A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
I’m actually being brief in my intro today because it’s been a very long weekend of working at Celebrate! West Hartford followed by a family birthday celebratory dinner on Sunday night.
Kudos to Event Organizer Linda Geisler and the rest of the Celebrate! West Hartford team for another great event! I spent a majority of the weekend working in Info Booth No. 2, and I think Saturday’s crowd was about the biggest ever. The weather on Saturday was absolutely perfect for the event, and Sunday’s threatened storms held off until long after the festival ended.
Thanks to all who stopped by and said hi! It was great to catch up with old friends and to meet many new people as well.
And congratulations to my husband for winning his age group in the Celebrate 5K on Sunday morning! The weather was excellent for running and there was a great turnout, and a new course record!
I ran in the 5K as well, but since I have been so busy, and am still recovering from an injury (hit in the shin by a baseball while covering the Hall vs. Conard game – don’t ask) I haven’t really been running and certainly didn’t train, and while it was probably my slowest race ever it was great to be out there.
Click here for images of Celebrate! West Hartford courtesy of We-Ha.com photography intern Hunter Marotto, with a story by intern Lauren Cohen.
I haven’t forgotten about Hall Senior Prom, and will get that photo gallery posted on Monday. I could definitely still use some more photos, so please email a few of your favorites to [email protected]. Please be sure to include your name for proper credit (don’t need the kids’ names). Landscape orientation (horizontal) photos work best, and if you’re sending phone photos, please be sure to use large or original size when sending them.
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:
- UNTUCKit is opening its first retail store in the Hartford area at Westfarms on Monday! UNTUCKit – shirts designed to be untucked, is one of the fastest-growing retail brands in the country, and the Westfarms store, located on the upper level (near JCPenney at the start of the Nordstroms wing) will offer the full line up of untucked shirts for men that are designed to be the perfect length and look sharp as well as casual. “In keeping with our commitment to bring unique apparel retailers to our shoppers we are excited to see UNTUCKit open its first store in the greater Hartford market,” Westfarms General Manager Kevin Keenan said in a statement. “UNTUCKit is the exact type of smart and stylish brand that resonates with our fashion forward shoppers at Westfarms.” While UNTUCKit, which was founded in 2011, specializes in men’s button-down shirts, they also include other causal wear for men, as well as items for women and boys. “We like to open stores where our customers are, so after seeing so many people in the Hartford area were shopping with us online, we wanted to bring the product directly to them!” says Chris Riccobono, founder of UNTUCKit. “Westfarms is a perfect location for us with such great neighboring brands, so we’re excited to have picked it for our newest store.”
- I was at J.René Coffee Roasters last week to cover a visit by U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal who was congratulating the Park Road business on being named the Connecticut Small Business Association’s “Minority-Owned Business of the Year” and hosting a community conversation with other local business owners, and while I was there I was able to get confirmation that J.Rene has plans to expand, and one of their new locations will be a collaboration with BiCi Co, which will be opening a bike shop that is a “social enterprise business focused on youth and workforce development.” Joseph Dickerson, program manager for BiCi Co, confirmed that the coffee shop he mentioned when I interviewed him about the bike shop for a column last month is indeed J.René, and Dickerson said that he hopes to open in about eight weeks. And congratulations to J.René on the award, which you can read about here.
- Last week’s varied activities also included a chance to test out Imagine Float in Avon – which is co-owned by West Hartford resident Lynne Tapper and Farmington resident Michele Beaule. The photo at right is of the entrance to the float tank where I spent an hour, completely relaxing in a sensory deprivation environment, lying in 10 inches of water that is saturated with Epsom salts so that even a sinker like me remains buoyant and is heated to 93.5ºF (apparently the temperature of your skin) so that the barrier between skin and water is seamless. I do not relax easily (my family members are now laughing because that’s a complete understatement), and although I do practice yoga occasionally, I have been known to get up and move around during Savasana – but I will have to say that after about 10-15 minutes I was completely relaxed. When I entered the float tank I had some muscle soreness from a tough Body Pump class the previous day, but it was mostly gone when I was done. I’m initially writing the story for the next issue of West Hartford and Valley LIFE, but will share it on We-Ha.com as well. In the meantime, for more information about Imagine Float, or to book a treatment (they also offer compression therapy, infrared therapy, and cryotherapy, visit the company’s website or Facebook page.
- Partners Ed Goldberg and Brenda Larkin recently celebrated the official grand opening of their financial planning firm, Goldberg Larkin, with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Mayor Shari Cantor joined members of the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce to welcome the newest members of the local business community. Afterwards, nearly 50 invited clients, financial professionals, and business leaders enjoyed a VIP evening reception featuring gourmet refreshments. The full-service firm located at 433 South Main St., Suite 105 in West Hartford is affiliated with Westminster Financial Companies. Both partners are Certified Divorce Financial Analysts who work with numerous attorneys and clients in town. For more information, visit www.goldberglarkin.com or call Ed at 860-706-1100 or Brenda at 860-706-1101.
- The fourth annual Taste of Bishops Corner was postponed from last week, and will be held this week, on Wednesday, June 5, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the lobby of EDENs (2523 North Main St.) and will feature ice cream brownie sundaes from Abby Dabby, vegetable has from Blue Plate Kitchen, an assortment of pizza from Harry’s Bishops Corner (winner Best of West Hartford’s category for “Best Pizza”), and the brand new Poké City, offering chicken or shrimp over rice or lettuce with a choice of three special sauces. Beverages including water, soda, beer and wine (for small charge) available by Two Pour Guys. There will also be free chair massages courtesy of Massage Envy and Nurturing Hands, merchant giveaways, and exhibitors including AT&T, Beltone Hearing, Float Forty One, Intensive Education Academy, Orange Theory and more! The event is also a fundraiser for Tara’s Closet, which will be open for the last night this season on Wednesday. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.
- I’ll be looking forward to this! It was announced last week that local breweries Hog River (owned by West Hartford residents Ben and Joy Braddock, Hanging Hills Brewery, and West Hartford’s Harry’s Pizza will be teaming up to open a beer garden at the historic Pump House in Bushnell Park. The beer garden is scheduled to open on Friday, June 28, and be open most Fridays through the end of September. Click here for the complete story by the Hartford Courant’s Shannon Larson.
- They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and West Hartford’s successful Home Design District, an organization of home improvement and design businesses located in the New Park Avenue area, has served as the model for The Niles Design District, which recently launched in the Chicago suburbs. “The Niles Design District was modeled after a similar district in West Hartford, CT. The concept is to create a central district within Niles offering all the services needed for a home or business improvement project, from design to construction to the purchase of materials, all in one tight geographic area,” the organization stated in an announcement. “They even went as far as to ‘borrow’ our tagline ‘Your Road to a Better Home,'” said Chelsea O’Donnell of Journey Communications, who handles the marketing for the Home Design District.
- ICYMI, Whole Foods announced that it will be closing its Bishops Corner store and moving to Avon – but not imminently because ground hasn’t even been broken yet for the Avon Village Center development. Click here for details, including a rendering of the Avon store.
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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