A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
I’m hoping that, by the time I leave for my August vacation, the town decides to have some downtime.
I’m not complaining – I need there to be news to keep this site successful, and many of the stories I’ve been writing about and experiences I’ve gotten to have are so much fun – but things really ought to slow down just a bit right about now. There’s a hefty “ICYMI” section below, highlighting many of the business stories written last week!
Early Sunday afternoon I was still trying to cram in both work and exercise before needing to leave to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday with a barbecue at Winding Trails in Farmington, and I decided to combine the two! I wanted to snap a photo of Green Teahouse’s existing and new locations, so I ran to Blue Back Square (which is only about 1.5 miles from my house) and back. Thank you so much to the woman on Greenhurst who was watering and gave me a much-needed spray with the hose (running through sprinklers has become a recurrent theme of my runs this summer). And if you look at the lower corner of the window on the far left of the Green Teahouse photo below, you’ll see that I accidentally caught myself in the photo.
One of my other weekend highlights was joining the 82 people participating in the “Shark Hunt” scavenger hunt Friday night sponsored by the entertainingly snarky and sarcastic “Weha enemies and distant cousins” Facebook group. If you were in the Center or Blue Back Square on Saturday or Sunday and saw chalk drawings of people and sharks on the sidewalk, that was one of the 20 requirements. The clues were very witty, and related to West Hartford “issues,” for example having the team take a photo with a bear. (We found teddy bears at Toy Chest.) The toughest was finding Landshark beer in the bottle – which my over-achieving team of myself, my husband, and Sue and Vinny Farrell managed to do, even though it involved a hike outside of the Center to Harvest Wine & Spirits. [I won’t mention the kamikaze shots or some of the other requirements.]
I was back in the Center first thing Saturday morning – participating in and reporting on the annual Om Street yoga class (more multi-tasking work and exercise – and my sister needs to stop rolling her eyes about the fact that I jumped up to take photos during the relaxation part). What a great event, that this year attracted a record 2,500 people.
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:
- Longevity is something that definitely should be celebrated, and congratulations to Cailin McBee on the 10-year anniversary Balance Massage Therapy, LLC, the business that was her dream and has been flourishing on Talcott Road in West Hartford since June 2007. McBee, a Maryland native and former multi-sport athlete, has a degree in sports medicine from Elon University in North Carolina. Early on in college she set her sights on a career in massage therapy and after graduation attended the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy in Newington. After graduating in 2000, she taught anatomy and physiology for seven years before opening Balance Massage Therapy, and in addition to being a Licensed Massage Therapist she is Reiki level II trained. “I think my background certainly adds value,” McBee said. Rather than specializing in one type of massage, she has the ability to help anyone who walks in the door, and her experience as an educator helps her work with clients to understand the relationship of massage to general health and wellness. She also coordinates her service with other health practitioners. McBee is thrilled to celebrate her 10th anniversary at 39 Talcott Rd., and said she feels very proud of how she has come as a small business owner. “My clients are the best,” she said, and most are regulars who have massages as often as once a week in her studio where the atmosphere is so calming you can’t help but relax the minute you enter the door. “Massage is cumulative,” she said, and added that it’s often more effective than just taking a pill to alleviate a particular pain. For information about the services Balance Massage Therapy offers, or to make an appointment, visit her website. McBee has recently hired Shauna Keenan Pinkham and offers hours until 8 p.m. on Thursdays.
- The sponsors of the second annual Taste of Blue Back Square & The Center are gearing up for a great event on Wednesday night, July 26, 5:30-8:30 p.m. in the REI Parking lot 71 Raymond Rd., West Hartford – featuring 14-plus restaurants! Maximum Beverage will have wine and beer tastings, with other “surprise” offers for a summer night. Hart Real Estate will keep people hydrated with water bottles. New, non-food attractions are being added almost daily, including a “Braid and Pony Bar” by BLO (Blow Dry Bar). Taste of Blue Back Square & The Center tickets are still available, and advance registration is encouraged since folks were turned away last year. Many businesses have already become loyal sponsors of all “#wehaevents” which are brought to you by We-Ha.com and West Hartford Magazine; Central Connecticut State University; Lux, Bond & Green; The McCauley at Mercy Community; Sheehan Hilborn-Breen Funeral Home; JP Carroll; and Stanger Stanfield Law. Business Partners include Eat IN Connecticut, Taylor Rental Party Plus, West Hartford Chamber of Commerce, and the Town of West Hartford. Additional supporters include Eagan, Donohue, Van Dyke & Falsey and Hart Real Estate. Full event details about the event can be found here.
- In other Blue Back Square News, Green Teahouse is moving. Owner Ting Luo advised that that the current location at 40-42 Isham Rd. will be closing on July 31, but reopening in September right across the street at 55 Isham Rd. (next to Bar Louie in the former Spin Monogram space) “with a new look and some new tea recipes,” Luo said. A T-Mobile store will move into Green Teahouse’s current location.
- Also in Blue Back Square, INDIA owner Chef Prasad Chirnomoula will be hosting a pop-up of his New Haven Mexican Restaurant Oaxaca in West Hartford. The pop-up will be held at 54 Memorial Rd. for one day only. Tacos, Chef Prasad’s “famous guacamole,” fun cocktails, and music, will highlight the event on Tuesday, July 25, from 6-10 p.m. Call 860-726-4103 for more information.
- But wait, there’s more. One final Blue Back Square item is the grand opening of The Headache Center led by world-renowned Dr. Brian Grosberg, medical director of the Hartford HealthCare Headache Center, which according to a news release is “a one-of-kind, world-wide destination center and a real game-changer for patients suffering from all kinds of headache including migraine and acute migraine.” According to the release, The Headache Center “is the first-of-its-kind to fully-integrate every aspect of patient care to best serve headache sufferers. Each patient has a tailored and individualized treatment protocol. The Center offers patients leading-edge treatment including medication, nerve blocks, TMS or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, and will soon offer exclusive access to office-based infusion therapy with four infusion bays. This service is available only at select headache centers in the country.” Patients have access to clinical trials and The Headache Center also offers biofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques, and mindfulness-based interventions. The 3,700 square foot Headache Center is located at 65 Memorial Rd., Suite 508. For more information call call 860-696-2925 or visit the website.
- A few updates on soon-to-open businesses: Icy Rolls owner Hecheng Chen said that he hopes to open in two weeks, bringing a Thai rolled ice cream option to West Hartford Center. Icy Rolls will be located in the former Center Framing space at 56 LaSalle Rd. The shop will be the second serving rolled ice cream in West Hartford – 0 Degree opened last Monday at 120 Park Rd. (read that story here) – and the third new ice cream shop to open in town this summer after Milkcraft opened in May.
- Also opening soon in West Hartford Center is Division West, which will be located at 36 LaSalle Rd. (former Coldwell Banker office). There is no scheduled opening date quite yet, but the owners said they are “shooting for mid-August.”
- The West Hartford-based Ron Foley Foundation, which raises funds to support the fight against pancreatic cancer, is a nominee for the Red Sox Foundation “IMPACT” award, which has a first place prize of $10,000. Winners will be announced at the Aug. 2 Connecticut Day event. To vote, click here.
- I prefer to save the worst for last, and today’s sad news is the closing Thursday, July 20 of Murasaki. “Sayonara,” owners George and Brenda said to customers in a note that was taped to their door and shared via social media. The owners have decided to retire after 27 years in business, 14 of which were in West Hartford. “Thank you for your business and friendship. We will miss you all,” the note reads. We wish them the best of luck.
- In the ICYMI department, there were two stories last week regarding Los Imperios, one detailing Police Chief Tracey Gove’s decision to suspend the establishment’s entertainment license for 15 days, and a subsequent story regarding Los Imperios’ protesting the suspension and violating it by having a DJ.
- Other business stories that appeared last week include a feature on volunteer extraordinaire Ronit Shoham who has been awarded one of the Leadership Greater Hartford Polaris Awards, Revival Home Furnishings‘ relocation from South Main Street to West Hartford’s Home Design District effective July 24, the Town Council’s Community Planning Committee’s discussion of an ordinance regarding “incentive zoning” for West Hartford Center which we may see in September, and publication of the Hartford Business Journal’s “40 Under Forty” includes six people who either live or work in West Hartford.
- Finally, don’t forget to vote for Best of West Hartford! This third annual competition is underway, and winners will be celebrated at a “Champagne on Ice” networking reception on Aug. 28. Click here to vote and for more details.
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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