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West Hartford Business Buzz: May 16, 2016

Delamar West Hartford Hotel as of May 13, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.

By Ronni Newton

Happy Monday!

After a whirlwind weekend of baseball, flower planting, the Mayor’s Charity Ball, and a wonderful visit from my in-laws for a belated Mother’s Day celebration, it’s time to get back to business.

West Hartford has been in a crazy news cycle, but unless something unexpected happens I am predicting that today’s biggest news story will take place early this evening when Mayor Scott Slifka officially steps down after 12 years in office. The transition will take place during a special Town Council meeting that begins with a public forum at 5:30 p.m.

Deputy Mayor Shari Cantor – who has been a member of the Town Council since 2004 and deputy mayor since 2011 – is expected to be officially voted president of the Town Council/mayor, and Dallas Dodge will be appointed to fill the vacancy.

Cantor is well known to many residents from her 12 years on the Town Council, but there’s plenty that people probably don’t know about her. Look for a “Getting Personal” feature story about Cantor on Tuesday.

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 editorial@we-ha.com.

Here’s this week’s Buzz:

Delamar West Hartford Hotel as of May 13, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Delamar West Hartford Hotel as of May 13, 2016. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • I have gotten numerous emails, texts, and Facebook messages over the past few weeks with questions about the progress of the Delamar West Hartford Hotel. Rumor on the street was spreading that the owner had run out of money and that construction had been at a standstill for weeks. In a phone conversation Friday, Duby McDowell and Becca Brockway of McDowell Jewett Communications, spokespersons for Delamar, said that the rumors are completely unfounded. “Construction is still going on full steam,” McDowell said. She explained that the current stage of construction has involved installation of 200 sleeves per floor – interior work that is not nearly as noticeable. “It’s a ‘visual lull,’ a less visible period of time with fewer trucks and vehicles on the site,” Brockway said. The concrete trucks will be back in the next week or so, and the construction will once again be very publicly visible. McDowell and Brockway confirmed that the hotel is still on schedule for opening in the middle of 2017.
    Knox Blooms Planters are being prepared for distribution. There will be 50 placed along New Britain Avenue in Elmwood. Courtesy of Know

    Knox Blooms Planters are being prepared for distribution. There will be 50 placed along New Britain Avenue in Elmwood. Courtesy of Know

  • Elmwood is about to become a lot more beautiful! Charlie Hilborn of Sheehan-Hilborn Funeral Home had a vision for sprucing up the Elmwood streetscape with some planters full of flower. He hoped to raise enough funds for 10 of them to be placed strategically throughout the neighborhood. “We are well ahead of where I thought we would be when, of what I dreamed of when I first brought this up,” Hilborn said. Westfarms was very generous, he said, and the Elmwood Business Association kicked in some money, but 30 local businesses have also donated. At last count, enough has been raised for 50 (yes, 50!) planters full of flowers to be placed in front of businesses throughout Elmwood. Hartford-based Knox will be installing and maintaining (watering and tending) the 36-inch round planters through its “Blooms Planters” program. “It will really perk up New Britain Avenue,” said Hilborn. The planters will be delivered in June and will be removed in October, and will line New Britain Avenue from Mayflower to New Park. “I am so happy and so proud of Charlie for doing this,” Elmwood Business Association President Rick Liftig said.
  • In addition to the planters, Elmwood Business Association President Rick Liftig said that the railroad bridge at the eastern edge of the neighborhood (at the intersection of New Park Avenue) will be painted “oxblood red” by the state. Liftig is thankful to the work of State Rep. Joe Verrengia to get the state to agree to the project which involves extensive clean-up and lead paint abatement in addition to the painting.
  • One more Elmwood business note: New Asia is reportedly moving across the street to the 1155 New Britain Ave. building that has been under renovation, and will change its name to Wasabi. More details to come.
  • Bluemercury in West Hartford Center will be offering “facial Fridays” for the rest of the month of May, and will also have surprise giveaways to customers every Friday. As part of the store’s month-long party celebrating skincare and preparing for summer, Bluemercury will also be providing complimentary spray tans and hair styling is also available by appointment, Manager Lauren Orozco said. Call 860-231-9099 for more information.
  • ICYMI, the details on longtime West Hartford business L.C.R.‘s move to Avon were revealed last week. Click here for the story!
  • Another business story this week: Chick-fil-A‘s application to open a restaurant next to Aldi Supermarket on New Park Avenue was approved by the Town Council last week. Construction shoud begin this summer. Click here for the details.
  • Finally, last Monday the Town of West Hartford announced plans to purchase the UConn West Hartford campus for $5 million – a price greatly reduced from the $12.6 million price tag that the University and Weiming International Group had initially agreed to. There are lots of details, and links to multiple previous stories on the discussions that have taken place. Click here for the specifics.
  • Don’t forget to nominate your favorites businesses for the Best of West Hartford! The contest launched last week and the first phase is nominations. Everyone can only vote once (no gaming!) but it’s important for businesses or fans of businesses to encourage nominations because those that get the most become finalists. Nominations close on May 30. Read all about the contest by clicking here, or go directly to the voting page by clicking here.

Remember, if you have any business news to share, remember to add it in the comments section below or email Ronni Newton at editorial@we-ha.com.

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