A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
Saturday was one of the most perfect weather days – a perfect 10 in my opinion.
Saturday was also a day during which I could not even begin to restrain my pride in my daughter’s accomplishments. Ted and I attended the Doctor of Physical Therapy White Coat Ceremony at UConn on Saturday morning, and after spending four years of studying incredibly hard in college to get into PT graduate school (before that she studied incredibly hard at Conard before even applying to college), and spending the past two years immersed in intensely rigorous classroom and practical studies, Katie received her white coat! She won’t actually graduate with her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree until next May, after three different clinical experiences, but she’s completed her academics and we are so proud of these years of commitment.
And as someone who is prone to … um … let’s call them mishaps (that have occasionally resulted in scars or broken body parts), I think it’s awesome to have a physical therapist in the family.
There were so many other exciting things that happened this past week. Other than a towel bar that’s on order, our master bathroom renovation project is complete. Thanks to Steve Vendetta at CT Shower and Bath, as well as Dan Martin Construction and all of his contractors, for guiding us through the past several months. I think I’ll put together a separate before, during, and after post, because it’s quite remarkable what they did to our tiny 1930s master bath without changing the footprint, but here’s one shot of the finished room. It’s pretty much impossible to get the full perspective in one photo.
In other exciting news, we are going to be getting a puppy this summer and it was just born this past week. Much more on that to come!
And as of Saturday afternoon Sam is now home for the summer and hopefully about to embark on some interesting work experiences (after removing the contents of his apartment which are in our foyer because he was initially home for just a few hours before departing for Nantucket).
We-Ha.com interns Laurent Cohen and Dexter McCann came on board this week, and have gotten off to a great start! Both have already written stories and have bylines on the site. Look for many more to come this summer.
As I said above, Saturday was pretty much perfect. Before dinner, Ted and I poured ourselves a couple of cold beers (I thought Sip of Sunshine was an appropriate choice) and sat on our Adirondack chairs and watched the neighborhood go by. I liked the photo of the chairs so much that it’s now going to be the We-Ha.com Facebook page cover photo.
Sunday started off with a sudden rainstorm (which arrived just as I was headed to see the demolition of the West Hartford incinerator smokestack), but it was clear and dry (although rather windy) for the rest of the day. The week ahead looks warm and mostly sunny – and boy do we deserve it!
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 Miriam Taylor posted a picture on Instagram (@tastebyspellbound) of her plans to open a location in West Hartford, it immediately got almost 1,000 likes. Taste by Spellbound has quite the following, and after talking with Taylor, I’m not surprised. “We are a completely from scratch bakery,” Taylor said, a boutique bakery that specializes in the quality of its baked goods, rather than the quantity of options each day. Taste by Spellbound, which will take over the space of XES Beauty Lounge at 8 Mayflower St. (right where Mayflower meets New Britain Avenue), sells items like cupcakes, cakes, cookies, bars, macarons. “We’re tailored, small scale,” she said, and special orders are a popular option. “We are fondant free,” she added. Taste by Spellbound already has two locations which will remain open, in Avon and Evergreen Walk in South Windsor, but the Mayflower Street location will be larger and offer a coffee bar, as well as outdoor seating. The capacity, indoors and outdoors, will be 25-30. Coffee and baked goods – “no savory,” said Taylor. “We started looking in West Hartford in December or January,” Taylor said, but the Center was just too much. There isn’t a competing coffee shop in Elmwood, she said, and the location is further from the Avon shop, and she thinks it will be ideal. Taylor lives in West Hartford now, and spent a good number of years growing up in town as well. She’s originally from New Mexico, moved to Portland, OR, and then to West Hartford. About seven years ago, when she was 20, she opened her first shop. Taylor said she has known Robert Udolf – owner of the West Hartford building she’s moving into – for years because he’s been her customer, and she also knows the owners of XES because she’s been their customer for years. XES will be relocating (no details yet on their new location), and Taylor is excited about the way this has worked out, and hopes to be open by August or September. See their website for more details.
- I’m embarrassed to say I have not gotten there yet, but Poké City opened last Monday in the space formerly occupied by D’Angelo’s next to Marshalls at 333 North Main St. in Bishops Corner. The restaurant is owned by is owned by Audrey Chen, who opened the Poké Man restaurant in Blue Back Square last October, and she said in April that she would open in May – and it happened! Poké, for those who have not tried it, is fresh and healthy, and most menu items include cubed and seasoned raw fish, eaten either on its own or on top of sushi rice, another grain, or greens, topped with refreshing house-made sauces. More to come next week when I have a chance to visit!
- Westfarms has welcomed TUMI to the upper level near Nordstroms. Best known for their high quality signature black suitcases, TUMI is so much more, said Westfarms spokesperson Amanda Sirica. Since 1975, TUMI has been creating world-class business and travel essentials, designed to upgrade, uncomplicate, and beautify all aspects of life on the move. “They have overnight bags, backpacks, crossbody bags, and much more,” she said. “And they are colorful,” Sirica added.
- West Hartford resident, Lynne Tapper and her business partner Michele Beaule – both triathlete and self-care advocates – will open their new business, Imagine Float, just over the town line at 290 West Main St. in Avon, CT (across from Michael’s and next to The Perfect Toy and Elements Massage) on May 29. “With technology overload and a busy, hurried schedule, stress has become inescapable until now. Imagine Float, a boutique float and wellness center, has brought the decades old practice, that is widely used in major metropolitan cities, to the greater Hartford area. Offering a key to sensory deprivation – and utter relaxation – the restricted environmental stimulation clear minds, de-stresses and takes physical pressure off the body. If that’s not enough the sanctuary for self-care is also offering whole body cryotherapy, an infrared sauna and compression therapy to its menu of mind and body services,” the news release states. The 2,450 square foot wellness boutique will feature three floatation rooms, a cryotherapy room, a two-person infrared sauna, and a compression treatment room. According to the release, the four core wellness services to be offered at Imagine Float will include floatation therapy in a zero-gravity environment, which removes all pressure from muscles, joints, and bones, whole body cryotherapy, using cold temperatures to promote natural healing and wellness – ideal for pain management, workout recovery, mental well-being, and weight management, infrared sauna blending infrared wave lengths to release tension, detoxify the body, stimulate collagen production, and increase the immune system, and compression therapy boots that work the legs to remove inflammation and swelling and promote healthy blood flow, ultimately providing a faster recovery time from physical activity. For more information, follow Imagine Float on Facebook or Instagram (@imaginefloatllc).
- Lifelong West Hartford resident Kerry Hall has founded a new company – KAL Oat Bars. The bars, which are manufactured in Plantsville, are not only delicious, but also healthy with recipes developed by a nutritionist on staff. According to the company website, the bars include ingredients “that you can actually pronounce” in “tastefully unique flavor combinations” all under 200 calories. Fun flavor names include “Razzle Dazzle in the Dark,” “Bodacious Blueberry,” “Smashing Pumpkin (Nut-Free),” and “Very Cherry-Pistachio.” The bars do not contain preservatives. “The bars are so fresh and healthy that they are to be stored in the freezer,” Hall said. They are available at the Cromwell Farmers Market (click here for dates) or by can be ordered online here. You can even build your own combinations! For more information, email Hall at [email protected].
- The fourth annual Taste of Bishops Corner will take place on Wednesday, May 29, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the EDENS lobby, 2523 Albany Turnpike. Food establishments already signed up include Blue Plate Kitchen, Crown Market, Harry’s Bishops Corner, and the brand new Poké City. Taste of Bishops Corner is the same day as the drop off for the Tara’s Closet Pop-Up, and donations of new and like-new spring and summer clothing for men, women, and children are encouraged. All sizes are welcome, and hangers are appreciated. There will also be local merchandise available at the WeHa Pop-Up during the Taste of Bishops Corner, and business exhibitors AT&T, Beltone Hearing Aid Center, Cutco, Intensive Education Academy, and others at the Taste. Tickets available on Eventbrite.
- Salons by JC (333 North Main St. in Bishops Corner, above Marshalls/Home Goods) welcomes CDJ’s Barber & Shave Parlor. Owner Carolyn DeJesus recently opened this one-woman barbershop bringing her four years of experience to her beautifully-furnished private studio, and, according to a news release, “offering the finest modern and classic haircuts as well as the lost art of the hot towel shave. She specializes in clipper and scissor cuts, straight razor shaves, along with hair and beard styling.” DeJesus can be found on Instagram (@Carolyn_cuts), and appointments can be booked via cdjbarbershaveparlor.booksy.com. She can reach her via phone/text at 860-323-3290 or by email at [email protected]. Hours are Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.;], Wednesday 10 a.m.-3 p.m., and Saturday 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
- Congratulations to Elizabeth Hewitt, who has been appointed as director of Finance and Planning for West Hartford Public Schools, replacing Chip Ward who will retire on July 31. “Liz brings with her extensive experience in local government and a proven track record of responsible budgeting and financial management. After spending the first ten years of her career as a certified public accountant and financial controller, Liz was hired by the Town of West Hartford in 2001 and currently serves as the town’s financial operations manager, responsible for the development of the town’s operating and capital budgets,” Town Manager Matt Hart said in his report at last week’s Town Council meeting.
- Foodshare President and CEO Jason Jakubowski (a West Hartford resident) presided over the dedication of the nonprofit’s 450 Woodland Ave. headquarters in Bloomfield to Gloria McAdam, the former longtime president and CEO who passed away in January. The organization, which serves Hartford and Tolland counties and has many West Hartford residents on its board and staff, is also launching the “Million Meal Challenge” with a goal of raising $400,000 in Adams’ name to provide one million meals for area hungry and food insecure. “It’s not about us, it’s about them,” Jakubowski said of the people the organization serves, quoting McAdam. Visit Foodshare’s website for more information.
- Congrats to West Hartford resident Harry Bellucci, football coach at Hartford Public High School, who was awarded the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Northern CT Chapter Distinguished American Award on Sunday!
- A special shout-out to the Town and County Club, which hosted a fabulous “Success My Way” Business and Professional Women’s Breakfast on Thursday morning. Panelists Mayor Shari Cantor, Beleza Beauty owner Nilce Conti, and Freed Marcroft Executive Director of Sales and Marketing Natasha Roggi – all West Hartford residents – inspired a packed house of attendees with the stories of their paths, challenges, and perspectives.
- The final item today is the planned retirement of Philip David Jewelers (968 Farmington Ave.) owner Pamela Rosin. She shared the following letter, which she sent out a few weeks ago: “Dear World, I announced my retirement last month and received congratulations and dismay. ‘You’ll love it’ … ‘I’m so happy for you and so sad for me.’ So many of our customers are truly happy for me and at the same time wondering where they will go for the jewelry we offer. They are right … there is no other place like this store. I am excited to be thinking of a new chapter and also grateful to have lived my life earning a living in Philip David Jewelers. Ever grateful to my parents’ vision, hard work, perseverance, guidance, and good taste. Both of them are gone now. Philip in 2012 at the dignified age of 92 and Nathalie this past January 2019, a beautiful 94 years old. It has been a wonderful gift to live in a world of art and design. Representing individuals whose talent and workmanship, generosity and good nature give a special meaning to life. I would like to offer this legacy to someone out there who can continue Philip David Jewelers and take it further into a bright and beautiful future.” I stopped by to see Rosin after hearing of her plans, and she told me that she has been in the store for 40 years straight, and while she doesn’t plan to leave the Northeast (and will help acclimate any new owner by introducing them to customers, vendors, etc.), it’s time to do “everything and anything” that she hasn’t had time to do as a small business owner. “It’s humbling how many people said to me that they’re happy but sad. I’m grateful to have been able to do this my entire adult life,” she said, and she hopes she will be able to sell the business to someone who will keep the concept of handmade jewelry alive. Rosin said that even though she plans to retire at the end of 2019, this year will be “fun and joyful” at the store, and she will continue having exception trunk shows.
Remember, if you have any business news to share, add it in the comments section below or email Ronni Newton at edit[email protected].
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