A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
I hope everyone had a happy Fourth of July!
Although I love West Hartford, there is probably no place I love more than the beach and I managed to escape West Hartford briefly to enjoy the long holiday weekend on Nantucket – which is probably the place I love more than anywhere else on earth.
Yes, I realize that I am very, very lucky for so many reasons. We (my husband and I and my brother-in-law and sister-in-law) now own my mother-in-law and father-in-law’s Nantucket home, and although we have rented it for much of the summer we saved a few days over the Fourth of July, as well as some time in August, for ourselves to enjoy. I took a few photos (just with my phone) from Monday night’s fireworks which we watched from Brant Point lighthouse, and I’ve also included a photo of the house below.
Creative Director Joy Taylor, and awesome interns Gillian Hixson and Jackie Palermo have been in town holding down the fort, but even so it’s tough for me to totally escape this job (and this column) so my laptop naturally came along for the trip. It did spend a few days turned off inside my bag, but as I write this column on the morning of Independence Day, my husband, daughter, daughter’s boyfriend, and dog just headed down that path straight ahead for the 5-minute walk to the beach.
They say that “a bad day at the beach is better than a good day at the office,” but although I’m enjoying the view from my temporary office in the shade of an umbrella on the deck, today is a great beach day and I’m making this intro short because I can literally hear the waves crashing and they are definitely calling to me. I have a few other stories that I considered sharing in this intro (my father moved from Connecticut to Florida last week and I realize that I have outlived my mother), but I will save those for another time.
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:
- West Hartford’s first escape game attraction is set to open in mid-July – bringing a completely new element to the existing business assortment in the Center. “We’re really close to opening. We will be releasing our first game within the first two weeks of July,” said Derek Pam, owner of Mission Escape Games. For those not familiar with the concept, according to its website Mission Escape is “an hour of fun, where it’s your goal to make your ultimate escape. Work with your friends or meet some new ones as you try to beat the ticking clock. You have one hour to solve the obstacles in your way to freedom!” Mission Escape will be located at 76 LaSalle Rd., in the long-vacant space above Restaurant Bricco. The company’s website will soon be updated to reflect the West Hartford location (Mission Escape’s fourth – its other locations are in Lower Manhattan, Queens, and Anaheim, CA) and a Facebook page will be live in the next few days, Pam said.
- Robert Levine of Hart Real Estate in West Hartford (1000 Farmington Ave., Suite 109) has just launched a new segment of his business – West Hartford Property Rentals! “The idea for We-Ha Rentals was born out of the realization that many people don’t realize they can use a realtor when looking to find a rental. Landlords also may use a realtor when looking for tenants, too,” Levine said. The demand for rental space continues to be very high in West Hartford and surrounding communities, and it’s just not a focus of many realtor. “Just like when you buy or sell a home, there is a lot involved in renting to tenants or finding a place to lease. We are well schooled in all the laws and regulations that are necessary to follow in the process. In addition, we have all the systems and tools in place to make the process as smooth as possible, from tenant background checks, tenant application and lease paperwork, and move-in and move-out procedures, just to name a few,” Levine said. For owners of rental properties, Hart also offers management services once the tenant is in place through sister company Hart Property Management Services. “It is a truly one stop shop for all your property rental needs so please log in to www.weha-rentals.com for more information,” Hart said.
- Prepare for more creamy cold deliciousness in town. “Our West Hartford location will be opening this month!!” was the response I got when I asked 0 Degree Ice Cream owner Ivan Lin for an update on the opening of the 120 Park Rd. location. The 0 Degree location in Middletown is very popular (I’ve never been but my daughter gave it a rave review), and there’s also a New Haven location about to open. 0 Degree serves homemade, Thai-rolled ice cream (see photo at right for an example) in an assortment of flavors like “Key Lime Pie,” “Strawberry Shawty,” and “Cookie Monster,” as well as bubble tea, natural fruit teas, and smoothies. Follow their Facebook page to keep tabs on the opening plans. As soon 0 Degree and Icy Rolls are both open, We-Ha.com interns Gillian Hixson and Jackie Palermo are going to begin a feature on the top choices at each of West Hartford’s ice cream shops – the new shops as well as the existing shops – so be on the lookout for that!
- Arugula chef-owner Christiane Gehami has introduced a new initiative that will definitely be viewed as a plus for those who complain about having to pay for parking in West Hartford Center. Just bring in your parking stub and you will get $5 off your bill at the 953 Farmington Ave. Mediterranean restaurant. “I have no idea why I never thought of this sooner,” Gehami said in an email. She’s placed a sign out front and mentioned the offer on Facebook. “It is being received with open arms!” said Gehami.
- According to a news release, West Hartford-based Legrand, North and Central America announced in a June 28 news release that the company “has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Milestone AV Technologies, a leading designer and manufacturer of branded AV products including flat panel mounting solutions, projector mounts, projection screens, PTZ cameras, equipment racks and AV furniture for both the consumer and commercial AV markets.” In the release, Legrand, North and Central America President and CEO John Selldorff said, “Legrand is committed to serving the professionally installed AV industry which is an attractive growth area driven by the advancement and expansion of video applications. The combination of Milestone’s display mounting, projection screen and content capture technologies with Legrand’s strong offering in enclosures, power, furniture, connectivity and cable management, will greatly enhance Legrand’s position in the industry – in both the commercial and consumer segments – and make us a more significant AV infrastructure supplier to our customers and channel partners.”
- LIFER Fitness Studio is celebrating its second anniversary with its official West Hartford Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, July 6, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. “Guests will have the opportunity to view the LIFER facility; meet the founder, manager and group fitness instructors; observe live class demonstrations; and enter to win LIFER class giveaways. Light food and beverage refreshments will be provided by local West Hartford businesses,” founder Debra Fountain said in an email. LIFER is located at 20 Jefferson Ave., Unit 6. For more information visit their website.
- Best of West Hartford voting is live! This year’s format is a bit different – eliminating the need to make nominations and then come back a second time to vote for your favorites. We changed it because it was confusing and many people didn’t realize that they would have to do both transactions in order to actually vote, but there is still an opportunity for write-in votes for businesses we may have missed. Click here to read the description of the contest and vote – and plan to join the winners and area business owners on Aug. 28 for the “Champagne on Ice” celebration networking event!
- ICYMI, the article was published last week but by the time you read this Vaughan’s Pies & Pints will be open at 968 Farmington Ave., in the Brace Road parking lot in West Hartford Center. Click here to read the complete story.
- Planters full of flowers from the Knox Foundation are gracing the streetscapes in Elmwood as well as Bishops Corner, Park Road, and the Home Design District. Jackie Palermo was at the official dedication of the Bishops Corner planters last week. Click here for the details.
- When the Delamar West Hartford Hotel opens this summer, it will also house two longtime family-owned West Hartford businesses, Lane & Lenge and Connecticut Custom Clothing Company, in its lobby retail spaces. Click here for the complete story.
- I loved reporting on this feel good story about a West Hartford woman who lost something of value, a good samaritan, and a local business (AAA Allied Group Greater Hartford) that paid it forward. Click here for the 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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