Client Spotlight: Jennifer & James Vellano

As an accounting firm catering to business owners, one of our greatest delights is witnessing the ambition and talent of our clients and the way it leads to their success.  One note-worthy example is the husband and wife team of Jennifer and James Vellano, subjects of this month’s Client Spotlight.

Food is Love

After honing their skills as private chefs and at restaurants such as Blue Hill and Per Se in New York City, the duo started their first business: Maison Privé a boutique catering company, right here in Greenwich, CT.  Maison Privé provides event and corporate catering along with highly customizable private home delivery.  With menus distinctive and unique (and delicious!), they found their drive and original inspiration from the exhilaration of serving people and making them happy; after all, food is love!  Woven in with their passion for tasty, seasonal food is a dedication to the value of supporting sustainable, organic and regenerative farming techniques.

All artists, including those in the culinary field, must continue to find new inspiration if they wish to grow and thrive.  The Vellanos are no exception; Jennifer says, “New inspiration is found through watching our young children love and appreciate all food.  We realized that if children in other countries, as well as our own, grow up eating sushi, curry, caviar, raw oysters… that should be normal for our kids’ taste buds.  They’ve never had chicken nuggets!”

Feeding Their Hometown

The ambition of James & Jennifer did not stop with the birth of Maison Privé.  Instead they strove to stretch their talents and do even more of what they love.  In 2015 they opened their second business, G.E. Brown Fine Food and Provisions in Bedford, NY.  Driven to bring healthy, delicious food into the homes of their friends, family and neighbors in their hometown, they opened this storefront to offer breakfast and counter items, grab and go prepared food, specialty items and a coffee bar – all with the same dedication to seasonality and sustainability so inherent in the fabric of their accomplishments.  Additionally, with the opening of GE Brown the Vellanos are working to bring back an old-fashioned, time honored approach to the slow-food movement by offering both an early morning coffee spot and place with family friendly options for healthy and delicious food in their small town.

Their Latest Venture

The most recent addition to their list of achievements is opening Something Natural on Greenwich Avenue with business partner Seth Hirschel earlier this year.  Famous for their house-made Portuguese bread, the original iconicsandwich shop of the same name has become a legend for locals and tourists over its 50 years on the island of Nantucket.  Hirschel and the Vellanos are proud to have brought a small slice of Nantucket to Greenwich.

For all their success the Vellanos credit the help they’ve received from their mentors along the way; notably, they’ve worked for great chefs such as Thomas Keller, Dan Barber, Danile Boulud, and Mike Anthony.

How do we, here at Alfano & Company, feel seeing the success of James & Jennifer?  When our clients succeed we succeed!  Seeing the Vellanos pursue their passion and work together to follow their dreams has been a delight.  We feel we can share in the joy of their journey by providing them with custom accounting services that suit their needs and propel them to growth.  With three businesses to run, creativity and talent to continually refine, and young children at home to care for – accounting is not something James & Jennifer need on their plate!  Jennifer credits the way our firm “takes care of all of [their] needs and has amazing customer service” as an aide to running their businesses.

If you, like James & Jennifer Vellano, are ambitious and passionate about your work and always challenging yourself professionally, we’d love to be on your team!  Perhaps our accounting services are right for you too!  Contact us to find out more information about what we can do for you.

Alfano & Company Team




Alfano & Company Team Spotlight: Mike Haydin

Alfano and Company believes strategic planning is the key to business success. Let’s liken this to the building of the English Channel. This tunnel is truly a wonder of the world- of its 31 mile length, 23.5 are under water. An idea that was born in 1802 faced many obstacles and roadblocks before its completion in 1994. However once team work and detailed planning were implemented, the immense project was under way. After 6 years of  Tunnel Boring Machines breaking through chalk marl, the French and the English were able to meet in the middle. How could this have succeeded if the boring machines were off even slightly? No doubt careful planning and follow up were required to ensure that goals were accomplished. How can your business benefit from an approach like this? We are sure our very own Mike Haydin can help your business bore through the challenges and achieve your goals!

Mike Haydin is Alfano & Company’s Manager of all tax and accounting operations. Previously he has held the role of Staff Accountant and Senior Accountant. While performing business accounting and tax work he’s been able to help clients achieve financial, business, and personal goals.  He helps individuals and businesses to tax plan or organize their financial affairs to pay the least amount of tax legally possible. IRS problem resolution is a very major part of Michael’s assisting and essentially, protecting clients. He is authorized to prepare any and all tax returns and can represent any individual or business before the IRS in case of an audit or any other correspondence.

What has helped Mike, become the knowledgeable and dependable professional that he is today?  He states, ” I …have an accounting degree and am currently an Enrolled Agent [giving me] unlimited practice rights before the IRS. Of course, neither of these things is as useful as the 7 years of experience I now have; it really is the best teacher!” In addition, Mike keeps up with the tax times by reading technical journals that highlight law updates and recent court decisions. Kiplinger Tax Letter stands out as a favorite read. Throughout the year Mike is in on webinars provided by various continuing education programs (these are required to maintain his designation of Enrolled Agent). The education and training he has received gives him a strong knowledge of the tax law and ability to apply it to various theoretical scenarios. This proves to be invaluable to the client receiving tax planning services.

On a Sunday afternoon Mike may be found watching Formula 1 racing. This is a newly revived interest that inspires him in his daily life. How so? Mike explains,”Watching these teams succeed constantly impresses on me the importance of making small, incremental progress; if the entire team is looking and making small improvements the result is disproportionate progress – it really is more than just the sum of its parts! I view what we do [at Alfano & Company] very similarly: if you aren’t making constant progress you’re actually moving backwards and time is going to leave you behind…the important thing is to move in the right direction.” We completely agree.

Where do you see your business in 5 years? What do you need to do today to get there? With a solid plan, you will succeed. The minds behind the building of the English Channel had a plan that helped them do the unthinkable of their time. If you have a proactive advisor, like Mike, on your side, you can rest assured your goals will be achieved. You’ll see growth and improvement in your business like never before. Contact us if you want to grow, thrive and succeed.