A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
I hope everyone had a Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday!
I usually write this column on Sunday (often late on Sunday night), but I decided to write most of it on Saturday so I could enjoy a relatively work-free Mother’s Day. Thank you to Katie, Sam, and Ted for making my Mother’s Day so special and relaxing!
Saturday night was the Mayor’s Charity Ball (click here for the photo gallery!). Great food, great music, and a wonderful time as Mayor Shari Cantor helped raise funds for the Playhouse on Park and The Town That Cares Fund.
I have been to quite a few retirement ceremonies, and written about the retirement of numerous town officials and members of the police and fire departments, but none have been like the celebrations of the 28 1/2-year career of West Hartford Police Capt. Jeff Rose. He officially retired on Friday, May 4, and I attended the first of several celebrations that morning at police headquarters. On Tuesday, May 8, Rose was honored with a proclamation at the Town Council meeting, and received a standing ovation from the audience.
This past Friday, May 11, a larger “official” retirement party for Capt. Rose was held at police headquarters. I honestly don’t think there was a dry eye in the house (among police officers as well as everyone else), when Rose, his own voice breaking and tears in his eyes, spoke about all of his ranks, titles, and the names by which he has been known during his career, ended his speech with the following: “No matter what I’ve been called, I’ve always been a West Hartford Police officer, and that’s a title for which I am most proud and one I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I can honestly say that we have the finest police department, the finest police officers, and the finest human beings I have ever known. So at this time, on May 11, 2018, the time is 9:15 a.m., district 20, badge 203, I’m 10-1. That’s all there is. There isn’t any more.”
Congratulations and best wishes to you, Jeff, as you enjoy your work on the Goat Patrol as a Goat Herder (aka working security for the Yard Goats), congratulations to your daughter, Maggie, on her upcoming graduation from Notre Dame next weekend – and don’t be a stranger!
And congratulations also to Michael Perruccio, who was also honored Friday morning for his promotion to captain, and who will assume the role of Support Services Captain!
There are more photos below of Jeff, Mike, and their families from Friday morning’s ceremony!
On another note, I’m looking forward to introducing readers to the two interns who will be joining We-Ha.com for the summer as of Monday. You’ll be hearing more about – and from – UConn journalism students Ryley McGinnis and Maddie Geerlof very soon!
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:
- When West Hartford resident Jamie Czajkowski got into the mobile food/drink industry a few years ago, he focused on developing his partnership with Faddy’s Donuts and Ice Cream through his food truck, Bumski’s Donuts. At the same time, Czajkowski also had gotten a liquor license and was starting up a mobile beer and wine business. “It’s funny because I don’t really even drink,” said Czajkowski, who is known to many around town as a youth lacrosse coach and league administrator as well a former head of West Hartford’s All Sports Council. “I saw the craze of the food truck market,” he said, but he noticed that many of the food truck owners struggled to also provide a good selection of beer as well as other beverages. “I already had a Bumski’s brand,” he said, and decided that he would concentrate on the mobile bar business with Bumski’s Beer & Wine Bar. Now he’s expanded with the new beer wagon. Czajkowski started off with a 16-foot trailer that he turned into a mobile bar, and which can hold 25 half kegs and serve a large selection of beer as well as wines and specialty cocktails to thousands of people. “The tap lines go through the wall, and we can serve beer through the window, just like a hot dog stand,” Czajkowski said. He takes it on the road throughout the state – “all four corners” – from Mystic, to Greenwich, to Washington Depot, to Candlewood Lake, to Putnam, and at a balloon festival last year served more than 50,000 people one weekend. This year he said he’s honored to be providing his services at the Dream Ride for Special Olympics. One major advantage to his business model, Czajkowski said, is that he buys all of the beer, wine, and liquor through distributors, and customers can get a wide variety of any flavors they would like served from the trailer or the van, rather than just a few set brands. “Think of us as a turnkey bartending solution for your events, especially outdoor events.” Also as part of the business, Bumski’s does mobile bartending. And, Czajkowski added, “Almost everyone I employ is from West Hartford.” Many of his bartenders are former volunteer coaches he’s worked with, and his adult children and their friends help out, too. “They all have our best interests in mind – making sure everyone has a good time, but that no one abuses it.” The business is a great counterpoint to Czajkowski’s day job, he said, of marketing cancer drugs throughout the country. And as for the name: “My dad was born in Poland, and there were seven of us, including five boys. He always called us ‘just a bunch of bumskis.'” When it was time to come up with a business name, Czajkowski consulted his siblings, including his twin brother. “It’s not even a question, you’ve got to name it ‘Bumski’s,'” they said. The Bumski’s website is still being updated, but to get in touch with Czajkowski, email [email protected].
- I already congratulated her once about this honor in this column, but am giving a shout out again to West Hartford resident and volunteer extraordinaire Ronit Shoham, as well as to Executive Director (and West Hartford resident) Michelle Murphy and the entire staff of Malta House of Care on the very successful “Celebrating Wonder Women” event that I attended on Wednesday evening. Ronit was one of seven Wonder Women, honored for founding or helping to found a long list of organizations including the Miracle League of Connecticut, The Underground, West Hartford Little League (and its Challenger Division), and Cut Out Cancer, and helped raise $1.2 million for Jonathan’s Dream Reimagined. The program read: “The one title missing from Ronit’s resume is ‘glue,’ yet it may be the most accurate! It’s the word that comes to mind when you consider her decades of service to her community: She’s been the glue who patched good ideas together; who matched motivated, passionate people with one another; and who truly stuck with things to see them through to completion.” Congrats, Ronit!
- Last week I paid a visit to Greg Cordeira, a veteran hair stylist (34 years of experience) who got in touch recently to let me know that he has taken over for his former employer, Franklin Marcus Salon, and transformed the business into Click.Salon. “I worked here for about three years, but when the lease was up I took it over,” Cordeira said of the space located at 968R Farmington Ave. (in the Brace Road parking lot, see exterior photo below). He’s already spruced up the place with new equipment and flooring, newly-painted blue walls, and is planning to have more contemporary lighting installed soon. There are four rental stations (one will be available for rent as of July 1, he said), with the majority of the business color and cut for women. “What’s most exciting is that my daughter joined me about two months ago,” Cordeira said. Emma Cordeira had been working in a salon in Manchester, and has been able to bring most of her customers with her to West Hartford. “Her work is great, she’s highly educated,” he said. There’s a great environment in the salon, he said. “There’s a real sense of team, even though we are three separate businesses.” To reach Click.Salon, call 860-236-1441 or visit their website.
- Speaking of 968R Farmington Ave., right across the courtyard Vaughan’s Pies & Pints is now offering a hour daily from 4-6 p.m. with deals that include $5 for a small cheese pizza, wings, and house salad, as well as $5 beer and wine, owner Johnny Vaughan said. And now that the weather is nice [we hope], the expansive outdoor patio is open daily. Follow the business on Facebook to keep up with other offers.
- Major props to Staples in Bishops Corner for this good deed, shared in a Facebook post on “Neighbors and Friends in West Hartford” by a Morley teacher who had gone to purchase some supplies and was looking to see if she could also get some backpacks for the Morley Backpack Brigade: “I found a display with some bags that were marked down, but most were still outside my Backpack Brigade budget. I spoke with Ryan, the assistant manager, and explained that Morley students walk to Town Hall every June to deliver brand new backpacks so every student in West Hartford can begin the school year on the right foot. Ryan was great – he loved the idea of helping Morley and told me he was going to call his manager to see if they could offer an additional discount. We agreed to be in touch. Around an hour later I got a call from Ryan with an astounding offer: Staples would sell me every single backpack on the display for $10/each. [My daughter] and I drove back to Bishop’s Corner, and Ryan, Mike, Jake, and Sofia helped me purchase 72 brand new backpacks. They did this with huge smiles and lots of jokes, and Ryan even stayed beyond the end of his shift to help me load them into the back of my car. Thanks to Ryan and his staff, Morley is 72 backpacks closer to our goal of walking 350 backpacks to Town Hall on June 18. I could not be more proud to be a Morley teacher, and I could not be more grateful to everyone at Staples for their generosity. They are really making a difference in our community! Thank you, Staples!”
- Congrats to West Hartford firefighter (and also resident) Marsha McCurdy Adell, who this past week was honored as a “Superhero Mom” by NBC Connecticut. “Proudly, I’m not only a decorated 18-year veteran firefighter in town, but also a contributing citizen to the wellness of our schools, government, neighborhoods. I’m raising my children here, as my parents raised me and my brother in the public schools. I even chose to move my ailing grandmother here earlier this year in the winter of her life. I’m honored to be featured and representing West Hartford in such a dignified way,” Adell said. Here’s the link to the segment that featured Adell: https://bit.ly/2wihn8Q.
- Dr. Steven Fischman has signed on to be host sponsor of what is now being called We-Ha-HA Comedy Night by Dr. Steven Fischman. The comedy series is the last Tuesday of every month at World of Beer at Blue Back Square. WOB General Manager Matt Sousa, General Manager has new changes to the venue and menu, and Blue Back Square General Manager Robyn Rifkin said she is thrilled to have a mix of residents as well as out of town guests attending the series. The next We-Ha-HA Comedy Night is May 29, and tickets are now available in the We-Ha.com store.
- No word on whether or not this will have any impact on either bartaco or Barcelona’s West Hartford locations, but according to a news release, “Barteca Restaurant Group, the Norwalk-based owner of the Barcelona Wine Bar and Bartaco chains, has entered an agreement to be acquired for $325 million in cash by Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group Inc., headquartered in Irving, TX.” Click here for more details.
- The first restaurants to sign up for the 3rd Annual Taste of Bishops Corner will include Abby Dabby, Crown Market, and Harry’s Bishops Corner. Others will be announced this week. Tickets are limited and selling quickly so visit we-ha.com/store and buy yours today. This year, the Taste will be held indoors at The Underground, 740 North Main St., Lower Level Lobby Entrance. (“under” Harry’s Bishops Corner, across from the Post Office in the Crossroads Plaza section of Bishops Corner). The event kicks off at 5:30 p.m. and ends at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are already selling, so don’t hesitate to click and take advantage of bulk discounts.
- Today’s sad news: Starr Yoga, at 276 Park Rd., is closing its doors. Owner Julie Starr said in a letter emailed to customers on Thursday that she had put all of her energy into building a studio in her hometown of West Hartford, but upon turning 40 finally gave herself permission to “let go” and realize that this has been a “learning experience as a business owner and wellness entrepreneur.” Starr also said in her email: “I am so thankful of all of you who have supported the studio over the last couple of years. I have decided to close the studio as of June 10th. I am working with several local yoga and barre studios right now who have said that they will honor your STARR YOGA class packs. More details on this will be sent out over the next week. With this being said, I do have the lease for another 11 months and if anyone is interested in using the space for fitness or yoga, please don’t hesitate to contact me.”
- ICYMI, Nummy opened this past week in the Elmwood section of West Hartford. Details and food photos here.
- Also ICYMI, The Medspa has opened at the Delamar West Hartford. Click here for all of the details!
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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