From head to toe, the building on the corner of Hancock and Railroad Avenue in Bridgeport, Conn. bustles with innovation. As a home to Cricket Hosiery, the facility is full of fun and playful patterns found on children’s socks. As the ‘Nest Art Factory,” the building hosts approximately 25 artist studios and gallery spaces, and boasts the creativity of artists from throughout the region.
Previously the Cosco headquarter, the building was purchased, in 1995, by Vic Mulaire, owner of Cricket Hosiery. Formerly a sock company employee, Vic began his own business in 1985, when changes in technology provided him an advantageous opportunity. From the beginning, Cricket Hosiery worked innovatively, pioneering the creation of non-slip socks, and later introducing the seamless toe for children’s socks.
In the mid-nineties, when the business encountered some difficult financial years, Vic decided to reorganize and focus exclusively on selling his own brand of children’s socks, TicTac Toe.
“When I went though that difficult time with the business, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get a bank loan,” said Mulaire. “I had a commitment to the business and the building, so I pursued assistance from Community Capital Fund.”
In February of 2006 Community Capital Fund approved Mulaire’s loan, enabling him to increase Cricket Hosiery’s inventory and enhance shipping capabilities, as well as continue to outfit the building for the artists’ spaces.
“Community Capital Fund knew my history and knew I was in it for the long term,” said Mulaire. “That’s the kind of business they are trying to help.”