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Grant Helps Light Up Norwalk Business

NORWALK, Conn. – Janiane Mungo likes the "fun stuff" in the basement at a Norwalk arcade, but there is an attraction on the first floor that also catches her attention.

My Three Sons, 62 Wall St., now features "The Vault Lazer Maze Challenge," paid for through a grant from Connecticut's Small Business Express Program , a product of last October's bipartisan jobs bill.

Janiane, an 8-year-old Columbus Magnet School student, made her way through the maze the second time Monday. Fast-paced music played as she climbed over and under glowing green lines of light in the blackened "vault," trying to reach a handprint on the far wall before the red numbers of a timer counted down in this race against time.

Matt Petrini, one of owner Jerry Petrini's three sons, said the customers love the new attraction.

"Anytime you can update a business that's been around for a while it helps," he said. "The kids get excited when they see it. It makes the facility look a lot newer. When you get something as innovative as this, it's very fun. You don't see something like this around here."

The Small Business Express program, administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development, offers loans and matching grants to Connecticut companies and small manufacturers.

My Three Sons had to come up with its own money to get the grant, Matt Petrini said. That money was used to install a laser tag game in the basement.

The Small Business Express Program will provide $100 million to help the state's small businesses hire more employees and pay for capital investments, according to state Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk.

"We see how a state investment in a local business pays off," Duff said in a statement. "My Three Sons is a popular destination for families and I commend (Jerry) Petrini for making the smart decision to take advantage of resources available from the state to help small businesses like his grow. This is just one of many local success stories that is a result of the Small Business Express program we created in the fall."

One try in My Three Sons' "The Vault Lazer Maze Challenge" is $3. Two tries are $5 and five plays are $10.

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