A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
It’s two Sundays before Christmas, and I thought I was semi-organized this year, but then I looked back at my column from last year at this time and was quite dismayed to read that by then we already had our tree up and decorated.
We’ve got the inside of the house (mostly) decorated, but haven’t even gotten a tree yet, much less decorated it. We are 1) waiting for Sam to finish finals and come home to help us pick it out; and 2) kind of afraid to have a Christmas tree and energetic puppy in the house for too long at the same time. While Millie is not our first dog, she’s the first to be this young at Christmastime, and she still takes the opportunity to chew on a wide variety of things whenever she can.
We are currently watching her very carefully around the large nutcrackers that are perched on our fireplace hearth.
I tried to take a photo of Millie wearing a Santa hat. See (at right, below) how that turned out … She did, however, pose for me in front of the Christmas tree in Blue Back Square on Saturday (photo above).
Sundays are always busy work days for me, especially when there are events to cover such as the Blue Back Mitten Run, and sorting through nearly 300 photos meant I sadly missed getting to attend Sunday’s West Hartford Symphony holiday concert. I heard it was fantastic, and will have to find another opportunity to hear some live holiday music.
It’s the end of the year, and the flurry of fall business openings and meetings is beginning to slow down. This could perhaps be the beginning of a bit of a temporary lull in the news.
As I have said about holiday season in the past, it’s time to keep taking those deep breaths, and time to enjoy the sights, sounds, light, music, and spirit of the holiday season. And maybe even welcome some more snow.
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:
- Have you noticed that the former Dunkin Donuts/Basking Robbins at the corner of New Britain Avenue and South Main Street (1253 New Britain Ave.), vacated when the shop moved diagonally across the street, no longer has a “for lease” sign in the window? That’s because it has been leased, and will be home to DORO Marketplace in 2020. CEO Dorjan Puka said that details about exactly what the business will include are still being finalized, but the marketplace will definitely sell baked goods. More information will be released shortly, Puka said.
- Jacob Studenroth of The Wise Old Dog has just launched a complimentary business. Henry’s Provisions, named for Studenroth’s preschool-aged son, Henry, is a “wonderfully cohesive experience, what we call our home kitchen.” Subscribers will get four packages a year, filled with “some excuses to slow down,” Studenroth said. There will be recipes, special “bespoke cooking tools,” and all the dry goods and accessories (for example beeswax candles for the table), and some background information about the meal you will be creating, “the genesis of why this is important,” he said, everything needed to create a special dining experience at your home. Only the fresh ingredients will need to be purchased, and Henry’s Provisions will provide a detailed list of those items. This is not like subscribing to one of the prepared meal services, Studenroth said. “This is not the cliff notes, 30-minute weeknight meal … this is the leather-bound book.” An annual subscription includes four packages a year, and because Studenroth also owns Wise Old Dog, as part of the package (charged separately for legal reasons) special wines will also be provided. Studenroth said that the business is an expansion of what he has already been doing at the store – assisting customers in creating a special culinary experience. “I am really excited to develop the idea – it came from our clients,” he said. Everything in a delivery, down to the bag it arrives in, is carefully and lovingly hand-crafted, and multiple local businesses (including West Hartford-based Cricket Press and GoMedia) have been involved in the launch of this new operation. And deliveries are made personally, not shipped. “This is an absolutely micro-production,” Studenroth said. A subscription can be for yourself, or can be a gift, and can be paid for all at once (with a discount) or quarterly. The first delivery will be in February 2020, and subscriptions need to be activated by Dec. 31, 2019 in order to guarantee February receipt. Those who subscribe later will be able to begin the service with the April delivery, Studenroth said. The business’ credo, said Studenroth, is “Slow Down with Us,” and that’s exactly what he hopes subscribers will experience. For more information, or to subscribe, visit the Henry’s Provisions website. A few more photos Studenroth provided can be found below.
- The wait for Frida (1150 New Britain Ave.) to open is nearly over! I met with partners Sandy Sanchez and Xiomara Zamudio last week and saw the completely transformed interior of the former Tapas space. They were waiting for the final health department approval, and want to be sure everything is just right to make a great first impression on diners. Look for an announcement of the official opening date coming in the next few days!
- West Hartford resident Courtney Daley has launched her own dog care business. Daley, whose unique background includes several years of caring for a sled dog team, is the owner of Daleypawz. She is in the process of becoming a positive reinforcement dog trainer, and is currently a dog walker/adventurer. “I will take your dog for a walk around the block or on a long hike!” she said. For more information, visit the daleypaws website.
- Props to West Hartford resident Abby Moore and Fleet Feet Sports, who collaborated with the Connecticut Podiatric Medical Association, Hartford Police, and other organizations for a very successful Footwear with Care distribution event on Saturday. About 600 people, many of whom are homeless, received new boots, socks, and foot exams at the event held at UConn’s Hartford campus. The boots all and everything else were donated.
- Best of luck to Beth Bolton of A Little Something Cake Studio, a local entrepreneur who will be pivoting from her bakery operation to a build a new business aimed at mentoring early upstarts. She will be retiring from and closing the bakery after more than 10 years in operation, and said the following in a news release: “It has been my honor to serve thousands of clients over the past 11 years for all of the most memorable occasions. It was in serving my clients, supporting their special events and building those relationships that I made the decision to pivot the direction of my career toward this next chapter.” She plans to use the experience she has gained building a successful business to help create deep client relationships with entrepreneurs looking to launch their own venture. Bolton spent 25 years in management at Filene’s (now Macy’s) before launching A Little Something on Feb. 12, 2009, and her expertise ranges from motivation and mentorship to business management and client relations. “For me, opening a small business wasn’t about the money, it was about a feeling and providing a warm and inviting experience,” Bolton said, and that’s the feeling she sought to share through the “old-fashioned family recipes and cozy environment” in the bakery. “That feeling is what drives me and with the pivot of my work toward personal and business coaching, I can provide that same feeling to my clientele in a different but equally meaningful way.” A Little Something Cake Studio moved from Park Road to 485 New Park Avenue in 2014. Holiday cookie orders are still available for purchase at www.alittlesomethingbakery.com until Dec. 20, 2019, and Bolton is currently accepting new coaching client inquiries via her website at www.bethbolton.com.
- Union Kitchen (43 LaSalle Rd.) will be hosting a pop-up version of another Bean Restaurant Group restaurant on Dec. 18, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. The Student Prince will be heading south from Springfield, MA, and will be offering a special dinner with German food and carolers that night. More details can be found on the flyer below or on the Union Kitchen website.
- Congratulations to Dr. Ana Paula Gomes of Elmwood Dental Group (1132 New Britain Ave.) who has been named to the 2019 topDentists, the 12th year in a row she has been named to the topDentists list, a database which includes listings for dentists and specialists in each state. “It is truly an honor to be recognized by my peers along with the other distinguished dentists,” said Dr. Gomes in a news release. “Our practice takes pride in providing each and every patient with quality dentistry in a caring and compassionate manner.” Dr. Gomes purchased the Elmwood Dental Group LLC in 2006 as a partnership and took over sole ownership in 2013. Dr. Rupal S. Patel and Dr. Carissa Tanaka are also with the practice. Dr. Gomes graduated with her Doctorate in Dental Medicine from the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine. Gomes is an active member of the American Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry, the Connecticut State Dental Association, and the Hartford Dental Society. For more information visit https://www.elmwooddentalllc.
com or call 860-331-8748.
- The Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants (CTCPA) will honor four female CPAs for “Distinguished Service” and three female CPAs as “Women to Watch” when the organization holds its first-ever “CTCPA Women’s Awards Breakfast” at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell. Congratulations to several with ties to West Hartford who are included among the honorees. Vanessa Rossitto, CPA, Partner – Industry Leader Government Services Group at blumshapiro, West Hartford, will receive a “Distinguished Service” award, and Ilona Gooley, CPA, a West Hartford resident and senior manager at Andersen in Hartford is one of the “Women to Watch.”
- ICYMI, an Experience We-Ha podcast last week featured DECA, a marketing, business, and entrepreneurship club which now has branches at Conard and Hall. Click here to listen.
- Last Thursday was the Holiday Stroll, the 32nd annual event sponsored by the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce, the West Hartford Center Business Association, and Blue Back Square as a thank you to customers. More about Stroll, including a photo gallery, can be found here.
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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