A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
How did it get to be October already?
I was wearing shorts and sandals just last week and as I type this I am wearing a long-sleeved shirt, sweater, jeans, and a down vest. In my house. We’re in that “the heat can’t go on until Columbus Day at the earliest and really let’s try to be stoic and wait as long as possible” stage, although we did turn on the gas fireplace on Saturday night. I have admittedly turned on the heat (and the heated seats) in my car, and after my hands lost all circulation while watching the Conard vs. Hall boys soccer game Friday night (which Hall won, 1-0), I wore gloves to photograph the Park Road Parade.
Although the weekend’s weather was cold and dreary, the parade was a definite bright spot, as was the fact that both of my kids were home! My son came home to cheer on the Conard soccer team and go to the Big E, and my daughter came home because she was going to a grad school (yikes!!) information session that was closer to our house than to Storrs. She also went to the Big E, but not on the same day as her brother, and in fact, other than for Sunday dinner, they weren’t in the house together very much while anyone was awake.
It was a banner weekend for our dog, Scarlett, who was so happy to have both kids home. And to top it off, she got to go to church with us Sunday morning for the Blessing of the Animals. The service was punctuated by a few woofs and some panting, and the occasional meow (but no hisses or growls), and it was a bit hard to pay attention because of the novelty of having animals in a place they are rarely allowed, but I still listened to the sermon and this was the message I heard: “Animals don’t see differences. Animals see compassion, see love.”
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:
- West Hartford’s first parkour facility – APEX Movement West Hartford – is now open! Parkour coaches from Colorado arrived in West Hartford last week to help finish construction of the studio at 635 New Park Ave., and to give demonstrations/training at the studio’s soft opening on Friday, Sept. 30. What is parkour? It’s all about movement, running, jumping, a bit of gymnastics, a lot of Ninja action. According to its website, APEX Movement West Hartford is already attracting “traceurs and freerunners from around the world.” The facility includes a foam pit, a circular trampoline, weight training and conditioning tools, and professionally constructed and welded obstacles. Click here for more information.
- Ten Thousand Villages is celebrating 70 years of fair trade throughout October (which is Fair Trade Month). Ten Thousand Villages has had a location in West Hartford for the past 19 years, and during that time has been delighting customers in West Hartford with beautiful, hand crafted housewares, decorative accessories, jewelry, musical instruments, and much more. During October, Ten Thousand Villages will be offering complimentary refreshments, free gifts with purchase, a chance to win a $50 gift card, an Instagram contest for a chance to win a $100 gift card, and special promotions. There will also be some special Saturday events: Oct. 8 there will be live acoustic Celtic and Appalachian music with Mike Herr on autoharp. Jedda and Ethel will be on hand in the afternoon with face painting and children’s songs. On Oct. 15, Marilyn Holt will demonstrate her hand crafted gourd art. Oct. 22 will feature Elena Juan doing face painting. In addition, from Oct. 20 through Nov. 4, the store will be collecting food donations for the West Hartford Food Pantry. Donors will receive a 25 percent off coupon for one item at Ten Thousand Villages. “We have been getting in lots of new, beautiful, unique products from around the world.” said store manager Donita Herr. “We look forward to sharing their stories with our neighbors.”
- The former Herb’s Sports at 60 LaSalle Rd. will soon be vacant no more. Block Advisors – a division of H&R Block – will be opening a tax preparation and planning office in that location before the end of 2016. According to the Block Advisors website, the tax advisors “average 15 years experience and can help you with any complex tax situation.” A representative from LaSalle Road partners said that they are in the process of negotiating several other leases, and hope to have announcements about tenants for other vacant spots along LaSalle Road sometime later this month.
- There was a discussion on the Neighbors & Friends Facebook page about some vacant plots of land near West Hartford Center, and in order to end the speculation and rumor, I brought those questions to Town Manager Ron Van Winkle. He said that the space at the intersection of Raymond Road and Farmington Avenue (next to Modern Tire) is owned by Exxon Mobil. Although there are still wells, the gasoline tanks have been removed, Van Winkle said. The land is for sale, from Exxon Mobil – which isn’t all that concerned with negotiating the purchase of a very small plot of land on which it would be tough to build something significant. The other plot of land that people were discussing is on the opposite side of Raymond Road, next to West Side Wines. Van Winkle said that land has a “single owner who is looking to sell but it’s not worth as much as he is asking for a piece of land that size.”
- Have you noticed the front of Savoy Pizzeria on LaSalle Road? It’s now painted bright red, and the interior construction is almost done. The restaurant, which is part of the Max Restaurant Group, is scheduled to open on Oct. 18. Look for a full feature coming next week!
- ICYMI: A proposal was submitted to the Town Council on Tuesday night to establish an entertainment ordinance. The original proposal had some provisions which were put there as “placeholders” – including an 11 p.m. music curfew and $500 annual license application fee. There was some significant uproar among residents and the restaurant community, and on Friday, Town Manager Ron Van Winkle announced that the original ordinance would be withdrawn and a new proposal will be submitted later in October. Click here for the details.
- Congratulations to West Hartford resident Jeffrey Glazer, CEO of insurance software vendor Insurity, Inc., who will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the Hartford Business Journal’s Lifetime Achievement Awards, Nov. 2 at The Bond Ballroom in Hartford. Glazer’s profile can be found on the Hartford Business Journal’s website by clicking here.
- The We-Ha Vineyard Vines store is now open! There are six really cute (sorry guys, I guess we shouldn’t call the tie “cute”) items available through Oct. 12, and minimums must be met for orders to be fulfilled, which is why there are a limited number of items. Click here for more details. Vineyard Vines doesn’t do custom merchandise for just anyone, and we are all hoping that this first order will lead to more opportunities in the future. It will be great to see some West Hartford pride combined with that iconic Vineyard Vines style.
- Charles Schwab held a grand opening celebration and ribbon-cutting at its new 11 South Main St. office on Sept. 21. At the celebration, Vice President and Branch Manager Mike Cavanaugh announced the very generous donation of $2,500 that Charles Schwab has made to the Conard Jazz Band to help fund a spring 2017 trip to Europe. Several members of the jazz band were on hand providing musical entertainment during the event.
- According to a news release: “On Tuesday, Oct. 4, Besito Mexican in the will celebrate this oh-so glorious National Taco Day holiday with a delicious “Two-fer” Street Taco dish deal offered during lunch and dinner hours at all their locations, featuring the restaurant’s mouthwatering “Street Taco” creations. Yes, you read that right, this year it’s officially #
Remember, if you have any business news to share, remember to add it in the comments section below or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].
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