Bishops CornerBusinessElmwoodPark RoadThe Center

West Hartford Business Buzz: February 27, 2017

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

By Ronni Newton

I can’t help but start this column off with a mention of this past week’s weather – which in my opinion was awesome up until Sunday when winter returned.

My husband said it was too warm and he wants it to snow because it would make our upcoming trip (can’t say where we are going here because it’s supposed to be a surprise for our kids and they just may be reading this) even more appreciated, but I thought it was wonderful to have the heat off and the windows open. It was a bit harder to go for a run in the warmth since I’m not used to it at this time of year, but that certainly wasn’t reason to complain.

Crocuses and snowdrops in West Hartford on Feb. 25, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Crocuses and snowdrops in West Hartford on Feb. 25, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

I snapped this photo of the crocuses and snowdrops in my neighbor’s yard on Sunday. (I knocked on the door, but no one was home. Since they permitted me to take a photo of their flowers last year, I’m hoping they don’t mind!) I’ve seen photos of similar blooms elsewhere in town posted on social media, and my daffodils actually look almost ready to bloom. I hope the return of colder weather won’t damage them or any of the other confused flowers!

Before getting to the business, I also feel I need to mention the story that broke Friday afternoon, about the arrest of six UConn students on charges connected to the death of Jeffny Pally, a UConn student from West Hartford who died tragically in October. I’ve written multiple stories about the incident, and as many readers know both of my children are students at UConn. My daughter is a member of Delta Gamma, the sorority to which Jeffny belonged.

Reading the 41-page police report was extremely difficult. It included a description of the incident in detail viewed from the surveillance camera at the public safety complex, and contained the transcript of interviews with 26 witnesses. Clearly none of those who provided witness statements anticipated what would happen that night. I am most certainly not condoning anyone’s behavior, but I am also not naive enough to assume that many of the events of Oct. 15-16, 2016, were all that out-of-the ordinary for a Saturday night on a college campus anywhere in this country.

In this case it resulted in tragedy, for Jeffny Pally, her family and friends, for the firefighter who was driving the SUV, and in my opinion also for the six students who were charged.

Those six young men charged included the four guys who were on the lease for the house where the party that Jeffny Pally attended right before her death was held. Legally they are responsible for what happens in their home and in in this case a judge approved the arrest warrant. The guy who bought the beer and vodka for the party was charged, as was the fraternity social chairman who arranged for the purchase – he was only 20 so that’s why someone else bought it – and transported it to the party.

Parents who provide alcohol to minors in their West Hartford homes, or permit it to be consumed on their property, also have the same type of legal responsibility.

Charges are not convictions, but this is a tragic reminder about consequences, and about how hard it can be sometimes to keep your kids, your friends, and your family safe.

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 Knox Foundation will be providing planters in Bishops Corner this spring and summer. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Knox Foundation will be providing planters in Bishops Corner this spring and summer. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • After the intro to this column, I feel the need to lead off with flowers, and there will be plenty more of them this spring and summer in Bishops Corner! The Knox Foundation worked with the Elmwood Business Association last year to install and maintain planters of flowers in front of businesses and along the streetscape (and I believe that will be repeated this year), and this year Knox has partnered with the BishopsCorner Neighborhood Association (BCNA) to bring eight large and beautiful planters to that neighborhood. They will be located along North Main Street, from TD Bank to Albany Avenue, on both sides of the street. The planters will be delivered and maintained (including watering and replacing dead flowers) by the Knox Foundation – at a cost of $300 each. Abby Dabby, Anytime Fitness, and the West Hartford Senior Center have already agreed to sponsor planters, and the BCNA is looking for pledges to sponsor the remaining five planters. According to the BCNA, each purchased planter provides funding for “training and jobs for unemployed Hartford residents who are in need of a second chance.” The order form can be found below, and sponsors are needed by March 15 to make this a reality.
  • Also in Bishops Corner news, We-Ha.com, West Hartford Magazine, and Eat IN Connecticut, in conjunction with the Bishops Corner Neighborhood Association, will be presenting the second annual Taste of Bishops Corner. The event will take place on Wednesday, March 29, 2017, in Bishop’s Corner – at an exact location to be announced! Tickets are now available by clicking here, and watch We-Ha.com for details.
    Claire Hodkinson has opened London Signature Facials at 10 Crossroads Plaza in Bishops Corner. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

    Claire Hodkinson has opened London Signature Facials at 10 Crossroads Plaza in Bishops Corner. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Sticking with the Bishops Corner theme … West Hartford resident Claire Hodkinson recently moved her business, London Signature Facials, from Simsbury to 10 Crossroads Plaza in Bishops Corner. I experienced the “Gold Signature Therapy Facial” last week, and it was one of the best hours of my life! I am not one who seeks out pampering on a regular basis (I can count the number of facials I have had without using all of the fingers on one hand), but several days later my skin still feels, as Hodkinson promised, “plumper and more hydrated.” The massage part of the facial – which stimulates the lymphatic system, Hodkinson said – was definitely a plus for me! Hodkinson is a native of England who has lived in West Hartford for several years. She was certified as a “beauty therapist” in England and had her own business in Yorkshire, and after living here for a few years decided to return to doing what she knows and loves. Hodkinson considers herself a “skin therapist and facialist,” but also consults with her clients about nutrition and other habits that might influence the condition of their skin. “Educating clients is a big part of what I do,” Hodkinson said, adding that she looks to form a partnership with those she treats. Her clients range from women looking to improve their skin, to men, to teens with acne. She believes very strongly in the product line she uses – Centuem London – which she had used in her Yorkshire practice. She rents her space in the Crossroads Wellness Center from naturopath Dr. Nancy White, as does a massage therapist, and there’s a natural synergy between the businesses as well, Hodkinson said. Visit the London Signature Facials Facebook page for more details, email [email protected], or call 860-817-4169 for more information.
  • Tuesday is Fat Tuesday, and we have learned that Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar will be having a Mardi Gras party! The event will run from 7:30 p.m. until midnight. Details will be announced later on Monday, so check their Facebook page for updates. And any other restaurants in town that are hosting Mardi Gras events – feel free to provide details in the comments.
  • Speaking of Tuesdays, Prospect Café will be starting “Speakeasy Tuesdays” beginning March 7. Co-owner Paul Emery said that a Prohibition-style event that they held in January was very well received, and guests asked for more. Speakeasy Tuesdays will be held the first and third Tuesday of the month, from 7:30-10:30 p.m., and will feature jazz music courtesy of Steve Davis and Friends, and Prohibition-inspired cocktails. Davis is a music professor at the Hartt School, and an accomplished and well-recognized jazz musician. “Our event in January was a lot of fun with local jazz musicians stopping by to contribute. We are planning to develop our Speakeasy Tuesday events and cultivate a local jazz scene here at Prospect Café,” Emery said.
  • I saw on Facebook that West Hartford resident Eliza Pinette opened her own pet grooming salon last week. According to her Facebook page, Liza Lou Grooming & Pet Sitting, located at 45 Crescent Ave. in Farmington (right over the line from West Hartford, near Wine Cellars 4 and Central Wheel) offers grooming of dogs – and cats – as well as pet sitting for dogs of all breeds and sizes. For more information contact [email protected] or call 860-402-4945. “With spring just around the corner, the shedding will surely follow! Whether your dog is long hair or short, big or small I would love the chance to meet them,” she wrote in her Facebook post.
  • Congratulations to West Hartford-based GinzVelo Hybrid Electric Cycles – winner of a $10,000 CTNext Entrepreneur Innovation Award (EIA. The award ceremony was held on Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford.According to a news release, the GinzVelo Hybrid Electric Cycle is “a personal transportation solution powered by pedaling or the electric motor to effortlessly travel up to 100 miles to and from your destination.”

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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  • I think it’s really distasteful to put the story about Pally and her case in the business report of your emails. I read it for business updates and because it’s light hearted news. This is depressing and not a good lead up to information about businesses. No reason it couldn’t have been a separate article, in another section.

  • Agree with Adam. Combining unrelated personal opinions on controversial subjects with business news? Never going to be a good idea. How about writing a regular opinion column? Business Buzz is great – please keep it about that!

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