Success Stories

Scott Morrison uses finance studies to fill hearts and stomachs by setting a place at the table for everyone

Imagine taking finance classes and turning them into a thriving business that fills the stomachs, hearts and souls of its customers and staff. That’s what former Western Connecticut State University Ancell School of Business student Scott Morrison has accomplished, while enjoying three decades of exponential growth, legions of devoted customers and a very positive public presence in his community and beyond.

Morrison grew up in Suffield and when it was time to consider his college options, he wanted to stay close enough to home to be able to help out his recently divorced mother — and also so it would be convenient for her to come to campus and take him out to eat from time to time. Even then, he recognized the importance of a meal shared with those you love.

Morrison had intended to play basketball at WCSU, but had a career-ending leg injury before his freshman year. So, he settled for hitting the books in his business classes, working at a local sports bar, and doing some football and track coaching at an area high school.

Scott and Kim Morrison

Scott and Kim Morrison

Morrison took a job at a major Hartford insurance company and quickly realized that sitting behind a desk doing the same thing for the rest of his life was not at all appealing. While figuring out his next move, he took a job bartending at Hartford’s Goodwin Hotel and met his future wife, Kim. She shared with him her dream of one day opening a fresh pasta business, but with an art history degree, she had no idea where to start. Eager to make her dreams come true, Morrison said he believed he could put his accounting and business background to use, and The New England Pasta Company was born in Avon.

Starting in a 500 sq. ft. retail space, the Morrisons began selling four different kinds of fresh pasta and sauces in a grab-and-go market environment. Nearly three decades later, the business operates out of a 4,000 sq. ft. space with a lunch service and gourmet to-go area that sells more than 100 items including soups, a variety of stuffed ravioli, 10 different sauces, salads, grain salads, chicken dishes and more. Everything is made on-site and from scratch, and meals are served at BeanZ & Co, an inclusive coffee café located in the same building as The New England Pasta Company.

“I still remember what I learned in my WCSU business classes,” Morrison said. “Things like being ready for the unexpected when you open your own business, and planning for it financially in case something happens. As a small business owner, you have to wear many hats. WCSU completely prepared me for everything that has come our way in the 28 years we’ve been in business. And to this day, I still do all our accounting.”

(Clockwise from left): Mollie, Scott, Kim and Meg Morrison

Clockwise from left: Mollie, Scott, Kim and Meg Morrison (Photo Credit: Iris Photography)

The Morrisons have two daughters: Meg, 24, and Mollie, 21. Both grew up in the business. When it was time to look at colleges, Mollie, a lacrosse player, was recruited by a number of schools, including WCSU. When Morrison brought her to Open House to show her around his alma mater, Mollie commented, “Dad, I haven’t seen you this excited in a long time.” Morrison said a lot had changed on the Westside campus since his college days in the late 1980s. “They told us about all the things that would be coming to the campus and it was amazing to see it all come to fruition,” he said.

Ultimately, Mollie wanted to play Division I lacrosse and did not enroll. But at least she had options, while her older sister did not. Meg was born with Down Syndrome, and Morrison said that once she turned 21, she aged out of the educational system and there really were no opportunities for her. “Seventy five-to-85% of kids with special needs are unemployed,” he explained. “Meg has been in our shop since she was a child and is capable of performing many aspects of our business.”

Meg Morrison

Meg Morrison (Photo Credit: Iris Photography)

That’s why the coffee shop was added to the pasta market. Today, the business plan calls for a 50-50 split in hiring: for every typical employee hired, there is also an employee hired who has intellectual or developmental disabilities, Morrison explained. “We are a for-profit business, and we are succeeding and making a profit while providing opportunities for individuals like Meg and her peers.”

Morrison said much of this has been possible because of his time at WCSU. “I draw on my experiences in the classroom a lot,” he said. “The professors were always available and I was given the tools I would need to be successful. It was what college should be: a place where I grew academically and socially. I just loved my time there and can’t imagine a better four years.”

Because of their efforts to be inclusive, the Morrisons have received a lot of positive media coverage, both online and on local and national television. Morrison proudly recounted the story of a woman from Georgia with a four-year-old with Down Syndrome who caught wind of the work being done in Avon and booked a vacation in the Northeast so she could come see for herself what was happening at BeanZ & Co. “She stopped here on the way up to Cape Cod and again on the way back,” Morrison said. “She saw a possible future for her child when she once thought there was none, and she cried with joy to see the promise of that opportunity.”

There’s no predicting where Finance classes will take you. For alumnus Scott Morrison, at New England Pasta Company and Beanz & Co., it has led to full hearts, full stomachs and a seat at the table for everyone.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals, and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.