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West Hartford Business Buzz: May 9, 2016

Spa Soli has opened in West Hartford, bringing back the Himalayan Salt Cave experience back to the area. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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

By Ronni Newton

I hope all the moms had a Happy Mother’s Day yesterday. And as I said in a Facebook post on Sunday, that wish extends to all those who have mothers (which means – unless there are advances in science of which I am not aware – it includes everyone). Mother’s Day is a celebration of being a mother, and taking on the role of a mother even when it’s not your own child.

I’m always a bit sad on Mother’s Day because my own mom passed away at a very young age 26 years ago, long before she had a chance to become a grandmother. But I have also been so lucky and happy to be a mom to my two great kids (as well as to my dog), and thankful for the support of my sister who is a wonderful aunt to my kids and for my terrific mother-in-law and stepmother.

I can’t resist one more editorial comment before the business news … The weather last week was just awful. Seriously, I felt like I was growing mold. I love watching my son play baseball for Conard (even when they aren’t winning), but I have not been happy about needing to drag out my down parka and mittens and/or rain boots and poncho to sit on the sidelines. When I discovered a package of hand warmers in my purse during a game I actually jumped for joy. That should not be necessary in May.

I am cautiously optimistic that the golden-yellow orb that appeared intermittently on Sunday will be a more frequent visitor this coming week. And I hope to finally put away my down parka until the fall.

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:

Spa Soli lobby. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Spa Soli lobby. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • I like to start off Business Buzz with some good news, and I have just that: West Hartford’s Himalayan salt cave is back in operation! Spa Soli had its soft opening on Friday according to owner Joe Wrotniak, with mostly friends and family coming in for treatments, but they are booking appointments through their website and a Groupon is also available. Wrotniak said that he has hired three massage therapists as well as an aesthetician and looks forward to meeting new clients! After being vacant since Elements Day Spa closed abruptly in August 2014, the salt cave had fallen into disrepair and most of the salt had fallen off the walls. “We spent hours of work on the salt cave and it now looks good,” Wrotniak said. Spa Soli will include an open concept “facial bar” on the upper level of the building, and Wrotniak has also purchased some luxurious pedicure chairs and plans to hire several nail technicians. He and his father, Henry Wrotniak who runs Sanditz Travel’s West Hartford office, formed Wrotniak Ventures II LLC and purchased the 945 Farmington Ave. property in April 2015. Sanditz Travel also moved into the upper level building, with the relocation effective May 1. For more information about Spa Soli, email [email protected] or call 860-231-1004. Additional photos of the interior and exterior are below.
  • Now that the weather is nice (glass half-full attitude, please work with me here), it’s farmers market season! The West Hartford Farmer’s Market opened on April 30 in the parking lot at the corner of LaSalle Road and Arapahoe in West Hartford Center, and is open Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. as well as Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., featuring fresh food and produce from Connecticut farms.
  • The Farmers’ Market at Bishops Corner recently sent out a notice about its return for the 2016 season. The market, located just outside Crown Market and the Bishops Corner Starbucks, will open for its third season on June 18. The hours are 9 a.m. until noon. This years vendors – a mixture of old and new, some of which will be weekly and some of which will be visitors – include: Hall’s Market, Cafe Louise, Sweet Harmony, Georoots, Little Farm on Main, Muddy Roots, Tree Turtle Design, Andersons Sugarhouse, Iron and Grain food truck, and more. A few special events are also planned, including a visit from a Yard Goats mascot handing out tickets on June 23 and the “Dog Days of Summer” on Aug. 6 where dogs are encouraged to visit. For more information, email [email protected]gmail.com, follow on Twitter @BishopsCornerWH, or like their Facebook page.
  • I have an editorial comment about the spelling of farmers/farmer’s/farmers’ market, because I know that some of my grammar nerd friends (and I am one of those, too) are going to be wondering or perhaps calling me out for having a few typos or being sloppy. When I name the markets, I have used an apostrophe in the place where the organizers have put it. However, because I follow AP Style, when I refer to a farmers market in general, the word “farmers” is used as a descriptive adjective and is not possessive – hence the absence of an apostrophe. These are not typos!
  • West Hartford Center businesses will be opening their doors to 30 students from Hall, Conard and Kingswood Oxford on Wednesday, May 11 from 8:30 a.m. through 12:30 p.m., as part of the third annual JA Career Walk. According to a news release the event, which is hosted by BlumShapiro and Junior Achievement of Southwest New England, has the goal of helping students prepare for the future by providing an overview of the variety of job opportunities available in the community. “The JA Career Walk has become an invaluable opportunity for high school students to explore successful businesses at a key point in their lives,” said Joseph A. Kask, Chief Executive Officer of BlumShapiro. “As they begin to think about colleges and courses of study, the JA Career Walk opens up their minds about the skills necessary to reach their career goals. I want to thank our neighboring businesses in West Hartford Center for making JA Career Walk such a positive experience for these students.” Accounting, banking, finance, marketing, retail, food and beverage and other businesses, including BlumShapiro, Charles Schwab, Farmington Bank, Fathom, Lux Bond & Green, PBI Financial, REI and SIGHT Eye Health, will be included on the tour.
  • Now for some bad news … ICYMI, Moe’s Southwest Grill has closed its location in West Hartford’s Blue Back Square. Franchise co-owner Matt Rusconi is determined to reopen somewhere in West Hartford, and we will be excited to share those details whenever they become available. Click here for the complete story.
  • Cuvée, which was located at 37 Raymond Rd., has also reportedly closed based on information received from several sources. I have left several messages on the answering machine but have not received a return call.
  • Starwood Marketing Director Elizabeth Zigmont confirmed that build out in Blue Back Square is set to begin for the Cook and the Bear and Thali. Cook and the Bear will be located in the former Pearl’s Grill/Counter Burger space at the corner of Raymond and Memorial and will be taking a portion of the now-former Moe’s space as well. Thali will occupy the remainder of the Moe’s space.
  • This is a major business/school/governement issue all rolled into one, but in case you missed this story, the West Hartford Town Council will be considering a decision about the Town’s purchase of the UConn West Hartford property on or before June 17. Click here for the detailed story.
    Patrick DellaPace. Submitted photo

    Patrick DellaPace. Submitted photo

  • WIP Fitness announced in a news release that they are thrilled to announce the hire of Patrick DellaPace as Fitness Director for both their West Hartford and Avon locations. “Patrick comes to WIP after serving as Fleet Feet’s Director of Eduction and brings experience, knowledge and enthusiasm to this new full time position. In addition to coaching Boot Camp classes, Patrick is eager to share his amazing fitness and training knowledge by giving talks and creating new class offerings to the community.  WIP Fitness is known for their 50 min, total body Boot Camp classes and their stellar training staff.  Building off their signature workouts they now offer Brick Workouts (workouts combined with Coached Runs) Family Workouts, Outdoor workouts and Obstacle Course Training.  To learn more about WIP Fitness and to view their full schedule and more about their class offerings please visit www.wipfitness.com.”
  • It’s time for the Best of West Hartford! The contest launched this 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 [email protected].

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Spa Soli has opened in West Hartford, bringing back the Himalayan Salt Cave experience back to the area. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Spa Soli has opened in West Hartford, bringing back the Himalayan Salt Cave experience back to the area. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The entrance to Spa Soli is at the rear of 945 Farmington Ave. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The entrance to Spa Soli is at the rear of 945 Farmington Ave. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Spa Soli waiting room. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Spa Soli waiting room. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Spa Soli will have an open concept facial bar on the second floor. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Spa Soli will have an open concept facial bar on the second floor. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

High tech pedicure chairs at Spa Soli. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

High tech pedicure chairs at Spa Soli. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Spa Soli has opened at 945 Farmington Ave. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Spa Soli has opened at 945 Farmington Ave. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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