Bishops Corner Business Elmwood Park Road The Center

West Hartford Business Buzz: October 31, 2016

The bar at Park & Oak is made of 150-year-old oak. Photo credit: Ronni Newton
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A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.

By Ronni Newton

Happy Halloween! [pumpkin and ghost emoji inserted here, because they are just so cute]

It looks like we’re going to have some great weather for Halloween this year, despite the scare we got a few days ago that made it appear winter was rearing its [ugly] head much too early. I wasn’t the only one who was having PTSD-like flashbacks to just about exactly five years ago when initial predictions of a bit of snow (the National Weather Service at first said “no significant accumulation”) turned into snowmageddon. I went back and found these words that I had written in an article published on Oct. 28, 2011:

There’s a song that James Taylor sings which includes the words, “The frost is on the pumpkin.”

Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, around noon. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, around noon. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

There may be more than just frost coating the pumpkins and other Halloween decorations this weekend if the forecasters’ worst case scenarios come true. And some may alter the next line of James Taylor’s song to: “The road salt is in the barn.”

I took a photo around noon on Thursday when the snow first started sticking on my still-living impatiens and my Halloween decorations – including the “Beware” rock. I am very thankful that this year the snowfall ended as predicted and did no lasting damage. IMHO the snow can wait until December.

Two more comments that I feel I must add before getting to the business news …

Thank you so much to all who have already responded to the West Hartford Food Pantry‘s request for donations. There were thousands who read the story about the immediate need, and the Facebook post alone was shared by more than 50 people. West Hartford resident Leslie Neiditz spent her Sunday driving around and picking up donations at people’s houses all over town, and Adria Giordano, West Hartford Little League, and Solomon Schechter Day School are among those who have immediately started food drives. Stuart Brown, who runs Food4WH.org website, is also recruiting streets/neighborhoods to host food drives and will help coordinate collection systems. Contact [email protected] for more information.

Thanks to this wonderful community, I’m hoping to share a photo of the Food Pantry’s full shelves this week!

We packed the truck full of virtually everything two families needed to furnish their apartments, but A Hand Up is low on some necessities and could use donations. Photo credit: Ted Newton

I helped pack the truck and then deliver virtually everything two families needed to furnish their apartments, but A Hand Up is low on some necessities and could use donations. Photo credit: Ted Newton

And while everyone is feeling generous, I want to give a shout out to another local organization that is very much in need: A Hand Up.

I volunteered with West Hartford-based non-profit A Hand Up for the first time in June, and it was so rewarding to have a tangible impact helping families who were transitioning out of homelessness. I volunteered again this Sunday, and worked with four other people packing up the truck and delivering items that two different families needed to start their new lives. We don’t know the “why,” but we are responsible for the “what” –  and that need was significant. Beds, kitchen tables and chairs, sofas, sheets, blankets, towels, pillows, dishes were all on the list of items needed for the apartments, but sadly the stock in the warehouse is very low. One person asked for pots and pans, but we didn’t have any to give.

A Hand Up is holding a drop off day on Saturday, Nov. 5, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., at their warehouse at 93 Talcott Rd. The following items are needed right now, and do NOT have to be new: pots and pans, twin and full size sheet sets, blankets, towels, lamps, small kitchen appliances (must be in working order) like coffeemakers, toasters, and microwaves. Kitchen tables and chairs are also needed.

If you have a donation that is so large it needs to be picked up, call 860-424-2980. More information is also available on the A Hand Up website.

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:

The bar at Park & Oak is made of 150-year-old oak. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The bar at Park & Oak is made of 150-year-old oak. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • I’ve been wondering about the progress of David Borselle‘s new restaurant Park & Oak because the signs haven’t gone up on the exterior of the building at 14-16 Oakwood Ave. I was on Park Road on Friday morning taking a photo for another Business Buzz item (listed at the end, since it’s not a positive one), when I noticed that things were being delivered to Park & Oak, so of course I had to check it out! As luck would have it, David Borselle was there, and gave me a tour of the interior which is well on its way to being complete on time for opening sometime before Thanksgiving. “You would never recognize it as the same place,” Borselle said of the space that was formerly occupied by Brownstone Café and Peck ‘n Pour. The imposing bar, crafted of 150-year-old oak salvaged from a textile factory in New Bedford, MA, is already in place, and its quartz top is en route from Georgia. New signage and new doors are on order and will be delivered soon, as will customized seating that’s being completely constructed in New Haven and can be installed in a day. Ambiance will be key, and Borselle said that wall separating the bar and dining areas, which will be stained to match the bar’s aged wood, is at just the right height to provide proper separation so that each space will have its own feel. The bar will have high-top tables and the lighting, which had just been delivered, matches the rustic iron elements that appear elsewhere as part of the decor. Special acoustic panels will be installed Monday in the dining room, which Borselle said will allow people to easily hear other people at their table! “My favorite part is the catering kitchen,” Borselle said, showing off the expansive basement area with its new ceiling and assortment of new equipment. “It’s going to be so much fun down here,” he said, and will be a great place for cooking classes and wine education, both of which are part of his future plans. Borselle has been hands-on with the renovation, even doing some of the painting. “I’ve been interviewing, doing wine tasting. I am so excited,” he said. “It’s going to be a great place to hang out.”
    David Borselle holds up one of the new lights that is about to be installed at Park & Oak. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

    David Borselle holds up one of the new lights that is about to be installed at Park & Oak. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • BK&Co. held a fall fashion event last week at the new 983 Farmington Ave. store that was also a fundraiser for the ‘Breast Friends Fund,” with 100 percent of donations going directly to fund metastatic breast cancer research being conducted by Dr. Eric Winer and his team at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. There is still an opportunity to participate, so please contact Heidi Grise at [email protected]  or call BK&Co. at 860-232-6225.
  • The new Harvest Wines & Spirits at 1128 New Britain Ave. in Elmwood is open! Look for photos to appear in this space soon.
  • There’s a new Beltone hearing center in Bishops Corner at 345 North Main St., Unit L-040. They do free hearing evaluations and according to the company’s website, many times apparent hearing loss has another explanation. Click here for more details.
  • Jessica Fritz-Peters, owner of the Pilates Defined studio at 1143 New Britain Ave., said the following in an email over the weekend: “The news about the food pantry being bare really made me want to help, thank you for letting us all know.” She said the studio will be hosting a food drive and anyone who brings a bag of food worth the equivalent of the price of a class can take that class for free. The offer will run from Thursday, Nov. 3 through Sunday, Nov. 6. Group mat classes are $15 and equipment classes are $27. For more information about class schedules, click here.
    Melo Mini Mart on Park Road has closed. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

    Melo Mini Mart on Park Road has closed. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Our lone piece of bad news for the week is the closing of Melo Mini Mart at 167 Park Rd. New owners had purchased the former Young’s Oriental Market just over a year ago, but the space has now been completely emptied of its stock and furnishings.

Remember, if you have any business news to share, remember to add it in the comments section below or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].

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