A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
I’m going to talk about the weather again – because who doesn’t want to talk about the weather after the gorgeous Sunday we had? Thursday’s cold rain, and Friday’s bluster are long forgotten.
Sunday was a fabulous day for the groundbreaking for Jonathan’s Dream Reimagined, and after the ceremony I headed to West Hartford Center where suddenly furniture had sprouted and every single restaurant patio was crowded with smiling diners. People were running, walking their dogs, and flowers are really beginning to bloom.
And in addition to the exciting business news that was already announced last week (Moe’s!!!) there is lots of business news to share!
If you have tips about businesses opening or closing, or doing something worth sharing, please provide that information in the comments or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].
Here’s this week’s Buzz:
- There’s so much news that it’s hard to decide where to start, but ice cream takes the lead this week! Ivan Lin, owner of 0 Degree, a Thai ice cream shop in Middletown, confirmed that he is opening a second location in West Hartford. 0 Degree will be located at 120 Park Rd., in a long-vacant building that once housed Classic Cakes but has been used as storage for a number of years. 0 Degree will sesrve Thai rolled ice cream, as well as bubble tea, natural fruit tea, and smoothies. Town Planner Todd Dumais said that a site plan has been received from 0 Degree, and the town just needs to ensure that there is adequate parking for the ice cream shop. Lin said he is hopes that if all goes well he will be able to open 0 Degree in June. For more information, visit the 0 Degree website.
- Another new business in the works is V-Mart. I learned about this one from several alert readers who saw the sign appear on the former (and long vacant) Hartford Electric Supply Company building at 567-571 New Park Ave. Economic Development Specialist Kristen Gorski confirmed that V-Mart has approvals in place and started the build-out last month. V-Mart is a Vietnamese grocery store which currently has locations in Providence, RI, and Lowell, MA, and offers groceries as well as hot and cold prepared food. A V-Mart representative could not be reached for comment, but Gorski said the company is aiming for an opening this summer. There isn’t a website, but the Facebook page for the Providence location gives an idea of what V-Mart is all about.
- Ocho Café is in the final stages of preparing to open in the former Bertucci’s location in West Hartford’s Bishops Corner. Owner Edgar Brambila said Friday that the Mexican restaurant, with a menu that features scratch-made tacos and an array of tequilas, will open in about six weeks. The signs should be going up any day, Brambila said, and a notice about job openings will be posted soon, too. “The place is looking very nice,” said Brambila, who is very excited about the opening.
- Exciting plans are coming together for West Hartford’s Inaugural Wine & Food Festival, scheduled for June 17, 2017, on the grounds of Kingswood Oxford School. In collaboration with Pure Marketing (Maximum Beverage) and Eat IN Connecticut, WH Media’s team of Tom Hickey and Jill Fletcher are responsible for event sponsorship. They are pleased to announce Mercy Community Health and JP Carroll as the first West Hartford-based businesses to be sponsors for the West Hartford Wine & Food Festival. Nearly 100 businesses have expressed an interest in this first-ever event in West Hartford so please contact Hickey or Fletcher if you have yet to be contacted. It will truly be an event to be remembered! ICYMI, click here for the full story.
- Zohara Mediterranean Kitchen is getting closer to its opening day and DORO Restaurant Group has announced a job fair on Saturday, April 15. The job fair will take place at the Zohara (former Plimpton’s) location in West Hartford Center, 991 Farmington Ave., West Hartford, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Applicants should bring a current resume. Open positions include all front of house and back of house jobs including manager, bartender, server, runner, busser, host, cook, and dishwasher.
- Starr Yoga, located at 276 Park Road, will be holding an open house on Saturday, April 15, including a day of free classes, special treats and open doors. The schedule of complimentary classes includes Starr Barre at 9 a.m., Starr Yoga at 10:15 a.m., Family & Kids Yoga from 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m., and open house from 12:30-4 There will be snacks, music, and local art including Florapothecarie handcrafted plant-based beauty, Cinder + Salt clothing, Kate Stephen Jewelry, and Rayne Home Decor candles. A free Starr Fusion class with owner Julie Starr begins at 4 p.m.
- Have you seen the latest Beverage Buzz? Not to be confused with Business Buzz, Beverage Buzz is a regular column with content provided in video and writing by Matt Whitney of Maximum Beverage, who provides information and advice about wine, spirits, beer, and other libations and their accompaniments. This week features Pinot Noir!
- Revival Home Consignment, which currently occupies two separate storefronts on South Main St. at the intersection with Sedgwick Road, is planning a move this summer to 588 New Park Ave. Owner Sean Carr said that the new location should open in mid-June, the two South Main Street stores will remain open for an overlap period as the transition is made. “We are looking forward to moving there. The area is really growing,” Carr said of the New Park Avenue corridor. More details to come when the dates are announced.
- Congratulations to West Hartford resident Dr. Alan Douglass, director of Middlesex Hospital’s Family Medicine Residency Program, who recently received the Program Director Recognition Award from The Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors. According to a news release Dr. Douglass, who lives in West Hartford and has worked at Middlesex Hospital for 25 years, was presented with his award at the organization’s annual meeting in Missouri. The Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors represents about 800 family medicine program directors throughout the United States. The Program Director Recognition Award is given to residency program directors who make outstanding contributions to family medicine education in the following areas: tenure, training, scholarship, faculty mentorship, national leadership and legislative advocacy.
- There were several big business stories last week that fall into the ICYMI category, including one that I doubt too many people missed: imminent return of Moe’s Southwest Grill. Click here for that story.
- Also in last week’s business news was the Town Planning and Zoning Commission approval of Gledhill Estates – a residential development for the former Gledhill Nursery property. Click here for those details.
- I’m saving the bad news for last. 2nd Time Around, the upscale consignment boutique at 973 Farmington Ave. in West Hartford Center, has posted a sign on its door and will be closing for good on Wednesday. The chain includes 40 stores in 12 states, and appears to be closing a number of stores on the East Coast as well as in Florida and Illinois, a move driven by competition from online retailers.
- I planned to list Easter brunch and dinner options in this column, but have only received a few. This is last call, and I’ll post what I have later this week. Please email me ([email protected]) or add the details in the comments section below.
Remember, if you have any business news to share, add it in the comments section below or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].
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