A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
October – how that that get here so quickly?
We finally had a beautiful weekend with clear, dry, early fall weather, and it looks like it will continue for much of this coming week.
I was out of town (yes, again) for part of this weekend, attending the wedding of a friend’s daughter in the Bronx. It’s so much fun hitting this phase of life, celebrating the weddings of friend’s children! Until this past summer, I had not attended a wedding in about 15 years.
The weekend was a trip down memory lane in many ways, because on the way to check into our hotel we got off the Hutchinson River Parkway on Mamaroneck Avenue – where I had not been in decades. My mother grew up right off that road, and I was able to find her old house and take a photo!
The wedding reception was in New Rochelle, NY, which happens to be where I was born. In the shuttle bus on the way to the reception, we drove by the apartment complex where I lived until we moved to Stamford when I was 2.
My dad had moved to New Rochelle when he was in high school, but my grandparents sold their house and moved to New York City in the early 1970s, and I had not been in the town in many years. To complete the memory lane tour, on the way home Sunday we drove by the house where my dad used to live!
I hope the weather is nice on Thursday night for the annual Pink Party in Blue Back Square. I’ll be walking the pink carpet in the survivor fashion show – an experience that I really look forward to every year because of the strong, wonderful, and beautiful women I get to meet.
The nice weather will also mean no excuses to blow off running in the last full week before the half marathon. I ran 12 miles on Friday – which is the longest I will do in preparation – so I hope I am ready!
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:
- The Junior League of Hartford’s Clothes Horse closed for good just a month ago, but the space will not be dark for long, and anyone bemoaning the loss of a second-hand clothing store in that space will also be happy to hear this news: The Village for Families & Children plans to open the Second Chance Boutique in that very same spot at 175 Park Rd. “Over the summer we got word that the Clothes Horse was going to close, and we were intrigued by the idea of opening another auxiliary,” said Donna Jolly, vice president for Advancement for the Village for Families & Children. The organization hadn’t been looking to set up another shop, but the chance to be in West Hartford was too good to pass up. The existing stores (called Second Chance Shops) in Glastonbury, Simsbury, and Suffield are staffed by about 470 volunteers, and bring in more than $250,000 per year to support the Village’s programs through the sale of high quality, gently-used (or new) clothing “at really, really good prices,” Jolly said. “We have a lot of friends of the Village in West Hartford, and we thought it would be the perfect location because it doesn’t interfere with any of our other locations, and the site is already perfect in so many ways,” said Jolly. The space is already set up for a thrift store and has high visibility, and Jolly said the more they learned the more excited they became. The Village has a somewhat different approach than the Junior League did in running the Clothes Horse, with one major factor being that their shops are all volunteer run, but supported by the Village’s office staff. The challenge will be recruiting volunteers, and are hoping to get 25-40 to start, and have the store initially open three days per week. The other locations are open six days per week. Anyone interested in volunteering should try to attend an information session on Thursday, Oct. 4, from noon-1:30 p.m., at the Village for Families & Children headquarters at 1680 Albany Ave., Hartford. Click here to RSVP. The auxiliaries rely on donations from the public, which are tax deductible. Some light renovation will begin in the Park Road space beginning Nov. 1, and donations will be accepted beginning Dec. 1, with the goal of a soft opening on Saturday, Jan. 5. “The Clothes Horse was there for 45 years. It was an incredible run,” said Jolly.
- Ignite Fitness has signed a lease and will be opening soon in one of the former Revival Home spaces at 135 South Main St. “My goal for Ignite Fitness, fuel the fire, is not only to help people reach their fitness goals, but also to be a pillar in the West Hartford community promoting healthy living and fueling the fire in all facets of life,” said owner Kim Zengerle, a 15-year veteran of the fitness industry. On the website, Zengerle said that what sets Ignite Fitness apart is that it is is a full service personal training facility. “In addition to session appointments, our clients have access to use our state of the art fitness facility any time during open hours, or as prescribed by their Fitness Coach. All of our ‘members’ are clients so only like-minded people will be utilizing the facility creating an ideal experience in a clean and not overcrowded environment. This singular client focus also allows us to give every client the personal experience they need with the right amount of direction, accountability, and motivation to maximize results.” Pre-enrollments are now being accepted through Ingite Fitness’ Facebook page.
- Elmwood Barbershop, owned by Chris Niles (formerly of Patsy’s) opened last week at 1145A New Britain Ave. “I have some exciting news to share with you! I’ve fulfilled my lifelong dream of owning a barbershop. I look forward to seeing you in the chair at Elmwood Barbershop. Thank you so much for all of your support that made this possible,” Niles said in an email newsletter announcing his new business. For more information, visit their website or Facebook page.
- Salons By JC West Hartford is thrilled to announce the arrival and suite opening of Dye Pretty. Suite owners Emily Skelskey and Emily Dziloski have an active following in West Hartford and its surrounding environs. They are taking advantage of the Salons By JC 24/7/365 philosophy by providing their expert services in an intimate, luxurious setting at times that best accommodate their guests. Skelskey and Dziloski specialize in balayage, color correction, women’s haircuts, highlighting, color melting, and Brazilian Blowout. For samples of their work, follow them on Instagram @dyprettyct. For an appointment call Emily S. 860-940-4742 or Emily D. 203-218-8996 or email them at [email protected].
- They haven’t closed on the property yet, but Ideanomics (formerly Seven Stars Cloud Group, Inc.) has hired local architectural firm Newman Architects, PC to transform the 58-acre UConn campus into “an open, community-friendly campus” to be known as Fintech Village, and which is expected to employ 330 people. The firm has been involved in several major local products, including at Hall and Conard high schools. “It was essential to us that we hire an architectural firm with a deep understanding of the town of West Hartford and the needs of its residents. Established over 50 years ago, and with 145 design awards for working, living and learning projects on campuses and in towns and cities, Newman Architects’ laudable work in renewing the town’s two public high schools, as well as their close ties to the town, make them the ideal firm to transform our vision of Fintech Village into a reality,” Ideanomics Chief Operating Officer Alfred Poor said in a news release on Friday. “Our fintech and blockchain hub on the former UConn site will be accessible to the West Hartford community – a campus they will find open, inviting and aesthetically pleasing. Newman’s experience, talent and understanding of West Hartford will ensure that Fintech Village is a vibrant addition to the town.” The lead architect will be A. Brooks Fischer, who is also a West Hartford resident. “Ideanomics’ Fintech Village will be a campus of new and renovated buildings set in a landscape that emphasizes sustainability and connection to the natural environment. Fintech Village will be experienced as an extension of the public realm with walking trails, a contemporary art gallery and other community-oriented resources,” Fischer said in the release.
- Have you voted for the Best of West Hartford yet? This is the last week to vote (it ends on Oct. 8) and local business owners are counting on their loyal customers! The Connecticut Jewish Ledger, West Hartford Magazine, West Hartford Life, and West Hartford Press have all run two-page spreads encouraging voting. Click here for the link to this year’s easy-to-complete ballot. On Monday, Nov. 5, the winners will be celebrated at the fourth annual awards/networking show to be held this year at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar.
- A sellout crowd of 300 attended the Artisan/Delamar one year anniversary “White Party” on Thursday night in the hotel ballroom and garden. Greenwich Hospitality Sales Manager Dixon Mallory, Mayor Shari Cantor, and New Britain Museum of American Art Director Min Jung Kim welcomed the guests. Kim highlighted the newest exhibit that the NBMAA has installed at the Delamar – 25 historic photographs by Dennis Hopper from the 1960s, including portraits of artistic luminaries, such as Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, and Robert Rauschenberg, as well as stirring images of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement. Now that the hotel and restaurant have been open for a year, it seems hard to image the corner or Raymond and Memorial without them.
- Cost Plus World Market and buybuy Baby must be getting close to opening. Both have banners hanging outside indicating that they are hiring.
- Today’s sad news: Pinkberry has closed its shop at Westfarms. Spokesperson Amanda Sirica confirmed the closing and said that she doesn’t yet know what will take Pinkberry’s place.
- ICYMI, Song Restaurant recently opened on LaSalle Road, and We-Ha.com provides a peek inside the “Chinese tapas” restaurant. Click here for all the details.
- Finally, today is the first day of Park Road Parade Days, which will culminate with Saturday’s Park Road Parade. There are opportunities for savings and other specials all week at Park Road area businesses. Click here for the complete story.
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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