Bishops Corner Business Elmwood Park Road The Center

West Hartford Business Buzz: April 17, 2017

Renovation has been ongoing and plans are for Vaughan's Pies & Pints to open in May. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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

By Ronni Newton

I hope everyone had a great week of celebrations – Easter, Passover, school vacations, Yard Goats home opener …!

Spring seems to be here to stay, although I hope my daughter didn’t jinx it by bringing her down jacket and Bean boots home when she arrived for Easter weekend.

Speaking of my daughter, I’m asking readers to bear with me being sentimental again for the next few weeks – as I was when my son graduated from high school last June and when my husband and I became empty nesters in August. It has just recently hit me that in less than three weeks, Katie will graduate from college!!

Time has gone by in a flash. It really seems like just yesterday she made her decision to attend UConn and major in Allied Health, with plans to pursue her Doctor of Physical Therapy after graduation. (Of course it was just a week ago that we took the first day of kindergarten photo, and just a little longer ago that I first became a mother …) Katie, not surprisingly if you have ever met my daughter, has done exactly what she planned, and will graduate May 6 from UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources and on May 30 begin classes the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at UConn.

Many of my friends also have children graduating from college this spring, with some already heading to jobs in the “real world.” The three years of graduate school that Katie has ahead softens the reality just slightly since she will still be a student, but the flip side is that we will still be at least partially supporting her. Of course if all goes as planned, in May 2020 both of my kids will graduate from UConn – and the real world will hit all at once.

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:

Renovation has been ongoing and plans are for Vaughan’s Pies & Pints to open in May. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • There are quite a few restaurants poised to open in the next few weeks/months, and I’m keeping a running list to keep track and ensure that nothing gets missed. This week I’ve got an update on the opening of Vaughan’s Pies & Pints in West Hartford Center! Renovations on the restaurant (former Backstage Pizza space) have been ongoing and owner Johnny Vaughan said he expects to open in early May. “Grand opening Memorial Day weekend, hopefully,” added Vaughan. For the complete details on Vaughan’s concept for the restaurant, click here for the original story.
  • The Town of West Hartford is continuing the work of creating a vision statement in order to guide future development in the Center. In 2016, two ordinances which would have increased allowable density in West Hartford Center failed to gain approval by the Town Council, and a resolution was passed in October establishing a working group to review zoning regulations in the central business district. Input has been sought from residents through an online survey and a planning forum and Town Planner Todd Dumais reported that feedback has been received from more than 800 people who have shared “their views on the Center of today and the Center of tomorrow.” The West Hartford Center Planning Working Group and the Town Plan and Zoning Commission (TPZ) have now developed a “Draft Vision Statement and Guiding Principles” for the Center, and are looking for more feedback from the public by accessing the following survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TKHWQTH. Comments can be submitted through Monday, April 24. Additional information regarding the planning efforts can be found on the project website by clicking here. The goal is for complete results to be presented to the Town Council later this spring, Dumais said, followed by further action from the Council. Questions can be directed to Dumais via email at [email protected] or by phone at 860-561-7556.

    36-inch flowering planters created by KNOX of Hartford, were placed throughout Elmwood last year and this year will also beautify the street scape in Bishops Corner, Park Road, and Home Design District neighborhoods. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

  • Several weeks ago we mentioned that Bishops Corner was jumping on the flower pot bandwagon started in Elmwood last year thanks to the efforts of Charlie Hilborn of Sheehan Hilborn-Breen Funeral Home. “I’m so excited!” Hilborn said last week, as he reported that not only are there going to be more planters beautifying the street scape along New Britain Avenue in Elmwood this year (at least 60), but in addition to Bishops Corner there will also be planters this spring, summer, and early fall along Park Road and in the Home Design District. As for Elmwood, Hilborn said, “We started sales on Thursday to local businesses and everyone [who sponsored a planter last year] is a go with some new ones, too. It will all help Elmwood be more in bloom than it was last year.” Hilborn said he is looking forward to seeing many of the business districts decorated with planters supplied and maintained by the Knox Foundation this year. “It really looks great!”

    Dawn Morris. Photo credit: J. Fiereck Photography (courtesy photo)

  • Congratulations to West Hartford resident and Webster Bank Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Dawn Morris, who has been named a “2017 Women in Business” honoree by Hartford Business Journal!  Celebrating its 15th year, the annual awards program recognizes women who are leaders in their careers and community. According to the Hartford Business Journal, Morris is “devoted to employee engagement and anticipating customer needs.” Morris, along with the other seven winners, will be honored at a dinner May 10 at the Hartford Hilton. For complete details on Morris’ accomplishments and details about the other winners and the awards dinner, click here to read the HBJ article.
  • Northstar Wealth Partners just moved its West Hartford office location from Town Center to an updated, new space in Corporate Center West (433 South Main St., Suite 322). Founding Partner Robert Laraia said in an email, “Although we loved being in ‘The Center,’ this location is more convenient to several of our other locations which include Old Saybrook, Shelton, and North Haven.  We were also very happy to be able to stay in another building managed by Figure 8 Properties who own both locations.” Laraia said a ribbon-cutting and grand opening will be held in the near future. 
  • A reader recently posted on Facebook that the Ruby Tuesday restaurant at Westfarms had recently closed and was being replaced by a Longhorn Steakhouse. A spokesperson for Westfarms confirmed the closing of Ruby Tuesday, but said that while she could not yet release the name of the restaurant that will be opening in its place, it is NOT Longhorn Steakhouse.
  • Finally, ICYMI, there are some changes coming to the American Legion‘s building on Raymond Road. In order to focus on its true mission, Hayes-Velhage Post 96 will be leasing its restaurant operations beginning this summer and chef/owner KC Ward (and his business partners) from Rooster Co. in Newington will be transforming the space into Flora Restaurant and Bar. The new restaurant, which will feature a menu focused on plant-based and organic ingredients, should open in September. Read the complete story here.

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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We-Ha.com is the place to go for the latest information about West Hartford – a town that "has it all"! We-Ha.com is part of and proud of our community, and we bring a hyperlocal focus to news and features about the people, schools, businesses, real estate, sports, restaurants, charitable events, arts, and more. Contact us at: [email protected] or [email protected].


  • We-Ha ?? More like We-Naw…. West Hartford is a horrible city/town. High taxes, budget cuts, and snobby people everywhere. The school system stink too – it ranks high only because of standardized tests and not due to the quality of the curriculum or teachers etc. There are so many better towns in CT , like Wallingford.

  • I’m new to the newsletter but not to West Hartford. I’m really enjoying it and passing it around. Thanks!

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