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West Hartford Business Buzz: July 8, 2024

Manager Laura Pallandre. The Blue Back Farmers' Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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

Business Buzz is sponsored by NBT Bank, and we are very thankful for their support!

By Ronni Newton

I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July!

I had a wonderful week on Nantucket that involved lots of family and friends, running and biking, and of course eating way too much and enjoying some frosty beers and other beverages. My sister and I also got a chance to attend a book signing with author Elin Hilderbrand, who has published what she says will be her final book based on Nantucket, appropriately titled “Swan Song.” I haven’t started reading it yet, but I did read two complete books last week (and started a third) – one of which was written by a West Hartford author (story to come) and another by a former co-worker.

“Swan Song’ book signing with Elin Hilderbrand.

Millie had a great time at the beach as usual; Ted, my sister, her boyfriend Carmine, and I all ran the Firecracker 5K (they gave age group prizes for up to fifth place so I was happy to be a “winner” along with Ted (third) and Carmine (first); and we enjoyed a great dinner at Millie’s Mid-Island, which is new a new location this year and thankfully wasn’t too crowded. We didn’t bring Millie to her namesake restaurant because we were not only getting ice cream afterwards (cones and holding a leash can be challenging) but also going to watch fireworks.

Millie enjoying the beach with her friend, Fenway. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Blueberry cake doughnut from the Nantucket Bakeshop. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Firecracker 5K 2024

Drinks at Millie’s Mid-Island. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Hither Creek taco (striped bass) at Millie’s Mid-Island. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

40th Pole quesadilla (grilled chicken and goat cheese) at Millie’s Mid-Island. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Cliff Road salad (blackened salmon) at Millie’s Mid-Island. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Tuckernuck tacos (grilled steak) at Millie’s Mid-Island. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

It’s often challenging to pull together the content for this column when I have been away, and I was in a bit of a panic at the end of last week when a number of the businesses I was hoping to feature today said they weren’t quite ready – but then I realized I would be back in time to visit the Blue Back Farmers’ Market, which is under new management this year – and that’s a feature that highlights not only the nonprofit market, but many other businesses!

Thanks to Bridget Bronsdon, Kaily Martinez, and Grayson Rivers for their great contributions while I was away! I’ve included their stories as “ICYMI” bullet points below.

If you are a long term, regular advertiser on We-Ha.com and have a 60 to 75 word submission for a future Business Buzz please send to Bob Carr at [email protected].

If you’re looking for news about West Hartford in print please note that many stories from We-Ha.com, as well as other local news, is published in the twice-monthly issues of the West Hartford Press.

If you have information to share about local businesses, please provide details in the comments or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].

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Here’s this week’s Buzz:

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is now in its third year. The “Sunday market” that was founded in 2022 by Scott Franklin and Mary Collins opened for the season in the parking lot of West Hartford Town Hall on Sunday, June 16 with a few updates – including new management – to the market that continues to offer a “‘Third Place’ – neither work nor home – where people linger, connect and belong.” Laura Pallandre, now the manager of the Blue Back Farmers’ Market, spent about 15 years of teaching, but “for the last five years I switched over to farming.” She owns Slowpoke Farm in Bloomfield, but was looking for some jobs to complement her farming when she learned of the opportunity in West Hartford and was hired by the Board of Directors of the nonprofit market. “Every year it builds on itself. Scott [Franklin] and Mary [Collins] laid the foundation,” according to Pallandre, and she said the market is busier than ever this year with a more visible location in the area of the parking lot right along South Main Street. Visitors can purchase produce, flowers, crafts, prepared foods, and even coffee, you can bring your knives for sharpening, and there is music and other entertainment throughout the season, which runs through Oct. 27. They are also now SNAP-certified, and thanks to a grant from End Hunger Connecticut! they are able to double the available benefits in addition to accepting WIC/FNMP vouchers. “Something else new this year are free composting buckets,” said Pallandre. Visitors can obtain a bucket and bring it back the next week filled with food scraps and receive a fresh bucket. She uses the scraps on her farm, and turns larvae over to Blue Back Farmers’ Market vendors Sweet Acre Farm and Clatter Ridge Farm providing an organic source of nutrition for their animals. The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, including a list of vendors and schedule, visit the website. A few photos are below, and even more are at the bottom of the column.

Manager Laura Pallandre (left) and some of the volunteers. The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • The building on the southwest corner of South Main Street and Boulevard (91 South Main) has been undergoing a fairly extensive facelift, that has included clearing out overgrown landscaping, new siding, and a new roof. It was sold in April, for $1.06 million, to Houlihan Realty Partners LLC. I just learned (I missed the article in the Hartford Business Journal in Mid May) that Houlihan Realty Partners is a partnership between John J. Houlihan Jr., the managing partner of personal injury law firm RisCassi & Davis, and his son, Christopher M. Houlihan, and the building (which I always personally thought looked from the outside to be perfect for a bed and breakfast or small boutique hotel), will become the main office for RisCassi & Davis, which will be vacating their current Hartford location at 131 Oak Street. They hope to move into the space in September, the HBJ reported.

91 South Main Street will become the new offices for RisCassi & Davis. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • I took a drive around West Hartford on Sunday checking to see if over the past week there had been any progress on some of the build-outs I’ve been following – and when I stopped to take a photo of the “We Are Hiring” signs in the windows of the future Sichuan Alley at 625 New Park Avenue, I found the side door open! I popped my head in and met the general manager, who said while they are not quite photo-ready, they are hoping to open by late July. Much more to come!

Sichuan Alley is getting close to opening at 625 New Park Avenue. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • I also checked out the progress of the construction at Prospect Plaza, where a Chipotle with a “Chipotlane” (drive-through) as well as Jersey Mike’s Subs and Teriyaki Madness will open in an outbuilding in what was a portion of the parking lot. Since late April, when I last took a photo, the foundation has been completed and some of the steel framing is in place.

Construction at Prospect Plaza of what will be a Chipotle, Jersey Mike’s Subs, and Teriyaki Madness. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • [Updated] I had heard a few recent rumors that Plan b was closing on Park Road, and I stopped by to (hopefully) dispel the rumors and confirm what I had been told over the phone – that they are very much still open. A manager told me that “for now we are not closing” and said they had just invested in some new kitchen equipment and were fully open on Sunday for food as well as with a full bar. On Monday morning I spoke with Heather Loranger, VP of Marketing for Locals 8 Restaurant Group, which owns Plan b. “This is our first and oldest Plan b, and there’s no chance it’s closing,” she said. “This is our baby.” Loranger confirmed that they had recently invested in some new kitchen equipment for the West Hartford restaurant, and added that they have live music on the patio four nights a week and next week will be launching an “express lunch” menu of handhelds or a half-sandwich with a choice of side for those who are looking for a quick grab and go meal. More information can be found on the Plan b website.

Plan b, 138 Park Road, West Hartford. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Congratulations to West Hartford resident Pamela Hippolyte, an assistant vice president and affordable mortgage loan officer at Liberty Bank, who was elected to the Board of Directors of the Urban League of Greater Hartford at its annual meeting on June 20. According to a news release, Hippolyte, who is a Hartford native, brings experience in cross-functional team leadership and business strategy development in affordable mortgage lending to the Board. She has dedicated her career to helping the low-to-moderate and marginal individuals who often do not have a voice and helps them with obtaining sustainable and stable homeownership that becomes a means of building wealth and legacy. For over 30 years, her focus has been on increasing homeownership through numerous types of initiatives and has helped thousands of individuals and families become homeowners, often motivating and coaching them to success. Her previous business experience was in vice president roles with Farmington Bank and Peoples United Bank. A longtime community volunteer and a teammate who embodies Liberty Bank’s brand to “Be Community Kind” in everything she does, Hippolyte has been active of the boards of Saint Agnes Home in West Hartford, St. Justin/ St. Michael Church in Hartford, and volunteers at St. Francis Hospital & Medical Center through their pastoral care department. She is also involved with Mutual Housing of Greater Hartford, NHS (Neighborhood Housing Services) of New Britain, and several other housing agencies in Greater Hartford. A Justice of The Peace, she has lived in West Hartford for the past 29 years with her husband, Wilston, where they raised three sons, and she has three grandchildren.

Pamela Hippolyte. Courtesy photo

  • Boulevard Chiropractic (1329 Boulevard, corner of South Quaker Lane), has expanded from just a chiropractic practice into a full-blown wellness center, adding varied expertise and experience to provide clients with a range of wellness services. Now known as Boulevard Chiropractic & Wellness Center, the practice now includes two chiropractors, a physical therapist, and a massage therapist. Dr. Daniel Scaringe, a chiropractic physician based in West Hartford for 22 years, has been joined by Dr. Marcel Green, a chiropractic physician who recently relocated to the Hartford area from his native Virginia, and proudly serves as the Official Chiropractor for the Hartford Wolfpack hockey team. Green has received chiropractic care since he began playing football and basketball competitively. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Exercise, Sports, and Health Education at Radford University and his Doctorate of Chiropractic Degree from New York Chiropractic College earned in 2014. During his education, Dr. Green completed rotations at the Bethesda VA Medical Center and The Rochester Brain and Spine Medical Clinic. Bonnie Wilder, a West Hartford native, is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). She graduated from Sacred Heart University in 2020 with a BS in Exercise Science and obtained her DPT in 2023 from University of Hartford. Bonnie is also certified in dry needling and trained in functional cupping, blood flow restriction (BFR), and performing running gait analyses. Karen M. Dean is a licensed massage therapist with nearly two decades of experience in the field. She earned her diploma from the CT School for Massage Therapy in 2005 and certification from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. She currently holds a massage therapy license from the Connecticut Department of Public Health. For more information, visit Boulevard Chiropractic & Wellness Center’s website.

From left: Dr. Marcel Green, Karen Dean, Bonnie Wilder, Dr. Daniel Scaringe. Courtesy photo

  • A letter from Mayor Shari Cantor was read by Deputy Mayor Ben Wenograd at the June 25, 2024 Town Council meeting, thanking West Hartford attorney Garrett Flynn, director and trustee of the John G. Martin Foundation, for a grant to the Town of West Hartford’s Department of Leisure Services of $75,000 to install a floating dock at Westmoor Park and a fishing dock at Spice Bush Park. Flynn said that when John G. Martin, the founder and former CEO of Heublein, died in 1986, his wish was to set up a foundation to improve lives. “I hope that these docks bring people a lot of joy,” Flynn said.

Garrett Flynn (left) with Deputy Mayor Ben Wenograd. Photo credit: Helen Rubino-Turco

  • ICYMI, Bridget Bronsdon visited Camp Blue Back last week and got some great photos of kids enjoying the free camp, held weekly. Complete details can be found here.
  • Bridget Bronsdon also attended a press conference organized by the office of Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, held at Warehouse 635 in West Hartford, recognizing the efforts of the Women’s Business Development Council. The full story can be found here.
  • Grayson Rivers visited rehearsal for the West Hartford Summer Arts Festival‘s upcoming production of “The Little Mermaid”  last week. Click here for the complete story.
  • Kaily Martinez covered a press conference at the West Hartford Fire Department‘s Station No. 4 where Sen. Richard Blumenthal spoke about the Fire Grants and Safety Act and fireworks safety. The full story can be found here.
  • Kaily Martinez read and reviewed “Radical Connecticut,” a book by West Hartford resident Steve Thornton and Andy Piascik. Click here for the complete story.

Remember, if you have any business news to share, add it in the comments section below or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Blue Back Farmers’ Market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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3 Comments

  • The location of the house at 91 South Main St is incorrect. It is on the corner of Boulevard and South Main not Farmington Avenue.

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