A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
This past week was so busy that it seems hard to believe it fit into just seven days.
From the festive Best of West Hartford celebration on Monday, to Election Day, to the Morley Red Wagon Food Drive, to the Board of Education, to multiple sporting events – it was a whirlwind. I photographed field hockey on Wednesday night, attended the UConn men’s basketball game on Thursday (that one was just as a spectator) and then it was so much fun being courtside photographing Jim Calhoun’s return to coaching at the University of Saint Joseph’s first-ever men’s basketball game on Friday night (thanks to Ted for accompanying me and driving in the pouring rain). On Saturday we went to the UConn football game (I know, we are crazy but loyal fans), and then on Sunday spent the day volunteering at the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society House Tour. I also snuck in a quick visit Sunday morning to the alpacas that are at the Craft Fair to benefit Medical Aid to Haiti at St. Peter Claver.
I’d like to think that this week is going to be quieter, but not only are the days going to be full, but every night has some type of commitment. Maybe the week of Thanksgiving will be quieter …
Thank you to all who reached out – by phone, text, email, Facebook message, etc. – with your kind words this past week. I’m still really sad and missing my dog.
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:
- I rarely start this column with a business closing, but in this case one door has closed but a new door is getting set to open almost right away. Noodie, which replaced HB Seafood and just opened in December 2017 at 1142 New Britain Ave. in Elmwood, closed its doors for good this week, and the owners placed a sign on the door asking people to visit their other restaurant (Hot Basil, 565 New Park Ave.). But right below the “permanently closed sign” was a coming soon sign for Connecticut Organic Pasta! The sign mentions fresh organic pastas and sauces, organic prepared foods, healthy grab ‘n go meals, and a coffee bar, and indicates that there will be dine-in meals served as well. The Connecticut Organic Pasta website has even more details, indicating that the pasta will be “completely organic and non-GMO,” and that offerings will also include prepared salads, desserts and pastries, and organic soups and sauces. Oh, and there’s also a “help wanted” sign in the window for jobs ranging from assistant manager to dishwasher. I reached out to the person whose name is on the sign, but haven’t heard back yet with any more details. The sign on the door says the business is opening in December, but the website says January. In either case, it’s relatively soon and I will continue to follow up.
- I don’t want to say disparaging things about any businesses, but I think many of us are frustrated with the cost as well as the consistency of their internet service. (We are among those whose service is still bundled and we still have a landline phone which only my father, the Red Cross, and scammers use. Thankfully the political calls have stopped for now.) Mark LeBlanc, of LeBlanc Tech Services (located in Simsbury, but he works all over the state) has already been helping area residents figure out the best options if they are looking to cut the cord, and now he is also assisting GoNet Speed with identifying areas in town where there is the most interest so that the company can prioritize where to build out and expand their network. LeBlanc said that in West Hartford the target area as of now is east of Westfarms, South of Asylum, and north of the New Britain/Newington line – and the “squeakiest wheels/streets” are going to get the service first. GoNet Speed’s goal is to be available to virtually all residents of West Hartford, LeBlanc said. If you’d like to indicate your interest in being wired for GoNet Speed, contact LeBlanc by phone or text at 833-453-2526 or email him at [email protected]. He said that he can assist even if GoNet Speed is not available or not the choice – and can calm the fear factor that you will be missing out by cutting the cord. More information about GoNet Speed can be found in this story I wrote about the company a few weeks ago.
- Thanks to David Houpert for sharing this information and photo, and props to the Conard football team for helping out Journey Home/A Hand Up last Sunday. “We just left Anthony after a delivery in Hartford. He’s a retired Marine, was in for 46 years, [and] this is his first apartment after living in the woods for the past four years. The boys were awesome, so quick and helpful, engaged, seemed totally into it!” Houpert said in a message.
- Foodshare has kicked off its “Turkey and a $30” campaign and has a goal of providing 15,621 turkeys this Thanksgiving season, plus a monetary goal of raising $468,630. There are multiple ways to help, including donation sites at several West Hartford locations (click here for details). West Hartford restaurateur Billy Grant also has a goal of donating 1,000 turkeys to the effort, and will be hosting an event with the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce/Future Leaders of West Hartford that is a combined networking opportunity and fundraiser for the turkey drive. The cost to attend the event at Grant’s (977 Farmington Ave.) on Thursday, Nov. 15, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. is $20, and that includes food, drink, a signature cocktail, and door prizes, and additional donations will also be accepted to help reach the turkey goal. Click here for more details or register on the West Hartford Chamber website.
- In honor of Veteran’s Day and First Responder’s Day, Harry’s Pizza in West Hartford Center (39 South Main St.) will be offering a free cheese or pepperoni slice on Monday, Nov. 12 from 5-7 p.m. It’s hard to resist free pizza!
- The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce welcomed the newly-renovated and expanded Liberty Travel with a ribbon cutting on Nov. 2 at 994 Farmington Ave. in West Hartford Center. Liberty Travel has been located at the corner of Dale Road and Farmington Avenue for many years, but with their group travel division needing more space they have expanded into the space next door.
- Chick-fil-A of West Hartford (599 New Park Ave.) is partnering with WDRC-AM in the “Cookies for a Cause” fundraising campaign. For the next two months, Chick-fil-A of West Hartford is donating all profits from the sale of their cookies to the families of children receiving medical treatment at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, where franchise owner Daryl Jackson’s now-healthy daughter receiving life-saving treatment when she was born. The business is also sponsoring an on-air radio campaign soliciting funds through Dec. 31. Donations can also be made online here. On Saturday, Nov. 17, from 1-3 p.m., The Whale 102.9 will be co-hosting an event on site in West Hartford to help raise funds. There will be family games, hot cider, and raffles prizes. No purchase is necessary.
- Sheehan Hilborn Breen Funeral Home will continue collecting non-perishable food and personal care items in a box just inside their back door at 1084 New Britain Ave. in West Hartford from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday on a permanent basis as long as the need continues. “Since we are beginning our Operation Elf toy and gift card program later in November, we had planned on ending the food drive; however due to the huge support and at the request of some West Hartford Residents, we will continue to be a collection site for the West Hartford Food Pantry until further notice,” said Charlie Hilborn. “I thought that our setting might be an unusual collection site, however, it turned out to be quite convenient. Several people said that it is easy to drive in and out to drop off food and personal care items at our back door,” he added. “We are grateful to be able to help to assist the community. Anything you can do to be of assistance and to promote this Food Drive is greatly appreciated.” Most needed items are canned fruit, canned meats, pasta, pasta sauce, rice, peanut butter, cold cereal, soups, macaroni and cheese, and personal care products. Please be sure items are not expired. Bring your Items to Sheehan Hilborn Breen Funeral Home 1084 New Britain Avenue. Call 860-561-3800 with any questions or if you need someone to help you unload items from your car.
- West Hartford resident Jessica Lastarza, a Beautycounter consultant, said that her company is also helping give back this holiday season. Beautycounter consultants will be presenting hundreds of beauty totes to moms spending the upcoming holidays at Yale Children’s Hospital caring for their sick children, Lastarza said in an email. “Beautycounter is a company that makes and promotes safe beauty and personal care products. Many parents are all too familiar with what nights spent in the hospital are like, exhausting and draining. During this holiday season, join us to let these moms know we are thinking of them by sharing a little bit of love. Last year the group was able to bless over 100 moms at Yale with small totes filled with a few pampering products that are safe for them and their babies. We hope to double that number this year. Each tote is donated with love from generous donors from all across the country,” she said. Anyone interested in sponsoring a mom this holiday season can reach out to Lastarza at [email protected]
gmail.com. The totes will be presented at Yale Children’s Hospital in early December.
- Have you noticed that the parking area around the former Tapas on New Britain Avenue has been repaved? Building owner Robert Udolf has made upgrades to the building as well, and we hope to hear some news soon about a new tenant for that space.
- Saving the bad news for the end, we have some more closings to report. Edens Property Manager Karen Fillian said earlier this week that the Qdoba restaurant in Bishops Corner closed as of Friday, Nov. 2. From what I can tell from the company’s website, there are no longer any Qdobas left in Connecticut.
- Also in Bishops Corner, D’Angelos closed for good on Monday, Filllian said. D’Angelos still has a few locations left in the state, but local media reported that 95 Papa Gino’s and D’Angelos locations were shuttered after the company filed for bankruptcy protection last week.
- ICYMI, the Best of West Hartford winners were announced Monday night at a celebratory networking event at Fleming’s. Click here to see which businesses were chosen as the local favorites!
- Don’t miss our podcast series that is being recorded by Jeff Lovanio and Ryan Keating. Last week featured Dr. Allie from Essential Health and Whitney Sweeney and Bria Day from the Junior League of Hartford.
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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