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West Hartford Business Buzz: February 19, 2018

Work is nearly complete and Harvest Wine Bar on LaSalle Road is just weeks away from opening. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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

By Ronni Newton

The weather this week will be the tale of two seasons – or maybe even three seasons.

One daffodil plant can be seen poking out of the snow early Sunday morning. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

First thing Sunday morning, after my husband snow-blowed (I did shovel the front walk), I took this photo of my daffodils, which are poking out of the ground alongside my driveway. On Saturday morning they had been looking quite healthy, enjoying the sunshine. On Sunday morning only the most precocious plant was still visible in the snow, while the rest were covered in 6 inches of a snowy white blanket.

It’s melting quickly (yay!!) and the high 40s Monday, low 60s Tuesday, and 70-degrees on Wednesday should make quick work of any remaining snow. I am going to absorb all the warmth I can this week because I know it will have to get cold again before patio time arrives for good.

On a not-so-light note, I’d like to publicly thank Superintendent of Schools Tom Moore for the heartfelt letter he sent home to families on Thursday, following the deadly school shooting in Parkland, FL, that took place on Wednesday. I spoke with him as he was preparing to send it out, and could hear the raw emotion in his voice. On Friday I was at the police station reporting on a ceremony for a promotion and retirement, and while I was there I was shown one of the trauma kits that are now kept in all school buildings. The police reluctantly told me they call them “active shooter” kits. I honestly have no words.

I can’t segue into the business news without returning to a positive theme, so I’ll provide the link to our sports category, where there has been plenty of good news in the past week. The Hall High School boys took second place overall in the State Open on Saturday, with a few first-place event finishes, the Conard girls 4×400 relay team set a school record at the State Open, and the Hall girls basketball team has made it to the semifinals of the CCC tournament.

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:

Interior of Harvest Wine Bar on Jan. 31, 2018. Courtesy photo

  • It seems like the “coming soon” sign has been posted on the future Harvest Wine Bar space at 64 LaSalle Rd. for quite some time, but “soon” is almost here! I peeked inside earlier in the week and the contractor told me they were about a month away from completion. I then contacted Vicente Siguenza, who owns and operates the restaurant brand with his siblings Kleber Siguenza and Nube Siguenza, and he said that the restaurant should open the last week of March or early April. “I’m really hoping to have the first week of April for the opening date,” he said. The menu, according to Harvest Wine Bar’s website, offers “modern American custom cuisine with Asian, Latin, and Mediterranean influence.” Harvest Wine Bar currently has three locations (Greenwich, New Haven, and Westport), and the owners also have several “sister” restaurants in Fairfield County with slightly different concepts. Updates to follow, of course!

    Kim Green in her new space at 485 New Park, celebrating the grand opening on Feb. 15. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Kim Green opened her Mindfulness and Matters meditation studio at 485 New Park in September 2016, and at the time had a small retail operation – the “and Matters” part of the business – focused on things related to peace and mindfulness, many of which were made by local artisans. Now, Green has greatly expanded her space and the retail business, called “Zen and Now Vintage,” is a much more prominent focus. Green has moved down the hall and more than doubled her space in the eclectic 485 New Park building, and now has ample room to display her beautiful and unique inventory of estate sale finds and other vintage items. About 50 people attended the grand opening on Feb. 15, enjoying treats and browsing the collection of mirrors, dishes, lamps, furniture, and more that can be found in the shop. Meditation is still a major part of the business, and sessions are available on a scheduled as well as drop-in basis and Green also makes house calls (see website for details), and the shop is open Friday through Sunday. More of what is available at the shop can be seen in the photos below. Follow the Mindfulness and Matters Facebook page for even more details.
  • Devices that combine pressure cooking, slow cooking, rice cooking, and more have become all the rage, and Cookshop Plus in West Hartford Center (977 Farmington Ave.) and the Wise Old Dog are hosting a pop-up event on Thursday, March 8, at 6:30 p.m., that combines learning how to us a multi-cooker with a tasting and wine pairing. Samantha Hines, co-owner of Cookshop Plus, said, “It’s a demonstration evening learning how to use the on-trend product, the multi-cooker (also known as the Instant-Pot). We’ll be cooking up two dishes using the multi-cooker and discussing its range of uses, then enjoying a tasting of the dishes with a wine pairing from the Wise Old Dog! Booking are required to confirm your space, which can be done online (www.cookshopplus.com), in store or over the phone (860-461-0667).” More details can be found on the flyer below.

    Christopher Williams. Courtesy photo

  • Congratulations to Christopher Williams on becoming the newest principal at Conway Stoughton LLC. Attorney Williams’ practice is focused on litigating tort claims, product liability claims, land use issues, commercial disputes and catastrophic personal injury claims. Additionally, Williams heads up the firm’s litigation practice in both the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Courts. He is a 2008 graduate of Quinnipiac Law School, a 2005 graduate of Loyola College in Maryland and a 2001 graduate of Conard High School. Williams was also selected as a Connecticut Super Lawyer, Rising Star in 2017. He lives in West Hartford with his wife Holly and their two children, Lilia and Joseph. In addition to practicing law, Williams serves on West Hartford’s Town Council.
  • Congratulations are also in order to a former Town Council member – Judy Casperson – who has been named a 2018 “100 Women of Color” honoree! Casperson will be officially recognized at a gala at the Bushnell on Friday, March 16.
  • West Hartford-based Work in Progress Fitness (WIP) and West Hartford-based grace+Grit athleisure retailer have partnered up for a new location for both organizations at the Shoppes at Farmington Valley (110 Albany Turnpike). The grand opening will be held on Friday, Feb. 23 with classes from 5:30 a.m.- 2 p.m. and 5-8 p.m., as well as discounts, food, and fun.
  • More big news for Tyler Anderson, co-owner of Cook and The Bear in West Hartford and the soon-to-open Porrón & Piña at the Goodwin Hotel in Hartford, and owner of Millwright’s in Simsbury. Anderson, who recently completed a run on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” has just been named a 2018 semifinalist Best Chef: Northeast by the James Beard Foundation. It’s the fifth year in a row that Anderson has earned the honor. Only one other Connecticut chef, Brian Lewis of The Cottage in Westport, was chosen. The winners will be announced on Wednesday, March 14.
  • I haven’t had a chance to check this out yet, but according to an article in the CT Post, Price Rite locations throughout the state, including the store in West Hartford (983 New Britain Ave.), are undergoing renovation and rebranding that includes “a bright, refreshed space featuring new in-store signage and additions like the ‘Sweet Spot’ dessert case.” Construction has already started, the CT Post reports.
  • It’s going to be beautiful weather for the fifth annual Taste of Elmwood on Wednesday, and guests will enjoy samplings from 10 local restaurants. Several have released their menus – while others prefer to surprise. Click here for all of the up-to-date details!
  • There were tons of business stories last week! In case you missed it, here are some of the highlights … the Town of West Hartford has rescheduled the UConn Visioning forum, and it will be held in three identical sessions on Wednesday, Feb. 18. Click here for all of the details.
  • FLOW – Future Leaders of West Hartford – has a new president and a great schedule of programming for its growing membership, which now numbers about 200. Click here for more information.
  • The Town Council approved a seventh building that will add 30 apartment units to the luxury complex recently built at 243 Steele RoadClick here for the full story.
  • The Park Road Association launched its first small business workshop. Click here for details.
  • Congratulations to Companions for Living, which has moved into its brand new home office on North Main Street in Bishops Corner. Click here for the details.

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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Zen and Now grand opening. Photo courtesy of Kim Green

Zen and Now grand opening. Photo courtesy of Kim Green

Zen and Now grand opening. Photo courtesy of Kim Green

Zen and Now grand opening. Photo courtesy of Kim Green

Zen and Now grand opening. Photo courtesy of Kim Green

Zen and Now grand opening. Photo courtesy of Kim Green

Mindfulness and Matters/Zen and Now – just 10 days before it opened. Photo courtesy of Kim Green.

Courtesy image

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