Bishops Corner Blue Back Square Business Elmwood Park Road The Center

West Hartford Business Buzz: April 15, 2019

Poke City will be opening in Bishops Corner. Courtesy photo

A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.

By Ronni Newton

Saturday was such a glorious day!

I swear I could see the grass in my yard getting greener as each hour passed. Ted retrieved the outdoor furniture from the basement and garage, and we ate lunch on the patio for the first time in many months.

There was plenty of steam coming out of the cup at The Dunk Saturday night, with four home runs by the Yard Goats. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The outdoor fun continued in Saturday evening – thanks to my sister who shared her front-row Yard Goats tickets with us! There was lots of steaming of the cup on the top of the Dunk – with four home runs on a perfect night for baseball.

We’ve had the windows open all weekend (allergies be damned, and in any case my new regimen of eating a spoonful of local honey each day seems to be working), and Sunday turned out to be a much nicer day than expected, too.

Now it appears that April showers are in the forecast for the next several days.

I had intended to write about my plans for Monday in this space, but due to the forecast Fire Ops 101 has been canceled. It was definitely going to be an “out-of-the-comfort-zone” experience for me, the chance to actively participate in some of what our West Hartford firefighters face each day by actually putting out a fire (dressed in full turnout gear, and a mask) after forcibly entering a burning structure, dealing with a “victim” in cardiac arrest, and extricating another “victim” after a motor vehicle crash, among other activities. I will definitely plan to participate – and write about – this program once it’s rescheduled.

Good luck to all of the runners in the Boston Marathon on Monday. I hope it doesn’t rain too much, and that any wind is a tailwind.

And as for it being tax day on Monday, no comment – at least not one that I can share publicly. I just wrote a very large check.

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 editorial@we-ha.com.

Here’s this week’s Buzz:

  • For this week’s lead story we go to Bishops Corner, where Poke City will be opening in the former D’Angelos Sandwich Shop space right next to Marshalls at 333 North Main St. Poke City is owned by Audrey Chen, who opened the Poké Man restaurant in Blue Back Square last October. The restaurant is under construction (the sign just went up in the window this week), and should be opening in May once the floor, walls, and counter have been replaced, Chen said. Poke City is the same concept, and operates under the same franchise business as Poké Man, said Chen, and she said she will probably be changing the name of the Blue Back Square location since it has created confusion for those who don’t know what poké is and think the business has something to do with Pokémon. West Hartford will now have poké in the north as well as central (Blue Back) and southern (Corbin Collection, where Sonny Chen of Black Bamboo will open Pokéworks) sections of town. And for those who haven’t tried it yet, note the “Hawaiian Cusion” phrase on the sign. Poké been ubiquitous in Hawaii for years and is now one of the hottest food trends to hit the mainland U.S. Essentially it’s cubed and seasoned raw fish, eaten either on its own or on top of sushi rice, another grain, or greens. And in my opinion it’s delicious!
  • EDENS Property Manager Karen Fillian doesn’t have any updates on the opening of Target in Bishops Corner, other than that it will be “this summer” which is what Target originally said when they announced plans to take over the former Walmart space. She did say that buildout is well underway. Fillian said that Ketamine of Boston will be opening on the second floor of 345 North Main St. in Bishops Corner, and the shopping center will be host to Tara’s Closet during the first week of June in the space next to Abby Dabby Ice Cream. More info to follow!

    Two new businesses will bookend this strip of Park Road. Courtesy of NAI Elite

  • West Hartford commercial real estate firm NAI Elite shared that they have represented SARJAC Partners LLC in the signing of two leases that bookend the strip of stores on Park Rd. According to NAI, Peter Madero, owner of Knights Cigar Lounge, has leased the former Petals and Paws space located at 268 Park Rd., and is planning to open this fall. In addition, Dr. Afia Antiwi has leased the former Max and Lily’s Closet space at the opposite end of the same building, with an address of 262 Park Rd., and expects to open L.A. Vision Family Eyecare in the fall of 2019. Both leases were signed on April 1, and NAI Elite employees involved in the deals included Carl Berman, Richard Kaelin, and Wil Doolittle, the company advised.
  • Also on Park Road, Hair Candy Salon has opened at 361 Park Rd. More info about the business can be found on their Facebook page.
  • One more Park Road item! The Second Chance Shop which opened in January at 175 Park Rd. (former Clothes Horse location) has some great designer clothing available at a fraction of the price. They are looking for more volunteers to help in the store, which is a mission of the Village for Children and Families, and welcome donations as well – especially now that the seasonal merchandise has changed over. The shop is completely volunteer operated, and for more information about special deals, events, or sales at the Second Chance Shop, email Secondchancewh@gmail.com to get on their mailing list. You can also follow the Second Chance Shop on Facebook and Instagram (www.instagram.com/SecondChanceWH).

    Barb’s Pizza has a provisional liquor license and has wine as well as eight draft lines. Courtesy photo

  • Barb’s Pizza at 968R Farmington Ave. has its provisional liquor license, owner Barry Arpaia said.  They have applied for and are awaiting the permanent license, bu the meantime are serving beer and wine. Included among the eight beers on draft is Sip of Sunshine – one of my personal favorites – so of course I had to have one when we stopped there for pizza during the week. See pizza photos below!
  • Blaze & Bloom Vintage will present the “Bloom + Earthday Back Alley Vintage Market at 485 New Park on April 20, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (rain date April 27). The annual spring event and Back Alley Vintage Flea Market will feature more than 25 vendors​ selling their unique antiques, vintage, furniture, home decor, clothing, jewelry, and handmade goods. There will also be food, drinks, and music – including Iron & Grain’s food truck and Hartford Flavor Company.
  • Puritan Furniture will be consolidating its operations into its location at 1061 New Britain Ave. in Elmwood, moving the Wethersfield Distribution Warehouse and Outlet Showroom from 1210 Silas Deane Highway in Wethersfield, to West Hartford as of May 13. There is a major sale at the Wethersfield location going on now (up to 75 percent off). “Puritan looks forward to continuing its long-term tradition of customer service in reasonably priced furniture and decorative home furnishings at 1061 New Britain Ave. in West Hartford,” the company said in a press release.

    Courtesy Krista Johnson, Mountain Mane Salon

  • Back in Bishops Corner (a popular location in this week’s Business Buzz), Mountain Mane Hair Salon owner/stylist Krista Johnson said that she is thrilled to announce her opening at Salons by JC (333 North Main St., directly above Marshalls/Home Goods). Johnson, who previously styled hair in Bristol, Southington, and Canton, has 12 years of experience and said she is a big believer in organic permanent color and products, and carries Original and Mineral permanent color based in Australia and Redken Shades EQ for toning. She also specializes in trends like “balayage, foilyage, teasy lights, and baby lights,” as well as precision cutting and is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. “Keep in mind that your hair integrity is my top priority, so certain looks may take more than one appointment to achieve. My advice is be patient, be mindful of the products you have at home and invest in the fabric that is your hair. When your hair looks good, you FEEL good. I look forward to meeting you and making your hair dreams come true!” For more information and photos (in addition to this one), check out Instagram @mountainmanesalon. To book an appointment text 860-681-5240, or email at mountainmanesalon@gmail.com.
  • Also in Bishops Corner, the Bishops Corner Neighborhood Association will be hosting a meeting on April 16, at 7 p.m. at the Bishops Corner Senior Center. On the agenda are a presentation from the Knox Foundation regarding the planter program (click here for information about sponsoring a planter), and a presentation from West Hartford Fellowship Housing on Starkel Road, which is in the early stages of planning a campus-wide modernization project. BCNA is also working to bring back the popular Farmers Market at Bishops Corner, and organizers are in the process of determining the best path forward. Stay tuned for further announcements, and anyone interested in volunteering should email BishopsCorner@yahoo.com.

    Rich Rochlin. Courtesy photo

  • Best of luck to Rich Rochlin in his new office space at 10 North Main St. in West Hartford Center. Rochlin, who has been in practice for 19 years and has extensive experience in state courts and private and public arbitrations, is joined in his new space by his assistant and a paralegal. He focuses his practice primarily on divorce and custody litigation, he said.  
  • Two West Hartford apartment buildings have been sold and will be getting an investment of more than $1 million in upgrades, Gregory Seay of the Hartford Business Journal reported last week. The 46-unit former OakWood Apartments, at 43-51 Caya Ave., and the 63-unit former Park Place West, at 158-160 Newington Rd., have been purchased for $12.2 million by a partnership between New Jersey landlord CS Acquisition Group and Canadian financier Capital American Realty Partners Corp. The properties have been renamed renamed Enclave West Hartford and Parc West respectively. CS Acquisitions also owns The Packard in West Hartford as well as other area properties.

    Potbelly in Blue Back Square has closed. Courtesy photo

  • This week’s sad news is the closing Friday of Potbelly Sandwich Shop at 51 Memorial Rd. in Blue Back Square. According to sources, other Potbelly locations have also recently closed, and the company does not have any locations in the state at this time. On Saturday they were already clearing out the space.
  • ICYMI, Stop & Shop workers walked out at 1 p.m. Thursday, and the strike is ongoing as of late Sunday night. While many, if not all, of the area stores have reopened, employees continue to picket. For more information about the strike, click here.
  • The Chamber of Commerce will host the annual Economic Development Update on Thursday, April 25, at Wampanoag Country Club. Director of Community Development Mark McGovern and Economic Development Specialist Kristen Gorski will provide a comprehensive overview of new business openings over the past year, and discuss trends and future plans. Click here for the details or to register.
  • This week’s Experience We-Ha podcast focuses on password security – an important topic for individuals as well as businesses. Click here for a summary and to listen to the interview with Eric Buhrendorf.

Remember, if you have any business news to share, add it in the comments section below or email Ronni Newton at editorial@we-ha.com.

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Pulled Pork BBQ Pizza at Barb’s Pizza. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Sciachiatta Pie at Barb’s Pizza. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Chicago Pie at Barb’s Pizza. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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  • India last month , Potbelly this month. Cook and The Bear can’t be far behind. That corner is jinxed Didn’t Blueback chase out Moes because they thought they needed finer dining ? Real shame.

  • Cook and the Bear doesn’t seem to be doing so well. I went there during lunch on a recent Friday and it was very sparse. I was turned off by high sugar and sodium to points even high by chef standards, plus it didn’t taste too good either. I love chef Tyler and know first hand that his other restaurants are much better. This one is a partnership, I know.

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