A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
Happy Monday, happy springtime!
Last Monday I was on my way to Florida, and despite one full day of rain (at least it was 68 degrees and not threatening snow or sleet), it was a wonderful vacation. It was great to visit with my dad in Delray Beach, to soak up the sunshine amid palm trees and beautiful flowers, to sit on the beach and read a book, to run in shorts and a tank top, and to eat every possible meal outdoors.
Both kids were on spring break and able to join us on the trip, and Ted planned an adventure for the four of us – a day of snorkeling at the coral reef off Key Largo (only a two-hour drive from Delray Beach)! The snorkeling was absolutely amazing, and we saw dozens of varieties of fish in all colors, shapes, and sizes. While the sea turtles were elusive (the dive master said he had seen some a few days earlier), we did see multiple barracuda and a couple of sharks!
After snorkeling we drove farther west to Islamorada, where we found a restaurant/bar right on the water that promised (and delivered) a great sunset, cold drinks, and some yummy seafood.
There was no lack of news while I was away, including five structure fires in West Hartford. Thanks to the West Hartford Fire Department for making sure I had accurate information, and to the fire department and our readers for supplying photos.
I learned about and reported on Thursday evening’s devastating fire while I was in the Fort Lauderdale Airport on my way home. Our thoughts are with the family of five that was displaced by the fire, which may result in the house being declared a total loss, but thankfully no one was injured.
While I was able to report on the news from vacation, I do apologize for some technical issues which resulted in several stories that had been published on Tuesday night “disappearing,” and a smaller than usual newsletter on Friday as a result. After much hair-pulling (on my part) and investigation (by me as well as by our IT specialist), there’s no clear explanation. I have been instructed to no longer use public WiFi while posting to the We-Ha.com site, and thankfully I have an unlimited data plan and can use my phone safely as a hot spot.
We got home around 1 a.m. Friday, and what a return to reality it was. We are having our master bathroom redone (much of it was still vintage 1932), and because of some crazy piping, while we were gone the contractors cut a giant hole in the wall of my office which is right below our bathroom. And a relay switch on our vintage furnace broke, so we had no heat in the house when we got home.
We were all back to work on Friday, including Sam who was on the floor of the UConn vs. Towson women’s basketball tournament game. In addition to seeing the Huskies’ first round win from court side, he got to hang out with the real Husky!
It was tough to don my down jacket again on Friday, but I had to leave the house for a meeting and once it started sleeting I couldn’t deny that I was back in New England.
I’m seeing 60s in the weather forecast, and can’t wait to report on the re-opening of patios at West Hartford restaurants!
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:
- Today is the second anniversary of the opening of New Park Brewing, and West Hartford’s only craft brewery has been such a phenomenal success story (last year they were nominated as one of the country’s top 10 new craft breweries) that they have taken on more space, and more than doubled their beer production – which comes as very welcome news to those who have had to wait in line for can releases that sell out quickly. Cans releases are now weekly – and because of the increased capacity, customers can purchase four four-packs of beer at a time. The state limit is currently 19 cans, creating an effective limit of 16 because New Park sells four packs, but legislation is expected this year increasing the state limit to 48 – very welcome news for craft beer enthusiasts. Releases are on Thursdays, but because there is more quantity, the supply should last through to the weekend. There are usually two or three varieties available at each release, and there is some ability to mix and match depending on how much of each is available. Co-owner John Doyle said the process of expanding into an adjoining space took about a year, and involved all new drainage and new flooring as part of a conversion from a 7-barrel electric system to a 15-barrel steam system that more than doubles the capacity. The new system, which includes a “brew deck” that houses electronic controls and overlooks the brewing area and better accommodates the piping, has been in place for a few weeks. Most of the brews take about three weeks to mature, Doyle said, and the new system has been used for the past few can releases. Assistant brewer Tom Manley said that the new system is much more efficient, and allows for not only more beer to be canned, but also allows some of what is being canned to be put into kegs, to supply a greater quantity and assortment to the highly-popular taproom. New Park brews a variety of beers, and the Blender series and IPAs are by far the best sellers. New Park Brewing is open Thursday through Sunday, and has a robust schedule of food trucks on site (you can also bring your own food!), as well as live music. Next Saturday, “Nth Power” will be including New Park Brewing on its tour. Hours, schedules of music and food trucks, and tap lists are available on New Park Brewing’s website. Can release details are shared on Facebook, Instagram (@newparkbrewing), and newparkbrewing.com, and availability updates are posted to Twitter. See more photos below.
- West Hartford Economic Development Specialist Kristen Gorski confirmed that a Salvation Army retail store and Kathy’s Urgent Care will be subdividing the former JoeyZ Shopping Spree in the PriceRite Plaza at 983 New Britain Ave. in West Hartford. Both businesses have permits for build-out, but the timeframe for opening is not yet available.
- Also according to Gorski, Raymond Malcolm has purchased the red house at 647 New Park Ave. (adjacent to the Corner Pug parking lot), and has cleared the lot of trees and is preparing for major renovation to the building. Raymond will be relocating his business, Silver and Oak Realty, to the space. The building is currently entirely residential, and it’s not known if apartment space will remain following the remodel.
- Balance Massage Therapy is moving from 39 Talcott Rd. in West Hartford to a new location as of April. 1. Owner Cailin McBee, who will remain a very active member of the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce, said that the new location at 135 Day St. (second floor) is in Newington, but just about 1.5 miles and five minutes from the current location. The new and larger space will allow for additional practitioners and wellness services, and also has a seminar room where classes and other educational programming will take place. To make an appointment online or for more information, click here.
- Certified Financial Planner Edward Goldberg and Brenda Larkin “like to joke that divorce is what brought them together six years ago.” In a news release the pair announced that they have joined forces to form Goldberg Larkin, a personalized boutique financial planning practice which has opened at 433 South Main St., Suite 105 in West Hartford. “We are both Certified Divorce Financial Analysts (CDFA) and members of the Connecticut Collaborative Divorce Group,” explained Goldberg in the release. “The more we worked together, the more we realized how similarly we approach the art and science of financial planning. Eventually we simply joined our practices together for form Goldberg Larkin,” he said. “We work with numerous attorneys who practice in town and many of our clients come to West Hartford to shop and dine,” said Larkin. “Most importantly, we wanted to create a warm and welcoming environment in an area that is vibrant, fun and accessible.” The team’s extensive work within the divorce process has also provided them with specialized expertise to guide people through other major life changes, such as the death of a spouse or unplanned retirement. “People in transition often do not know where to turn,” said Goldberg. “Divorce is perhaps the most emotionally difficult transition of all. Brenda and I feel strongly that by helping people navigate the financial aspects of a life-changing transition, we can empower them to better face their financial future.” Goldberg Larkin’s official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony will be held in conjunction with the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce on May 9, at noon. For more information, including a free consultation, visit www.goldberglarkin.com or call Ed at 860-706-1100 or Brenda at 860-706-1101.
- The Women’s Leadership Center at the University of Saint Joseph will continue its free leadership development workshops with a public discussion on the impact of mentorship and sponsorship on career advancement on Monday, April 1, from 5:30-7:15 p.m. in Mercy Hall at the USJ. The event will include women leaders from throughout the state and feature Patricia A. Rehmer, senior vice president of Hartford HealthCare and Behavioral Health Network President. The Women’s Leadership Center event is free and open to the public. Registration is required – click here.
- Knockout Fitness is helping Knock Out Cancer with a fundraiser at its location at 20 Jefferson Ave. in West Hartford on March 30. The “Knockout Relay,” at 3 p.m. will donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the American Cancer Society. Registration (click here) is open to teams of four ($95) as well as to single participants ($25). According to a news release, each participant in a four-person team will participate in a 20-minute classes of Kickboxing 101, Total Body Fit, Hands and Mitts, or Spartan Fit. Once the teammate has done one class they tap the next teammate in to the next class.T-shirts will be given to each participant, a hydration station will be provided, and Hartford Baking Company will provide light appetizers and bread samples. There will also be a raffle, with prizes including a class pass, personal training, massages, essential oils, restaurant gift cards, and much more. “We are proud to support this cause because it hits home, my family member as well as close friends and clients have knocked out cancer and we want to help others out there still fighting. We want them to know that we are here fighting along side them,” said Knockout Fitness owner Antony Atallah. For more information about the family-owned and operated boutique workout facility Knockout Fitness, click here.
- Chango Rosa, the Hartford restaurant owned by Jamie McDonald (a co-owner of The Cook and The Bear in West Hartford) and his wife, Cheryl McDonald, will be closing Saturday. The restaurant posted the following announcement on its website: “Chango Rosa will be closing its brick & mortar location on March 30th and will be spreading its many delicious offerings throughout the Bears Restaurant Group in the form of food truck events, catering options and Taco Mondays at The Blind Pig Pizza. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the city of Hartford and all of the wonderful people who have shown their support over the past 1-1/2 years! Please join us during our last week of service to enjoy a cocktail, taco, or skull punch one last time at 1 Union Place.”
- ICYMI, West Hartford resident Kyle Mayer is planning to open Petrolhead, and will be testing out his motorsports-themed brewpub concept as a pop-up. Click here for the complete story.
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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