A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
Somehow the month of October has flown by.
Time is supposed to fly when you’re having fun, and although this week started with my joining “Santa” for a surprise visit to the Bishops Corner Post Office, it seemed like the rest of the week was cold and dreary, and anything but fun.
Saturday was an especially rotten day. The Halloween Stroll had to be canceled due to the weather. We attended the UConn football game in the cold rain (a win was so close, but once again elusive), and while I was at the game I learned of the tragedy that had taken place at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. On Sunday, a crowd that police estimated at 1,000 attended a vigil in West Hartford for the victims.
Just before I left for the game, I learned that Tracey Gamer-Fanning, a West Hartford resident who made such an impact in the lives of so many, had lost her 12-year battle with a brain tumor on Friday. I spoke with her husband, Greg, on Saturday afternoon, and wrote a tribute to her. I’ve probably written tributes to a dozen or so people in the West Hartford community over the past several years, and it’s always so difficult to know what to say, to feel like I am properly honoring someone’s life, and to speak with those who have just suffered a devastating loss.
One bright spot in the week has been watching the Red Sox win the World Series – although that has led to some major sleep deprivation. Ted and I made it to the 16th inning of Friday night’s game before giving up and going to sleep, and like many we thought the game might still be going on when we woke up on Saturday – which was really just a few hours later. But … the Red Sox are World Series Champions!
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:
- Cost Plus World Market is now open in West Hartford! The store, located in The Corbin Collection in Corbin’s Corner, right next to buybuy Baby, is the retailer’s second location in Connecticut. The grand opening is Thursday, but when I found out the soft opening was going to be Sunday I just had to check it out. I’m going back later this week, and meeting with Store General Manager Leslie Rock as well as the district manager and representatives from corporate to put together a full feature story with lots of photos and descriptions of the merchandise, but Rock gave me a brief tour on Sunday. The store includes an eclectic assortment of furniture, home decor and furnishings, lighting, jewelry, accessories, and foods from around the world. It’s the kind of store that’s fun to browse, and can definitely be dangerous to the wallet – even though most items are very reasonably priced! The grand opening celebration will begin with a ribbon cutting with the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce and town officials on Thursday, Nov. 1, at 9 a.m., and the store will officially open right after that. According to a news release from Cost Plus World Market: “The first 100 shoppers through the door from Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, through Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018 will receive a $10 World Market gift card and a free, reusable tote bag. The store will host a twice-daily raffle prize of a $250 World Market gift card throughout the grand opening weekend. From Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018 through Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, the first 250 customers who spend a minimum of $40 in the West Hartford, Connecticut store will receive two free movie certificates.” More information about the West Hartford store can be found on the website, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram (@worldmarket), and and at www.worldmarket.com/blog.
- In other Corbin’s Corner news, I had mentioned in this column just two weeks ago that I noticed D’Angelos had closed its location right next to Trader Joe’s. I since learned that the closing wasn’t sudden, and that in early September Bonchon had already signed a lease and applied for permits for conversion of the space. Bonchon is a franchise business with a menu that features Korean-style fried chicken – wings, drumsticks, and strips – as well as a variety of savory Asian fusion dishes like bibimbap bowls. Bonchon was launched in Korea in 2002 (the name means “my hometown” in Korean), and there are now several hundred locations worldwide, and this will be the fourth in Connecticut. (Existing locations are in Manchester, New Haven, and Storrs.) Build-out is already underway, and more information will definitely be forthcoming as the opening nears.
- News about another business that is planning to open in West Hartford will come as a very welcome surprise for dog owners: Wagging Tails is opening an indoor dog park in West Hartford! “I’m so excited … I know that the Town of West Hartford has been trying to get a dog park for years,” said owner Krista Lofquist, who will be taking over the Uberdog space at 635 New Park Ave. as well as the space next door, for a total facility that will be about 13,000 square feet. (Uberdog is moving to 121 Talcott Rd., and that will be the subject of a feature story very soon.) The dog park will be climate controlled, feature playscapes for the dogs, and separate areas for large and small breeds, and will be cleaned and maintained by Wagging Tails staff. There will also be a small outdoor play area included. Admission plans can be purchased on a daily, monthly, or annual basis. There is already one Wagging Tails location – in Wolcott – and Lofquist said she knows that the goal is to have an outdoor dog park in town, but this facility will be open seven days a week, all year round in any type of weather. She said that in addition to the dog park, Wagging Tails Pet Resort and Spaw (that’s not a typo) will including a grooming salon and spa (services available for cats as well), a dog massage therapist on staff, a self-service dog wash, and boarding facilities (including a cage free option) for all breeds of dogs. There is way too much information that Lofquist shared, and I’ll put the rest in a complete feature story very soon (including the plans to build a pool in the indoor dog park). For those who would like to test out Wagging Tails in advance, Lofquist said that free “transpawtation,” drop-off as well as pick-up, is also offered to West Hartford residents. Plans are to open in December or January, Lofquist said. Visit the Wagging Tails website for more information or follow them on Facebook.
- A brand new business that is expanding into West Hartford and the surrounding area is Compass 360 Technologies – a technology company focused on providing live stream 360-degree video and photography services. The most popular application is live streaming of weddings and other events, permitting those who can’t attend to feel they are part of the celebration in real time. Unlike Skype or FaceTime, this technology uses a 360-degree camera, so anyone watching can literally look around the room. Streaming can also be to YouTube or Facebook, and they offer 360-degree video recording and photography for weddings, other events, and home tours. For more information, contact [email protected] or visit the website.
- On Tuesday, Oct. 30, the J.McLaughlin store (981 Farmington Ave.) will be holding a benefit for the Hartford Hospital Auxiliary. Fifteen percent of the total purchase throughout the day will be donated to the Auxiliary that day to anyone who mentions the Auxiliary. There will also be a “Sip and Shop” with wine and cheese between 5-8 p.m.
- The WEHA Artists Emporium invites all local artists – and anyone who overlaps with the artist’s world – to the Artists Mingle to “get inspired, network, promote shows, mingle, and get inspired by all the vintage finds at Blaze and Bloom!” The next Mingle will be held on Nov. 7, from 9-10 a.m., at Blaze and Bloom, 485 New Park Ave. A pop-up coffee shop by A Little Something-Cake Studio will also be onsite, with baked goods and coffee for sale. See the Facebook event page for more information and to RSVP to Stefanie Marco Lantz.
- Are you following the Experience We-Ha podcast series that is being recorded by Jeff Lovanio and Ryan Keating? The pair has been interviewing a wide variety of really interesting people from across a wide spectrum of the West Hartford business community. The two most recent podcasts feature Billy Grant III and Billy Grant IV, and Conor Millican.
- This year’s We Care Card benefit program for Foodshare launches on Thursday, Nov. 1, but the cards, which are a donation to Foodshare and also offer savings at about 70 West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square merchants, are for sale now. Click here for details.
- Best of West Hartford finalists have been announced, and tickets are now available for a networking event and celebration of the winners at Fleming’s on Nov. 5. Complete details are available here.
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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