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West Hartford Business Buzz: April 6, 2020

We made this #heartsforhealthcareworkers symbol out of Christmas lights on the front lawn. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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

By Ronni Newton

“This virus is turning everything upside down. Connecticut’s going to beat this virus by sticking together and sticking to the rules.”

It’s 10:44 p.m. Sunday night as I write this, and I’ve spent much of the day trying to figure out what to say in this column. I was about to write that for one of the first times in my life I’m completely at a loss for words. But my husband is watching TV, and the words above are what Gov. Ned Lamont just said in a PSA.

A few minutes earlier another PSA featured the renowned Anthony Fauci and Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome Adams. They said that the coming week will be the hardest ever, that this will be our “Pearl Harbor” moment, another 9/11 moment.

The world has turned completely upside down, for all of us. It’s been a tough week for the state, for our country. West Hartford had its first death, and the town’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases continues to increase.

I feel selfish saying it’s been a tough week in my house, too, but it’s hard when you can’t escape the news. We are much luckier than most people, and I am so grateful that we are healthy and have jobs, but it’s still hard to not see the end of the tunnel and to see so many others suffering. Sam is continuing to grieve the unexpected loss of the rest of his college experience, and I think even Millie is tired of being with us all the time. Our only contact with other family members has been virtual, and we have to gear up for a trip to the grocery store, arming ourselves with masks and hand sanitizer.

After writing about #HeartsforHealthcareWorkers, I decided to make my own. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

I took a break from work for most of Saturday, and instead cut paper hearts out of construction paper and taped them to the living room window. Ted got out the colorful Christmas lights and we made a large heart on our lawn which, for lack of a better image, is the feature photo with today’s column.

I’m trying to find as many “silver lining” stories as possible to counteract the negative news, and there are two in this newsletter. Look for others this coming week – including a gallery of #HeartsforHealthcareWorkers photos.

We-Ha.com is thankful to our loyal advertisers. We know it’s tough for most businesses right now – although one good thing about being an advertiser right now is that our page views are way up; we have had more than 140,000 unique visitors in the past 30 days.

In the upper righthand corner of the We-Ha.com site you’ll see our new “Be a Supporter” button.

If We-Ha is to continue to publish we need the support of the West Hartford community. The community of independent, digital, news organizations are increasingly moving to a mixed model of reader contributions along with ad sales. To this end we have added a contribution button. We welcome any assistance you can provide.

If you have information about businesses changing their operations due to COVID-19, or doing something worth sharing, please provide that information in the comments or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].

Stay safe and healthy.

Here’s this week’s Buzz:

Courtesy of Fleet Feet

  • Fleet Feet Sports owner Stephanie Blozy has teamed up with West Hartford’s Fresh Ink to try to help local businesses raise a few extra dollars during this very difficult economic time. “We’ve designed a shirt that highlights products/services sold by local businesses with the message that our hearts still ‘beat on’ thanks to the support of those who purchase the shirt,” Blozy said in an email. The shirt will retail for $20 (+ $1.27 tax) – with proceeds from the shirt going to people’s favorite small business in town. Shirts can be picked up at Fleet Feet (contact-less curbside pick-up) or can be shipped anywhere for $5. Shirts can be ordered through the Fleet Feet website.
  • We’ve been trying to keep up with the changes in restaurant operations, and the comprehensive list of West Hartford restaurants was updated Sunday night with information about whether or not they remain open offering any combination of take-out, curbside pick-up, or delivery. We apologize for any errors or omissions and will endeavor to fix them as soon as possible. See the list here, and email [email protected] with any corrections. Please include website, phone number, address, and services provided.
  • A few notable changes in restaurant operations include the temporary closure of all Max Restaurant Group locations (in West Hartford that includes Max Burger, Max’s Oyster Bar, and Savoy) and the DORO restaurants (Avert, Treva, and Zohara), other than for to-go orders of Passover and Easter meals. Both Max and DORO organizations have established funds to support their employees during this difficult time.
  • Pho 135 also closed temporarily as of Sunday.

    Capital Grille Easter whole rack. Submitted photo

  • For those looking for other Easter meal options, The Capital Grille (44 Front St., Hartford) is offering a whole rack of bone-in filet, grilled asparagus, and freshly based apple crostata which can feed 4-6 people, as well as other options from its takeout menu, and wine, champagne, and martinis. Call the restaurant to order or view the full menu online at www.thecapitalgrille.com.
  • Olive Garden (1441 New Britain Ave.) is also offering Easter options for carside pickup or free deliveryfor orders over $40 (fees waived), including family bundles of Lasagna, Chicken Parmigiana, Chicken Alfredo and of course, homemade soup or salad and breadsticks. To make the occasion complete, guest can add beer and wine to their order in select locations. To place an order and view additional details, visit OliveGarden.com.

    Submitted by ScrubPocket.com

  • ScrubPocket.com, a local West Hartford company, is doing their part in the fight against the coronavirus. Company founder Ben Loveland, said in an email: “There has been a lot of talk about ventilators, and the need for them, but there is also going to be a huge demand put on staff to run these ventilators.” Through ScrubPocket, healthcare workers have access to educational references that uniquely clip to an ID – useful for new information and for people who do not use certain information all the time. “I had been having a tough time figuring out how we could ‘do our part,’ and then it dawned on me that there is going to be a lot of staff around ventilators that are not as familiar with them – we need to make some ventilator management badge cards,” said Loveland. ScrubPocket was able to design and manufacture the reference cards starting last week, and has already given out almost 1,000 cards to nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists all over the country, he said. “This feels like a great way to contribute in a way we know how, by providing an educational aide.” ScrubPocket is giving away the two badge cards they designed for free to individuals; buyers pay only the $2 shipping and handling fee. ScrubPocket also created pocket card and institutional versions for purchase. For more information or to get your free cards visit scrubpocket.com/vent.

    Courtesy of Shari Cantor

  • Stay strong West Hartford, stay safe and healthy, and keep on connecting with each other even if it’s virtual, phone, or an old-fashioned letter. Mayor Shari Cantor told me that she taught her 91-year-old mother how to use zoom – and the family has been enjoying frequent virtual get-togethers!
  • Addendum: I forgot to mention this initially, but John Lyons and I will be hosting another Facebook Live forum on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. Panelists will include Rabbi Michael Pincus of Congregation Beth Israel and renowned child therapist Lynn Lyons (no relation to John). Topics will include how faith communities are handling COVID-19 issues with respect to services (this week begins Passover and Holy Week) as well as weddings, funerals, Bar Mitzvahs, etc., and how to handle anxiety and remain in a positive and healthy routine. There will be a Q&A as well. The forum will be carried on the We-Ha.com Facebook page and streamed to other pages/groups as well. Sign up here so you won’t miss it and get the notification when it goes live!

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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    • Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is still open EVERY day from 12-8pm for non contact Curbside orders. They also have a family package for Easter for up to 6 or even more people. Half priced bottles of wine available with curbside orders EVERY day. $40 off a minimum off $100 orders EVERY day. Probably the best deal in town and it goes unmentioned?

      • Jeff, Flemings is included on our list of open restaurants, but a few places had taken the time to email me specifically about their Easter and/or Passover offerings. The article with the list of restaurants and whether they are open for takeout/delivery is meant to be comprehensive (https://we-ha.com/west-hartford-restaurants-open-for-take-out-and-delivery/), while Business Buzz is a column with highlights. I am sure there are many other restaurants offering Easter specials. Flemings is doing a great job promoting their specials through social media as well. If any restaurant would like to promote their specials through an ad, we would love that since many of our regular advertisers have had to drop their ad campaigns and that’s the only way we receive support to keep this business running – with the exception of the new contribution button we have just added. ~Ronni

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