A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
I’ve never been sure why they call the hot humid weather the “dog days” of summer.
My extremely furry dog isn’t a fan of heat waves, but she does like to play in the sprinkler which she considers her personal water fountain. When it’s hot, she also likes to hide in the bushes, emerging if she thinks we have come outside with something to eat so she can beg for a taste.
When it’s as hot as it’s been, Millie much prefers to spend her days on the tile floor of one of our bathrooms, curled around the base of the toilet. She seems rather offended when we need to relocate her.
Best of luck to my daughter, Katie, as she officially begins her career this week as a physical therapist with Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers (PTSMC) in the West Hartford office at the corner of Sedgwick Road and South Main Street! And congratulations to her fiancé, Matt Redman, who just got his first official teaching job, as a special education teacher at Avon Middle School. We are very proud and excited for both of them!
This week’s restaurant visit was a long-delayed dinner with Sam at Max Burger in the Center. We enjoyed some fantastic burgers and beers on their patio Saturday night, and toasted to his graduation and future.
On a completely different note, I’ve gotten a few messages recently about the national political ads appearing on the We-Ha.com site, and please know that we do not choose those ads, nor do we choose political sides.
I thank everyone for reading We-Ha.com, and since the pandemic began we have greatly increased our readership, averaging more than 100,000 unique visitors and more than 250,000 page views a month. We continue to try very hard to provide accurate and relevant local news about this community, and are working harder than ever, but we are continue to do it on a shoestring.
Despite the fact that we have more readers than ever, unfortunately some of our regular advertisers needed to cancel their ad campaigns, and we have had to accept more ads from a national ad placement firm. The ads are normally targeted to the individual or community demographic, but sometimes rogue ads slip by and we apologize in advance if that happens. If you see one you don’t like, click in the upper right corner and provide the reason. You can also screenshot it and email me at [email protected].
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Please continue to support our local businesses, and please wear your masks if you are in public places, and stay safe and healthy.
If you have information about businesses changing their operations due to COVID-19, 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 former Ooh La La space at 80 Memorial Rd. is being built out for Aria Nail Salon & Spa, Economic Development Specialist Kristen Gorski said in a report to the Town Council’s Special Advisory Committee on Economic and Workforce Development last week. There aren’t many details available, other than that this will be Aria’s second location, and permits have just been secured. Ooh La La relocated in May around the corner to 55 Isham Rd.
- Westfield Bank has now opened its new Financial Services Center at 977 Farmington Ave. in West Hartford Center, CEO James C. Hagan announced last week. The 4,750 square foot office is located in the space formerly occupied by Cookshop Plus (now located at 60 LaSalle Rd.) and according to a news release is the 25th brick and mortar facility in the bank’s retail banking portfolio and will serve as the hub for Westfield Bank’s Connecticut offices located in Bloomfield, Enfield, Granby, and West Hartford. The West Hartford office is a full-service branch office, and is also staffed by members of Westfield Bank’s Residential Lending, Commercial Lending, and Business & Government Deposit Services departments, along with a representative of Westfield Investment Services. An image technology ATM is located at the Farmington Avenue entrance and a cash dispensing ATM is located at the municipal parking lot entrance. Hagan said that opening the West Hartford location, in addition to the recently-opened Bloomfield office at 337 Cottage Grove Road “further strengthens our commitment to the people and businesses of Connecticut and the Capital Region. … Our suite of retail and commercial bank products and services, community bank values, and customer-first approach is a great fit for local families, businesses, and organizations. We’re very committed to serving this market and look forward to establishing new and longstanding banking relationships.” The West Hartford location is managed by Vice President and Connecticut Area Manager Matthew Cuddy, who is joined by Senior Vice President and Commercial Lender Todd Navin; Vice President and Commercial Lender John Pember, Vice President and Business & Government Deposit Services Officer Cathy Turowsky; and Assistant Vice President and Mortgage Loan Officer Daniel Danillowicz. “We’re so pleased with the reception we’ve received from business leaders and community members in Bloomfield and West Hartford,” Hagan said. “We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and show the people, families, businesses, and community organizations in the Capital Region what better banking’s all about.”
- I’m just saying that Meçha Noodle Bar, at 975 Farmington Ave. (in the other portion of the former Toy Chest space, right next to Arethusa Dairy Bar) is opening this week. I’ll be attending the media preview event and will have a separate feature story, with photos, coming this week.
- The building at the corner of Park Road and Whiting Lane has undergone quite a transformative update, and the former Pho 206 restaurant is now occupied by Infinite Beauty Bar (with the address of 206 Park Rd.), which was originally in Bloomfield before moving to West Hartford. Infinite Beauty Bar has relocated a few blocks west from 100 Park Rd. The building is also the home of Bare Skin Laser Hair Removal (202 Park Rd.). There’s a new façade, new windows, new lighting, and new landscaping – as well as interior renovations for the restaurant that has turned into a hair salon. Economic Development Specialist Kristen Gorski said it’s great to see the investment in this property. A new salon will be taking over the 100 Park Rd. space from Infinite Beauty Bar, Gorski said.
- In other Park Road news, hair salon Oggi, which was previously located at 76 Lasalle Rd. in West Hartford Center, has relocated to 162 Park Rd.
- West Hartford Center is gaining a new professional office occupant – Bohler Engineering – which is moving its Rocky Hill office to the fourth floor of 65 Lasalle Rd. This is the only Connecticut location for the 35-year-old firm which provides “land development consulting and technical design services to owners and developers across all commercial, institutional, and residential markets.”
- The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Town of West Hartford, is sponsoring a small business forum Tuesday, July 28, from noon-1 p.m., focused on PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Insurance). Guests will be U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, as well as state Rep. Jillian Gilchrest, and they will discuss issues related to independent contractors (1099 employees) who have had employment issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. See the flyer at the end of this column for more details, and click here to register.
- A smoothie and juice bar, Overflow, has signed a lease and applied for permits to build out space on the lower level of the Edens Bishops Corner West shopping center (address is 2523 Albany Ave.) Overflow will be located in space L010, a long vacant 1,400 square foot storefront next to Subway. The opening date is not yet known, but Economic Development Specialist Kristen Gorski confirmed that Overflow has just applied for permits for the build-out of the space.
- In still more Park Road news, Essential Health (74 Park Rd.) is introducing new chiropractic physician Dr. Matthew Roberts by offering a wellness package to include chiropractic treatments, therapeutic massage, far infrared sauna, and essential oils – natural ways to get and stay healthy. “We wanted to design a ‘retreat’ style package to allow clients to learn the many health benefits of chiropractic care,” said Roberts, who is already an active member of the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce and the WeHa Synergy BNI Group. “By combining what I do with the other modalities we offer like massage, sauna and essential oils, the patient can benefit from a whole-body treatment on the way to better health.” Dr. Roberts (known as Dr. Matt by his patients) is trained in a spectrum of chiropractic adjusting techniques, acupuncture, sports rehabilitation, as well as therapeutic cupping. He provides a diverse approach for the management of your injuries and overall wellness. In addition to a consultation and treatment with Dr. Matt, the “Wellness Retreat” package includes a one hour massage with Maria Bustamante, a licensed massage therapist trained in deep tissue, and myofascial release techniques who also has her certification in the Vodder Method of Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage (MLD) which is a massage modality where manual drainage assistance aiding the body’s lymphatic system. Joy Taylor, a wellness advocate who serves as Essential Health’s marketing manager and has been blending oils for five years with doTERRA and has treated friends and family to “Joyls” blends for 20 years, will provide a roller bottle filled with essential oils. “This individualized wellness retreat is a way of encouraging new and long-time customers to to discover and enjoy much of what we offer at Essential Health,” commented Dave Mendelson who owns Essential health with his wife, Dr. Allison Mendelson, DC. For more information, call 860-269-3228.
- Congratulations to West Hartford resident Kimberly Margolis, who has left her role as director of development at Jewish Family Services of Greater Hartford to join the family-owned and operated Victor Advertising Service (VAS) as brand development specialist. VAS, a family owned and operated business focused on unique promotional products and customer-oriented marketing that has been helping companies promote and build their brands in Greater Hartford and nationally since 1928. “We are thrilled to have Kim join our team as Brand Development Specialist,” said Owner Scott Margolis. “As VAS continues to grow, I know her experience and expertise are exactly what we need to help bring our company to the next level,” he said. “It is important for businesses to reposition themselves in the new normal,” said Kim Margolis. “Since businesses shut down, now more than ever it is the time to connect with clients and employees and we can accomplish this through custom merchandise and unique product positioning. I look forward to continuing to develop relationships, especially during these challenging times.” One of the company’s current efforts includes utilizing its partnerships with suppliers to provide PPE to customers. For more information, call 800-988-0800 or visit victoradvertising.com
- Burgess, a medical billing technology company with offices in Blue Back Square (their name is on the building that faces the Delamar Hotel) has been acquired by Massachusetts-based HealthEdge Technologies, which is owned by Blackstone Group, the Hartford Business Journal reported. The approximately 20 employees in the West Hartford location are not expected to be impacted, according to the HBJ.
- Ascena Retail, owners of brands such as Justice, Catherine’s, Lane Bryant, Ann Taylor, and LOFT, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week and plans to close 1,600 of its 2,800 stores, the New York Times reported. According to USA Today, the major local impact will be the closing of the Justice store at Westfarms. LOFT will close its Meriden store (I would be absolutely heartbroken if the Westfarms LOFT store closed because that’s where a majority of my wardrobe comes from), and the only other anticipated Connecticut closing noted by USA Today is the Mashantucket Ann Taylor Factory store.
- Tailored Brands which owns Men’s Warehouse and Jos. A. Bank, has announced plans to close 500 of its nearly 1,500 stores this year, according to USA Today. West Hartford has locations of both stores, but specific closings have not been announced.
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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The dog days of summer get their name from astronomy–from Sirius, the dog star, specifically. But that never stops me from mentioning to my pooch that they are here either! For some reason, I associate them with the annual–or ” dog day” cicadas that I hear every summer in the trees. When I hear their call, I tell Amie, “it’s the dog days now. Your time is here.” And no, she doesn’t care for the heat either!
I look forward to your reporting each week. Thank you for keeping us up to date on what’s happening in West Hartford. it is most appreciated
Thanks, Barbara! ~Ronni
I too would be very sad if any of the Ann Taylor/Loft stores closed. We’ve had far too many women’s clothing stores close lately and it’s getting harder to find anything to wear. We need to be able to try clothes on. One thing I’ve learned during the pandemic is that buying all clothing online is very frustrating for most women.