Why Small Businesses Matter in Norwalk: The Hangout Spot


Why Small Businesses Matter

Shop small, do big things for your community

Why Small Businesses Matter puts a spotlight on the local merchants who donate their time, talent, goods, and services for the betterment of our community. The shop local movement spreads virally as local businesses who are “tagged” have the opportunity to share their story!

You're IT The Hangout Spot!

Four questions with Meghan Cave, Co-Founder, and CEO of The Hangout Spot.

Why did you start your business?

Driven by a passion for always doing right by the children they were blessed to serve in their capacity as Board Certified Behavior Analysts in the public school setting, the Co-Founders of The Hangout Spot, Meghan Cave, and Justyna Balzar, connected with local families to better understand the gaps in services. The stories they heard were truly heartbreaking. Parents recalled how their teenagers, now transitioning into young adulthood, had never been invited to a birthday party or had someone to call their best friend.

In light of COVID-19, it became abundantly clear to the Co-Founders that what makes life happy is people. Dedicated to empowering children, teenagers, and young adults to develop meaningful, reciprocal relationships with other people, Meghan and Justyna founded The Hangout Spot, Connecticut's first behavior analytic social skills development center for children of all ages and abilities, placing a unique emphasis on using the FUNdamentals of science to teach social smarts.

What is your best-selling product/service?

The Hangout Spot provides specialized play and social skills instruction rooted in Applied Behavior Analysis, the science of learning and behavior. Our evidence-based programs are designed to eliminate barriers to friendship and empower children to be socially successful throughout their lives. Our most popular programs include our social skills classes and developmental playgroups, which offer our circle of friends thoughtfully structured social learning experiences through both in-person and virtual instruction.

How many local businesses do you use to support your business (products and services) and can you name them?

The Hangout Spot is passionate about supporting fellow entrepreneurs and places an emphasis on collaborating with small businesses. We are thrilled to have developed partnerships with Easton Country Day School and Westport College Prep in support of our overlapping missions and values. In addition, we are thankful to have developed relationships with local vendors who help make our work possible, including MAD Communications, IT Health Partners LLC, and Monika Satur Photography.

Have you "reimagined" your small business?

As a startup opening in the midst of the global pandemic, we were charged with the unique responsibility of bringing children, teenagers, and young adults together for continued social learning experiences from the comfort and safety of their own homes. As COVID-19 changed the social landscape as we once knew it, The Hangout Spot quickly recognized a continuum of impact on our children.

At the most basic level, the social rulebook changed in its entirety with almost no notice at all. For our learners who were already struggling to learn the ins and outs of social engagement, this unexpected change further complicated an already complex learning process. Sadly, some children had even learned that to be safe was to be afraid of people.

The Hangout Spot quickly pivoted from its original model, dedicated to offering families at-home solutions for social success. Using video chat and screen share technology, we brought our original vision for social skills classes and developmental playgroups to screens throughout Connecticut. As such, we were able to connect families from different corners of the state, bringing CT's children together, apart, for engaging social learning experiences unlike no other.

The Hangout Spot is located at 162 East Avenue, Suite 1C in Norwalk. Visit The Hangout Spot online here, and make sure to check out their Facebook and Instagram pages as well!

HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!

Submitted by Norwalk, CT

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