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West Hartford Business Buzz: August 23, 2021

The sign is now up at WeHa Brewing and Roasting Company on Shield Street. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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

By Ronni Newton

That cliché phrase “out of the frying pan and into the fire” comes to mind when I think about the past few days when we did hurricane prep at one place, only to have to do the same thing back in West Hartford when we arrived home from vacation on Saturday evening.

And I was pretty sure I was going to skip writing this column this week because of Henri. I thought it would be inappropriate to focus on anything other than the storm when I was anticipating that most of the town would be without power, but as I write this Sunday night there are only 70 West Hartford customers left in the dark.

There’s also not a ton of business news to share right now because so many people have been on vacation.

Friday was going to be a spectacular beach day (which it was), so we made the decision to extend our vacation as long as possible and leave Nantucket first thing Saturday morning – which was the latest we could leave because we had the house rented that afternoon. And before left we readied the house for a hurricane, putting most of the outdoor furniture in the garage and battening down everything else that couldn’t be moved easily.

The weather was crazy humid (although that’s not unusual) but otherwise calms as we boarded a rather crowded ferry Saturday morning and departed through a harbor where most of the boats had been removed for the storm. Driving home from Hyannis (which took twice as long as usual, and which involved Waze’s decision to send us on some new backroad routes) we passed many storm warning signs on the highways and got a bit worried when the first place we stopped for gas had signs indicating that they were sold out (the next place, thankfully, had gas).

Warning on highway about Henri. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (while a passenger)

By the time we were fighting  the Cape Cod traffic, we knew Henri’s track had changed, moving well west of Nantucket and pretty much looking like the eye of the storm would pass right through West Hartford, and when we got home we were focused on storm prep 2.0, along with getting settled from being gone for two weeks. Although the projected track wavered a bit that’s about where it went, and although at the height about 400 West Hartford residents lost power, and some lost trees, overall we really got pretty lucky.

I started writing storm stories while on the ferry and although it’s old news now, I’ve left them in this newsletter in case you want to see the photos, as well as know what town officials did in preparing for what could have been – and was forecast to be – catastrophic.

On Sunday afternoon (after my husband made a joke about it), I staged an awkward “Weather Channel moment” while doing a Facebook Live about Henri in the Center. (Note that the wind was only about 20mph at that point, and the gravest danger was that my phone would get wet.)

Screen shot of awkward selfie video on LaSalle Road during Henri

Also sharing this innovative solution I came up with to try to keep the water directed away from one of our basement window wells. We know it needs to be rebuilt but haven’t had it done yet, and the problem has caused water to seep (or occasionally gush, which is probably what happened last Thursday because the nearby area was rather wet) into the unfinished portion of the basement. Ted thought it was a ridiculous idea that would never work to close the tarp in the windows of my office and then secure the other end with bricks, directing the water away from the well, but after it worked he admitted it was actually a very good idea (and said I could say that publicly).

My non-technical but effective solution to keeping water away from the window well. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

It’s late August, and time to face the arrival of autumn and the return of students to school. Hopefully we’ll have some great weather ahead for the next few weeks.

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:

The sign is now up at WeHa Brewing and Roasting Company on Shield Street. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • I was so afraid that there wouldn’t be any exciting business news this week, and while there aren’t too many bullet points in today’s column, I’m particularly excited to share this feature item about two of my favorite beverages – coffee and beer. The signs are up, the brewing equipment has been moved in, and WeHa Brewing and Roasting Company is getting very close to its opening day. According to owner Cody McCormack, they are “putting the finish touches on it and awaiting inspections from the town.” The 6,000 square foot space, at 141 Shield Street, will be a a combination coffee roaster, brewery (under the able guidance of Will Gorry, who has been brewing commercially for about 10 years), and cafe/tap room/coffee bar. A full update and feature story will be forthcoming, and I can’t wait to see the inside of the space. For updates, follow @wehabrewingco and @weharoastingco on Facebook and Instagram.

The sign is now up for Rasham Marketplace at 770 Farmington Ave. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Sunday wasn’t a great day for taking photos, but it was the only day I had in town to do it and just as the storm was ramping up I snapped this photo of Rasham Marketplace, which will be opening in the space formerly occupied by Cosmos International at 770 Farmington Ave. Owner Talal Peracha previously told me that Rasham Marketplace will be a “grocery store/supermarket, with fresh vegetables, fruits, and spices, and a meat section,” and will also feature takeout Pakastani and Indian dishes, many of which are on the menu at Rasham Restaurant, which he owns in South Windsor. The sign wasn’t up when I stopped by a few weeks ago, but now it’s looking close to being ready very soon.

Amarose at Tilted Bottles. Courtesy of Tilted Bottles (we-ha.com file photo)

  • Tim Covello, co-owner with his daughter Ally Covello of West Hartford-based wine Amarose (featured in this column last month) will be doing a tasting at Tilted Bottles on Raymond Road, on Saturday, Aug. 28, from 2-6 p.m. as part of the grand reopening of the newly-renovated store.

Max Eichner. Courtesy photo

  • West Hartford Center-based YHB Investment Advisors, Inc. is excited to welcome Max Eichner as a portfolio analyst, the company announced in a news release. His responsibilities will include supporting portfolio management, analysis, and client service. Eichner, originally from Washington, D.C., graduated from Trinity College in 2020. At Trinity, he majored in public policy and law and was also a member of the men’s soccer team. During his time at Trinity, Max worked with the college’s Writing Center as head tutor, and with the college’s Office of Communications as an intern. He most recently worked as a communications assistant for the Georgetown University Athletics Department. Eichner is currently working on his Master of Science in management through the University of Illinois.

  • The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce has postponed their annual golf tournament from Aug. 24 to Aug. 31, still at Wampanoag. For more information email [email protected], call 860-810-5663, or visit the golf tournament page on their website.
  • ICYMI, West Hartford’s universal indoor mask mandate went into effect at noon last Friday. Masks are required to be worn by all individuals over the age of 2 in indoor public spaces. Click here for the complete story.

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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