Curtis D. Robinson migrated to Hartford from Birmingham, Alabama, in 1958. He worked two full-time jobs and one part-time job for three years, until he was able to purchase a grocery store at the corner of Capen and Vine Streets at the age of eighteen. He later purchased the building and opened Curtis’ Little Pub and Curtis’ Pizza House on the premises. At the tender age of twenty-two, Curtis was the owner of a restaurant, grocery store, cleaners, an apartment building, and a construction supply company.
In 1969 Mr. Robinson started the Small Business Development Program, creating over one hundred small businesses in the greater Hartford and Springfield areas. In 1976, he became one of the first downtown entrepreneurs of color with the opening of the Staircase Lounge Supper Club on Asylum Street, facing Bushnell Park.
Mr. Robinson continued to grow as an entrepreneur, and today is the owner, operator and President of C&R Development Company, the largest minority construction management company in the East. Mr. Robinson recently owned the C&R National ATM Company, Inc., which was licensed to sell and lease ATM machines in thirty-eight states. He is also the owner of eight shops at Bradley International Airport, including a Brooks Brothers and CNBC, as well as the 55,000-square-foot Air Exchange Building. His other businesses include R&G Services, which operates the shuttle bus service at the airport, and R&G Parking, which operates, among others, one of the largest parking lots in downtown Hartford.
Mr. Robinson is the former President of the Hartford Lions Club. Recipients of his numerous charitable contributions include the Urban League of Greater Hartford, The Doc Hurley Scholarship Fund, the NAACP, the Sickle Cell Anemia Association, The Ace Mentoring Program of Greater Hartford, the Gen Yeshiva School, Greater Hartford Academy of Arts, and many more. Mr. Robinson has also assisted individuals with medical and hospital care, donated buses to churches and schools, and adopted a homeless shelter for displaced children. Mr. Robinson sits on the Board of Directors for Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, and the Board of Regents at the University of Hartford. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Hospital Association, which membership includes all 28 hospitals in the State of Connecticut. The list of his charitable contributions goes on and on.
Mr. Robinson is the second African-American ever to have received a gaming license in the United States. Before the end of the year, he anticipates breaking ground for a new hotel, casino, conference center, and a championship 18 hole golf course on the Island of St. Croix, US, Virgin Islands.
In his role as Cofounder and Chairman of the Men’s Health Institute at Saint Francis, Mr. Robinson has pledged one million dollars to help pay for medical cost of those undergoing prostate cancer treatment who are not covered by health insurance.
Mr. Robinson is continually called upon to speak to school children on issues such as drug awareness, staying in school, how to become a success, and mentoring. He is the proud father of six children, and the grandfather of twelve. Mr. Curtis continues to do these things without fanfare.