A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
I had to double-check my calendar to make sure I had today’s date correct, since it doesn’t seem like we could already be halfway through November. It definitely seems like it was just Halloween, but I guess the sheer number of things happening in West Hartford over the past two weeks have made them fly by.
This week alone I attended seven events in two days, and had at least one in-person event to cover on all of the other days. Our newsletters have been jammed with stories – Veterans Day events, high school sports letter of intent signings, playoffs, etc. – and if you’ve submitted a press release we’re doing our best to get them posted. Don’t forget, we also have a calendar where events can be listed: Calendar
I was very happy to get to see the Round Hill Farm alpacas on Saturday afternoon! The craft fair to benefit Medical Aid to Haiti (MATH) returned to St. Peter Claver after being canceled last year, and in addition to the chance to do some shopping from wonderful local artisans, I love seeing the alpacas.
Ted and I tag-teamed coverage of the Conard girls volleyball match on Saturday night – a quarterfinal contest against Fairfield Ludlowe. While unfortunately it was a loss for Conard, it was a very exciting match that went down to the fifth set. Ted has occasionally helped out with sports reporting in the past (our We-Ha.com reporter, Paul Palmer, was not available on Saturday), and he says he really does enjoy doing it. And while his career is not in journalism, he’s not totally out of his element in the role of a reporter. He and I first met working on our college newspaper and had a few of our early “dates” covering events together!
After the volleyball match, the rest of our exciting Saturday night involved sitting across from each other at the family room table – with Ted writing and me editing photos. We did take a break to pick up take-out Chinese food from Black Bamboo – and that was delicious!
I usually spend most of Sunday working, but I started this column earlier in the day than usual and today was glad to have the opportunity to volunteer at the Noah Webster House’s House Tour, which featured six different houses of worship. It was such a fascinating look at not only a piece of the town’s history, but also into the architecture of the buildings, the religions, and the relationships the congregations have had with the town.
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:
- I was very excited to see the “Now Open” sign above the doors of Dick’s Sporting Goods, and also very excited to learn that a piece of the newly-opened store is physically located in West Hartford (the West Hartford-Farmington line cuts through the store) so I could justify featuring it in today’s column! I was sad when Sports Authority closed, and although I also miss Bed, Bath & Beyond (which was formerly in this space on New Britain Avenue (aka 1603 Southeast Rd., Farmington) I think Dick’s Sporting Goods definitely is a great addition to the area. I spoke to Chris, one of the managers, when I visited during one of the preview days last week, and he confirmed that this new store was technically a move of the Dick’s Sporting Goods location from the Berlin Turnpike in Newington. The new store features a golf bay where shoppers can test out golf clubs on a mini putting green, and equipment for a wide variety of sports (including kettle bells, which are on my Christmas list, hint hint) as well as athletic and athleisure wear for men, women, and children. “We’re excited to be busy,” Chris said, noting that the grand opening was taking place over the weekend, and the store is now open daily from 9 a.m.-9 p.m., and from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sundays. I took a ton more photos, which you can find below.
- The opening date for Pink Flamingo Party Co. is almost here, founder and CEO Ashley Sodipo confirmed. The brand’s first brick and mortar store will be opening later this month at 1001 Farmington Ave. in West Hartford Center in the space formerly occupied by Face R-X, a medspa that relocated just over the town line to South Road in Farmington. According to Sodipo, “Pink Flamingo Party Co. is the party store for personalized and customized party supplies including epic balloon art installations to elevate all of life’s big moments and special occasions.” Pink Flamingo Party Co. started as an online business about two years ago with curated party decor, event styling, and installations, helping people and organizations throughout Connecticut and New York celebrate their special moments.
- The grocery store portion of Rasham Marketplace is now in soft-opening phase at 770 Farmington Ave., in the space formerly occupied by Cosmos International. Fresh vegetables, fruits, and spices, and Halal meats are available, and the other portion of the business – prepared foods – will be available soon, with a complete opening planned for the next week to 10 days, an employee said.
- Best Cleaners will have its grand opening and ribbon cutting on Thursday, Nov. 18 – and the community members is invited to stop by the 17 Sedgwick Rd. location to meet the Best team, enjoy refreshments, and enter to win one year of free dry cleaning and tailoring services. The winner will be announced live via Facebook on Friday, Nov. 19 at 4 p.m.
- The movie business has been thriving in West Hartford, and “Pep” – a film about legendary Connecticut boxer Willie Pep – is the most recent project using West Hartford as its set. Lisa Howard, owner of STAY on Park (207 Park Rd.) was excited to not only have her childhood home on Raymond Road – which was in the process of being cleaned out – used for the movie, but she also had the chance to help in the set design for the movie, which is set in the 1960s. More info about the movie can be found in this Hartford Courant article.
- Blue Back Square is holding its first-ever Spirits of Giving: A Charitable Cocktail Contest. The contest started last Friday, and through Sunday, Nov. 28 a “Spirits of Giving” cocktail will be offered at each of six participating restaurants, and you can vote for your favorite featured cocktail by scanning the QR code at each restaurant or visiting BlueBackSquare.com. Each voter will be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card to the restaurant of their choice, and Blue Back Square will make a donation ($1 for each vote cast, up to $2,500) to the winning restaurant’s charity of choice! Participating restaurants and signature cocktails include: Cinepolis Luxury Cinema, the” Sugar and “Spiced” (Bourbon, Aperol, Pumpkin Puree, Brown Sugar Syrup, Apple and Lemon Juices, with a Maple Syrup, Cinnamon & Sugar Rim), Charity: Connecticut Children’s Medical Center; Fleming’s, Blueberry Lemon Drop (Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Fresh Blueberries, Candied Lemon, Blueberries), Charity: Hands On Hartford; The Place 2 Be, Peppermint Espresso Martini (Vodka, Amaro Averna, Brancamenta, Espresso, Vanilla Syrup), Charity: The Villiage for Families and Children; Rizzuto’s, Apple Crisp Martini (Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Apple Pie Moonshine, Agave, Fresh Lime Juice, Apple Cider, Caramel Cinnamon Sugar Rim), Charity: Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Vinted Wine Bar and Kitchen, Apple in the Rye (High West Midwinter Nights Dram Rye Whisky, Local Apple Cider Reduction, Schonauer Apfel Apple Liqueur, Garnished with a Dried Apple Slice), APK Charities; World of Beer,Peachy Lou Who (Angels Envy Bourbon, St Germain Elderflower, Brown Sugar, Peach Slices, Cinnamon Stick), Charity: Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
- Congratulations to West Hartford Poet Laureate Ben Grossberg, who has been named a 2021 Connecticut Book Award winner by the Connecticut Center for the Book . According to a news release, “These awards recognize the best books of 2020 which are either about Connecticut or by authors and illustrators from Connecticut in multiple categories. These include: Poetry, Books for Young Readers, Nonfiction, and Fiction. Awards also include a special category called the Bruce Fraser “Spirit of Connecticut” award. This award is in memory of longtime Connecticut Humanities director Bruce Fraser and celebrates Connecticut’s sense of place.” Grossberg was honored in the category of poetry, for his book “My Husband Would.”
- From a news release: “Environmental SystemsCorporation (ESC), a leading provider of building technology solutions throughout Connecticut, is pleased to announce the hire of Ray D’Amato as business development representative for the mechanical services group. He brings over 20 years of experience in HVAC and project management to the team. … D’Amato studied at Universal Technical Institute and received NextStar training. He holds Connecticut B-2 and D-2 licenses as well as his EPA Type 2 certification. ‘We are excited to welcome Ray to our growing team. His experience and expertise will make for a seamless transition for staff and clients,’ states Joe Boissonneault, director of mechanical service sales.”
- From West Hartford Food Pantry Coordinator Nancy Stockman: “As we approach the upcoming holidays, the West Hartford Food Pantry needs your helps. Through the kindness and generosity of the community, we assist more than 800 families and individuals.” According to Stockman, the greatest needs currently are canned fruit, applesauce, peanut butter, jelly, pasta, sauce, tuna, cold cereal, canned vegetables, macaroni and cheese, baked beans (preferably vegetarian options), canned pasta, and rice (1-2 lb, packages). Donations can be left on the carts in the lobby of Town Hall (open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.). Anyone with a large donation, or who needs assistance, can contact Stockman at 860-561-7569 or [email protected] to schedule an appointment.
- ICYMI, Smoke Public House is now open at 140 Park Rd. Click here for the complete story.
- Best of West Hartford voting is underway and will remain open through Nov. 29. Click here to vote for your favorite West Hartford business or service in dozens of categories.
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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