Sometimes, home-grown businesses decide to stay in Connecticut. That was the case this fall as Carla’s Pasta – an American Dream business success story – reportedly spurned an offer to relocate to a western state, and chose instead to expand in South Windsor, aided by a significant tax abatement. The company produces filled pastas, Italian sauces and pestos, appetizers, and entrees. The brainchild of Carla Squatrito, the business now employs 156 people, including her sons, Sandro Squatrito and Sergio Squatrito, who are vice presidents of business development and operations, respectively. The Italian food product manufacturer, which was launched in 1978, in Manchester and moved to South Windsor in 1997.
The latest expansion deal, as reported by the Journal Inquirer, will see the town give the family-run Carla’s Pasta a 70 percent tax abatement for seven years, reducing the company’s tax burden by well over $200,000 per year. The planned expansion is expected to generate 60 to 100 new jobs, and is due to be completed next fall. In 2013, Carla's completed a 30,000-square-foot expansion of its South Windsor facility, the Hartford Business Journal reported.
Town Manager Matthew Galligan, the JI reported, said the state of Utah was courting the company, but Carla’s ultimately decided to stay in town as a result of the deal that was approved by the Town Council.
Carla, a native of the small Italian village of Madonna del’Olmetto, emigrated to the U.S. at age 27. Her business began as a means of bringing “home-made filled pastas, Italian Sauces and Pestos, made from fresh ingredients, the flavors of her youth” to local customers, retail and later wholesale. Since 2010, Carla has been recognized by the National Women Business Owners Corporation as an outstanding CEO.
The company distributes its pasta to restaurants, institutions and supermarkets. In 2012, the company estimated that it was making about 2 million pounds of pasta per month, with projections to increase that number by a third.
The company received a bridge loan of $2,175,000 from Connecticut Innovations that year to help purchase and install a fuel cell along with a $750,000 grant from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund. The state assistance was aimed at supporting the company efforts to be environmentally conscious and energy efficient.
In Oct. 2015, the company launched its own retail brand, Cucina di Carla. Among the distinctive products inspired by the season: autumn-inspired cinnamon clove pasta ravioli filled with golden pumpkin, whole milk ricotta and Fall spices.