A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
We’re down to the wire with the holiday planning and shopping, and I, like many of you I am sure, still have plenty left to do.
My nest is full again with the return of both kids for their month-long break! They were both home for a few days last week while studying for finals, but after finishing up late Saturday they are now really home, with lots of stuff, and are both in decidedly less stressed moods.
Scarlett is very happy about it!
Time is flying and by the time you read next week’s Business Buzz column Christmas will have come and gone and Chanukah will be well underway. Since Monday, Dec. 26 is the official federal holiday celebration of Christmas, we’re going to give the Monday newsletter a vacation and publish the column on Wednesday, Dec. 28. We will do the same the following week because the official New Year’s Day holiday is on Monday, Jan. 2.
Happy Holidays – and there are approximately 29 of them celebrated by seven of the worlds major religions between Nov. 1 and Jan. 15 – so we think that covers most of the people in West Hartford!
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:
- Kellie Burke will move her business, Kellie Burke Interiors, from 983 Farmington Ave. in West Hartford Center to an industrial-style building that she purchased at 1041 New Britain Ave. in the Home Design District/Elmwood section of town. She hopes to make the move in January, and she’s really excited about the new space! “I will have been in West Hartford Center for 13 years, and this is my 20th year in business,” said Burke. Not only is it a long-needed move to a larger space, but Burke said that after being in business for 20 years, she thought it was time to reinvest in the town and purchase a building. Burke said her business is not so much retail as it is a custom design studio, and her clients are residential, restaurant, and commercial. The building is more than 5,000 square feet – with ample room for a presentation area where large screens are used to walk clients through a virtual view as she designs their space. It will also give her space to display examples of the high-end custom cabinetry that many customers choose, and some pieces of furniture from lines she uses so clients can sit down and test out the feel. Burke also stocks all of the bedding and other lines that Labrazel Home used to have for retail purchase at its LaSalle Road store. “I wanted to be in the Home Design District,” said Burke. A lover of history, she was really excited to learn that the 1041 New Britain Ave. building, built in 1930, was once occupied by an upholstery designer who came to West Hartford from Florence. Burke’s grandparents had an upholstery workshop in New York, she said. The new location, right next to the Elmwood railroad bridge and across from the CTFastrak station is in a “fun, up-and-coming” part of town. The industrial space is also “super cool,” she said, and she is maintaining the look with the exposed brick. Parking is available behind the building.
- West Hartford resident Melissa Weinstock has opened a new boutique – grace+GRIT. The boutique is housed at the Yoga Shop at 345 North Main St., right next to the Paper Store in Bishops Corner, and offers a selection of activewear, lifestyle apparel, and yoga accessories for women as well as for men. Understanding that every yogi has weathered tough moments with both grace and a fair amount of grittiness, Weinstock said she started grace+GRIT to celebrate strength, passion, and self-expression. Lines include ALO Yoga, Spiritual Gangster, BeyondYoga, HardTail, CoryVines, Onzie, Manduka, Liquido, and yoga jewelery from EarthBound Yoga Design and more. The boutique had a soft opening over the weekend and is open during studio hours, before and after all yoga classes, and by appointment by emailing Weinstock at graceandgrit.melissa@gmail.
com. The boutique will have its grand opening on Jan. 8, 2017, to coincide with the Yoga Shop’s “Big Birthday Bash” celebration of its first birthday. There will be free yoga all day that day (7 a.m.-2 p.m.), and discounts on merchandise – and cake. Weinstock helped open lululemon athletica when it was located in West Hartford Center, and worked as an educator there for two years before the store moved to Westfarms. “Lululemon sparked my love of retail AND led me to practice yoga. I always dreamed of opening my own store, and grace+GRIT couples my dream with my passion for power yoga. The energy at The Yoga Shop is truly the perfect setting for my boutique, and I can’t wait to share it with the West Hartford community.” Follow grace+GRIT on Facebook for more details.
After an exciting opening weekend, the We-Ha Pop-Up store – which features Vineyard Vines clothing and accessories for We-Ha and HALO portable chargers, plus other gifts at 69 Memorial Rd. in Blue Back Square – has some incredible fun planned for those final few days before Christmas and Chanukah. (See that photo at right – he needs you to pose with him!) The Pop-Up is open daily for business until Friday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. On Tuesday Woof Gang Bakery will host a “Yappy Hour”; on Wednesday NoRA Cupcake Company has something yummy planned; on Thursday they will welcome lots of local personalities, plus a special “person.” First, come meet Shaun Chambers, the founder of BodyRoc (641 New Park Ave.); say hello to the Epstein Family who are celebrating Joseph Epstein’s ‘Aromas in Coffee’ book (on sale at the Pop-Up). Lastly, for the first first time in West Hartford, the Vineyard Vines Whale will make a command appearance! Please follow the West Hartford Magazine Facebook page for announcements and times.
- I’m not sure if the proliferation of gyms in West Hartford is keeping up with the proliferation of restaurants, but it certainly must be close – and related! It’s great that we have so many opportunities to stay strong and healthy, and West Hartford will soon welcome Fearless Fitness at 635 New Park Ave. For more information and details about the bootcamp style training facility, visit their Facebook page.
- Congratulations to West Hartford resident Kara Flanagan – named manager of the Coldwell Baker West Hartford office!
- West Hartford resident Attorney Brian Clemow, a partner at Shipman & Goodwin, has joined the board of Duncaster. According to a news release, Clemow, a graduate of Harvard and University of Pennsylvania Law School, is “an active member of the community, he is a past president and current member of the board of the American School for the Deaf and serves on the board of the Friends of Harvard and Radcliffe Rowing. Clemow has served as chair of the board for the Charter Oak Chapter of the American Red Cross. He is a corporator of Hartford Hospital and has served as the co-chair of their Annual Fund and is a member of the hospital’s Development Committee.”
- The Aurora Foundation, which has its office at 80 South Main St. in West Hartford, has named Magrieta “Maggie” L. Willard as interim executive director effective Jan. 3, 2017. “Aurora is recognized as a highly respected philanthropic organization that has built increased community awareness of the need to focus philanthropic support on programs for women and girls and I am thrilled to lead in this interim capacity,” she said in a statement.
- Congratulations to Shaun Chambers, owner of BodyRoc, who has been named of of 12 finalists (out of 5,000 submissions sent) for America’s Most Inspiring Trainer hosted by Well + Good and Reebok. He will be at the We-Ha Pop-Up on Thursday!
- One of the reasons that HALO products are being sold at the We-Ha Pop-Up – other than that they are of high quality and will efficiently power up your phone or other electronic device without ruining it – is that the founder lives in West Hartford. To read the profile of inventor/entrepreneur Garold Miller, click here.
- Also ICYMI, INDIA Restaurant & Bar is now open in Blue Back Square. I’m still dreaming about those lamb chops, and the naan, and the Paani Poori I tasted at the preview party. For all of the details, including photos, click here.
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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