NORWALK - The number of businesses permanently closing their doors is the highest Connecticut has seen since 2000, the secretary of state said Thursday.

Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz said more than 2,800 businesses have ceased to operate in just three months. She blamed dire economic times that include a mortgage and housing crunch and extremely unpredictable Wall Street swings. The combination has created a wake up call for local business owners.

"The recession is coming to Connecticut, and so now the challenge is for Connecticut business owners who have been very creative through the years to figure out a way to survive in this challenging economy," Bysiewicz said.

Party Plus Warehouse on Post Road in Norwalk is one such business that, unfortunately, hasn't been able to weather the storm. The owner is closing the location.

Bysiewicz said the current trend started late last year and added that her office does not project future trends.