Bishops Corner Blue Back Square Business Elmwood Park Road The Center

West Hartford Business Buzz: October 9, 2017

Renovations are underway and Skeleton Key and Deadbolt should open in Blue Back Square in early 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton
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A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.

By Ronni Newton

In the middle of the winter please remind me that I said this: I would like to have some cooler weather.

Modeling for Fleet Feet Sports at the 6th annual Pink Party. Photo credit: Debbi Zimbler

I returned from Seattle late Wednesday night and was immediately struck by how warm and humid it was here. Even though we had just a bit of foggy and misty weather last weekend in Seattle, Monday and Tuesday were crystal clear and perfectly autumnal, with daytime temperatures in the 60s and lows in the upper 40s. Kind of what we should be having here.

It was quite toasty for the Park Road Parade on Saturday – a stark contrast to last year’s cold drizzle.

As I write this column on Sunday afternoon, I am wearing a tank top, shorts, and flip flops – my usual July and August attire, but not what I should be wearing in October.

I did my last long-ish run before the Hartford Half Marathon earlier on Sunday, and it was steamy!! I am hoping for cooler and less humid weather for Saturday’s race!

In addition to being in Seattle for part of last week, the other highlight of my week was modeling in the Survivor Fashion Show Thursday night 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.

This was my fifth time participating in the fashion show (it’s been going on for six years, but I had a conflict one of the years), and it’s such an empowering event. This year I modeled a fall/winter running outfit for Fleet Feet Sports – very comfy attire except in the unseasonably warm weather!

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:

Renovations are underway and Skeleton Key and Deadbolt should open in Blue Back Square in early 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Demolition has been done on the former Verizon store at 61 Raymond Rd. in Blue Back Square, and build-out is set to begin for Skeleton Key – a puzzle/game escape room concept that according to the company website offers games that “are multi-room adventures that require your team to achieve a series of objectives in order to successfully complete your mission before time runs out. The rooms are fully-themed and immersive; no two games are the same.” Blue Back Square General Manager Robyn Rifkin said that the space should be completed and ready for operation by early 2018. There are two other Skeleton Key locations (Lynnfield, MA and White Plains, NY), and both of those have a food and drink component known as the “Adventure Emporium” included on the same premises. Although the West Hartford Town Council is considering two different zoning amendments which would allow for indoor recreation facilities that include food and drink, it’s not currently permitted in town, which brings us to the next bullet point …
  • Along with Skeleton Key, the same owners will be opening Deadbolt, which according to the Blue Back Square website is “a restaurant that recreates your favorite memories of spirits and fare by way of a menu that draws on carnivals, boardwalks, and theaters of old for inspiration.” Fare will include “inventive takes on classics like pretzels and burgers,” and there will also be a focus on signature cocktails. The businesses will operate as two separate but related entities, and will have a connecting door to encourage diners to partake in Skeleton Key’s adventures and vice versa. Deadbolt should open at the same time as Skeleton Key, Rifkin said.
  • In other Blue Back Square news, the Green Teahouse is preparing its new space at 55 Isham Rd. and will be reopening in late October or early November, store manager Laura Neves said Thursday, as she was handing out samples at the Pink Party. The Green Teahouse closed its 40-42 Isham Rd. location on July 31. Owner Ting Luo previously said that to go along with the move, some new tea recipes will be provided.

    Construction seems to be progressing rapidly now on The Corbin Collection. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • If you haven’t driven by lately, you should check out the work that has been taking place on the renovation of the former Sears buildings in Corbin’s Corner. A few months ago you could see clear through the main building to the other side, but work on The Corbin Collection seems to be progressing much more rapidly now. No additional tenants have been named, but look for the opening in 2018 of Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th,Cost Plus World Market, and buybuy Baby in the main building – along with REI which will be moving from Blue Back Square. Shake Shack will be opening in 2018 in the former Sears Automotive Center.
  • Delamar West Hartford is not just for out of town guests or business travelers. West Hartford’s new hotel is also hoping to entice some locals for a getaway with its “Date Night Package.” Details from a news release: “Grab your special someone for a luxurious overnight and a delicious evening out!  The offer includes an in-room bottle of champagne and a credit to eat at a favorite West Hartford restaurant including Artisan, Max’s Oyster Bar, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, Cook and The Bear, Vinted Àvert, or Treva.” For more information click here
  • Philip David Jewelers is celebrating its 63rd anniversary with a “Vintage Party,” inviting long-time customers and friends to stop in at the 968 Farmington Ave. store on Thursday, Oct. 12, from 4-8 p.m., to share stories and favorite vintage treasures. Those who bring in their favorite vintage piece twill also receive savings on new pieces during the anniversary party. “‘Good design lasts forever’ is a testament to the vintage pieces our customers have and still enjoy,” said Pamela Rosin, current storeowner and daughter of founders, Philip and Nathalie Rosin. “We have loyal customers who return time and again because they find jewelry that sets them apart from the crowd. In a mass-produced world, we enjoy relationships with artisans who hand make the pieces we sell. It’s a wonderful combination of self-expression, a joint appreciation of beautiful things and friendship all the way around.” 
  • Valvoline in Sunset Triangle (where Farmington Avenue and Boulevard meet) is undergoing some renovations and is temporarily closed.
  • CT Restaurant Week begins today, with special deals being offered at restaurants throughout the area, including 17 right in West Hartford. For a full description of the event and list of the participating restaurants, click here.
  • Happy Birthday to West Hartford Co-Working! The space that’s become very popular with people who work remotely but don’t like being isolated at home launched in October 2016. Business owner John Paul Vasellina said that he has launched a new service renting out the conference room on an hourly basis, and for the month of October will donate the proceeds (100 percent) to two local charities. Click here for details.
  • ICYMI, the Town of West Hartford filed a complaint against Los Imperios last week. Click here for the complete story.
  • Whitney F. Burr of Valerie Thomas & Associates has some important financial advice for the recently-widowed in this business column published last week.

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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1 Comment

  • Just called the Delamar to see how much the “Romance Package” (they didn’t know anything about the Date Night Package) was for ONE weekend day in March was (a Friday to Saturday or Saturday into Sunday) and it was OVER $500!!! For one night!!! What!!?

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