A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
Happy Labor Day!
Parking is free today on West Hartford streets as well as in all municipal lots. There is also a one-day trash delay this week.
The U.S. Department of Labor defines the holiday as: “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
Labor Day is also the unofficial end of summer, but those who know me know that I will hang on to summer before letting go, kicking and screaming, at the autumnal equinox at 4:02 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 22. You’ll find me crying into my pumpkin spice coffee that afternoon, but I may still be wearing my white pants.
In truth I actually don’t mind fall, but I love summer and I hate (strong word, but I mean it – loathe would be even more accurate) winter. The brightly-colored mums and basket full of mini-pumpkins I spied at Stop & Shop on Saturday were like a slap in the face.
In reality it has been feeling rather like autumn for the past week. (Sunday felt more like November, prompting me to make ziti in part because I wanted the warmth of the oven in my kitchen.) The weather was actually appropriate for the opening of school, our first UConn football game tailgate, and a long run, but it makes me sad to see the flowers looking tired and those red leaves landing on my patio.
We’ve often put the Business Buzz column on holiday delay, but although we are only featuring a few stories in today’s email newsletter, there is just way too much business news to share this week to wait for Wednesday!
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 Elmwood Business Association had a meeting Friday morning and I asked Rick Liftig, the association’s president, if he shared any Business Buzz scoop with members. He gave me a list long enough to fill this entire column! A few are items that have been shared already, and a few others are awaiting more details and/or confirmation before I’m comfortable sharing them publicly, but even though I don’t have too many details I wanted to share the news about EV Carport – one of the businesses mentioned by Rick. I reached out to West Hartford Economic Development Specialist Kristen Gorski for more information, and she said that one of the exciting things about EV Carport moving to West Hartford is that they are a manufacturer (of carports) relocating here from North Carolina – not something that happens often. Plus, she added, “They are a women-owned business, doing the majority of their business in Connecticut and Massachusetts. They thought it would be best to be closer.” EV Carport will move into the 10,000 square foot space at 162 Reed Ave., formerly occupied by Pet Professional’s Choice but vacated in June.
- Also from Rick’s list: Dressbarn shoppers will soon see a new sign above the Corbin’s Corner store, but it’s not a new owner. I can’t even find any official news about this rebranding, other than a blurb in a business buzz-type column in the Wichita Eagle, but Gorski confirmed that an application has been submitted to change Dressbarn’s sign to read “ROZ & ALI,” a name taken from a clothing line sold by the company that has been doing very well and has a more upscale and trendy image.
- Work has started on the renovation of the former White House Black Market space at 65 Memorial Rd., which will become SPoT Coffee and is slated to open in early 2018. And while the new “cool and hip yet warm and friendly” café will occupy the corner spot, I just learned that the space is being subdivided and another to-be-named business will take a small piece that is being carved out. There are some rumors swirling about what it will be, but nothing confirmed.
- Blue Back Square is about to be even more of a hotbed of activity, with the opening of the Delamar West Hartford Hotel! As I reported in last week’s column, the hotel was taking reservations beginning Sept. 1, and events can be booked beginning Dec. 1, but the hotel is still in a “limited service phase.” But in case you are looking for the story, I am honoring the request by Delamar, reinforced by an email Friday afternoon from the hotel’s PR firm, to hold off on writing a feature story until it’s time for the grand opening on Sept. 12. I am sharing this photo (see below) of the fountain in front, which I took Friday night. It’s a beautiful spot and I look forward to sharing all of the details and a photo gallery soon. (To make a reservation or if you have any additional questions, call 860-937-2500 or email [email protected].)
- We are excited that West Hartford Magazine, which has a brand new look, will be in every room at the Delamar! For more details, and to read the online version of the magazine, click here.
- Don’t forget to VOTE for Best of West Hartford. The location and format for the awards show has changed and because of the exciting venue change (to the Cinépolis Theater in Blue Back Square), the event has been rescheduled Sept. 27, so the voting has been extended. Click here for more information , including remaining sponsorship opportunities, and click here to vote!
- Lauren Orozco, manager of bluemercury in West Hartford Center, has some news to share about a new partnership and special event taking place in the store on Friday and Saturday: “bluemercury will be hosting our official Chanel launch party this weekend, both Sept. 8 and 9. We are excited to welcome the entire collection: makeup, skincare, and fragrance, into our boutique and want to celebrate with our clients! Guests will enjoy Chanel pro tips, exclusive fall trend, champagne and a trunk show from Central Optica both days! The Central Optica and Chanel team will be in our bluemercury both days with the newest Chanel Bijou eyewear for fall! We look forward to launching the ultimate luxe fall preview with our guests!” Orozco also noted that Catherine Capozzi, has joined bluemercury’s spa team full time to offer world renowned skincare treatments and waxing.
- Two of West Hartford’s business associations are looking for some help, and will be issuing an RFP this week for a marketing and communications professional (an individual or firm) that can offer 10-20 hours per month to help both the Park Road Association and Home Design District with marketing, social media, and other tasks to assist and grow membership. To request an RFP (which will be issued on Sept. 5 and due on Sept. 19), contact [email protected].
- The WEHA Artists Emporium has just celebrated its third anniversary (congratulations!!) and will hold an “artists mingle” on Wednesday from 9-10 a.m. Organizer Stefanie Marco Lantz of Kindspin Design shared the following about the event, which is open to anyone interested: “Get inspired – join local artists – network, promote shows, mingle, and get inspired by all the vintage finds at Blaze and Bloom! All local artists and those who overlap with the artist’s world are invited! Pop-up coffee shop by A Little Something Bakery- $5 for a baked good & coffee!” She asks that anyone planning to attend RSVP by messaging WEHA Artists Emporium on Facebook, and asks that attendees park in front of the 485 New Park Ave. building and follow signs through building to Blaze & Bloom.
- Whole Foods, which has two West Hartford locations (Raymond Road and Bishops Corner) is now owned by Amazon. Bloomberg, and other business publications, have reported that prices on certain items, like avocados, were immediately reduced by more than 40 percent on the first day. I haven’t been able to personally confirm changes in the West Hartford stores, but if anyone has any stories to share, please add them in the comments.
- We have already reported that The Tile Shop is moving into the former Pier 1 location in Corbin’s Corner, but before that happens it will be a Spirit Halloween pop-up. Expect an opening very soon, if it hasn’t already happened – since the Halloween candy is already out in force in grocery and drugstores.
- News from just outside of West Hartford, courtesy of an alert reader – Burlington Coat Factory will be moving into the former Sports Authority space in the WestFarm Shopping Center! No details yet on when the opening will be, but I’ll share as soon as I know.
- Now from the extremely active ICYMI department, we will begin with Artisan, the restaurant at the Delamar. The space is beautiful and the menu looks fabulous, and the official grand opening is for dinner on Thursday, Sept. 7, but they gave We-Ha.com a sneak peek. Click here for the complete story.
- Icy Rolls is now open on LaSalle Road. I “had” to sample it (this is such a tough job sometimes) and here’s a video of them making my ice cream and the final product, along with the rest of the scoop on the business. (Bad pun, I know. But it’s rolled, not scooped, ice cream.)
- Lots of Los Imperios news this week … Los Imperios attorney Rodvald Jones attended a hearing Wednesday with West Hartford Police Chief Tracey Gove, as well as Asst. Chief Robert McCue and Deputy Corporation Counsel Kimberly Boneham, and following that the chief announced his decision in a letter dated Aug. 31, indicating that his original decision to revoke the establishment’s entertainment license would stand. That means Los Imperios is not supposed to have a DJ or live entertainment, although they can still operate as a restaurant and even serve alcohol. Does anyone know if they complied with the revocation over the weekend?
- There were several other business stories this past week (click here to see the entire category) but one item to note (and this one wasn’t classified as business) is that Probate Judge Owen Eagan has partnered with the West Hartford Library for a series of free sessions on probate estate planning – topics that many fail to consider until it’s too late. 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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