Warehouses are sprouting on Connecticut farmland where tobacco once grew, giving the state bragging rights to a retail economy transformed by digital technology, advanced logistics and the coronavirus pandemic. Surging online sales, fueled by a rapidly evolving retail economy where people shop at home and products are delivered from warehouses, are behind this transformation. The accompanying warehouse work pays more than traditional retail at the local mall, but far less than the finance and aerospace jobs that are a foundation of the Connecticut economy. Connecticut is capitalizing on its access to the populous Northeast — within 500 miles of 30% of the U.S. population, according to state economic development officials — and benefiting from Interstates 84, 91 and 95 and flat land to land massive warehouses. The Windsor Locks area has been a “hotbed for larger projects” because of Bradley International Airport, and Madrigal said he is looking at potential sites in north-central Connecticut.