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West Hartford Business Buzz: May 21, 2018

Harvest Wine Bar will open May 24, 2018, at 64 LaSalle Rd., and will offer offers 'modern American cuisine with Asian, Latin, and Mediterranean influence' and an extensive wine list. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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

By Ronni Newton

The ‘Hoffman Cares’ team of Habitat for Humanity Women Build.

On Friday I learned how to use a table saw, a circular saw, and a jig saw. And all my fingers (even all of my fingernails) are still intact.

I helped build the frame to install latticework around a porch, after having cut and installed vinyl beadboard below the soffit (which involved climbing on scaffolding) and on the ceiling of the front porch. I almost fell off the porch once because I leaned over too far while standing on something (being short can be a liability), but I climbed right back up and got back to work.

I did all of these things – and learned a lot about how to use and respect all sorts of power tools – when I participated Friday for the first time ever in a Habitat for Humanity Women Build as part of the “Hoffman Cares” team organized by Susan Lane of Hoffman Auto Group.

The house we worked on at 9 Moore Ave. in East Hartford. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

My group of eight women was working on a home at 9 Moore Ave. in East Hartford. The home had been built – largely by volunteers – from the ground up on vacant land (a duplex had been there but had been demolished years earlier), and will be occupied by a woman and her young children, most likely early this summer. Others on our team painted and hung cabinets, and we were supervised by a team of experienced volunteers who had a construction background. We may not have been as fast as the professionals, but our supervisors ensured that our workmanship was as good or better than someone who does this type of work on a regular basis.

It was such an incredibly rewarding experience, and it’s great knowing that our work will help someone who may otherwise never have the opportunity to own their own home.

If anyone is interested in volunteering, or learning more about Habitat for Humanity, click here.

One more quick comment before the business news: I did NOT accidentally share the Conard junior prom photos Saturday morning in the Neighbors and Friends in West Hartford Facebook group with the intro caption “A**hole Prom!” My caption read “Conard Prom!” but it seems that Facebook decided that was written in French, and some people saw the former caption as a translation. I received an urgent message from a friend informing me of an autocorrect issue soon after I posted the photo gallery, but since I had posted from my computer, which doesn’t do autocorrect, I knew it was a different issue. Once I realized what had happened, I thought it was hilarious, and for the record my kids went to Conard so I would never defame the school in that way!

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:

Close-up of bar. Harvest Wine Bar will open May 24, 2018, at 64 LaSalle Rd. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • [Updated] The day has arrived: Harvest Wine Bar will have a soft opening at dinnertime on May 24, and is gearing up for a grand opening very soon, according to Jorge Guerra, one of the owners of the restaurant whom I met when I poked my head into the open door last week to ask if I could take some photos. I’ve been anxious for the opening of this restaurant at 64 LaSalle Rd. since I first heard about it well over a year ago, and even more so after I had dinner at the Greenwich location last spring. Harvest West Hartford is the fourth Harvest location (others being in Greenwich, Westport, and New Haven) and the eighth restaurant in our group, JS Restaurant Group, said Justine Holleran of the Harvest corporate office. “Harvest offers modern American cuisine with Asian, Latin, and Mediterranean influence as well as an extensive wine list from the United States and around the world. By supporting local and organic farms, Harvest makes it a top priority to serve the freshest and highest quality ingredients and offer a farm-to-fork dining experience,” Holleran said. “We are thrilled to be expanding outside of the Fairfield County and New Haven area. We believe Harvest is a perfect fit for the vibe of West Hartford and we can’t wait to start serving this community!”

    Florinda Ferguson demonstrates a plie at the barre at Trifecta’s new space. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Florinda Ferguson has recently moved her business, Trifecta Body, to a new location at 12 North Main St. (side entrance of the building where Sally & Bob’s is located). The space was formerly occupied by Orpheus Hair Salon, whose owner retired. The move was necessitated by a leaky roof at her former Park Road spot – she said it was literally raining inside, even when it wasn’t raining outside from water pooled up on the roof – and Ferguson credits property manager Mike Mahoney from RLM Co. with finding her the North Main Street space and making sure it was ready quickly, and Tim Venora from Venora Electric for the special attention paid to making sure that the wiring for all of the building’s landlines is wrapped and doesn’t hang down from the ceiling. Ferguson said that within four weeks after she signed the lease, the space was ready. “My friends at Fitness Continuum [20 Isham Rd] adopted me for a month,” Ferguson said, and that’s where she still teaches machine pilates. The new studio, which has custom barres that can support someone’s full weight, is where she teaches BarrePilates and other strength and motion classes to classes that top out at 15 people, to students who range in age from high school to age 75. Ferguson is a personal trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). “I teach best practices, customize movements,” she said. There’s a mobile app to sign up for classes, and more information is available on the Trifecta website. Oh, and there’s also cool art in the studio (which is for sale) by local artist Sandy Welch. A few more photos can be found below.
  • West Hartford resident Kate Thaisz established her new business, Compassionate Choice, LLC, last fall and has been steadily growing. An Aging Life Care professional, Thaisz has a master’s degree in Human Development and Gerontology from the University of Saint Joseph, is a certified care manager (CMC) through the National Academy of Certified Care Managers, and is an advanced standing member of Aging Life Care (ALCA). Her role is to provide “answers at a time of uncertainty,” to help families make decisions about ensuring quality care and an optimal life for their loved ones. “Quality is very important to me. I want families to feel that they have a sense of relief with my involvement,” Thaisz said. “I recognize that most families need someone that they can call upon on weekends, at night, holidays – I am that person. … My approach with clients/families is to work together as a team.  No situation is the same, and I am often called during a crisis – I see myself as a problem solver – I can enter a situation and assess what the needs are, and how to address them.  I can provide families with support on making difficult decisions (such as moving to a nursing home, end of life care), through my professional experiences, I have gained a vast knowledge on the different benefits available to seniors, as well as a database of experts that I can refer to (elder law attorneys, financial planners, home care agencies, amongst others).” For more information, visit the Compassionate Choice website. Oh, and Thaisz is not only a West Hartford native – she has generations of roots in town and is a third-generation Hall graduate, and parent of the fourth-generation. She provided these interesting tidbits in an email: “My maternal grandfather was born and raised in West Hartford – he grew up on the lone farm that is now Argyle Avenue. My paternal grandfather served as principal at Braeburn and Whiting Lane. My parents met as students at Hall. My father [Rocky Goodwin] continues to serve the town through The American Legion, and has been on the Celebrate West Hartford Committee for many years. I am currently raising the fourth generation of Hall graduates – my sons are in kindergarten and third grade at Smith STEM.”

    The CVS sign has now been installed, and the former Suburban Pharmacy will reopen as CVS on Monday. Courtesy photo

  • The transformation has happened, although I wouldn’t quite call it “complete” since you can still see the “Liggett Suburban Pharmacy” wording behind the new CVS sign at 344 North Main St. in Bishops Corner. The store is slated to reopen Monday as a CVS. As previously noted, Suburban Pharmacy Long-Term Care, located on the basement level of the same building (the address is actually 342 North Main St., Suite 70), will NOT be changing its operations. It will NOT be closing, nor will it be purchased by CVS.
  • Jonna Gerken of West Hartford, a project manager at Pratt and Whitney who is president of the Society of Women Engineers, had the honor of being the keynote speaker at Quinnipiac University’s School of Engineering Class of 2018 Commencement on Sunday, and was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. Her speech focused on diversity and inclusivity. For more information about Gerken’s speech and the graduation, click here.
  • Tickets are still available for tomorrow night’s Third Annual Taste of Bishops Corner! (Click here) The event includes a wine tasting by Winham Wines (in partnership with Harvey’s Wine & Liquor, live music, a chance to play ping pong or pool, and learn to dance. Of course you will also be able to sample your way through the evening with Ocho Cafe’s pork belly tacos, Moe’s chips and salsa, The Crown Market’s Kosher BBQ beef sliders, Harry’s Bishops Corner pizza, and Abbydabby’s brownie sundae. Taste of Bishops Corner will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at The Underground, 740 N. Main St., Crossroads Plaza, Lower Level Lobby Entrance. Plenty of free parking is available in front of the Post Office. Thank you to event host sponsors The Simon Konover Company, Companions for Living, Anytime Fitness, and Keating Agency Insurance. For more details click here. 

    From left: Jennifer Loughran and Barbara Foley from the Ron Foley Foundation accept a check from Karen Herbert and Barbara Karsky of BK&Co. Courtesy photo

  • Props to BK&Co. for raising $2,500 for the Ron Foley Foundation through donations and their spring fashion event held on April 28 – where many of the attendees for Ron’s Run for the Roses purchased their hats! The check was presented to Barbara Foley and Jennifer Loughran of the Ron Foley Foundation on Thursday by BK owners Barbara Karsky and Karen Herbert.

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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Trifecta Body studio at 12 North Main St. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Trifecta Body studio at 12 North Main St. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Art by Sandy Welch hangs at Trifecta Body. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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