A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
I hope all of the fathers out there had a wonderful Father’s Day!
I had another whirlwind weekend – that followed a week full of activity like Town Council, the Morley Backpack Brigade, the announcement that the University of Saint Joseph would be going co-ed, and graduations at both Conard and Hall.
Saturday was my wedding anniversary, which my husband and I both spent working (okay, there was plenty of playing, eating, and drinking, too) at the West Hartford Wine & Food Festival. Sunday included a trip to Stamford to have lunch with my dad (who is moving to Florida next week) followed by a combination graduations/birthdays/anniversaries/reunion-with-my-niece dinner at my brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s house in New Canaan.
I did sneak in a run on Saturday morning, but after all that eating and drinking over the weekend – to be topped off with the Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting and dinner Monday night – I had better make time for a lot more running or other forms of working out this coming week!
Monday is the last day of school for West Hartford Public Schools, and the pace of events in town should start to slow down so that everyone can move on to the business of relaxing and enjoying summertime.
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 Delamar West Hartford Hotel is still a bevy of construction activity and although the hotel will not be open in June as originally estimated, a Delamar spokesperson said the hotel will open “this summer.” Frederic Kieffer, chef/owner of Artisan, the restaurant which will open its second location in the Delamar West Hartford (the other location is at the Delamar Southport), said Saturday at the Wine & Food Festival that an August opening for both the hotel and the restaurant is likely. I’ve been watching the construction closely and had been wondering what had happened to the hotel’s sign on the side facing Raymond Road, which had been in place but then disappeared. I was informed that it is being replaced with a smaller sign so that the light from the sign won’t affect guest rooms at night, and that the new sign should be installed shortly.
- In other Delamar news, the company has just issued a press release indicating that they are hiring up to 100 employees, for positions such as front office manager, executive housekeeper, staff accountant, and sales coordinator. “We are excited to be at the hiring stage of this project,” Daniel Coggins, regional director of Operations for Greenwich Hospitality Group stated in the release. “Adding employment to the town and to the region is good for the overall economy. West Hartford is a thriving community and we, at the Delamar, are happy to be a part of it,” Coggins said. For more information about employment opportunities at the Delamar West Hartford visit the website, which will add job openings as positions become available.
- Have you driven through Elmwood in the past few days? It’s in full bloom, thanks to the efforts of Charlie Hilborn and the support of many local businesses who have sponsored 61 (that’s not a typo) planters that were delivered Thursday and now grace the streetscape and the front entryways of many New Britain Avenue businesses. Hilborn, the owner of Sheehan Hilborn-Breen Funeral Home, started the efforts to bring the 36-inch planters, which are supplied and serviced by the Knox Foundation, to Elmwood last year. He said he would have been thrilled to have just 10, but last year there were 51 and now there are 61. “I’m overwhelmed with happiness,” he said. Other business districts around town, including Bishops Corner, Park Road, and the Home Design District, are also getting planters this year. Hilborn is being honored Monday night with the Noah Webster Award from the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce for his extraordinary commitment and outreach, and his contributions to beautifying the town. See more photos of the planters below!
Cookshop Plus in West Hartford Center (977 Farmington Ave.) has extended its hours and is now open – the coffee bar as well as the store – beginning at 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Co-owner Samantha Hines said the new hours are “so our customers can get their morning coffee and also conveniently shop for anything from the store they needed at the same time!” Cookshop Plus will also stay open later at night – until 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Hines also said that the coffee bar is offering a daily selection of fresh baked goods from Pure Love Gluten Free Bakery in Avon, available for sale in the coffee bar.
- The New Old School of Music (625C New Park Ave.) will offer a “morning of relaxation and rejuvenation” on June 27 at 10 a.m. According to a news release: “Bring your mat and enjoy yoga, therapeutic music, aromatherapy, detox spa treatments, vegan small bites, mini cosmetic makeovers, nutrition and wellness information to nourish your mind, body and sou. Chat with Mirela, the owner of the music school about the role of music in your health and personal well being. Our special guest, Cara, will answer your questions about vegan nutrition.” Visit the website for more details.
- There’s lots of “people” news this week, including the news that West Hartford native John Flannery, the former president of GE Healthcare, who was named CEO of General Electric last week and will assume his new position on Aug. 1. Flannery, 55, is a 1979 graduate of Northwest Catholic High School who also reportedly attended Bugbee Elementary School in West Hartford.
- West Hartford resident Brad Drazen, who stepped down as an anchor/reporter with NBC Connecticut as of June 8, started his new job on June 12. Drazen was named associate director of Communications and Public Relations at United Technologies, based in the company’s Farmington location. “I will be working to tell the amazing stories of innovation, performance and sustainability at a truly remarkable company,” Drazen wrote on his Facebook page.
- Also in people news, Micaela Connery, a West Hartford native and graduate of Conard High School and the University of Virginia, was mentioned in “UVA Today” for work she is doing to launch “The Kelsey,” described on its website as “Thriving, inclusive, urban residences where individuals of all abilities and backgrounds live, play, and serve communities together.” Connery earned her masters in public policy from Harvard and is finishing up her MBA as a Mitchell Scholar at the Smurfit School at University College, Dublin, Ireland. She is known to many in West Hartford as the founder and former executive director of Unified Theater, which she started as a student at Conard after being inspired by her relationship with her cousin Kelsey, who is the same age but has significant disabilities, to create a fully-inclusive music and theater program. Unified Theater is now a national organization operating in more than 100 schools.
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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