A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
Summer, please slow down!
I was able to ignore that we were on the cusp of August until I wrote the headline for this column, and that means it’s time for the annual sharing of this quote.
I am fine with the humidity disappearing, although with another heatwave forecast for this week it will be a good time to test the efficacy of the mini splits we just had installed on our first floor last week. I am already thrilled with how quiet they are, which means no need to turn off the AC to have a phone call.
We finally decided to have the mini splits installed in conjunction with the very-much-needed replacement of our furnace. Even though the systems are not connected, the work was coordinated by the same company. It was rather chaotic and noisy working at home last week while Ol’ Bessie, our 92-year-old furnace, was being disconnected, all the radiators were being drained, the furnace was being sawed up into pieces for removal, and asbestos was being abated. The new furnace (which will be gas, not oil) is going to be installed next week. I’m very thankful that we didn’t need to do the furnace replacement during a time when we needed heat – and glad that our hot water was a separate system!
Dining out this week wasn’t anywhere new, but rather a few visits to some favorite spots. A craving for a fresh poké bowl from Pokéworks was a good reason to escape the construction one day last week, and Saturday night we walked to dinner and also enjoyed a spectacular sunset at “The Rock” (aka Rockledge Grille) with some neighbors.
With the encouragement of a friend I decided to drop in on the Fleet Feet half marathon training program Saturday morning. Running 7-plus miles wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, even though I haven’t been running more than 4.5 miles on a regular basis these days and it was quite warm and sunny. Still thinking about signing up …
Finally, a shout-out to my daughter, Katie! She taught a great class for West Hartford Yoga at Beachland Park (WHY in the Parks) that I attended on Sunday morning. She’s teaching again next week (the classes are free) if any one wants to sign up!
I’m going to write this again and continue to email all who try to post comments to stories with their first name only (or some made-up moniker): I will not publish your comment until you provide your full name! Once a commenter gets through the approval queue the first time, future comments are posted automatically, and there are some commenters who are grandfathered because this requirement is only a year or two old. I have emailed all who have tried to comment without complete names, and in every case they haven’t bothered to respond or provide their names. If there’s silence for a week, I delete the request. Just wanted readers to know. One person responded to an email last week and gave me their last name so their comment was approved. All other comments that are over a week old have been deleted.
The state changed its COVID reporting a few weeks ago and while detailed reports aren’t issued daily the number of positive tests over the past week for each town is updated each day. The most recent report (as of Sunday) indicates 68 positive tests in West Hartford over the previous seven days. The positivity rate is at 11% – and of course that doesn’t include the home tests that are positive but not reported. It’s a bit lower than last week, and hopefully that’s a good sign. One day I hope to be able to delete this paragraph completely, but in the meantime, please continue to have patience since not everyone has the same level of comfort, continue to look out for each other, support our local businesses – and stay safe and healthy.
If you have information to share about local businesses, please provide details in the comments or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].
Connecticut Physical Therapy Specialists is the sponsor of this week’s Business Buzz!
Here’s this week’s Buzz:
- The official ribbon cutting was held for West Hartford Apothecary on Thursday, and this is definitely going a great addition to West Hartford Center! What sets this business apart is that not only are they a full-service pharmacy that takes most insurances, they also offer free delivery within a roughly 20-mile radius (using their own delivery person), and also will mail prescriptions – but also they are a compounding pharmacy. They are now compounding non-sterile formulas, focusing on creams and suppositories to start. “We are going to take care of people’s health,” said Zahid Khan, the managing partner of the West Hartford business as well as a Newington pharmacy. And that includes not only the pharmacy operations, but also the other part of the business – the Wellness Boutique. For the grand opening there were several local businesses displaying their products, and the Wellness Boutique, which is being operated in collaboration with The Small Business Collective, which will continue to find innovative and healthy Connecticut-made products and organize hosting of local wellness product makers, manufacturers, and wellness service providers, that will come together to more holistically serve the community through pop-ups, seminars, and other events. There are also locally-made products such as coffee from WeHa Brewing and Roasting, pet products from Pure and Natural Pet. Several businesses hosted pop-ups for the grand opening, including Portland (Connecticut) wellness-forward cosmetics brand Lip Luxe, Natural Annie’s scents, Alyssa Haley of Born & Bred who offers hand-crafted jewelry and other items, and Chill Out custom ice cream.“My father taught me that supporting your community is the most important thing,” Khan said. “Combining a personalized approach to pharmaceutical care and complimenting it with a boutique specializing in local wellness products allows us to have a deeper impact on the health of our community,” he added. “It’s nice working with the Small Business Collective and getting to know the other businesses on the street,” said Rachel Nentwick, the pharmacy manager. For more information about products, services, and the pharmacy, visit the website. Many more photos can be found at the end of the column. West Hartford Apothecary is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., and can also be reached at 860-904-6063.
- Magic Power Tattoo is now open at 635 New Park Ave #2C-3 – between Rock and Soul Salon and Rebellion Barbershop, down the alley past GastroPark. Derik Snell, a resident of West Hartford who has been tattooing in Connecticut for over a decade after previously tattooing in Brooklyn, NY, and Los Angeles, opened the shop last month alongside longtime friends and tattooers Brandon Stolicny and Jeremy Bolding, Derik’s wife, Emily Snell said. “Derik wanted to open a shop close to home to provide top quality traditional style tattoos to West Hartford and surrounding areas,” she said. “Another main focus of Magic Power is to have a constant flow of guest artists from around the country doing temporary spots to expose the area to more amazing tattooers from different cities that local residents may not have a chance to collect tattoos from otherwise.” While the shop is mostly appointment only, they will take walk-ins if available, and Emily Snell suggests calling or texting in advance at 860-944-3652. More information can be found on the website magicpowertattoo.com or on social media @magicpowertattoo.
- West Hartford resident Clarissa Henry-Adekanbi has started her own publishing company, Henry and Jeffers Publishing House, and their focus will be publishing children’s books that primarily focuses on social-emotional learning, she said. “This spring we published our first two books, Imani the Fixer and I’m Loving Me, Henry Adekanbi said. “Dr. Henry-Adekanbi has distilled 20+ years of experience as an educator, school psychologist and mother of three children into these simple, easy-to-remember messages, complemented by charming and colorful illustrations by Baba Aminu Mustapha featuring an array of diverse characters,” Lisa Natcharian of the Connecticut Democracy Center wrote of Henry-Adekanbi’s work. “Perfect for educators, children and their families, ‘Imani the Fixer’ is one of two practical social-emotional skill building resources from Henry and Jeffers Publishing. Dr. Henry-Adekanbi’s second book, ‘I’m Loving Me,’ highlights a host of heartwarming, positive messages that children can repeat to themselves to build self-esteem and confidence. Inspired by a poem written by the author’s brother, David Henry II, this sweet story follows five animal friends and the affirming messages their village heaps upon them,” she said. “As I met with students remotely throughout the pandemic, I could see an increase in their needs. The small problems were piling up and they didn’t have the tools to fix them yet,” Henry-Adekanbi told Natcharian. “It was hard to find resources that focused on the message I wanted to share, nor anything that reflected the diversity of my students, so I decided to write my own.” Her next book will focus on a character with ADHD. The books can be found on Amazon, in local stores, and at weekly Farmers Markets at Connecticut’s Old State House.
- Harbor Freight, a tool and equipment store, is now open in the space at 983 New Britain Avenue that was formerly occupied by Blast Fitness in the Price Rite Plaza. The store is open daily from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. More information can be found on the website.
- The Green Teahouse will be relocating this Thursday to a temporary kiosk space at Westfarms, just until the permanent new store space is ready in the fall, Laura, the manger, shared with me in an email. She wants to be sure that loyal customers know they are very much still open!
- The Town of West Harford’s has launched COVID Recovery Grant program for small businesses and nonprofits is accepting applications through Aug. 10, for grants of up to $10,000. The program is available to West Hartford businesses or nonprofits with 50 or fewer full-time employees, that have been operating in town since at least Jan. 1, 2020, and that meet the other eligibility requirements. The West Hartford Town Council on unanimously approved the allocation of $2 million of the town’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for the grant program. Click here for details.
- LobsterCraft‘s West Hartford location at 981 Farmington Ave. was closed for a few weeks, but reopened for business last Friday following some “internal restructuring,” bringing their “over-the-top hot and buttery lobster rolls to hungry consumers looking for their next lobster roll fix,” the company said in an email. LobsterCraft started as a food truck business in 2012 and the West Hartford location originally opened in September 2021. With the reopening that brings the company’s total number of locations to four, with the others location in Greenwich, Fairfield, and Sarasota, FL. The “lobster shack” style restaurant has a few tables inside and an ample patio and also does a significant amount of takeout and delivery business. Food specialities include the “Coastal Roll” – the quintessential Connecticut classic featuring sweet lobster meet on a soft-toasted bun, topped with a drizzle of their signature ingredient, a proprietary seasoned butter sauce; Heat Wave laced with serrano and habanero pepper infused butter; the LBLT filled with lobster, bacon, lettuce, and tomato, and topped with garlic aioli; and the Dirty Maynard, a Maine-style cold lobster salad roll dressed in seasoned mayonnaise. There are also tacos, sliders, creamy mac n cheese, grilled cheese, pot pie, bisque, and clam chowder. “A creative beverage program consists of craft soda, East Coast Kombucha, and eventually will include beer,” a company spokesperson said. “While the LobsterCraft brand expands upon its concept, its deep roots within the lobster/fishing community will remain. Sourcing from local fishermen remains a company standard. Captain Mike and his crew will continue to make those long hauls up and down the coastline, sourcing the best, sustainable, cold-water lobster possible from Montauk to Maine. The food trucks still operate in full force for private catered events and local festivals,” a spokesperson said.
- I really enjoyed working with Robyn Rifkin, who had not only been my contact as the longtime general manager of Blue Back Square, but also a good friend. As of a few weeks ago she is no longer working there, but I look forward to hearing what her next chapter will be, and hope it means we will be working together again. She said she also looks forward to continuing to be involved in the West Hartford community.
- There’s a lot of collaboration between media outlets in the Hartford area, and when someone asks me about it I often tell them that we try to make it as confusing as possible. It’s not really purposeful, but it is admittedly confusing and since there have been a few questions lately I’ll try to clarify the relationship between We-Ha.com and other media outlets. We-Ha.com is an LLC, with four owners: Ronni Newton, Bob Carr, Tom Hickey, and Kaushik Makati. We are not part of any other company. Tom Hickey is also the owner of 2020 Media, owner and publisher of West Hartford Magazine, and owner and publisher of the Southern New England Jewish Ledger (formerly the Connecticut Jewish Ledger and Massachusetts Jewish Ledger). Separate from my ownership share of We-Ha.com, and my role as managing editor of the site, I am the editor of West Hartford LIFE. That’s a separate job, for a separate company (Turley Publishing). We do often share content across the publications, and our salespeople also sell packages that includes combinations of publications, but these are all separate companies. I might add that I have also collaborated with Dennis House at WTNH and other local TV stations, but that would probably make it even more confusing. Hope this helps!!
- ICYMI, Nothing Bundt Cakes is now open in Corbin’s Corner! Click here for the complete story.
- West Hartford resident Willie Fair has partnered with a former Conard classmate and another friend to open Soul Bowls in Hartford. 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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