A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
Today is Memorial Day, and I hope that many of you are enjoying a nice long weekend! The weather has been fabulous, and it certainly feels like the start of summer.
If you are in town please consider honoring the spirit of Memorial Day, which is to pay tribute to our veterans, particularly those who made the ultimate sacrifice, by viewing the town’s parade along Farmington Avenue and South Main Street or attending the ceremony at the Veterans Memorial right after the parade. All of the details can be found here.
As is my tradition on Memorial Day weekend, I planted tons of flowers and plan to finish up with more flowers and some herbs on Monday afternoon. I’ve been creating my own pots of flowers for the patio for the past few years, but after recently interviewing resident Peter Oddo – well known on the Neighbors & Friends in West Hartford Facebook page for taking and sharing photos of his beautiful flower displays – for a feature in West Hartford LIFE, I was even more inspired to create pots full of colorful blooms. The photo shows a few of the pots I planted on Saturday.
It’s been another eventful week for the Newton family! Early last week Sam was hired for an internship in “distribution analytics” with Webster Bank, and he begins work on Tuesday. Although I may give him a hard time because he’s been preparing by getting in a lot of extra sleep and hanging out at the beach, I have no doubt he will succeed and it will be a great experience.
There was excitement in Katie’s life this week as well: She and Matt bought a house in West Hartford and moved in on Thursday! I don’t have any photos yet and it’s very much a work-in-progress full of boxes they haven’t been able to unpack yet because they have a wedding to attend in New Hampshire this weekend, but I am thrilled that they have put down roots exactly 2.6 miles from our house!
And if Katie and Matt decide to put down a new floor anywhere in their house, I’ll be able to help after spending Friday installing vinyl laminate flooring (that looks just like wood) as part of Habitat for Humanity Women Build. Thanks to Susan Lane for inviting me back onto her Women Build Team! There were 20 members of team “Nails, Boots and Power Tools” (including my sister) hard at work in Hartford all day Friday, and it’s an amazing feeling to make such a positive and tangible contribution.
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:
- West Hartford is gaining a new retail store! True Made will be moving from Simbury to 1145C New Britain Ave. in the Elmwood section of West Hartford, and the clothing, gear, and accessories store will have a grand opening on Saturday, June 1, beginning at 10 a.m. “I’m very excited,” said True Made owner Mark Reeves, who said he has always had a passion for clothing. The shop is now in its second year, and he said he has always wanted a presence in West Hartford. When the space, formerly occupied by Refresh, became available, he jumped at the chance to relocate. “We are right next to Green Man Studio and Elmwood Barber, and across from my favorite pizza place (Pepe’s),” Reeves said. “The location is perfect. True Made features a “curated selection of authentic workwear, heritage and designer lifestyle clothes, along with all natural, made-in-the-USA grooming products and accessories,” with featured brands that include Levi’s, Carhartt, Dickies, Superdry, Stance, and Obey, as well as Gant, Filson, Chippewa, Polo and Schott and a style that is good for day-to-night and targets the Millennial demographic. The store has always had an emphasis on men’s clothing, Reeves said, but he also has unisex items and items for women as well. “The store is small, it’s a boutique,” said Reeves. The inventory will be swapped out every week or two, so people won’t be overwhelmed and will always find something new and different. Reeves and his wife, who is president of HARC, live in Windsor and are both very community-minded and serve on numerous boards. “We are so happy to be part of the West Hartford community … we plan on having a bigger imprint than our store size,” he said. The grand opening will include music and giveaways, and the store will be open on June 1 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Initial hours will be Wednesday through Friday from 5:30-7:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, visit the website, follow on Facebook and Instagram (@truemadeshop), or call 860-602-8852.
Also opening on June 1 is b. kind, a “wellness boutique and collaborative event space” located in the former Elizabeth Grady Salon at 1000 Farmington Ave. Owner Victoria Gleixner posted the following information on b. kind’s Facebook page: “After many years of struggling with unexplainable neurological symptoms and severe anxiety, I found a path to healing through alternative medicine, mindfulness, and natural wellness techniques. I found joy, contentment, and peace by embracing a Hygge-inspired lifestyle, incorporating mindful practices and adopting a wellness-focused approach. By ackowledging the relationship of mind, body, and spirit, I created a life worth living. b. kind was founded with the vision to change lives, and the desire to help others live an insanely good life. I invite you to b. kind to yourself, your community, and the world by shopping mindfully, ethically, and sustainably.” According to Gleixner, everything sold at b. kind is “organic, natural, and hand-chosen to promote mindfulness and nourishment of the mind, body, and spirit connection,” and is also pesticide-, insecticide-, toxin-, and dye-free. There are a wide range of products, including candles, towels, bedding, pillows, cocktail mixers, sunscreen. All products are made in the U.S., and as part of the mission b. kind will support the local community and use sustainable, up-cycled, compostable, and reusable materials. According to their Facebook page, b. kind will also plan to host monthly and weekly events in the “collaborative space to bring together community members, inviting them to improve their lives and the lives of others.” The grand opening is Saturday, June 1, from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and will include food, drink, and samples. RSVP to the Facebook event, or “surprise us,” Gleixner said on a chalkboard sign posted in front of the business
As I mentioned last week, Poké City has just opened in the space formerly occupied by D’Angelo’s next to Marshalls at 333 North Main St. in Bishops Corner. I stopped by Monday night for a poké bowl, and it was so good!! (Definitely worthy of the double exclamation points.) I’m still thinking about it. My bowl included ahi tuna, brown rice, cilantro, carrots, cucumber, poké sauce, seaweed salad, spicy crabmeat, chickpeas, mango, and crispy wontons, and tasted so fresh, and (perhaps with the exception of the crispy wontons, and there were only a few) was incredibly healthy as well. See a few photos below of the restaurant.
- XES Beauty Lounge was mentioned in last week’s column because Taste by Spellbound will be taking their space, and XES owner Evelyn Manson-Miller was in touch right after that to let me know where they would be going – and it’s not very far! XES will be moving from 8 Mayflower St. right across the street to 1157 New Britain Ave., and will be sharing space with the Moda Rey Salon. It’s a “perfect fit,” said Manson-Miller, and will allow for many more services all together under one roof. “In addition to Brazilians, brows, lashes, massages, and nail care, now my clients will have the option of getting their hair done by celebrity stylist Johnny Lavoy and his staff,” said Manson-Miller. “It’s going to be incredible having two great teams under one roof.” She said she is also working on a new venture in Miami, where “beauty maintenance is not an appointment it’s a lifestyle,” and eventually hopes to relocate there. For now, the location on New Britain Avenue will have a new vibe and more services, and there’s “no need to be in the Center to be center stage. Our clients love our location, easy highway access and plenty of free parking. Making the decision to move was very difficult after spending thousands of dollars creating the beautiful space on Mayflower, [but] I am confident that our clients will follow us wherever we go.”
- The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting Friday at Trollbeads, located in the former Goldberg’s Gourmet (which was then a NoRA Cupcake pop-up) at 38-44 Isham Rd. in Blue Back Square. Trollbeads, which relocated from Westfarms, is managed by Tiffany Pionelli. Trollbeads started in Denmark in 1976 when Soren “Silversmith” Nielsen created the first Trollbead, Faces. The beads, which have holes in the center and are now available in hundreds (at least) of styles, are placed on necklaces and bracelets and most wear multiple beads at a time, adding pieces to mark special occasions. “Every story has a bead,” the company website states. The business has expanded from bracelets and necklaces to include earnings, rings, hair accessories, and more.
- The Coach store at Westfarms has relocated to a portion of the former Abercrombie store space on the upper level, overlooking center court and right next to Louis Vuitton.
- This is not directly a West Hartford piece of news, but Max Restaurant Group has a major presence in West Hartford (and company founder and president, Richard Rosenthal, is a West Hartford native), and the company announced last week that Max Amore in Glastonbury will be closing at the end of June. More details are available in this Hartford Courant story by Leeanne Griffin.
- ICYMI, congratulations to West Hartford resident Brad Drazen, who left his job as anchor and reporter with NBC Connecticut in 2017 to work for United Technologies Corporation as director of Public Relations and Communications, and has just been named vice president of Communications and Marketing at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. Read the complete story here.
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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