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West Hartford Business Buzz: August 19, 2019

Playa Bowls will be opening this fall in the former Potbelly space at 51 Memorial Rd. in Blue Back Square. Photo credit: Carla Vicente

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

By Ronni Newton

Millie on the beach in Nantucket. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

I’ve been having a great vacation, and I’m very glad that things have been relatively quiet in West Hartford – other than the openings and other activities that were planned in advance. I do remember a few years ago there were two bank robberies on my very first day of vacation!

The weather hasn’t been perfect, but everyone knows that cliché about a bad day at the beach vs. any day in the office …

Other than last Tuesday when we got almost 5 inches of rain, we have spent at least a few hours either walking or sitting on the beach every day. Millie always accompanies us, and although she hasn’t gone swimming yet, she has gotten a bit wet from some rogue waves and playing in tidal pools, and has enjoyed sitting with her face to the wind so it catches the sea spray, running after us, playing in the sand with other dogs, and digging holes behind our chairs for a cool place to sleep.

Millie has been digging holes in the sand so she can lie down in a cool space. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A beach that allows dogs is definitely special, and we are very lucky.  See below for a bonus Millie picture!

In addition to hanging out at the beach, I’ve personally been doing everything I planned: eating a lot, drinking a bit too much, running (did my eight-miler a few days ago), and biking.

Both kids and their significant others, and my sister, visited for the weekend and we all had a great time. We even took Millie to Cisco Brewers where she met another dog named Millie and posed in front of the Millie’s Restaurant food truck!

Life with a puppy is definitely an adjustment and can be a challenge, but she is so much fun, and so full of joy and wonder at each new experience that we can’t be mad even when she does something she shouldn’t – like eat Ted’s flip flop.

I have a few more days before I am dragged off the beach (although I am very glad to be missing the latest heatwave), but will continue to make sure people are informed about what’s happening in West Hartford. As soon as I return, I’ll need to be facing the end of summer, in back-to-school mode, helping Sam move into his apartment at UConn.

Business news should definitely be more plentiful as well.

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:

Playa Bowls will be opening this fall in the former Potbelly space at 51 Memorial Rd. in Blue Back Square. Photo credit: Carla Vicente

  • Playa Bowls will be opening in the former Potbelly space at 51 Memorial Rd. in Blue Back Square – and the first line about the business on their website makes me, as someone who hates to see summer end (see above), so happy: “Playa Bowls is your slice of summer, anytime. Using the freshest, highest quality ingredients, we serve healthy, delicious açaí, pitaya, coconut bowls and smoothies with sustainability and community in mind. Born on the beach and built for the globe, we’re your morning booster and your lunch break dream; your post-surf fix and perfect nightcap.” Bowls, smoothies, and juices are made predominantly from plant-based ingredients. Click here to see a menu or for more information. Playa Bowls will be applying for permits soon and beginning the build-out, with plans to open late this fall, according to Blue Back Square Marketing Director Amy Cholowa. This will be their second location in Connecticut, with the only other in Fairfield.
  • Some very exciting news for those who already have or those who are planning to cut the cord! GoNetspeed, a high-speed fiber optic Internet provider, announced Thursday that it will be expanding its service offering to new West Hartford neighborhoods in the 06117 zip code. The company will begin the expansion in October to the area shown in brown on the map below. “With more than 16 million households already cutting the cord from cable TV packages, GoNetspeed offers fast Internet speeds to power that trend even further,”said Tom Perrone, chief operating officer of GoNetspeed in a news release. “Couple that with our mission to offer the best customer service in the business, and residents of West Hartford finally have an alternative to break away from the cable company for a better product at a lower cost.” The company says it is now available to 20,000 homes and small businesses in West Hartford, and will continue its expansion based on demand and is looking to have 15 percent of homes/businesses in an area register their interest for the expansion to take place. For more information or to indicate interest, click here. For more background information about the company and the service, details are available here.
  • Local resident Michael Ganci is launching a new food truck and is having a grand opening (open to the public) in the parking lot of Youngstrom Flooring, 39 Talcott Rd. in West Hartford, on Friday, Aug. 23, from 6-9 p.m. The Facebook page states: “Welcome to Grillin’ & Groovin’! For years I’ve wanted to start my own food/restaurant business and it’s finally come to fruition. The menu is melts with a twist and based on my other love, music. So let me invite you to share in some of my tasty food, funky tunes and cool vibes!” 
  • Division West (36 LaSalle Rd.) is serving as a collection point for the Community Renewal Team’s (CRT) annual backpack and school supply drive. The donated items will be given to the children of the women served at CRT’s Women’s Empowerment Center in Hartford and can be dropped off through Aug. 22. The flyer below has all of the details. “CRT sends its thanks to Women’s Empowerment Center volunteer Neysa Airas in collaboration with Division West Bistro and Bar for leading this effort in support of the women and families we serve,” the organization said in a news release. For more information, please visit CRT’s website.

    From left: YHB employees Renee Zerio, Florcita Bedon, and Lori Coleman. Courtesy photo

  • There are other backpack collections taking place locally, and for several years now, West Hartford Center-based YHB Investment Advisors, Inc. has enjoyed collaborating with The Town That Cares Fund to help provide backpacks for West Hartford students. “A new backpack is always exciting for the young recipients and a cause for optimism as the students start the school year,” said Jessica Kott, Senior Portfolio Manager. The YHB team is proud to continue supporting The Town That Cares Fund’s seasonal programs. For additional information about The Town That Cares Fund, please visit their webpage.
  • West Hartford Restaurant Week (which is nearly two weeks) begins Tuesday. Click here for a list of restaurants, links to menus, and more details about this great event that gets more people out supporting local businesses as well as Foodshare.
  • ICYMI, there was actually quite a lot of very exciting business news this past week. I can’t believe I personally missed the opening of Target in Bishops Corner, but I’m sure I will be there as Sam stocks up for his move into his UConn apartment. Click here for the complete story about West Hartford’s new small-format Target.
  • I also missed the reopening of Cinépolis Luxury CinemasThanks to intern Hunter Marotto for taking photos at the ribbon cutting – and interviewing management! Click here for the story.
  • Tax-free week started Sunday. 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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New area (in tan) that will be served by GoNetspeed. Courtesy image

Couldn’t resist! Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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