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Bishops Corner Blue Back Square Business Elmwood Park Road The Center

West Hartford Business Buzz: November 4, 2019

Frida's sign is up, and the Mexican restaurant will be opening later this month. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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

By Ronni Newton

It’s a new week – and a new month – and I hope everyone is back to normal after last week’s rain and wind event, and adapting to the time change.

My beautiful niece Sarah with my daughter, Katie (one of her bridesmaids), at Saturday’s wedding. Photo credit: Chip Newton

I returned home Sunday night after a weekend in North Carolina, celebrating the wedding of my niece, Sarah. The weather was spectacular – and even though the wedding and reception were outside alongside a lake (and it was not any warmer than it was in West Hartford) – the setting was so beautiful and it didn’t feel too cold. It was actually a perfect temperature for dancing, which we did to nearly every song until the music stopped and Sarah and her now-husband, Matt, received a sparkler send-off as they departed via boat.

We all very much appreciated the extra hour of sleep – and I was also very happy that this weekend’s flights went much more smoothly than my return from Nashville last weekend.

Katie and her cousin are about 8 months apart in age and have been close friends ever since they were babies and are thrilled to be bridesmaids for each other. We now have just under 8 months until Katie and Matt (yes, they are both going to be married to Matts) celebrate their own wedding!

A few more notes before getting to business …

This Tuesday is Election Day, and I urge everyone to get out and vote. Our Town Council and Board of Education members make decisions that have a profound impact on our day-to-day lives, and every vote counts. Candidates from all parties have been knocking on doors for the past few weeks and trying to make sure voters know their positions on a variety of issues. I urge you to search “candidate profile” or click on the government tab on We-Ha.com to read the profiles submitted by all candidates.

There have also been many letters to the editor supporting various candidates, or slates of candidates. In fact, I had to limit the number of news stories in today’s newsletter in order to accommodate the final onslaught of letters (no more will be accepted because there is not another newsletter before Election Day).

That brings me to my final note …

I understand that not everyone agrees with We-Ha.com’s letters policy, but I appreciate that it has been respected for the most part, even by those who don’t like it. Several members of the community have made suggestions, and we will be considering a change to the letters policy following the election. In order to be fair, we did not want to change anything during the election season.

Business Buzz goes live today! Watch the monthly segment on CT Live on NBC Connecticut beginning at 11:30 a.m.

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 editoria[email protected].

Here’s this week’s Buzz:

  • It’s taken longer than the owners hoped, but the sign was installed late last week and the Mexican restaurant Frida will be opening this month at 1150 New Britain Ave. in the former Tapas location. “We can’t wait,” said Xiomara Zamudio, who co-owns the business with Sandy Sanchez. Zamudio said that as of now they are hoping to be open right after Thanksgiving, but it may end up being sooner if everything comes together. The interior will include a brick wall with a mural of Frida Kahlo (the Mexican artist, and the restaurant’s namesake). It will have a casual/modern look, a full bar with innovative margaritas, and will feature homemade tortillas, fresh seafood, and “special meat dishes you won’t find elsewhere,” said Zamudio, who has been working at Zohara as she prepares for the opening, and is grateful for the mentorship she has received from DORO Restaurant Group. “We’re really excited, and everyone is so ready for it,” Zamudio said.

    “[Insert name here] the Generous Pig” at Union Kitchen will officially be named on Thursday, Nov. 7. Courtesy photo

  • Union Kitchen (43 LaSalle Rd. in West Hartford Center) will be holding a naming celebration this week for their pig mascot, and along with the naming of “[Insert new name here] the Generous Pig,” whose image appears on the wall adjacent to the bar, Bean Restaurant Group will be announcing a new community give-back program through a #GenerousPig campaign highlighting the restaurant’s patrons. “Guests will be encouraged to stand in front of the pig, take a photo, and then tag Union Kitchen for a chance to win a $25 gift card as well as a matching donation to one of our charity partners,” Union Kitchen announced in a news release. “​Our #GenerousPig stands for good fortune, and generosity,​” says Peter Picknelly, restaurateur with Bean Restaurant Group and CEO of Peter Pan Bus Lines. “​We are passionate about building camaraderie with our community while sharing in the good fortune that comes our way.” The Union Kitchen Pig was handprinted by local muralist, Jamie Jones, and is also incorporated into the restaurant logo. The naming celebration will take place Thursday, Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m. at Union Kitchen. Guests are invited to enjoy an extended Happy Hour menu from 3-7 p.m. along with their regular scheduled live musicwhich happens every Thursday starting at 6:30 p.m. A monthly schedule of nonprofit partners (the November partner is Connecticut Children’s Medical Center) will be announced along with a few fun giveaways. For reservations or more information call 860-519-1767 or go to www.unionkitchenct.com​ and @unionkitchenct on social media.
  • Best of West Hartford is tonight – and WFSB’s Dennis House and Kara Sundlun said they are “honored” to serve as emcees for the event honoring the town’s favorite businesses as determined by popular vote. The finalists were announced last week, and the winners will be revealed Monday night at one of the town’s premier networking events at Fleming’s. Click here for more information about the event and to purchase tickets.  
  • The West Hartford Center Business Association’s annual We Care Card event launches Thursday, Nov. 7, and will run through Sunday, Nov. 17. During that time, a card can be obtained and 100 percent of the $50 will be a direct donation to Foodshare while card-holders will get discounts to shop and dine at about 60 participating businesses in West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square through Nov. 17. During the past three years of the We Care Card program, the West Hartford Center Business Association has raised more than $40,000 for Foodshare – which serves the hungry and food insecure in Hartford and Tolland counties. Every $50 donation can provide 125 meals.  “It’s the perfect time to take advantage of the savings and treat yourself to some fabulous fall fashions, do some early holiday shopping, or eat at your favorite restaurant all while helping a great organization provide meals for those who are food insecure – people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” said Barbara Karsky, co-owner of BK&Co. in a news release about the effort. “This is a great way for all of us to give back. Everyone feels good about giving to Foodshare and then to get 20 percent off for 10 days in The Center – it’s a win-win!” said Kimberly Moster of Kimberly Boutique. For more information on the We Care Card and participating business go to West Hartford Center’s website – and don’t miss this Experience We-Ha podcast (featuring Karsky and Al Marino of Foodshare) about the effort. We Care Cards are available for purchase in most shops in West Hartford Center or can be purchased directly on Eventbrite. For any further information contact Kimberly Moster of the West Hartford Center Business Association at 860-523-4894.

    Luna Pizza Chef Jordan Nicholas. Photo credit: Nick Caito

  • Luna Pizza (999 Farmington Ave.) is excited to announce the addition of a new chef, Jordan Nicholas. Before coming to Luna, Nicholas was chef at Tap Rock restaurant in Unionville and prior to that was with Cure, also in Unionville. Chef Nicholas plans to continue adding to Luna’s signature pizza menu with fresh new pasta recipes, locally sourced appetizers, and his love of classic Italian home cooking. To welcome their new chef, Luna Pizza and Chef Nicholas are going to donate 5 percent of their sales on Saturday, Nov. 16 to Fidelco – a nonprofit organization that works to pair blind men and women with their highly-trained German Shepard guide dogs. “Through the work of Fidelco, those who are blind can regain a sense of normal by way of their new guide dog. By having a fundraiser here at Luna pizza, we along with the community can do our part to help support this much needed charity,” said Nicholas. For more information about Luna Pizza follow on Instagram (@lunapizzact).
  • Westfield Bank announced in a news release last week that it will be opening the West Hartford Financial Services Center in early 2020, followed by the opening of a new branch office in the Copaco Shopping Center in Bloomfield in mid-2020. In addition to a full-service branch, the West Hartford Financial Services Center, which will be located in the space at 977 Farmington Ave. now vacated by Cookshop Plus (still in the process of moving around the corner to 60 LaSalle Rd.) will include a suite of offices for Residential Lending, Commercial Lending, and Business & Government Deposit Services, the release states. Westfield Bank currently has representatives of these departments in temporary space on the second floor of 977 Farmington Ave. to assist with their community outreach activities. “We are very pleased to announce that Bloomfield will be home to our newest branch location,” said President James C. Hagan in the release. “Combined with our new West Hartford Financial Center, the Bank is excited to expand deeper into Connecticut and serve the greater Hartford market. Both of our new locations will offer the deposit, lending, and technology solutions our customers need, and we’re confident that our community bank values and customer-first approach will be a great fit.”
  • The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce will hold a “Technology Turn-In” event for the community on Saturday, Nov. 9 from 9 a.m.-nonn in the AAA of Greater Hartford parking lot at 815 Farmington Ave. in West Hartford.  The public is invited to turn in old or non-functioning technology items such as computers, monitors, televisions, printers, cables/wiring, video game consoles, fax machines, and telephones for secure disposal by Green Monster. The event is being organized by the Chamber’s Technology Committee. In exchange for this service, the Chamber is asking for voluntary donations of $5 per device with a maximum donation of $20. The funds raised will go toward upgrading the audio-visuals equipment at the Noah Webster Library. For more information contact Chris Conway, executive director of the West Hartford Chamber  at 860-521-2300 or [email protected].
  • Solinsky Hearing Center has announced a grand opening of its expanded and remodeled flagship office at 1013 Farmington Ave. (lower level of People’s United Bank building) on Nov. 18.  Solinsky Hearing Center, which  offers complete hearing healthcare, is owned by West Hartford resident Dr. Alan Solinsky and managed by West Hartford resident Dr. Michelle Colburn. “Where most offices focus solely on hearing loss, we at Solinsky are in the business of communication,” Colburn, director of Audiology, said in a news release. “People deserve to hear every precious moment of their lives and we’re here to help. As soon as new patients walk into our office, they know they can trust us because we are not selling them anything, we will not offer something to a patient that won’t help them.” The remodeling and expansion will allow the practice to better accommodate and serve their growing patient database. “We offer free, no-obligation hearing evaluations as a community service and risk free trials of hearing aids. We want to make sure that each of our patients are completely happy in their hearing and that their hearing aids don’t end up unused, in a drawer somewhere,” said Hearing Instrument Specialist Ben Taylor. Hours are by appointment. For more information or to book an appointment, visit SolinskyHearing.com or call 860-236-9000.
  • Congratulations to West Hartford businesses Tile America and West Hartford Coworking for being honored by the Hartford Business Journal for their outstanding achievements in a reception for successful family-owned businesses. Twenty-one local businesses were recognized at the event. “This year’s honorees include multi-generational businesses that have a longstanding history of success in Connecticut,” said HBJ President and founding publisher Joe Zwiebel, in a release. “We are pleased to recognize their achievements and wish them success for generations to come.”
  • There is a lot going on this week, but one don’t-miss event is the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural business showcase, scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 6 from 4-8 p.m. at West Hartford Town Hall. Click here for details.
  • The work by Ideanomics on the former UConn West Hartford campus (the planned future home of Fintech Village) has gotten much more visible, with the demolition of the former School of Social Work building. I got some photos and video last week – and an update on the status of the project – which can be found here!
  • For the Top 8 events in November as determined by Experience We-Ha, click here.

Remember, if you have any business news to share, add it in the comments section below or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].

Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford!

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We-Ha

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