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West Hartford Business Buzz: December 18, 2017

Clearing of trees has started on the former Gledhill Nursery property, which is being redeveloped as an open space housing development. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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

By Ronni Newton

A continued Happy Holidays wish to all – and since there are approximately 29 of them celebrated by seven of the world’s major religions between Nov. 1 and Jan. 15, we think that covers most of the people in West Hartford!

No longer bare! Photo credit: Ronni Newton

After having the nest completely empty for the past few months, I am so happy to have my son home, and this time for a few weeks – even though it means my food bill will skyrocket. He’s already gone through a dozen eggs in the past few days! He isn’t being lazy though – and in the past few days has spent many hours valet parking for LAZ. If you valet your car at Blue Back Square (available Thursday through Sunday in front of Bar Louie/Cheescake Factory, and free with $25 purchase), you may get to meet him!

My daughter is also done with a very intense semester of grad school and has the next month off, so even though she is now living in Newington, she finally has some free time and we can see her more often. Scarlett is very happy for the more frequent visits!

Since we were finally able to get the whole family together, it also means our Christmas tree is no longer naked!

If you haven’t seen it yet, I do urge you to find some time to visit the “Inspiring Equity” exhibit at West Hartford Town Hall. The striking images, by talented West Hartford photographer Jamie Kaminski, line the hallways of the third floor. Download the “Live Portrait” app, and prepare to be inspired. It’s a good idea to bring headphones, to really be able to watch the videos and listen to the audio that “magically” plays when you point your smart device at an image. I’m personally excited to have been included in this project! (My photo is along the southern hallway.)

I also want to give a shout out to Marlon Pitter, who will be reporting on high school sports for We-Ha.com. Marlon is a 2017 graduate of UMass Lowell, where he was editor-in-chief of the UML Connector, and also covered sports. His first piece was coverage of the Conard girls basketball game on Saturday, and look for plenty more to come!

Since Christmas Day and New Year’s Day both fall on Mondays this year, there will not be a Monday morning Business Buzz column for the next two weeks, and we will have newsletters only on Wednesday and Friday of those weeks. If there is enough business news to share, I’ll publish a column in one of the newsletters the week of the 25th, but otherwise look for Business Buzz to return on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018.

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:

Entrance to the former Gledhill Nursery, where site work is beginning for Gledhill Estates. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Work has now started on Gledhill Estates, the 16-home open space development that the Town Planning and Zoning Commission approved back in April for the former Gledhill Nursery property with the clearing of many of the trees on the property. Gledhill Nursery closed its doors at the end of 2016, and the sale of the property took place at the beginning of November, allowing for the commencement of work on the site. Town Planner Todd Dumais said Friday that the developer is still working with FEMA on floodplain review, but that soil and erosion control measures have been installed which allowed for the removal of the trees last week. The town has just received permit applications for regrading as well as the construction of a model home on the site, Dumais said, but the timetable for the work will likely be weather dependent. More details about Gledhill Estates can be found on the development’s website.
  • UPDATED: I’ve had so many people ask me about Donut Crazy over the past few weeks, and I would love to be able to report that opening is imminent, but some changes required by the town’s building department have slowed that project and it may be spring 2018 before we can enjoy those insane hand-forged doughnuts and cruffins. “We hope to have our building permit next week,” Donut Crazy owner Jason Wojnarowski said Monday. He said that an April opening is a “reasonable deadline.” That should give everyone a chance to finish gaining their holidays pounds and then work out hard throughout the winter to get back into shape before indulging!
  • The We-Ha Vineyard Vines and HALO Portable Power “Holiday Pop-Up Store” appeared at Lux Bond & Green on Sunday, and will be popping up in a few more spots around town throughout this week. We-Ha Vineyard Vines totes, ties, polos, Shep shirts, and belts are up to 50 percent off, while supplies last! Halo chargers are great stocking stuffers (and are of high quality that won’t destroy the innards of your phone), and start at an unheard-of $20. (UPDATED) Upcoming pop-ups are, This afternoon (Monday): Hartford Baking Co. 625 New Park Ave., Elmwood,  3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday: Bristle & Blade, 1158 New Britain Ave., Elmwood, from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday: Hartford Baking Company, 965 Farmington Ave., West Hartford Center, from 7 to 9 a.m. Thursday: Blue Back Square, late night. (Watch We-Ha.com and Facebook for updates. Times subject to change).

    Pictured at the recent welcoming ceremony (from left): Free, Steadman and USJ Vice President for Institutional Advancement Marjorie “Maggie” Pinney. Submitted photo

  • The Aurora Foundation has moved across town – and is now housed on the campus of the University of Saint Joseph. USJ President Rhona Free said in a news release announcing the move, “Having the Aurora Foundation on campus will provide our USJ community, including the Women’s Leadership Center, with many more opportunities to collaborate on research, skill-building and training, and public events that support our commitment to developing the whole person, especially our long-standing focus on preparing women leaders.” Aurora Executive Director Jennifer Steadman said, “In moving to lease space on the USJ campus, Aurora has gained much more than a location for our office. While we remain independent as the state’s only free-standing women’s fund, we look forward to opportunities to work with USJ faculty, staff, and students on our efforts to increase women’s successful completion of college and to promote women’s economic security and leadership.” The Aurora Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that uses philanthropy with a gender lens to direct resources to women and girls so that they can achieve their social, economic, and career goals.  
  • Lots going on at the Delamar Hotel, including this very fun event every Sunday that’s available to the whole family: S’more Sunday! According to the Delamar Facebook page, every Sunday, at the outdoor fireplace on the Delamar lawn from 5-7 p.m.:Enjoy complimentary marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate, and sticks along with hot chocolate for the kiddos! Children must be supervised by adults at all times.” The hotel also has plenty of ongoing specials, including a special for locals of 25 percent off (promo code “LOCALLOVE”) and other packages that can be found on its website.
  • Jitae Taekwondo Academy has moved its martial arts studio to 121 Talcott Rd. (from 589 New Park Ave.) The business offers classes in Taekwondo, Superfoot systems kickboxing, and Nihon Goshin Aikido. More information is available on their website.
  • Hair Gods is getting set for a move, from a suite at 333 North Main St. in Bishops Corner to 161 Park Rd. Permits for the build-out have been approved according to Economic Development Specialist Kristen Gorski. More information about Hair Gods can be found on their website.
  • Speaking of Park Road, the Park Road Association has launched its own gift guide, a great source for great last-minute very local holiday gifts. The Park Road Gift Guide was created by the Park Road Association and Home Design District’s new marketing consultant, Chelsea O’Donnell of Journey Communications. Click here for all of the details!

    The Corbin Collection construction. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • I keep taking updated photos of the construction of the Corbin Collection (former Sears buildings), and even though there’s really nothing new to report, the buildings are really taking shape and the windows are now being installed. I would not expect to see any tenants moving in until later in 2018, and although no new tenants have been announced in addition to Shake Shack, REI, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, buybuy Baby, and Cost Plus World Market, Economic Development Specialist Kristen Gorski said she has been told there is a lot of interest, just no leases signed yet.

    PM Pediatrics is now open in Corbin’s Corner. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • There is news to report from elsewhere in Corbin’s Corner, where PM Pediatrics is now open at 1459A New Britain Ave. (former Easter Mountain Sports location). PM Pediatrics, which is aptly named, offers urgent care services for children, and is open 365 days per year, from noon until midnight. There are no appointments needed, but online check-in is offered, with wait times updated continuously. Click here for the website.
  • Work has also started on the Tile Shop, which will be opening right next door to PM Pediatrics, in the former Pier One space that was a Spirit Halloween pop-up.
  • Most West Hartford restaurants will be closed on Christmas Day (The Butterfly Chinese Restaurant on Farmington Avenue is open normal hours on Christmas Day), but many are open Christmas Eve and have special deals planned. Park and Oak, Fleming’s, Effie’s Place, Savoy, Treva, Àvert, Zohara, The North House (in Avon, but owned by West Hartford resident Nicholas Chabot), and Naples Pizza/4 Eat&Drink (in Farmington, also a West Hartford owner) all responded to a Facebook post that they will be open on Christmas Eve with a variety of different hours and offerings. Feel free to add any other details in the comment section below!

    Stephen Clancy has been named a partner at Robinson+Cole. Submitted photo

  • Congrats to West Hartford resident Stephen O. Clancy, named partner at Robinson+Cole effective Jan. 1, 2018. According to a news release from Robinson+Cole, Clancy, who works in the firm’s Hartford office, “focuses his practice on insurance coverage and extra-contractual litigation, as well as professional liability and other complex litigation. He is a member of Robinson+Cole’s Litigation Section, and its Insurance + Reinsurance Practice Group. Mr. Clancy’s insurance coverage experience includes the representation of property, liability, and excess insurance carriers in connection with high-exposure litigation often involving claims for extra-contractual damages. His experience also includes the representation of a diverse group of individual and institutional clients including legal, medical, financial, insurance, and design professionals.”
  • Congratulations also to Pam Howard of West Hartford-based Firebrick Design, has recently been recognized by local and national design organizations. Earlier in 2017, the Connecticut Art Directors Club honored Firebrick Design with a silver award and an award of excellence in the invitation and branding categories. In the fall Graphic Design USA selected Firebrick Design for recognition in their yearly round-up under the invitation and annual report categories. And now Print magazine has announced that Firebrick Design is to be included in the highly selective Regional Design Annual, the premier annual yearbook of American design excellence. “I’m thrilled to be included in the Regional Design Annual and honored to be recognized by my peers in each of these organizations,” said Howard, principal and creative director. “These awards reflect the amazing strategic relationships I have with my clients. Great communication yields great work.” 
  • Today’s sad news is that Williams Sonoma is closing its Westfarms store. Everything in the store is marked for clearance.

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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  • hi all…arugula will open christmas eve, serving dinner 4:30 – 10:00, with reservations strongly recommended…please call the bistro at 860-561-4888…thank you…i look forward to cooking for you…christiane

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