward construction after a land disposition agreement was signed. Developers also created a 3-D model of the proposed property.

Developers broke ground in March on a 140,000-square-foot “transit-oriented” apartment/retail complex that is likely to be a game changer for the area within walking distance of the Fairfield Metro train station.

A drive-through grocery store called The Barn opened a location in April on the Stamford-Darien border.

Redline Renovations announced in July that it was moving its Fairfield Avenue vintage car showroom and shop down the street to a cavernous, bricked-up warehouse to help make Bridgeport an automotive destination.

Becca Bryan of Bridgeport and her best friend, Betsy Arroyo of Derby, have opened Dixie Doughnuts by Whisk + Brush, an itty-bitty food truck decked out to serve up some serious doughnuts.

Several hundred shoppers turned out at for the grand opening of the new ShopRite in Danbury. It is operated by the Cingari family of Stamford.

Shelton's Giggling Pig, a popular art-and-party spot, opened a second location in Bethel just a couple months before winning three international business awards.

Lockheed Martin agreed to keep its Sikorsky Aircraft headquarters in Stratford at least until 2032 in exchange for financial incentives of up to $220 million from the state. The pact was approved by the state legislature. It also calls for Sikorsky to double its spending to in-state suppliers and for the local factory to build 200 CH-53K King Stallion helicopters for the U.S. Navy. Sikorsky also received a $138 million contract to continue maintenance work on the Marine One presidential helicopter.

Garelick & Herbs — described as Disney World for foodies — opened the doors on its new 10,000-square-foot location in Southport this September. It features a juice and smoothie bar, a salad bar, freshly baked pastries and bread, and an extra-long display case filled with everything from stuffed salmon and ginger flank steak to kale slaw and eggplant rollatini.

A Danbury entrepreneur tapped into his heritage when opening a new food truck focused on rice and beans.

An Easton native who spent the last nine years traveling the world as a dancer for "Riverdance" has opened a new Irish Dance Academy with locations in Fairfield, Milford and Hamden.

Xerox announced in December that it had reached a deal with the state to keep its headquarters in Norwalk. The decision will retain 150 jobs, and possibly add 20 to 40 new jobs over the next four years.

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