West Hartford Business Buzz: June 22, 2015

Hope & Stetson is now open at 982 Farmington Avenue in West Hartford Center. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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

By Ronni Newton

Happy Summer!

Sunday was Father’s Day, which was great reason for celebration for many, and it was also the first official day of summer.

The summer solstice arrived on June 21, 2015, at 12:38 p.m. EDT. Every year on the first day of summer I can’t help but think of a guy I worked with many years ago, who hated winter and looked forward to the long days of summer. However, he was always morose on the day of the solstice – announcing that it was “all downhill from here” since the longest day of the year had passed. I disagreed back then, and I disagree now! Even if the days are a few minutes shorter we have many months of nice warm days and evenings mild enough to sit outside on the patio or deck, or enjoy one of West Hartford’s too-numerous-to-count outdoor dining options.

There may not be as much business news to share as vacations get underway, but it seems that things never slow down all too much in West Hartford!

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 editorial@we-ha.com.

Merchandise at Hope & Stetson includes rope bracelets crafted in Mystic and t-shirts as well as denim. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Merchandise at Hope & Stetson includes rope bracelets crafted in Mystic and t-shirts as well as denim. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • West Hartford has already reached out and welcomed its newest store, Hope & Stetson, with open arms. The West Hartford Center business, which opened Thursday and is located at 982 Farmington Ave. (former Silkworm spot), specializes in “cozy, comfy, and simple” items for women and babies. Owner Tamara Laurie, who also owns a Mystic store by the same name, said she’s excited about stocking the store with “go-to” pieces for busy women as well as a great assortment of gifts and accessories, many with a nautical theme. For details, click here to read the complete story.
  • This one isn’t good news. West Hartford-based gun-maker Colt Defense filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week, owing up to $500 million to creditors according to various news reports. Colt, which has been in business for 179 years, employs approximately 700 employees at its West Hartford headquarters at 547 New Park Ave. According to a story by AP Business Writer Stephen Singer printed in the CT Post, analysts believe that Colt’s problems stem from “missteps with gun owners, a misreading of the police firearms market and a fall in gun sales to the public after an initial spike several years ago.” A dramatic reduction in goverment contracts also had a major impact on company revenue, and Moody’s has downgraded Colt to D-PD, with a negative outlook.
  • West Hartford-based NBC Connecticut/WVIT has a new leader. Susan Tully came on board as president of the station on Friday, according to an article in the Hartford Courant. Tully succeeds Ric Harris who left in May, and most recently worked as vice president of news for NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth/KXAS. Another change at NBC Connecticut will be the departure of long-time reporter and former anchor Lisa Carberg on June 25.
    'Baby Delamar,' the red-tailed hawk that is living in a pine tree in West Hartford, is growing up fast. Photo by Mike Berzenski

    ‘Baby Delamar,’ the red-tailed hawk that is living in a pine tree in West Hartford, is growing up fast. Photo by Mike Berzenski

  • Calling this “business” may be a bit of a stretch, but the red-tailed hawk named “Baby Delamar” has captured the eyes of many West Hartford birders and is being protected by the Town of West Hartford as well as the developers of the Delamar West Hartford Hotel. The presence of the protected baby bird in the lone tree remaining on the site of the future hotel hasn’t really slowed construction since they are able to work around it, but it’s definitely noteworthy. Click here to see the latest video of the baby hawk. And if you think “hawk” and “cute” don’t go together in the same sentence, think again and watch the video!
  • Congratulations to BlumShapiro, which recently received a “2015 Business Champions Award” for its community involvement. According to a news release, employees of the West Hartford-based accounting and financial services firm “serve as board members and in top leadership roles in over 130 organizations, including the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, American Red Cross, World Affairs Council, Greater Hartford Arts Council, Boys and Girls Club and Habitat for Humanity.” BlumShapiro Mananging Partner Carl Johnson, who accepted the award on behalf of the firm, said in a news release, “Community involvement is at the core of everything we do at BlumShapiro. This award is a testament to the thousands of volunteer hours donated by hundreds of our BlumShapiro employees throughout Connecticut. We do it to make our communities better-better places to live and to work.”

Remember, if you have any business news to share, remember to add it in the comments section below or email Ronni Newton at editorial@we-ha.com.

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