A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
We’re definitely in the dog days of summer now!
My dog is pretty happy about it, and enjoyed the “Dog Days of Summer” special event at the Farmers’ Market at Bishops Corner on Saturday. She’s also looking forward to some upcoming beach time with grandma.
My family and I plan to savor every little last bit of summer sunshine and warmth, eat as many meals outdoors as possible, and enjoy some togetherness during the less-than-two-weeks we have left before the our oldest returns to college. A few days after that our “baby” will be at UConn for Freshman Friday, and it will be empty nest time. Gulp.
Lots of West Hartford-ites are on vacation right now, but nothing seems to have stopped the flow of business news!
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:
- Zest 280 sent out an e-blast a few days ago with the message: “Back Soon with a New Twist!” Zest 280, which is located at 280 Park Rd., announced in early June that the popular lunch spot would be closed for a summer vacation. Some were worried that this was a permanent goodbye, but co-owner Kim Yarum said Friday that Zest 280 will be re-opening soon as a “mission-focused café.” Full details aren’t ready for release quite yet, but Yarum said that the intent is not to change the menu, but to do something to have an impact on the community. The concept will include a collaboration with Community Partners in Action, she said
- Crown Market is in the midst of a renovation, and if the comments from customers on their Facebook page are any indication, the new dairy section in the back of the store is a big hit. “The renovations are coming together very nicely. Our customers will see dramatic change just about every day between now and our grand ‘re-opening’ celebration in the fall. We are open and fully stocked during this time – and look forward to seeing all our customers!” said investor and board member Ann Pava in a message. Other changes include a new line of Israeli products and Crown’s own special brand of spices. Plans are for the renovations to be complete by Labor Day.
- Several days ago we published a story about two new chefs who had been added to the team at Grants Restaurant and Bar (click here for the complete story). One of those chefs, Sean Farrell, had been working at Prospect Café. Co-owner Paul Emery had the following to say: “We are happy for Sean. He received an offer that was a great opportunity for him. We wish Sean the best and glad for his success. At Prospect Cafe, we are two brothers running a business that we love. Jeff is back as the executive chef, cooking and expanding menu offerings that have received rave reviews from our customers. Our vision remains the same, offering great food in a relaxed casual atmosphere, with a curated craft beer selection and seasonal crafted cocktail menus. A neighborhood place where everyone is welcome, the food is healthy and delicious, and good times are had by all,” he said. Emery also said that the kitchen hours have been extended until midnight on both Friday and Saturday.
- Ray Lamoureux, who has two decades of professional experience, has been named marketing and sponsorship director of Westfarms. According to a news release from Westfarms, Lamoureux most recently served as senior director of affiliate marketing with The Walt Disney Company and ESPN Media Networks where he led marketing strategy for their cable and digital businesses, including the development of integrated campaigns, product launches and strategic partnerships. Prior to this role, he held several marketing and sales positions with Disney and ESPN. “I’m excited to join the Westfarms team and build upon the center’s solid foundation,” said Lamoureux. “The retail industry is more dynamic than ever and we look forward to delivering an experience that’s truly unique for our customers, tenants and sponsors.” Lamoureux is a West Hartford native who is also a member of The Greater Hartford Arts Council and studied fine arts at the University of Hartford.
- Body and Sole owner Maria DeBartlo shared the following information in a comment on last week’s column. She thought it was newsworthy, and we more than agree: “The second Monday of every month from 10-2 we volunteer our services ( facials and massage) for Cut out Cancer at Milano Salon and Spa in Bloomfield for women in treatment. It is a wonderful day of complimentary treatments, guest speakers, beautifully catered food, complimentary scarves for head wraps and so much more. It would be great to spread the word as much as possible about this wonderful organization.”
- BK&Co‘s move around the corner from LaSalle Road to 983 Farmington Ave. is imminent. Owners Karen Herbert and Barbara Karsky said the move should be accomplished prior to Aug. 15, and they plan a “final-final” tag sale at the 64 LaSalle Rd. store on the weekend of Aug. 13-14. Herbert and Karsky said they will be fully situated in the new store by tax-free week, which begins Aug. 21, and have a Joan Vass trunk show scheduled for Aug. 25. More details to follow.
- Welcome and congratulations to Jackie Pisani, the new director of Communications & Marketing at Kingswood Oxford School effective July 1. In a news release, Head of School Dennis Bisgaard said, “Jackie has hit the ground running, and her deep experience and knowledge as well as her sincere belief in and commitment to KO’s mission and core values make her a strong voice to represent Kingswood Oxford School. In her short time at the school, Jackie has already demonstrated a sense of creativity and can do work ethic that have been wonderful to witness.” Pisani is graduate of Marist College and has a masters from Columbia University. She most recently worked at The Independent Day School in Middlefield, where she had been the Associate Director of Marketing and the Assistant to the Head of School since December 2011. Her daughter, Sophia Harrison, graduated from KO in 2015. “I truly believe the teachers and advisors helped Sophia identify her strengths and challenges to become the person she is today,” said Pisani. “KO helped our family immeasurably, and we are forever grateful for the experience.”
- Seen on Twitter from the Elbow Room on Farmington Avenue: “Brand new! check us out on
@DineinCT and get your #elbowroomct delivered right to your door!” For those who don’t have Twitter, you can find Dine In Connecticut by clocking here: https://www.dineinct.com/
- Here’s your reminder to vote for Best of West Hartford from among the more than 275 finalists selected in nearly 50 categories – all determined by nominations from the community. The winners which will be honored at a gala awards show on Sept. 8, and tickets are now on sale! Click here to purchase. A list of all of the finalists and the link to voting can be found by clicking here. Some area businesses are doing a great job making their customers aware of the competition, so don’t forget to support your own favorites. Voting is easy, and you can even do it from your phone while sitting on a sunny beach somewhere!
Remember, if you have any business news to share, remember to add it in the comments section below or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].
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