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Blue Back Square Business Elmwood The Center

West Hartford Business Buzz: January 15, 2018

A Tempurpedic store will be moving into the space formerly occupied by NoRA Cupcake and the current Kennedy's Barber Club space. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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

By Ronni Newton

Today is Martin Luther King Day and many people have the day off. If you do have the time, I highly recommend attending the West Hartford’s annual Martin Luther King Day program.

This is the 22nd year for the townwide celebration of the life of Dr. King, and it’s always a wonderful ceremony that includes music provided by students from schools throughout town as well as a keynote address. In addition two students – one each from Conard and Hall – are chosen as speakers. I’ve covered this event for many years, and am always incredibly impressed by the poise and impassioned words of the students. Look for my story about the event later today.

If you can’t make the daytime event, there is also a community conversation at Solomon Schechter focused on disabilities and race Monday at 7 p.m., and on Jan. 22 there is a Martin Luther King program at the University of Saint Joseph.

Today is also the day that my son returns to UConn for his sophomore spring semester. We’ve really enjoyed having him home for the past month and it’s going to be very quiet around here!

Before getting to the business news, there’s one more very important point I need to make.

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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:

  • NoRA Cupcake Company, which was a temporary tenant with a short-term lease, decided to move out of Blue Back Square at the end of December rather than being moved to a different location to make way for a long-term permanent tenant. Blue Back Square Marketing Director Elizabeth Zigmont has now advised that the long-term tenant is Tempurpedic, which will be moving into the former NoRA space as well as the Kennedy’s Barber Club space at 107 Memorial Rd. Kennedy’s will be relocating within Blue Back Square in the next month or so, Zigmont said.

    SPoT Coffee will be opening in Blue Back Square in March 2018, according to a news release from the company. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • In other Blue Back Square news – and it seems like we have been waiting for this one forever – SPoT Coffee has finally announced that it will be opening in March at 69 Memorial Rd. (former White House Black Market space). In a news release from the corporate headquarters in Toronto, SPoT wrote: “Spot is also pleased to report that its new franchise café in West Hartford, Connecticut, will be open for business in March of this year. Construction has begun on the location, and Spot is presently training the new management team from the café’s franchisee, Parisco Cafés LLC.” The last time I peeked into the space it was gutted, and I am anxious to see it again. There will definitely be more info to come as the opening gets closer.

    Cathi Nelson. Courtesy photo

  • Congrats to West Hartford business owner Cathi Nelson, who has just published her first book! The founder and CEO of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers, a professional organization with close to 1,000 members around the world, has written “Photo Organizing Made Easy; Going from Overwhelmed to Overjoyed,” and it’s now available on Amazon. I met Cathi many years ago, when our kids were in elementary school and she was just starting out her career as teaching people create meaningful photo albums that would tell a story. (I still have the one she helped me put together at a workshop!) What started as love of photograpy, storytelling, and organizing has carried her into an international career.
  • Congratulations also go to Joe Gianni of West Hartford, who last week was named president of Bank of America’s Hartford market. Gianni, a graduate of Kingswood Oxford School and Providence College, succeeds Kevin Cunningham. More information is available in this Bank of American news release.
  • This is rather unique so I am including it here! Butchers & Bakers (in the Exchange, right over the line in Farmington) is having an “Introduction to Butchery Class” on Jan. 27 at noon. The charcuterie-focused cooking class is designed for home cooks and will be taught by Executive Chef Luis Vazquez. It will focus on techniques for preparing sausages, rillettes, pâtés, and terrines. Cost is $65 per person which includes a demonstration and sampling of five small plates, each paired with wine and/or beer, and recipes to take home. Click here for tickets.

    Patrice Modeen and Bob Dinucci in Lane and Lenge at the Delamar West Hartford hotel. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Lane and Lenge has now opened their beautiful new shop just off the lobby of the Delamar West Hartford and is also supplying all of the flowers for the hotel. Owner Bob Dinucci has brought some of the shop’s 105 years of history into the new space, with the front door of the original downtown Hartford location now repurposed as a table. The space is illuminated by a chandelier that also comes from the original Hartford store. The flowers alone make the space beautiful, but are also complemented by the striking artwork of Dinucci’s niece, Ashton Lally. “We are thrilled and so happy to be here. Everyone is so warm and welcoming,” said Patrice Modeen, who works in the shop with Dinucci. 
  • Nummy should opening sometime soon on New Britain Avenue in Elmwood according to Robert Udolf. I’ll get an update this week and include it in next week’s column!
  • ICYMI, an event showcase will be held at the Delamar West Hartford on Jan. 24. The boutique-style showcase will not only provide an opportunity to meet many area event vendors, but is also a chance to see the inside of the hotel and sample some great food and drink!
  • The Town of West Hartford is about to start the community engagement process for the UConn property. An online survey should be released this week, and we will share it as soon as it’s available. For details about what the engagement process will entail, click here.
  • Finally, I am so saddened – as many of us are – by the passing Friday of John DeSimone, owner of Modern Tire. When we moved to West Hartford nearly 20 years ago, we immediately became customers of Modern Tire because that was where my in-laws had always had their cars serviced. We’ve spent thousands (many thousands) of dollars there over the years, but always trusted their advice, including the times that John (or Andy or Brian) said it’s time to stop fixing one of our old cars. For those who are worried about Modern Tire staying open, I have been assured that it will remain “business as usual” under the ownership of John’s wife, and with Andy and Brian cheerfully answering the phone and solving your car problems.

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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