A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
Wasn’t Sunday a beautiful day? I’m still hanging on to every last vestige of summer, and thankful when there are days in October when it’s just great to be outside without even needing a sweater!
Among the other great things about Sunday was getting to see my son, Sam, for the first time in about six weeks! Although he’s not far from home at UConn, he hadn’t come back to West Hartford yet at all this semester, and we haven’t gone up to the campus since we moved him in the last weekend of August. Sam came home on Sunday to attend a get-together for Katie and Matt’s wedding attendants – and we also had fun getting to spend some time with their close friends, some of whom we had never met.
This past week featured several of my favorite West Hartford activities. On Thursday, I once again had the opportunity to participate in the Survivor Fashion Show at the Pink Party in Blue Back Square. The Komen New England event, which raises awareness and funds for breast cancer research, attracts thousands to West Hartford each year.
I’ve participated in the fashion show in six of the seven years the event has been held, and this year wore a fun sequined skirt, white tee, and denim jacket from Kimberly Boutique.
Thank you to all who participated and attended the Pink Party, and a special thanks to the West Hartford Fire Department for serving as escorts to the models on the catwalk.
Saturday was the Park Road Parade – an event I love to photograph because everyone seems to be having such a good time. This year I shared the photography duties with We-Ha.com intern Hunter Marotto. Click here for complete parade coverage!
I am hoping for somewhat cooler weather for next weekend’s Hartford Marathon. I did my last long training run for the half marathon on Thursday, so I guess I am ready. I can’t say I’ve put in as much training as I have in some past years, but I’m hoping to finish the race, and enjoy the experience and crowd support all along the way.
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 last vacant space in the shopping plaza at 135 South Main St. (intersection with Sedgwick Road) is now leased – and will soon be home to a new Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine (PTSMC) clinic that is being opened by managing partner and West Hartford resident Tom Kassan. PTSMC, which currently has 20 clinics in the state, actually has its administrative offices in West Hartford, but this will be its first clinic in town. PTSMC will be taking over the corner space that was formerly Revival Home Furnishings – and just last week we announced that Ignite Fitness was preparing to open in Revival’s other former space in the same strip. Kassan said that he hopes to open the clinic by the first quarter of 2019, is very excited about adding to the “health and wellness” opportunities on that corner, and said that the two businesses will certainly be collaborating. “I bring a style to physical therapy that’s focused more on function, reaching your goals,” Kassan said. People often think of physical therapy as something you do post-surgery, or to recover from a major injury, but PTSMC’s company tagline is “PT for life” and Kassan said that’s absolutely the corporate culture, he said. “I want to establish long-term relationships with patients,” Kassan said. “I want them to see us as more of a resource.” Since direct access to physical therapists became permissible about a decade ago, and since new therapists now must earn a doctor of physical therapy degree, the nature of the practice has changed. Kassan said that getting involved with patients directly, and earlier in the process, often avoids costly orthopedic procedures, and can save money for the patient as well as the healthcare system as a whole – and get patients back to enjoying their lifestyle sooner. And, PTSMC Marketing Director Peter Decoteau added, it can also reduce the use of opioids for pain management. Kassan, who personally loves outdoor sports, specializes in orthopedics including concussion and vestibular rehabilitation. He has been working in PTSMC’s Newington location since the summer, as he prepared to open his own clinic with the company. [Full disclosure: My daughter works part time as an aide in the Newington location.] PTSMC already has nearby locations in Avon, Windsor, Plainville, and Southington, and West Hartford is a natural spot for an additional clinic. As for the South Main Street location, Kassan said it’s perfect. “Near everything, easy to get there, ease of parking,” he said. Kassan’s wife is a West Hartford native, and he has lived in town for seven years, and said he is looking forward to establishing more roots in the community and becoming as involved as possible.
- NoRA Cupcake Company is back! NoRA officially opened its new pop-up location in the former Goldberg’s Gourmet space at 38 Isham Rd. on Wednesday. West Hartford was so excited when NoRA opened in town the first time in November 2015, and so sad when what was originally intended to be a holiday pop-up closed at the end of 2017. This time the pop-up is supposed to remain open for four months, so enjoy the easy access to as many of the decadent cupcakes, or slices of rainbow cake, as you can. Here’s a link to NoRA’s 125 different cupcake flavors.
- Peloton opened its first Connecticut retail location at Westfarms on Thursday! Peloton bikes provide an immersive global fitness technology platform for the home, and there is a devoted community in the area already enjoying the convenience of the bikes and the ability to stream up to 14 daily live classes and choose from a library of over 10,000 on-demand classes. “In keeping with our commitment to bring unique retailers to our shoppers, we are excited to see Peloton open its first Connecticut store at Westfarms,” Westfarms General Manager Kevin Keenan said in a news release. “The Peloton brand is an excellent addition to our exceptional lineup of merchants and its cutting-edge products are a perfect fit for our shopper.” Peloton is located in Center Court next to Macy’s, and shoppers are able to take test classes on the bikes. “Customers can learn more about Peloton’s latest product, the Peloton Tread, and Peloton Digital, which gives you access to live and on-demand classes – including instructor-led strength, stretching, cycling, and running classes – making the Peloton experience accessible wherever you are,” the release states.
- Congrats and Happy Second Anniversary to John Vasellina and West Hartford Co-Working! Vasellina launched West Hartford’s first co-working space in 2016 at Fathom, 967 Farmington Ave. “Since then, we have supported dozens of remote professionals, independent consultants, and small businesses. As we make plans to continue our growth into 2019, we thank all of our members for their support and shared vision,” West Hartford Co-Working said in a Facebook post.
- Retail sales of West Hartford start-up Bare Life’s first product debuted Saturday at the open house of Essential Health at 74 Park Rd. The innovative instant hot cocoa is organic, non-GMO, dairy free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, kosher, paleo, and vegan. Founder Ali Lazowski began conceiving of her business in a doctor’s office – many doctor’s offices, in fact. The allergen-friendly food startup began with a crowd-funding campaign last fall. It was her simultaneous battles with cancer and Lyme disease that inspired her to explore her love of food and launch a business. She began by creating Bare Life’s coconut hot cocoa mix — organic, Kosher, vegan, gluten free, Paleo and produced locally — and by writing Bare Life’s first sweets-centric cookbook, soon to be published. For more information, visit www.eatbarelife.com.
- Sunday supper is back, and Sunday brunch is also returning to Arugula (953 Farmington Ave.) in West Hartford Center as of Oct. 14 for the first time in about seven years, owner Christiane Gehami said. Some “must-try” items highlighted by Gehami on the brunch menu include Brussels sprouts hash with egg and bacon; vanilla Dutch baby pancake; crepes with nutella, roasted bananas, and whipped cream; crab, asparagus, and tarragon frittata; brunch burger with avocado, bacon, arugula, and fried egg; smoked trout egg-in-the-hole; and a basket of house made tea breads and scones served with blueberry compote and honey cinnamon butter. Brunch is served from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m., and Sunday supper is 5-9 p.m. Reservations accepted at 860-561-4888.
- Congratulations to West Hartford resident Rachel Leventhal-Weiner, who has been named assistant director of Connecticut Data Collaborative (CTData). Dr. Leventhal-Weiner has been developing and overseeing the CT Data Academy, a comprehensive public education initiative to build data literacy and data capacity in state agencies, nonprofits and community organizations across Connecticut. She has also been contributing to CT Data’s growing repository of data stories and to the general operation of the organization. Leventhal-Weiner has been the organization’s Data Engagement Specialist since 2016.
- Today is the very last day to vote for Best of West Hartford! Local business owners are counting on their loyal customers. 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.
- ICMYI, GoNetspeed is getting West Hartford wired, and those who are in the service area and have already signed up for the state-of-the-art fiber optic internet provider’s service have very positive comments. Three pricing plans are available, including 1-gig service, and all come with with lifetime price guarantees. Even if you’re not in the service area, you can register your interest – and the automated message that you get indicating there is not yet enough interest will not appear once there are enough people interested in the service in a part of town. Click here for the complete story.
- The Home Design District held a happy hour last week at New Park Brewing, and announced the formation of a subsidiary New Park Avenue Neighborhood Association. More details here.
- A face-lift for the West Hartford Stop & Shop stores was launched over the weekend with ribbon cuttings and festivities, and special events will continue throughout October. Click here for the 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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