A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
Happy first day of winter!
Please note that I choose to welcome summer on the first day of meteorological summer (June 1), but wait until the very last minute to welcome winter. In fact I could have waited until Tuesday, since the winter solstice in the Hartford area doesn’t occur until 11:49 p.m. on Dec. 21, 2015. It will be a few weeks until it’s noticeable, but the days will start getting longer. In my opinion, it’s important to concentrate on that positive because based on the way-above-average temperatures we’ve had over the past few weeks, it’s bound to get a lot colder as winter really sets in, despite having slightly more daylight.
There is an abundance of business news to share this week – and it’s difficult to image that there will be any more news to report next week but if there is anything, we will certainly share it.
In recognition of these two weeks being holiday weeks, we at We-Ha.com are going to try to have a little down time, too. We will publish our regular newsletter on Wednesday, but that will be the only other newsletter this week. We will publish just one newsletter next week, on Monday, Dec. 28. Of course if there is any breaking news, we will make sure you know about it!
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:
- The rumor mill has been been in overdrive for the past few weeks, and if all of the purported closings were to take place West Hartford might turn into a ghost town. We have chased down the details on as many of them as possible, but if you’ve heard something that isn’t addressed here, comment below or send me an email. It may be left off because I wasn’t able to either substantiate or dispel the rumor, or it may be something I don’t know about … We begin with Per Se Aveda, at 58 Memorial Rd. in Blue Back Square. The salon is closing its Blue Back Square location at 1 p.m. on Dec. 31, but it isn’t going away. Per Se Aveda owner Shari Phillips will now be joining forces with her husband, Matthew Phillips, and both Phillips will operate under newly-renovated Matthew Phillips Aveda Concept Salon at 68 LaSalle Rd. The LaSalle Road space will also close for a few days after New Year’s Eve customers are taken care of, and the renovated space will re-open on Jan. 6, 2016.
- Because we prefer the good news, we will share the definitely-not-closing list first. Ooh La La Boutique (80 Memorial Rd.) owner Darlene Salonia dispelled the rumor that her store is closing and said her lease doesn’t expire until June. She said that although it can be tough to be a small business owner,”We try to add value by having something unique and different.”
- Blue Back Square management has said that rumors of Barnes & Noble, REI, Lucy Activewear, and Janie & Jack imminently closing are false.
- Blue Back Square Marketing Director Elizabeth Zigmont said that it’s the nature of the business that leases expire and are not renewed. “For every door that closes there’s someone else looking at the space. But it has to be the right fit,” she said. That was part of the response when asked for verification about White House Black Market’s (69 Memorial Rd.) status. Based on numerous “no comment” responses from a variety of sources, and the intell received from other Blue Back Square storeowners, it appears fairly certain that WHBM will close its doors at the end of this month.
- Party City in Bishops Corner will definitely close as of Dec. 31, 2015. According to the manager, the lease runs out as of that date and a decision was made not to renew it. Only the West Hartford store will be closing, and because they will transfer merchandise to other area stores, no major store-closing discount sales are expected. There is no news available yet about a replacement tenant for the space.
- Also in the definitely-closing category is Munson’s Chocolates Blue Back Square location (62 Isham Rd.) Munson’s will shut its doors for good at close of business on Dec. 31, 2015. The Westfarms location will remain open.
- Back to good news … We reported the plans for this new business two weeks ago, but Zigmont has now confirmed that Bar Louie has signed the lease and will open in Blue Back Square in 2016, likely sometime in the spring. Look for more details coming in early January.
- J.McLaughlin has advised that the store, located at 981 Farmington Ave., is now selling men’s clothing and accessories.
- This isn’t technically West Hartford business news, but it’s still big news for the area. Florida-based Hard Rock International announced last week that it wants to open a hotel, that includes a Hard Rock Cafe, in downtown Hartford. The development will be part of the Downtown North area that includes the new Yard Goats stadium. Click here for details in an article by Kenneth Gosselin in the Hartford Courant.
- ICYMI, one of the largest sales of real estate ever in West Hartford took place this past week. Sinatro Brothers LLC sold three key pieces of West Hartford Center real estate for $17.6 million to the newly-formed partnership LaSalle Road Partners LLC. It remains to be seen what, if any, changes this may spell for the Center, but we will be sure to keep readers updated. Click here for all of the details that are available right now.
- The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce sent over this photo of a recent ribbon-cutting along with the following announcement: “The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce is pleased to welcome the newly renovated Prospect Café to the Chamber. Brothers Paul and Jeff Emery totally gutted the building and designed a light filled and warm atmosphere for their creative cuisine. The Prospect Café is in a wonderful location for dinner or a stop in the bar to meet friends for drinks. Mayor Scott Slifka officiated at the ribbon cutting with Deputy Mayor Shari Cantor and council member Ben Winograd, Chamber members Dave Chmielewski, Dave Calibey, chamber Executive Director Barbara Lerner and Associate Director Morgan Hilyard-Evans are shown holding the ribbon.”
- Are you still Christmas shopping? Of course many of you are! Here’s a guide to some “Comfortable, Cozy, Classic, and Cool” gifts submitted by area retailers.
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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