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West Hartford Business Buzz: August 16, 2021

Floor & Decor is applying for a special development district for the space formerly occupied by ShopRite. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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

By Ronni Newton

When I wrote last week’s column, my two-week vacation was only on its second day, and I was looking forward to a seemingly endless span of unscheduled time stretching into the future. Now I’m on the back nine.

While I’ve continued to work over the past week, I’ve interspersed plenty of beach time and now that I have been out of town for more than a week, I definitely feel like I have been able to relax a bit.

It’s been hot and humid on Nantucket, but nothing in comparison to West Hartford.

I’ve enjoyed lots of family time and long walks with the dog, and I finished my second novel on Sunday afternoon. Ted’s college roommate and his wife are visiting Nantucket from the DC area for a few days, and it’s been great showing them the island.

We took them on the Sconset Bluff Walk on Sunday morning, a walk on a public way that goes through the backyards of some of Nantucket’s most beautiful homes and picturesque gardens. Ted and I and our kids have done the walk on many occasions but it never gets old and is on our must-see list for new visitors. A special treat along the walk this time was a creative “garden” of painted clamshells sporting a great collection of beachy dad jokes with the punchlines on the flip side. See if you can guess the answers to some of these:

Someone placed what I’m calling “dad joke shells” along the Sconset Bluff Walk. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

This is one of my favorites, followed by a selfie that includes my brother-in-law and sister-in-law:

Closeup of dad joke shell garden. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A visit to Sconset and Bluff Walk isn’t complete without a visit to the Sankaty Lighthouse. Pictured (from left) are Ted Newton, Anne Newton, Chip Newton, Brent Stone, Linda Stone, and me.

No West Hartford dinners this past week, but I’ll be home in a few days and, I hope, fully rejuvenated.

Please continue to support our local businesses, wear your masks indoors (regardless of vaccination status) – 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].

Here’s this week’s Buzz:

Floor & Decor is applying for a special development district for the space formerly occupied by ShopRite. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • National retailer Floor & Decor is interested in opening a location in West Hartford, but before signing their lease is seeking approval from the Town Council for façade and site design changes at the former ShopRite on Kane Street (official address is 245 Prospect Ave.). The Town Council will accept the application at its meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 17, and plans to set a public hearing for Sept. 28. “On a date to be determined, and prior to the town council hearing, Floor & Décor will offer a virtual open forum. The virtual open forum will be a zoom conference in which, any questions, concerns or comments can be voiced by the public and neighboring tenants. Floor & Décor will send a notification to all those affected by this proposal, using the guidelines set forth in the SDD regulations as reference. With the improvements Floor & Décor is proposing for this older shopping center site, a positive neighborhood reaction is expected by the Applicant,” the application states. According to the Floor & Decor website, the company “is a leading specialty retailer of hard surface flooring, offering the broadest in-stock selection of tile, wood, stone, related tools and flooring accessories at everyday low prices. Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Atlanta, Floor & Decor is one of Fortune’s 100 fastest-growing companies. At Floor & Decor, homeowners and professional contractors have access to superstore selection at warehouse prices with showroom quality,” with an extensive selection of in-stock products.

Cake Gypsy is nearly ready to open at 1123 New Britain Ave. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

  • There have been some delays – particularly with the delivery of equipment – but Cake Gypsy owner Deanna Damen has announced that Saturday, Oct. 2, will be the grand opening of the West Hartford location, at 1123 New Britain Ave. in Elmwood. “We are so excited to finally open. We wish we could open sooner but we’ve been so crazy busy with the other stores. Not only will we have our cupcakes, including allergen free but many more desserts as well. So many new and delicious items to choose from. Thank you for your patience, support and excitement. We’ve got so many surprises for everyone!” she said in a Facebook post.

The Russell will be opening in the former Harry’s Pizzeria space on South Main Street. Photo courtesy of Barbara Kreitner

PeoplesBank is coming soon to the space next to the LaSalle Road Post Office. Photo courtesy of Barbara Kreitner

  • I couldn’t write this column while out of town without the help of our loyal readers, and many thanks to Barbara Kreitner for also sending me a photo of the PeoplesBank “coming soon” sign for the space next to the LaSalle Road Post Office.

Future Auto Zone. Courtesy of Dave Pauluk

  • The former Coastal Tool space at 510 New Park Ave. is being renovated to become Auto Zone and thanks to reader Dave Pauluk for sending me this photo of the work in progress. According to West Hartford Economic Development Coordinator Kristen Gorski, Auto Zone will maintain their New Britain Avenue property.
  • The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce will be holding their 35th Annual Golf Tournament on Tuesday, Aug. 24, with a 9 a.m. shotgun start at Wampanoag Country Club, one of the most beautiful and challenging courses in the country. According to the Chamber, the $240 price per golfer includes: 18 holes of golf with carts, a full breakfast, and an afternoon BBQ with one hour of open bar. The event also features several games on the course including a “Golf Ball Cannon.” There will be a teacup auction, complimentary chair massages prior to play courtesy of Balance Massage Wellness Center, and other activities. “The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce represents over 550 businesses and organizations in West Hartford and the surrounding areas. We have been serving the local community for over 100 years. It goes without saying that the past year and a half have been challenging for everyone,” said Chamber Executive Director Chris Conway. “It is for that reason we have increased our benefits, resources and programming to support the changing needs of our local businesses and nonprofits.  This tournament represents our biggest fundraiser of the year. The money raised allows us to continue enhancing and growing our local economy.” Several local businesses are supporting the tournament by way of sponsorship including: Platinum Sponsor: Westfield Bank;  Gold Sponsors: Blue Back Square, Dr. EnergySaver, Total Basement Finishing, NBT Bank, PeoplesBank, Regency Centers, and Westfarms; Silver Sponsors: Comcast Business and Liberty Bank.  There are a variety of sponsorships still open with different levels of brand exposure and value-adds, Conway said. Additional information regarding golf participation and sponsorship opportunities is available by emailing the Chamber at [email protected], calling 860-810-5663, or by visiting the golf tournament page on their website.
  • Sales Tax Free Week began Sunday, and runs through Saturday, Aug. 21, providing a sales tax exemption for select items of clothing and footwear under $100. “Having this tax-free holiday helps working families stretch their dollar a little bit more during the busy back-to-school season, while giving businesses an extra boost to their bottom line,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a news release announcing the 2021 Sales Tax Free Week. “I also encourage everyone taking advantage of this tax-free holiday to consider shopping at some of our locally-owned retailers and support Connecticut’s small business community,” the governor said. Specific information on Connecticut’s Sales Tax Free Week, including a listing of individual items that are exempt or taxable, can be found by visiting the Department of Revenue Services website at ct.gov/drs.
  • ICYMI, New Park Brewing (485 New Park Ave.) has added wood-fired pizza kitchen Patty’s, and a selection of “low-intervention” wines to augment the existing brewery and tap room operation. Click here for the complete story.
  • The Place 2 Be (50 Memorial Rd. in Blue Back Square) plans to reopen today after repairing water damage caused by a malfunction in the sprinkler system, and has added award-winning chef Xavier Santiago to the brand in the role of culinary director. Read all about it 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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