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West Hartford Business Buzz: October 23, 2017

Workstation WeHa will be opening at 977R Farmington Ave. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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

By Ronni Newton

It was another beautiful week, and I was happy to be working on a few stories – to be revealed this week – that involved being outdoors and visiting multiple locations.

The week also included serving on a panel in a Quinnipiac Media Relations class with several other members of the media, and covering “Fancy Nancy” Day at Braeburn where Jane O’Connor, the author of the popular series, came to read to the students!

The UConn football game on Saturday was exciting, and resulted in a win for the Huskies, and Sunday was a win all around with the reopening of Jonathan’s Dream Reimagined.

One issue which arose this past week has led to the reconsideration of We-Ha.com’s Letter to the Editor policy. While We-Ha.com welcomes reasonable discourse on pertinent topics, we do not want this site to be used for furthering any political agenda. Our agenda is to share the news in the most accurate and non-partisan way possible.

We are still finalizing the exact wording of the policy, but going forward we will not be publishing letters submitted by political candidates during election season. The identical candidate questionnaires, which all candidates are encouraged to submit, provide ample opportunity to state positions and express opinions. Letters from leadership of political organizations or existing office holders who are not running for reelection will be considered. Endorsements from members of the community for political candidates are acceptable and encouraged.

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:

Rendering of 977R Farmington Ave. Courtesy of Workstation WeHa

  • People often ask how I find the news that goes into Business Buzz and my answer is always that it comes from a variety of sources. I learned about Workstation WeHa from a billboard I saw on the way back from the UConn football game at Rentschler Field! I was able to touch base with majority partner Jen LaChapelle, who said that construction should be starting this week on the building at 977R Farmington Ave. (in the Farmington Avenue surface lot, former home to several gyms including my old haunt, the Fitness Clinic) and she plans to have Workstation WeHa up and running in December. Workstation WeHa will be a co-working space for hair stylists, LaChapelle said. Stylists will have ultimate flexibility, and will be able to rent space for a few hours (four is the minimum), a day, a week, a month, a year, or even longer. They can choose to be in the community area, or a more private single or double suite space. “They will still be independent, but have all of the positive aspects of a community salon,” LaChapelle said. Other advantages include assistance with tax preparation, use of an app for managing appointments, professional greeter, six high-quality product lines, an in-house cafe, and social media. “It raises the level of professionalism,” said LaChapelle, who has been in the hair industry since 1989. She lives in South Hadley MA, and also owns The Lift Salon, with two locations in Massachusetts. She is partnering with Kim Rodrigo and Wendy Perreira for this venture. More information is available on the Workstation WeHa website, and on Facebook, and we will have more details when they open!
  • In honor of breast cancer awareness month, Artisan Restaurant, The Yoga Shop, and Grace + Grit athletic-inspired boutique will joining force for “an afternoon of indulgence to raise awareness for this cause that has touched so many of our lives.” The community yoga class, which will be taught by Annie Q. of The Yoga Shop, and healthy snacks (vegetable smoothies and light fare) provided by Artisan, will be free of charge. Melissa Weinstock, owner of Grace + Grit and a breast cancer survivor, said she will be having a truck show with a portion of sales donated to Komen New England. The event will be held on Sunday, Oct. 29, from 1-3 p.m., on the lawn of the Delamar West Hartford. For more information, follow @ArtisanWestHartford on Facebook.
  • The We Care Card is now being offered, and purchase of the card will provide you with many special deals with participating merchants in West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square from Nov. 2-12, while your donation goes directly to Foodshare to help local people who are “food insecure.” For more information about purchasing the card and participating businesses, click here.
  • This one is a good news/bad news story. Chef Prasad Chirnomula confirmed Friday that he is closing his two New Haven restaurants. Oaxaca Kitchen closed over the weekend, while Thali Too will close at the end of the month. The good news for West Hartford, however, is that Chirnomula’s local restaurant, INDIA, located on Memorial Road in Blue Back Square, is here to stay and may even be expanding. “I think it’s the right fit for that location, and it’s a great neighborhood,” Chirnomula said. The reason for the New Haven closing is financial, he said, some mistakes on his part combined with monetary losses suffered from several large storms that impacted the shoreline. Chirnomula said he may return to New Haven at some point and “bounce back big,” and has already been in contact with potential new landlords.

    Ocho Cafe ribbon cutting. Photo credit: Ira Nozick. Courtesy of West Hartford Chamber of Commerce

  • Ocho Cafe in Bishops Corner was joined by members of the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce for a ribbon cutting on Oct. 4, complete with some delicious Mexican food and a mariachi band.
  • Dressbarn, which has a store in Corbin’s Corner, confirmed in a press release emailed last week that the name was changing and the new brand, ROZ & ALI, launched Oct. 15 bringing an “elevated boutique environment and visual experience ” to shoppers. According to the release, “ROZ & ALI will offer a thoughtfully selected mix of workwear, dresses, casual and athleisure collections designed to inspire our customer and help her develop a complete wardrobe as unique and dynamic as her lifestyle. In sizes 2-24, ROZ & ALI will empower women everywhere to enjoy the ease, discovery and aspirational qualities of a specialty store atmosphere, with access to the latest fashions, but not at the latest prices.”
  • According to a news release, employees from the West Hartford office of wealth management firm Northstar Wealth Partners (NSWP) were among the company’s employees who joined with other volunteers in the community in successfully completing various renovations to a home in Mystic, CT, which was being readied for a December 2017 delivery. “Northstar is a firm believer in actions speaking loudly. The opportunity that Habitat for Humanity provided our employees made an indelible impression on all who participated. We look forward to future opportunities to support their efforts and contribute to their builds,” partners Romaine Macomb and Theresa Donatelli said in the release.
  • Don’t forget that this is CTLovesPuertoRico week! Through Oct. 28, many restaurants in West Hartford and elsewhere in the state are offering specials inspired by the cuisine of Puerto Rico, and donating 100 percent of the proceeds from purchase of those items to hurricane relief through Unidos Por Puerto Rico/United for Puerto Rico. Click here for more information, a list of restaurants, and details about many of the menu items. And when you order any of the dishes, snap a photo and share on social media with #CTlovesPR.

    The Chalkboard at 1126 New Britain Ave. in Elmwood is closing. Photo credit: Ted Newton

  • Now for the sad news. The Chalkboard, the teachers’ supply store at 1126 New Britain Ave. in Elmwood, will be closing for good. A sign on the door indicated that “everything must be sold,” with current discounts of 40 percent being offered. According to The Chalkboard’s Facebook page, the owners are retiring and were not able to reach a deal to sell the store. The last day is Oct. 25.

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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We-Ha.com is the place to go for the latest information about West Hartford – a town that "has it all"! We-Ha.com is part of and proud of our community, and we bring a hyperlocal focus to news and features about the people, schools, businesses, real estate, sports, restaurants, charitable events, arts, and more. Contact us at: [email protected] or [email protected].

1 Comment

  • How about news stories and “ledes””, Ronni? I read lots of ‘WeHa Dem Gets Award’ stories but no ‘WeHa Rep Challenges the Status Quo’ stories. Perhaps you ought to be looking at you policies about which stories you publish and which you don’t as far as local elections are concerned. Where is the story on the Democrats refusing to debate the Republican candidates for Town Council? What is behind that decision? Why are you announcing this policy change in the business section? Just curious…

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