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West Hartford Business Buzz: June 3, 2024

West Hartford resident Hadley Rosen with a plate of her chocolate creations. Photo credit: Matt Walas of CT Design and Photo. Courtesy photo

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

Happy June – the beginning of meteorological summer! And with the exception of Thursday morning, we have had a streak of some spectacular summery weather.

Since we published Business Buzz last week on Wednesday, it’s a short turnaround to putting together another column – made even shorter by my being out of town on Saturday through early Sunday afternoon attending a friend’s daughter’s wedding on Long Island. Not only was the wedding itself wonderful, but it was a great reunion with so many parents of my kids’ friends – even some dating back to preschool – and their kids who are all now adults. Anyone within earshot from West Hartford when we called for this photo is pictured below!

West Hartford representing at Julia DeLutrie’s wedding in Long Island.

I’m still catching up on writing the stories for several events covered last week (it was a very busy week and there are only so many hours in the day), but among the articles that were published is a story about the installation of Conny’s tail along the Trout Brook Trail greenway on Wednesday.

My dining out was takeout from Wabi Sabi after covering an appearance by Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz who has been visiting various businesses around the state in honor of AAPI Heritage month (see below). These are the yellowtail and unagi hand rolls I ate at home.

Yellowtail and unagi hand rolls from Wabi Sabi. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Ted and I are splitting a mini pack of season tickets to the Yard Goats this summer with some friends, and Thursday night was our first game of the season. The weather was cold and rainy in the morning, but thankfully it turned into a gorgeous evening for watching a dominant Goats win, and for enjoying some ballpark food.

Hot dog at the Yard Goats. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Cheeze-Its burger at the Yard Goats. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Pickle fries at the Yard Goats. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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].


Here’s this week’s Buzz:

Hadley Rosen and her father, Jim Weiss, are partners in Chocolena. Photo credit: Matt Walas of CT Design and Photo. Courtesy photo

  • It’s sweet that we have had candy-related news leading this column for the past two weeks (sorry, bad joke, but couldn’t resist)! Hadley Rosen, a 15-year resident of West Hartford, has teamed up with her dad and launched the chocolate business Chocolena, which is renting kitchen space at GastroPark, and has had regular pop-ups there as well. Rosen said she and her husband Todd (a wealth manager at May, Bonee and Clark), have two children at Braeburn School and in 2020 she left her role as director of communications for the software company, Finalsite, to join her father Jim Weiss, in his business, Pomfret Chocolates. After retiring her dad had launched the business in Pomfret (that’s where she is from) and was offering fine chocolates at pop ups, farmers’ markets, and wineries. “I became a certified chocolatier from Ecole Chocolat in Vancouver where my father had trained. We rebranded the company as Chocolena, reimagined it as focusing on hand painted bonbons, chocolate bark, and chocolate bars, and created a website, www.chocolenasweets.com.” Rosen said they were vendors at the Blue Back Farmers’ Market last summer – which was a great experience – and also started holding pop-ups at GastroPark where they “absolutely loved the space, the food community there, and the customers.” The products are now produced at GastroPark, as well as in their existing kitchen space in Pomfret. Chocolena will be hosting additional pop-ups at GastroPark, and will return to the Blue Back Farmers’ Market as well, including on the opening date of June 16,Rosen said. “We will then take a pause in July and August when it’s too hot for chocolate there, and return as vendors in September and October. We also offer special occasion sweets and favors for parties and weddings, custom corporate gifts including hand painted bonbons in the company’s colors, and in-home, 2-hour chocolate tastings,” Rosen added. The signature item –which Rosen said makes a great gift – is a 9-piece book box of bonbons. “Additionally, we are a certified food manufacturing establishment in Connecticut (not a cottage business) and are able to wholesale our products to shops and businesses. We are looking to expand this aspect of our business and currently sell our chocolates in one shop in Pomfret. People can visit www.chocolenasweets.com to order online for curbside pickup at Gastropark, contact me at [email protected] for custom orders, or follow us on Instagram @chocolenasweets for information on popups and other special events.” Rosen said she is very thankful for the assistance of the Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC) – particularly their “amazing advisor” Michelle Augustyn – for their help in launching the business, “and have had a great experience working with the town of West Hartford Economic Development. She also noted that a West Hartford photographer, Matt Walas of CT Design and Photo (https://www.ctdandphoto.com/contact), is credited with taking their website and product photos.

Chocolena book box of bonbons. Photo credit: Matt Walas of CT Design and Photo. Courtesy photo

Sample of Chocolena bonbon. Photo credit: Matt Walas of CT Design and Photo. Courtesy photo

Chocolena bark. Photo credit: Matt Walas of CT Design and Photo. Courtesy photo

  • Welcome to Mini Beauty Lounge, which has just opened at 998 Farmington Avenue, Suite 118A, and had a ribbon cutting with the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce on Friday outside, followed by a reception at their beautiful new office on the lower level of the building. Owner Minnie Santos, an esthetician, has been working for others and decided it was time to strike out on her own, and was very excited to find the West Hartford Center space. She said she has been treating friends and family during a soft opening period but is now fully open, offering service such as facials, a wide assortment of waxing, brow tinting, and more. Appointments can be made online through Square and you can follow @minibeautyloungect on Instagram for more details.

Ribbon cutting at Mini Beauty Lounge. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Mini Beauty Lounge is now open at 998 Farmington Ave., Suite 118. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Mini Beauty Lounge is now open at 998 Farmington Ave., Suite 118. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Mini Beauty Lounge is now open at 998 Farmington Ave., Suite 118. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce also held held a ribbon cutting last week at FemCare Medspa, which is located at 61 Raymond Road, Suite 10 (inside Sola Salons). Owner Julian Grant, who has more than 18 years prior nursing experience, focuses her business on women from age 30 to the 60s, “integrating advanced medical treatments with holistic practices to promote overall well-being for women.” More detail can be found on their website femcaremedspa.com.

The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for FemCare Medspa, owned by Julian Grant (center) on Wednesday, May 28, 2024. Courtesy photo

  • University of Saint Joseph head men’s tennis coach Craig Davidson has launched the new business Love Tennis. Davidson, who grew up in West Hartford and graduated from Hall High School, will be running camps, lessons, and clinics for kids and adults at the USJ tennis courts. Programs begin in mid-June, and details can be found on the website. Love Tennis also offers racquet stringing. To contact Davidson, email [email protected] or call 860-614-8944.

USJ tennis coach Craig Davidson has launched the new business Love Tennis. Courtesy photo

  • Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz has been visiting businesses across the state in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, and on Wednesday around lunchtime she visited newly-opened Japanese restaurant Wabi Sabi in West Hartford. Bysiewicz was joined by state Rep. Kate Farrar and met with Wabi Sabi owners Andy Mozer and Gao Cai. Wabi Sabi offers small plates, hand rolls, handcrafted cocktails, and more – and the complete story about the opening can be found here. During her visit, which also included having lunch, Bysiewicz said that Connecticut is home to more than 170,000 Asian residents and noted that Asian Americans are the country’s fastest-growing racial or ethnic group and are projected to be its largest immigrant group by 2055. She also shared that Connecticut is among the first states in the nation to pass a law requiring public schools to teach Asian American and Pacific Islander, or AAPI, history, set to take effect in the 2025-2026 school year.

From left: Gao Cai, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, state Rep. Kate Farrar, Andy Mozer. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz enjoys several skewers and vegetable kushi don at Wabi Sabi in West Hartford. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Vegetable kushi don at Wabi Sabi in West Hartford. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • The sign is up for Beem Light Sauna, which appears getting close to opening in a roughly 2,500-square foot portion of the former Charming Charlie space (76 Memorial Road) in Blue Back Square. The franchise business offers “a light therapy studio concept where members can find innovative infrared, red light, and chromotherapy solutions” that according to their website offers holistic physical and mental health benefits. There is an existing location in Glastonbury and this will be the second in the state, according to the website. The following is the blurb that appears not the Blue Back Square website: “Experience the hottest Infrared Sauna Studio with all Private Suites! Dedicate 40 minutes to yourself and experience incredible health benefits, including burned calories, reduced stress levels, enhanced immunity, improved skin complexion, detoxification at the cellular level and more! Relax & unwind while you detox. Each sauna suite is equipped with chromotherapy lights to enhance your experience as well as an iPad with streaming services for movies, shows, podcasts, and music! Beem provides an elevated, spa-like experience while you sit back and reap the benefits of our science-backed infrared saunas or our medical-grade red light therapy room.” More to come once the opening date is announced!

Beem Light Sauna will be opening soon at 76 Memorial Road in Blue Back Square. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Beem Light Sauna will be opening soon at 76 Memorial Road in Blue Back Square. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Many of those who volunteer for the Simsbury-based Healing Meals Community Project are from West Hartford, and the organization is hosting a Made with Love Benefit on Tuesday, June 25, with the menu being created by West Hartford resident Kevin Masse (Small State Provisions), Tony Camilleri, owner of Toro Mexican Street Food in West Hartford as well as and Sugo Trattoria in Farmington, as well as Jeff Lizotte, owner of Present Company, Tariffville, and Joe Bucholz, Executive Chef of Healing Meals. “Many of our most dedicated adult and youth volunteers live in West Hartford and we are so grateful for their time and support. West Hartford adult residents volunteer both in our community kitchen and as delivery angels, bringing meals right to our client’s doorstep. Our West Hartford high school volunteers are learning the tremendous impact nutritious foods have on their health, as well as the health of our community and planet, the organization stated in an email. For more information, visit the website.

Courtesy image

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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