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Longtime Franklin Ave. businesses staying put despite changing atmosphere

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HARTFORD - For almost 77 years Carbone's Ristorante has remained open in the exact same location,  throughout decades of changes all around them on Hartford’s Franklin Avenue.

The neighborhood used to be known as Little Italy, but in recent years, it’s become more of a melting pot.

“It`s definitely changed and things have evolved, but we've maintained a strong following since,” said Vinnie Carbone, third generation owner of Carbone’s.

Just up the street, another third generation owner agrees.

Daniel DiFiore of DiFiore Ravioli Shop said, “The Avenue definitely still has its draw. It’s changed a bit in the sense that we have more of a multicultural type draw here, there’s a lot going on here.

Business owners know that some of what's going on is crime. On Tuesday, a staff member at Barranquitas Mini Bakery on Franklin Avenue shot a man who police say was trying to steal the shop’s tip jar.

Instead of letting this increase in crime over the years hurt their bottom line, business owners are being proactive.

“We definitely put in a protocol for in case something were to ever happen,” said DiFiore, who also installed a surveillance system and alarm.

Carbone said they added a parking lot attendant a few years back after there were vehicle break ins in their parking lot.

“We put a person out there just to kind of walk around, to say hi to people walking by in the neighborhood, make customers feel that there`s an eye on their car,” explained Carbone.

The two businesses work together often and DiFiore said they discuss the changing atmosphere often.

“We talk about it on a regular [basis] about how The Avenue`s changed and how we`re still going to stay here because we don`t want to forget our roots. We don`t want to leave where we`ve been for so many years,” said DiFiore

Even as DiFiore gets ready to open up a new location in Rocky Hill this week, their old shop is staying put on what’s become the new Franklin Avenue.