A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
If you’ve sent me an email any time after 5 p.m. on Friday you know that I am on vacation (“Really!” my vacation responder says), or at least theoretically I am on vacation.
Ted and I are on Nantucket, which is much more vacation-like than West Hartford, but as I write this it’s 12:15 a.m. Monday morning, and the entire household (even puppy Millie) has been sound asleep for a few hours.
I decided to spend the past two days (we arrived Saturday morning) on the beach and hanging out with family and friends (and Millie) rather than working, so I am paying the price for it now. And after I finish this column, I plan to fill most of the next 10 days with lots of beach time, running, biking, eating way too much and enjoying cocktails on the deck, and reading a few novels, while interns Dexter McCann, Zoe Pierce, and Lauren Cohen hold down the fort, with assistance from Ted Glanzer at the West Hartford Press.
There are many people on vacation right now, so I am hoping it’s quiet.
Sam is still back in West Hartford, taking care of things at home and working at his internship at Webster Bank. He heads back to college for his senior year just a few days after we return. Katie is already several weeks into her clinical rotation that is part of her last year of her grad school program. As soon as August comes to an end, West Hartford’s events calendar will once again be jam-packed with things to cover.
Until then, I hope everyone enjoys these last few weeks of summer, and has a bit of time to relax and unwind.
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:
- Target is about to open in Bishops Corner – just in time for back-to-college and back-to-school! The official grand opening is Sunday, Aug. 18, at 8 a.m., but there is a ribbon cutting on Tuesday for press and invited guests, and We-Ha.com will have a team there to bring you details and photos. In advance, I had a chance to speak with Store Director Sarah Woodcock and Liz Hancock from Target Public Relations, to find out some details about the 59,000 square foot store – the company’s first “small format” store in Connecticut. Woodcock, who has been with Target for three years and was previously an executive team leader in South Hadley, MA, said she is very excited to have the opportunity to lead the opening of the first store of this type in the state. Although they may have less of each item, Woodcock said, “We still have everything that a large format store offers, but it’s more intimate … the only thing we don’t have is a Starbucks, but there’s one of those across the street.” Many more details will be provided in the complete story after the ribbon cutting, but some of what Woodcock and Hancock highlighted is that the store will open an hour earlier than most Targets – at a 7 a.m. – in order to be accessible to people before work. There will be grab-and-go food items, fresh produce, dairy, deli, school supplies, clothing for men, women, and children, health and beauty items, electronics, toys, seasonal items, and a full-service CVS pharmacy. “We’re here to serve the whole family,” Woodcock said. The overall merchandise selection is specially-curated for the West Hartford market, and Woodcock said there will be offerings like kosher foods that might not be stocked in all stores. Order Pickup – which allows guests to order items online and pick up in store within an hour – and Drive Up – Target’s newest mode of shopping, which allows guests to pick up online orders without even getting out of their cars, will also be offered in Bishops Corner. The Drive Up option works through an app, and as guests are arriving, team members get a notification that sounds like a car beeping, and that’s the signal to bring the order out to the pick-up area. This sounds like a great option for rainy or snowy days, or for those who have mobility issues or small children in carseats. And for those shopping in the store, a limited number of reusable bags will be given away at the grand opening.
- There’s a ribbon cutting and grand re-opening this Friday at Cinépolis, but I mentioned in last week’s column that the renovation looked pretty much complete, and West Hartford’s movie theater has already quietly reopened. The website now states, “We’re excited to announce the Soft Opening of our newly redesigned Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas in West Hartford CT! Please join us over the next few days while we continue to train and perfect our service. For your convenience, we will be offering discounted online tickets that will be labeled ‘Training.’ Additionally we have a newly updated, chef-inspired, Food & Beverage menu available to guests. Our Liquor Licence is pending and we hope to open the full bar soon.” Click here for those discounted tickets, more information, or to see the movie schedule.
- Also now open in Knights Cigar Lounge at 268 Park Rd. As the name implies, Knights offers an extensive selection of high-quality cigars, cutters, and related merchandise. There are custom-made humidified cigar lockers where customers can store their purchases, and there are also regular events planned at the store, including tastings, cigar samples, and a viewing of sporting events, according to the Knights Cigar Lounge Facebook page. More information can also be found by calling 860-899-5033.
- I am sad to be missing this event! The inaugural Taste of Home Design District Food Truck Festival will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 14, from 5-8 p.m. in the parking lot of The Granite Group, 750 Oakwood Ave. Tickets are $10 on EventBrite.com, and guests will have the opportunity to purchase food and drink number of food trucks including Craftbird, Fuego Picante, Classic Cakes, and The Liquorist. There will be corn hole, table tennis, a pool table, foosball, and Giant Jenga. Sponsors for the event are Sheehan Hilborn Breen Funeral Home and UberDog, and a portion of proceeds for the event will benefit the Home Design District. “We are very excited to have a ‘Taste’ event come to the Home Design District,” said Home Design District Association President John Powers. “This area of West Hartford is exploding with new businesses, transport, and housing opportunities and we’re absolutely thrilled to see events like this starting to come on the scene. We look forward to welcoming everyone to the district to see what they’ve been missing!” According to Tom Hickey of WHMedia, event organizer, there will also be music from a Conard Jazz Band trio, free chair massage from Nurturing Hands, and the kick-off to voting for the 5th annual Best of West Hartford. WeHa Wheels will also be parked at the site for those who have not yet seen West Hartford’s newest mode of transportation. See PDF below for more details.
- From an article on Innovation Destination Hartford by Nan Price: “Longtime salon owners Steven Adelstein and Sandro Vernali used their business acumen to create Believe in the Magick, a new business based on a need to live a health-conscious lifestyle.” The owners of Salon Medusa, located at Crossroads Plaza in Bishops Corner, have created their own line of holistic wellness products. For more information, read Price’s article here.
- The Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants (CTCPA) has reappointed Jennifer Whalley, CPA of West Hartford to serve on its Advisory Council as the representative of the CTCPA Business & Industry Roundtable for the organization’s 2019-2020 activity year. According to a news release, “Whalley is state tax manager for Amphenol Corporation in Wallingford. She holds a BS in Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a MS in Accounting from Western New England University. The Advisory Council contemplates the future of the Connecticut Society of CPAs and the accounting profession, and in doing so serves as a sounding board and source of information for the CTCPA Board of Directors. With a membership of more than 6,000 in public practice, business and industry, government, and education, the CTCPA’s mission is to advocate on behalf of the accounting profession, foster a professional community among CPAs, and provide professional development opportunities for CPAs in Connecticut.”
- ICYMI, check out the most recent Experience We-Ha podcast with Transformative Leadership Strategies. Click here for more details or to listen.
- Congrats to those recognized in the Hartford Business Journal’s “40 Under Forty” Class of 2019, which included 11 people who either live and/or work in West Hartford. Click here for the complete story.
- Scenes from the annual Taste of Blue Back Square – people as well as the delicious food – can be found here.
- Restaurant Week returns, once again benefitting Foodshare, and begins Aug. 20. Click here for the information.
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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