A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all who celebrated holidays this past weekend – the second year in the row that these holidays coincided on the same weekend!
I was so happy to have my nest full, with both kids, my daughter’s fiancé and his family, my son’s girlfriend, and my sister all here for dinner on Sunday. And because that’s when I usually write this column intro, I am keeping it short today.
Last week I said that the grass was beginning to green up – and by the end of the week many lawns were reading for the first mowing of the season! I think springtime is really here to stay.
Springtime is also budget season, however, and I attended what felt like 20 meetings at Town Hall this past week, to be as educated as possible before the Town Council’s budget adoption vote on Tuesday night. Look for that story in Wednesday’s newsletter.
I also finished up my first issue of West Hartford LIFE – the first print product I’ve edited in a few years. I’m excited for everyone to read the May issue, and will let everyone know when it’s published and in the mail.
I’m pretty sure that I have eaten at every single restaurant in West Hartford at least once, particularly those those that have opened in the past several years because I have written about them. A few weeks ago, while out to dinner, Ted and I tried to count all of the restaurants in town and off the top of our heads came up with 78, and I’m sure there were some we missed. We decided that once or twice a month we’re going to try to eat at one of the restaurants he hasn’t visited yet, and on Saturday night we went to Song on LaSalle Road. We had a great “Chinese tapas” dinner that included steamed pork buns, scallion pancake, meatball soup, and vegetable lo mein.
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 Center has some additional – and brand new – residential development. It’s actually a mixed-use development, where Robert Udolf has transformed two floors of former medical offices at 8 Ellsworth Rd. (above Beliza, and below the Udolf Properties offices) into 8 Pegasus Place. There are eight, light-filled one-bedroom apartments in all, four on each floor, and while the layouts all differ a bit all include the same upscale amenities. Features include top-grade quartz countertops, high-end stainless steel appliances, custom cabinetry, recessed lighting, contemporary wood and Italian porcelain tile flooring (with carpeting in the bedroom), and barn doors leading to the bathroom. Each unit is equipped with a high-efficiency heating and cooling unit, a washer and dryer – and a 55-inch flat screen TV. “To me, it’s an appliance,” Udolf said of the TVs. Each unit comes with a temperature- and humidity-controlled storage unit in the basement, where bike racks are also being installed. And –I think this is another very welcome amenity – there is ample free parking available for tenants in the lot behind 8 Ellsworth, or one of the adjacent lots he also owns. Udolf said he hired a sound engineer to soundproof the units from each other, and from the street noise. The building’s façade and common areas have also been replaced and upgraded. “We named this in honor of my father,” Udolf said of Pegasus Place. Leonard Udolf, who passed away in September 2016, would draw an image of a flying Pegasus on every card he gave his children and grandchildren for their birthdays and special occasions, and Robert Udolf said that he had one of his father’s actual sketches turned into the building’s logo, which now graces the sign in front and in the lobby. Leases are available beginning May 1, and anyone interested in more details can contact Danielle Udolf at 860-232-1729, x100. More photos can be found below.
- Udolf also owns the building at 1150 New Britain Ave. in Elmwood where build-out is underway for Frida (named after artist Frida Kahlo) – an authentic Mexican restaurant co-owned by Sandy Sanchez andXiomara Zamudio that will open in the former Tapas space. The entire façade has been removed, which Udolf said was the plan, and the project includes the installation of all new steel, which will be installed this week, and new handicapped accessible restrooms. The project is on track for an opening in the next few months, Udolf said. Click here to read more about Frida in a previous Business Buzz column.
- Some more exciting news for the Center! The sign is up in the windows, and the approximately 1,000 square foot former Engel & Voelkers real estate office at 54 LaSalle Rd. is in the process of being transformed into Freshii – a fast and fresh, mostly take-out food operation. Freshii, which launched in 2005 and now has more than 300 locations in 20 countries, is a franchise business. Gary Fogg of LaSalle Road Partners, owner of the property, said that the franchise owner of the soon-to-open West Hartford location is “very passionate about the food business.” According to Freshii’s website, the menu is “constantly evolving. In fact, every 90 days we roll out a new item that incorporates the latest health and food trends. Our Lead Nutritionist is forever testing and tasting ways to make these trends as nutrient-dense, accessible and crave-worthy as possible.” According to the website, there are seven different menu categories: “bowls, burritos, salads, wraps, soups, smoothies & juices – and each one is full of innovation. We don’t say Eat. Energize for nothing.” (Click here to view a menu at a nearby Freshii.) Fogg said that Freshii is targeting a late June opening. He said that the landlords are very excited about the franchise and the franchisee, and the opportunity to add to the available local options for fast and healthy food.
- Pilated Defined (1143 New Britain Ave. in Elmwood) is celebrating International Pilates Day – and their 10th anniversary. International Pilates Day is “a day that is recognized throughout our international Pilates community to foster and nurture our love of this life changing method,” Pilates Defined owner Jessica Fritz Peters said, and will be celebrated on May 4 with an open house that includes free classes from 9 a.m.-noon, and a raffle with great prizes to benefit Special Olympics of West Hartford. She said that there will also be healthy snacks and t-shirt giveaways. To register, visit the website or call 860-899-1515.
- On March 29, Avenue Dental Arts, the office of Dr. Tori Saferin, officially moved from 758 Farmington Ave. to 799 Farmington Ave. – and incorporated the former office of Best Smiles, which has become part of the Avenue Dental Arts family. We-Ha.com reported in 2017 that Dr. Saferin had taken over the dental office of Dr. David Weil. Since then, the practice has been rebranded as “Avenue Dental Arts,” and Saferin said she has stayed true to her initial objective of creating a practice where patients get the individual attention they deserve. “My goals of modernizing the practice are further realized in the new space at 799 Farmington Ave., where patients will continue to see modern technology including intra-oral cameras and some of the most comfortable digital x-ray sensors on the market as well as bonus features like massaging chairs. The spectacular office, originally designed by Dr. Jeane Best who will continue to see patients until she retires, offers a zen-like place for patients to seek their dental care,” Saferin said. She said that the team is really loving the new space, where they are welcoming new and existing patients.
- It’s been raining every time I have driven by so I haven’t had a chance to take photos, but there has been quite a bit of progress in Corbin’s Corner, both on the Edge Fitness facility that is taking the space of the former Toys R Us store, and the Pokéworks restaurant in the Corbin Collection. I’ll include photos in next week’s column – as long as the weather cooperates!
- Congratulations to West Hartford resident Adria Giordano – who has to be one of the busiest, and at the same time most giving people I know. Giordano, who is director of development at Chrysalis Center, has been named president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Connecticut Chapter (AFP). AFP “empowers individuals and organizations to practice ethical fundraising through professional education, networking, research and advocacy,” according to a news release. Chrysalis Center, which is a Hartford-based private, nonprofit organization, is a “socially innovative and multiservice organization that serves individuals and their families living in Connecticut … those living in poverty, vneterans, men, women, children, and young adults who are struggling with mental health, addiction, HIV/AIDS, those returning from incarceration and homelessness.” Giordano oversees all aspects of Chrysalis Center’s fundraising, and is spokesperson and communications director. “I am honored to serve as president of the Connecticut Chapter of AFP,” said Giordano, “and look forward to working with our board and partners in the community to support fundraisers throughout the state, and the amazing work they do each and every day to help others.”
- If you’re looking for a different kind of spring event, there’s a flower arranging workshop at the Delamar West Hartford Hotel. The event, which includes a lesson in flower arranging led by Lane & Lenge Florist, includes cocktails and other refreshments. Attendees will be able to bring home their own arrangement of beautiful fresh-cut flowers. It will be held on May 5, at 1 p.m. Click here for more details or to register.
- West Hartford resident Ben Fuchs has just opened his own wealth management and retirement practice, Fuchs Financial, LLC, at 433 South Main St. in West Hartford. Fuchs, a UConn graduate who is married with two children, and is an active member of the community, is a financial advisor with more than 15 years of industry experience, who just opened his own practice at 433 South Main Street. According to a news release, Fuchs Financial works with individuals, families, businesses and institutions to deliver services that build, preserve and manage wealth. The firm aims to provide its clients with short and long-term planning services, so money is one less thing to worry about in retirement. “I believe that retirement starts with a plan, and I strive to understand each client’s individual retirement goals, creating customized plans to achieve them,” Fuchs said in the release. “Clients should understand where their retirement income comes from to ensure they have the peace of mind that a tailored financial strategy brings.” Services include retirement planning, asset management, insurance reviews, annuities, tax planning, social security optimization and more. For information about the company’s free workshops, visit www.fuchsfinancial.com/events/ or call 860-461-1709.
- Legrand, the global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures, announced Tuesday in a news release that it has made a major investment in its West Hartford, CT, manufacturing facility. “The company is installing a new powder coat line, replacing a paint line which has been in operation since 1989. The new powder coat line represents the largest capital improvement in manufacturing for the West Hartford campus in 30 years. The line and process will enable greatly increased capacity and a much wider range of paint colors and finishes to be deployed – all while saving an estimated 1.5 million gallons of water annually. ‘Our previous paint line had been with us for thirty years and paint technology has changed and improved drastically over that time,’ said Bill Luchon, Senior Manufacturing Engineer and Environmental Management Representative, Legrand North and Central America. ‘This is a significant investment, but it will allow us to deliver a much wider range of advanced product finishes, increase our throughput, and save water and energy, generating a major cost savings.’ The previous system featured a 35,000-gallon paint tank that required agitation pumps and a chiller running at all times. If the power went out, a generator was needed to keep the agitation pumps operational so the paint would stay in solution. The new powder coat line will cut the total water usage for the West Hartford facility in half. And because the energy savings will be equally as significant, Legrand was able to partner with Energize Connecticut to take advantage of subsidies for local companies undertaking energy reduction programs. In total, it is estimated that the new powder coat line will result in major cost savings annually. The updated system will be operational in Q2 of 2019.”
- ICYMI, the Judaica Store in Bishops Corner will be closing at the end of May – a bittersweet moment for Rivka Dvorin, who has owned and operated the specialty retail business for 31 years, 24 of which have been in Bishops Corner. Click here for the complete story.
- Business owners who use Facebook (and who doesn’t?) may want to check out this event at West Hartford Coworking on Tuesday night, featuring tech ethicist David Ryan Polgar, a West Hartford resident who has spoken all over the world about technology issues. Click here for 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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