A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
Did I say something about spring having sprung in last week’s column?
Now it’s officially the first full day of spring (it began at 12:30 a.m. Sunday, but that’s not quite a full day), and there’s a very real possibility that you are reading this while looking out the window and seeing snow. The good thing is that any evil whiteness while melt quickly under the strong March sun, and we can get back on track with springtime.
As expected, my daffodils burst into bloom this week. They (and I) do not welcome a blanket of snow at this time of year.
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 mystery has been revealed! The Kaoud family purchased 11 South Main St. in West Hartford Center in August 2013. The former Masonic Temple building on the site was demolished, and for more than a year, residents and passersby have been watching as the brand new building rose from its foundation. The tenant for the ground floor retail space was finally announced this week, and the “Charles Schwab” sign was installed on the building. “We’re very excited. We’ve been busting at the seams. It will be nice to have a more modernized facility,” Charles Schwab Vice President and Branch Manager Michael Cavanaugh said. There are currently 12 employees at the 43 LaSalle Rd. location, but Cavanaugh said that will expand to at least 14 by the end of the year because there will be more space. Plans are to make the move by the middle of May, and the company also looks forward to holding meetings in the West Hartford location. Building owner Abe Kaoud said of his new tenant, “We’re very pleased to have them. It’s a great use for the building, especially with the apartments above.” The 21 apartments, which include 17 one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom townhouses, should be ready for occupancy by May as well.
- It’s hard to believe this business has closed. I get emails with tips for this column on a regular basis, but I got quite a few emails this week informing me that Craft Beer Cellar, which was located at 1026 Boulevard, closed its doors last weekend. The notice emailed to customers on the store’s mailing list said: “Sometimes, no matter how much love we have for our customers and our beer, circumstances don’t always work out the way we would like them to. What we will miss the most is seeing all our amazing customers, giving them high-fives and chatting about great beer. At the end of the day, that is what always makes it all worth it. We also want to thank all the breweries, sales reps and distributors for your support of our passion and commitment to great beer.”
- When Coldwell Banker moves to its new 992 Farmington Ave. location this spring (former Chico’s space), it will leave a large vacancy on LaSalle Road. John Lockhart, of commercial real estate manager NAI Elite confirmed in an email that his company is seeking a tenant for a “high end restaurant/entertainment bar” for the 12,000 square foot split level space at 36 LaSalle Rd. The street level would be ideal for restaurant seating, Lockhart said in an email. He envisions the second and third levels (1,050 square feet each) as “a private dining/event hosting room, maybe some billiard tables, dart boards, giant Jenga, and other means of entertainment.” The lowest level, which is 4,400 square feet, could accommodate the kitchen as well as “a live entertainment hosting area,” Lockhart said. Director of Community Services Mark McGovern said that the town has ordinances that dictate permissible occupancies, and he would have to wait to see a proposal and isn’t sure whether or not the proposed use might fall into the restaurant or amusement category.
- Academic Coaching Associates has moved to new and much larger office space in Bishops Corner at 2446 Albany Ave., Suite 301. According to a news release, the move was made in order to accommodate a substantial increase in students, as well as services provided for the 2015-2016 academic year. “With the influx of new students and coaches, moving to a site that offers more space became a necessity,” said Academic Coaching Associates Owner Sue Schaefer. “Since the majority of our students are located in West Hartford and surrounding towns, Bishops Corner was the logical choice.” Schaefer attributes the increase in enrollment to the company’s “unique holistic approach to student achievement and academic coaching, along with an expansion of services including: subject specific tutoring, college student coaching, and a summer study skills program.”
- Congratulations to Bouvier Insurance, honored last week as “Insurance Agency of the Year” by the Connecticut Insurance Marketing Association at the organization’s annual luncheon. “What makes this award so special is the fact that we were voted by our peers as having superior professionalism, integrity and service to our clients. We are honored to accept this distinction,” Bouvier Insurance said in a post on the company’s Facebook page.
- Plans are moving along for the inaugural Taste of Bishops Corner on March 31! Crown Market has now signed on as a participant, and will be showcasing some goodies from their catering menu! Advance tickets are only $25 and are available by clicking here. Event organizers are expecting a sell out so they are not guaranteeing that tickets will be available at the door.
- Lice Clinics of America, located at on 67 Prospect Ave. in West Hartford, will be offering free lice checks and treatments on Saturday, March 26. According to a news release, the clinic “will participate in the national hunt for lice and their eggs next weekend, at a time when it’s usually Easter eggs that are being hunted.” The “Egg Hunt” will be held from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., with free treatments available on a “first come, first serve” basis. The clinic uses the FDA-approved device AirAllé to kill lice and eggs through dehydration. Lice Clinics of America promises that families will return home lice-free. Patients will also receive their own detection comb and lice education packet in addition to the lice treatments. Click here for more information.
- ICYMI: West Hartford resident Tate Norden has introduced a really cool food truck concept – Iron & Grain. Click here to read the story published last week.
- Are you in search of a new fitness routine and in need of some motivation? On Wednesday, March 23, at 5 p.m., you can meet Akua Ba Fitness Personal Trainer/Owner D’Mario at the Fitness FUNdraiser open house at 121 Talcott Rd., and learn about his Reverse Evolution approach to health and wellness. From 6:15 to 7:00 p.m., attendeees can participate in a customized fitness class. Come in your exercise clothes, or feel free to change in their locker rooms. The admission price is just $30 for the introductory class with a portion of the proceeds supporting St. Brigid School. Please pre-register by emailing Jenny: [email protected].
- We reported in last week’s column that Sylvan Learning Center at 2533 Albany Ave. in Bishops Corner had closed abruptly, citing a breakdown in lease negotiations. NBC Connecticut has reported that the center will reopen under new ownership this Monday. We were unable to reach anyone for direct comment or verification.
- If you like business buzz, Director of Community Services Mark McGovern will bring it to life at the Chamber of Commerce’s annual Economic Development luncheon this Thursday, March 24. Click here for details or to register!
Remember, if you have any business news to share, remember to add it in the comments section below or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].
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