A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
I vowed not to complain about the heat last week, but I’m not hesitating to complain about the raw, cold, rainy miserable weather we have been having this weekend. We turned off the switch for the furnace a few weeks ago, but as I sit at my desk Sunday afternoon, wearing a fleece jacket in the house (on top of a long-sleeve shirt and a sweatshirt), I’m not sure I will be able to maintain my resolve about it being far too late in the season to use the heat. (I did turn it up full blast in the car, along with putting the seat warmer on the high setting, when I went out to do some errands and take photos for this column.)
This weekend is the unofficial start of summer, and though it’s not feeling very summery I hope it still provides the opportunity for some downtime with a day off on Monday, as well as a chance to reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedoms and way of life. West Hartford’s Memorial Day parade will not be held this year, but a virtual ceremony has been recorded and will air Monday beginning at 10:30 a.m. on West Hartford Community Interactive’s cable channels and YouTube. American Legion Hayes-Velhage Post 96 will also hold an in-person ceremony beginning at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Veterans Memorial, and details about both can be found here.
We-Ha.com is excited to welcome summer interns Lily Guberman and Sophie Christensen this week, and they will be assisting in coverage of Memorial Day activities! Look for their bylines throughout the next few months.
Unfortunately it wasn’t a great weekend for enjoying West Hartford’s beautiful outdoor dining spaces (although I can’t resist taking photos of them – and have included a few below that I took Friday afternoon, before it started raining). Ted and I had a very yummy dinner at Blue Plate Kitchen on Saturday night. I had to try the “Pastrami on Wry” which is something the new owners (who also own a restaurant called Pastrami on Wry in Manchester) have added to the menu.
After the new guidance recently issued by the CDC, and the lifting of COVID restrictions as of May 19 (including wearing of masks indoors in many places for those who are vaccinated), I’ve changed the end of this section of the column …
Please continue to support our local businesses, wear your masks indoors if you are not vaccinated, and stay safe and healthy.
If you have information to share about local businesses, please provide details in the comments or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].
Here’s this week’s Buzz:
- West Hartford’s Economic Development Coordinator Kristen Gorski presented the annual Economic Development Update hosted by the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce on Thursday (back after last year’s hiatus), and I was so excited to find out about some business plans that have not yet been featured in this column. It made it so difficult to decide what to feature in today’s column! I’ll provide more details about some of the businesses over the next few weeks as I have a chance to touch base with the owners to get more details, but I was able to speak with Talal Peracha to find out more about his plans to open Rasham Marketplace on the site of the now-closed Cosmos International at 770 Farmington Ave. “It will be a grocery store/supermarket, with fresh vegetables, fruits, and spices, and a meat section,” Peracha said in a phone interview. The meats will all be Halal, he said. In addition, there will be a kitchen, serving mostly takeout Pakastani and Indian dishes, “something you can grab and take with you,” he said. Peracha also owns and operates Rasham Restaurant in South Windsor, and he said some of the same dishes will be offered at Rasham Marketplace (see sample menu here, which already indicates the West Hartford address) as long as they lend themselves to takeout, such as the naan/kabab wraps. There will not be seating inside Rasham Marketplace, Peracha said. He is hoping to be open by the end of July after some minor renovation work.
- There’s going to be a convenience store opening right next to Bricco in a portion of the former Oggi Design for Hair salon space at 76 LaSalle Rd. An interior wall is being installed, and Qais Convenience Shop will occupy roughly 1,000 square feet of the space. Work is just getting underway, and no details yet about when the shop will be opening.
- ALDI (511 New Park Ave.) reopened Thursday after being closed for a month. The store had a refresh of the interior to the chain’s updated format and, there is also a small expansion of the building that provides just over 1,000 square foot for additional refrigerated and frozen food storage. The aisles have been reworked for better flow – which I tested out personally as I found all sorts of great bargains when I stopped by there on Sunday afternoon! ALDI is also now able to sell beer and other alcoholic beverages that can be sold at grocery stores, such as hard seltzer.
- I don’t have any details about this exciting piece of business news because I learned about it after businesses were closed for the holiday weekend, but I couldn’t resist sharing it and I’m confident it’s true. A reader tipped me off to a post on the property manager’s Instagram indicating that Tavern in the Square plans to open in the Corbin Collection early next year! Definitely much more to come about the Massachusetts-based restaurant that has nine other locations (a few are in Rhode Island) and according to the post “will feature a diverse menu and dozens of locally made beers and craft cocktails.”
- NBT Bank‘s Glastonbury location has just opened (2670 Main St.) and NBT has announced that Retail Market Manager Deborah Oakliff has been hired to lead the retail banking efforts in Greater Hartford. Oakliff comes to NBT with more than 30 years of business development and management experience, over 20 of which were spent managing banking centers in the Greater Hartford area. She most recently served as Branch Manager at People’s United Bank where she was responsible for managing all sales and operations of multi-market banking centers. NBT Bank’s Connecticut Regional Headquarters at Corporate Center West, 433 South Main Street, Suite 224, will be opening in June.
- In other banking news, work is underway for the new location of PeoplesBank, which is taking over the former United Bank space next to the LaSalle Road Post Office.
- Czech-based CZG has just officially completed its purchase of West Hartford-based Colt Manufacturing. According to Kristen Gorski’s Economic Development Update, they will be retaining – and hopefully reinvesting in – the West Hartford location which currently employs more than 300 people.
- For the entire month of June 2021, the West Hartford Food Pantry has been selected to receive a $1 donation for every $9.99 “Bloomin‘ 4 Good Bouquet” with the red circle sticker sold at the Stop & Shop store located at 176 Newington Rd. in West Hartford. It’s a great time to brighten your day – or someone else’s day – with some flowers that also help our local neighbors in need.
- I want to give a shout out and congratulations to West Hartford Police Capt. Michael Perruccio on his upcoming retirement at the end of June. He has more than 25 years with the West Hartford Police Department, and I’ve enjoyed working with him in his position as PIO since 2017. He said he’ll continue his part-time teaching at Post University, and maybe work some private-duty construction jobs in West Hartford as well. It’s been a pleasure, Mike, and best of luck!
- National Donut Day is Friday, June 4, and there are a number of doughnut-related happenings in West Hartford. Citizen Chicken & Donuts is offering doughnuts for $1 all day Friday, and Donut Crazy has a special promotion that will benefit local nonprofits.
- Congratulations to Central Connecticut State University Associate Professor of Communication Dr. Rati Kumar of West Hartford, who according to a news release was recognized by the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities Board of Regents faculty teaching and research awards to professors throughout the CSCU system. The awards recognize adjunct faculty members and assistant and associate professors on the campus and system-wide level who have distinguished themselves as outstanding teachers, promote instructional improvements for their departments, and are doing exceptional research, scholarly, and/or creative work. for her research in the field of health communication and equity. Her background in Law (she holds a Law degree from Ambedkar College of Law, India), Communication (M.A. from the University of Florida), and Health Communication & Health Campaigns (Ph.D. from Purdue University) make her uniquely qualified to address the inequities of the health communication system. Her research analyzes health communication and campaigns among minority groups in the U.S.; migrant laborers in U.S. and the global south; refugees displaced in South Asia or settled in the West; and children of incarcerated parents. Kumar uses the Culture Centered Approach to show how health is affected by one’s cultural climate and socioeconomic status and how health inequities are a function of larger, systemic inequities, including legal, racial and socio-economic disparities. Kumar’s work is both critical and timely. COVID-19 took hold when she was working with Rohingya refugees in India. Her research immediately shifted to the pandemic-related challenges of the community.
- Don’t forget that there is a one-day trash and recycling delay in all collection areas this week!
- Just because … I can’t stop marveling at what a cool town we live in that has these beautiful outdoor dining spaces!
- ICYMI there was so much business news shared during the Economic Development Update. Here’s my story, which includes a link to the full presentation.
- Very sad news to share: Andy Yee, one of the owners of Bean Restaurant Group, which is a partner in Union Kitchen and Wurst Haus, passed away last week after a long illness. The tribute can be found 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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