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West Hartford Business Buzz: June 11, 2018

Beca Tuinei has just opened a storefront location for NALA's Kitchen. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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

By Ronni Newton (except for part of the introduction!)

For the first time in the history of Business Buzz, we have hijacked Ronni’s introduction today to give you all some exciting and big news. 

Ronni will be the recipient of the Noah Webster Award at the West Hartford Chamber’s 31st Annual Meeting & Awards Ceremony, which will be held next Monday night, June 18, at the Pond House from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Please visit the Chamber’s website to buy your ticket today while there is still room.

The Noah Webster Award was established in 1989 and is given to any one nominated person (or business) who has exhibited extraordinary commitment to the Town of West Hartford and its community.

We think you all would agree that Ronni is more than deserving of this recognition and award.

Ronni lives in the Noah Webster neighborhood (legally known as Webster Heights for you historians) and her husband Ted serves as chair of the Board of Directors of the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society. So it means even more knowing that the namesake of the award is near and dear to the Newton family. 

When you have a minute, join us in congratulating Ronni and, even better, thank her for a job well done 24/7/365 (and we mean that) for West Hartford!

You can also attend the Annual Meeting & Awards Ceremony next Monday and tell her in person. The evening event will celebrate a year of accomplishments and honor members that have had an exceptional influence on the West Hartford Community. The Chamber is also spotlighting member “Success Stories.”

We are honored to work with Ronni every day and to be a part of the We-Ha team!

~Tom Hickey, Joy Taylor, Kaushik Makati, and Bob Carr

P.S. – This is Ronni. I was incredibly humbled but so excited to learn last week that I would be receiving the Noah Webster Award. I’m a bit embarrassed about the rest of the team doing this, but after spending the entire weekend at Celebrate! West Hartford (working in my role as a committee member, volunteering most of both days in Info Booth no. 2, taking photos of the event for We-Ha.com as well as for the Celebrate website, and running the Celebrate! West Hartford 5K), I am also very thankful for someone else writing the intro, especially since it’s already the wee hours of Monday morning as I write the rest of the column.

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 tomato was promoting NALA’s Kitchen at the 32nd Annual Celebrate West Hartford. June 9-10, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • One good thing about spending a lot of time at Celebrate! West Hartford this weekend was that it gave me the lead story for this column. As of Sunday morning, I wasn’t sure what to feature, and when I arrived for my shift in Info Booth no. 2 around lunchtime, I told my fellow volunteers that I might have to invent a new business just to have something to write about because all of my other potential lead stories had fallen through. I would never really do that, but I was at a loss until I left my post to take some photos – and ran into a tomato. It was actually someone dressed as a tomato, and she was representing NALA’s Kitchen, and that’s how I learned about Beca Tuinei, and her delivery of “good food for busy lives” as well as the storefront she opened up about two months ago at 774 Farmington Ave. (sharing space with Delicacy, which has changed operations to focus on catering.) “I understand that people want to eat healthier,” Tuinei said. “But they don’t always have the time or the skills. People use me so they can have some leisure time.” She said she has a wide range of clients including busy families, busy corporate employees, and empty-nesters who want a night off. NALA’s Kitchen – of fusion of the names of Tuinei’s two daughters, Nina and Nola – offers a selection of meals that can suit special diets and food sensitivities, including Whole 30, paleo, gluten free, dairy free, and vegetarian. All are designed for healthy living. Customers can order a minimum of two meals or maximum of five meals per week, Monday through Friday. The meal offerings change every week, and there are very few repeats. “I like to create; that’s why I started my own business,” Tuinei said. She explained that she recently created a lobster bisque recipe that had neither dairy, butter, nor alcohol in it, using cauliflower for thickening and coconut milk for the creamy taste. “That one had me thinking,” she said. Tuinei, who has a degree from Le Cordon Bleu moved to West Hartford from Las Vegas six years ago, and has been cooking for more than 20 years. Her previous experience has been mostly “fine dining,” and she said it’s quite the switch but a great challenge to go from rich food where calories are not a concern to healthy cooking. The business launched just over a year ago and now has several employees, but the new storefront has made a big difference, allowing clients who have forgotten to order ahead to stop in and grab something to go, and also has commissary space and a commercial kitchen. The store is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., with ready-to-eat meals as well as a selection of wraps. Look for “Tasting Tuesdays” to begin soon, which Tuinei said will provide education about what a Whole 30 meal or paleo diet is all about. “I just really like playing with flavors,” Tuinei said. For more information, visit the website or follow NALA’s Kitchen on Facebook. This interview done by Nan Price of Innovation Destination: Hartford last summer also provides some great detail about Tuinei’s background and business.
  • The world lost two high profile people to suicide last week – Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. It’s a bit awkward to announce this, even though Coach now owns the brand, but the kate spade new york  store opened Friday at Westfarms. Shoppers at Westfarms store will find handbags, ready-to-wear, fashion accessories, small leather goods, tech accessories, jewelry, watches, footwear, eyewear, fragrance, stationery, and gift items in the brand known for its graphic color and prints as well as sophisticated styling. “It’s incredibly exciting to be opening a store at Westfarms. As an American brand with a global sensibility, kate spade new york is looking forward to introducing the full breadth of the brand’s lifestyle offerings to new and existing customers,” said Anna Bakst, CEO and brand president, kate spade new york in a news release. “We are excited to see kate spade new york open its doors and offer this one-of-a-kind shopping experience to our fashion forward shoppers,” Kevin Keenan, Westfarms general manager, said in the release. “kate spade new york continues the unique streak of offerings Westfarms has added to its portfolio of new to market retailers, giving shoppers more of the brands they want. We look forward to continuing this momentum with additional brands opening this summer.” kate spade is located on the upper level of Westfarms, near Nordstrom.
  • Waistlines beware – Cinnabon is also now open at Westfarms! It’s located on the lower level near Macy’s.

    Thomas Filomeno. Courtesy photo

  • Exciting news for Filomeno & Company was announced last week. As of June 1, the West Hartford-based company (80 South Main St.) that was founded in 1966 has merged with New York-based Marcum LLP, one of the country’s largest public accounting and advisory firms. Filomeno’s full-service accounting firm as well as Filomeno Wealth Management, LLC, are now part of Marcum, and according to a news release, the entire Filomeno team of four partners and 13 associates will join Marcum. Thomas J. Filomeno, CPA, has been named office managing partner in West Hartford and partner-in-charge of Marcum Wealth Management, LLC. The West Hartford location will now be Marcum’s fifth in Connecticut (others are in Greenwich, Hartford, and New Haven) and other New England region offices are in Boston, Portland, and Providence. “Filomeno’s history as one of Connecticut’s most well-established and accomplished CPA firms and its strong culture of putting people and community first make it an ideal partner for Marcum,” said Jeffrey M. Weiner, Marcum’s chairman and chief executive officer, in the release. “We are delighted to welcome Tom Filomeno and his team to the Firm.” Anthony P. Scillia, Marcum’s New England regional managing partner, said, “Filomeno’s industry strengths are highly compatible with Marcum’s New England practice groups, particularly Construction & Real Estate, Healthcare, Manufacturing, and Technology. They will add tremendous value for our clients in these and other areas.” Filomeno said, “Combining with Marcum will give our clients access to the resources and expertise of a national firm while ensuring that they continue to be served by the same professionals they have always worked with. Our relationships with our clients have always been our top priority, and this certainly will not change.” Visit www.marcumllp.com for more information.

    A LimeBike sighting in Corbin’s Corner in West Hartford. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Have you seen the LimeBikes popping up around the area? The company launched in Hartford last week when 300 of the bright green bikes were delivered around the city. They’re definitely getting use, and have already been spotted in other towns, including West Hartford. I took this photo of a bike parked on the sidewalk outside Saks OFF 5th in the Corbin Collection on Friday. And, although I haven’t been able to get more information yet, I have learned that LimeBike’s local headquarters is actually in West Hartford. They are renting space in the former Sousa Corp. location at 1045 New Britain Ave. For more information about LimeBike and how to use one of the bikes, visit their website. There’s also good information in this Hartford Courant article published last week.

    Jim Altman (left) and Lorenzo Burkett-Hall of Fox 61 at the Emmy Awards. Courtesy photo

  • Congrats to West Hartford resident and Fox 61 reporter Jim Altman, who received an Emmy Award from the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences at the 41st annual Boston/ New England ceremony on June 2 at the Gala which was held in the Grand Ballroom at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. According to a news release, Altman was awarded an Emmy for his overall craft achievement in the category of Reporter-Features/Human Interest. Altman is now a 31-time Emmy winner. He is pictured with Fox 61 Anchor Lorenzo Burkett-Hall who won prestigious awards for News Writing and Feature Reporting.
  • I’m sad about the news, announced last week by the Bishops Corner Neighborhood Association, that the Farmers’ Market at Bishops Corner will not be held this year. According to the association’s newsletter, the break will give volunteers a chance to regroup and there are plans to re-launch in 2019. “We’d like to thank the hundreds of market-goers, sponsors, vendors and our volunteers who made the market successful and a wonderful addition to our community,” the association said. The Bishops Corner bright spot is that the planters are due to arrive very soon!
  • Finally, you may have missed the article but don’t miss the breakfast! The annual Celebrity Breakfast benefitting the Park Road Parade will be held on Tuesday, June 12, from 7-10 a.m. at Effie’s Place (91 Park Rd.). I’m honored to be serving again, and would love to take your order and pour your coffee any time between 8-9 a.m. Click here for the details, including the list of servers. Some additional servers have been added who are not on the list as well – like John Lyons and Patti Sheehan Albee who will be serving from 9-10.

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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We-Ha

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