A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
Happy New Year to all who celebrate!
Even if there is still some warm weather to come this week after the past few chilly days, and even though last week was oppressively hot and humid, it definitely appears as if the lazy days of summer have come to a screeching halt. With school back in session, and most people done with vacations for a while, activity has returned to West Hartford in a big way.
The Board of Education returned to session last week, high school and youth sports have started up, and this past week I had a gubernatorial debate, ribbon cutting, and a proclamation presentation to cover. I scooped ice cream as part of Gabriella’s Annual Scoop Night on Thursday (story and photos to come), and had a behind-the-scenes tour and sampled the delicious food at one of West Hartford’s newest restaurants (story and photos to come on that, too – and there’s a hint at right).
Saturday was a great day that started with a 9-mile run – great because it was finally cooler outside with a dew point below 70º, so I didn’t struggle to breathe the entire time and I felt like I could have run even farther which is good since I’m a bit behind on my half marathon training. And on Saturday afternoon, the day got even better when I was able to purchase “Hamilton” tickets online (and not the crazy $498 ones) without spending hours in a virtual waiting room.
On Saturday night I covered a very fun event – the Noah Webster Real Ale Harvest Festival (story and photos to come on that as well)! I don’t consider beer tasting to be work – although some of the beers were rather unusual. Congratulations to Counterweight Brewing Co. of Hamden for their Brett Saison cask being chosen as “cask champion” by the judges, and to New England Brewing Co. of Woodbridge, whose Fuzzy Baby Ducks Citra IPA won the “taster’s choice” award.
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:
- I’m very excited to have a completely different type of business to highlight in Business Buzz this week! AJ Masthay, an artist who has produced prints for some very well known clients, particularly in the music industry (see samples at right and below), will be moving his studio to a long-vacant building at 252 Park Rd. this Wednesday, and an associated print shop will also be moving into the space. “I’ve lived in Connecticut my whole life, born and raised in Southington, and have been a West Hartford resident for the past 14 years, so when the opportunity to move my studio to the Park Rd. location presented itself it was a no-brainer,” Masthay said. Masthay Studios LLC is the one aspect of the business, best known for work in the music industry with clients that include The Grateful Dead, Black Sabbath, Foo Fighters, Newport Jazz Festival, The Jerry Garcia Estate, Dead and Company, Widespread Panic, Queens of the Stone Age, and Primus. Masthay said he has also worked in collaboration with South Park, The Walking Dead, and Celestial Seasonings Teas. “I create my gig prints using the medium of reduction block printing, also known as ‘Suicide Prints’ in which I hand carve linoleum plates in a fashion where the plates self destruct in the printing process guaranteeing the edition can never be reproduced. My work is heavily influenced by nature, developed through a deep love of life drawing and the figure. The graphic elements of my work are derived from vintage sign painters of the early 1900s with a touch of 60s psychedelia. My intention is to engage the viewer both by creating a narrative in the subject matter and through the use of dynamic compositions. I feel it is the blending of these traditional printmaking techniques with my passion for live music which has made me one of today’s most prominent figures in the rock art industry,” said Masthay. “The Furnace” – also owned by Masthay – will also be located at 252 Park. The Furnace is a print shop that produces all of Masthay’s posters, as well as traditional letterpress products like custom stationary, business cards, greeting cards, and invitations. It’s run by Kaitlin Lennon, a master printer and illustrator who formerly worked at Hartford Prints and, like Masthay, also attended Hartford Art School. For more information on either operation, visit masthaystudios.com and thefurnaceprints.com, or @ajmasthay and @thefurnaceprints on social media.
- Also moving into space on Park Road is GBS Threading Salon, which I noticed when I was taking a photo of the Masthay Studios building on Sunday. GBS Threading, which has another West Hartford location at 951-A Farmington Ave. in the Center, will be taking the space at 266 Park Rd. formerly occupied by Orchid Threading and Day Spa.
- While we’re on Park Road, Fuller Yoga, which took over Starr Yoga’s space at 276 Park Rd. in July, will hold an grand opening/open house on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 7 a.m.-noon with free yoga (all levels) and barre classes. For more information, visit Fuller Yoga’s Facebook page.
- There’s also some good news to share about Elmwood, where Refresh Vintage Supply Co. has taken over the space at 1445C New Britain Ave. formerly occupied by Alexandra’s Salon. The owner, JR, was there on Sunday when I went to take a photo, and said that news of his business opening had traveled quickly by word of mouth. Even though the shop wasn’t open at the time, several customers stopped by to visit on Sunday afternoon! The shop officially opened on Saturday, and sells “vintage street wear,” including many sports jerseys, JR said. The shop itself contains just a small percentage of his product, and JR said said he has more than 2,000 items for sale. For more information, follow Refresh Vintage Supply on Instagram at @refreshvsc.
- In the same strip of New Britain Avenue, Jim Standish’s Clock Repair shop has closed, but will be moving to a location on Park Road, Economic Development Specialist Kristen Gorski said at Friday’s Elmwood Business Association meeting. (Note correction to location.)
- Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage held its annual open house on Thursday, and this year combined it with a charitable collection. Coldwell Banker has adopted two local elementary schools, Branch Vice President and Manager Kara Flanagan said. “Each fall our office plans an open house as a way of connecting with our community and giving back to a town that gives us so much,” Flanagan said. “This year we opted to ‘adopt’ two elementary schools in town – Webster Hill and Whiting Lane. It’s our hope that we will be a resource throughout the school year for supplies that aren’t covered under the school budget – and the occasional need to help getting a child on a field trip or some warm clothing.” The collection included pencils, crayons, and notebooks, as well as individually-wrapped and nut-free snacks, cleaning supplies, tissues, hand wipes, and reusable water bottles. The collection continues through the end of the business day on Monday, and if you have anything to donate, please drop it off at Coldwell Banker’s office at 992 Farmington Ave.
- There’s some great news to share about a West Hartford Center business that’s about to undergo a major expansion. Click here to read a story (published late Sunday night) about Larsen Ace Hardware’s plans to grow.
- Congratulations to several West Hartford businesses celebrating their one-year anniversary. Artisan and the Delamar West Hartford will celebrate with an anniversary party on Sept. 27, from 5-7 p.m. The event (tickets on eventbrite.com) will include passed hors d’oeuvres, dessert, wine and beer, and lawn games. In addition, Delamar West Hartford is offering a special hotel package for the month of September, offering guests complimentary valet, glass of champagne at check-in, a bottle of bubbly in the room, and full breakfast buffet. There is also a photo contest giveaway, encouraging fans of the Delamar to send in photos captured at the West Hartford location to be entered to win an overnight stay, spa treatment, and dinner for two at Artisan.
- Division West Bar and Bistro (36 LaSalle Rd.) is also celebrating its first anniversary. The restaurant will be holding a special five-course wine dinner on Thursday, Sept. 13, at 6:30 p.m. More information is available on their Facebook page.
- Have you voted for the Best of West Hartford yet? Local business owners are counting on their loyal customers! Click here for the link to this year’s easy-to-complete ballot.
- Fit University, which recently opened at 635 New Park Ave., will hold its grand opening celebration on Sunday, Sept. 16, from noon-2 p.m. with giveaways, gift cards, entertainment, and food. In addition to being a gym, Fit University’s facility is the home of CT Hart Cheer. Fore more information about FIt University, visit the website. For more information about CT Hart Cheer, click here.
- In Bishops Corner, SDSS Martial Arts (19 Crossroads Plaza) celebrated its grand opening on Saturday. For more information about the business, visit their website.
- Pinnacle Behavioral Health, which provides mental health services for adolescents, will be leasing space at Edens Bishops Corner. “It will be a great addition to the third floor,” Property Manager Karen Fillian said.
- I’ve recently gotten messages from readers asking about businesses rumored to be closing. Those that I have checked out: Dogology (Sedgwick Road) and Qdoba (Bishops Corner) are not closing, according to the store manager and the property manager respectively. An earlier version of this column noted that PetValu in Bishops Corner was not closing, but that information was incorrect. PetValu will be closing its Bishops Corner store as of Oct. 23, according to a store employee.
- ICYMI, we recently visited The Hungry Crab, the Asian-Cajun boiled seafood restaurant that recently opened on New Britain Avenue in Elmwood. Click here for the story.
- Last, but definitely not least, is the collaboration between We-Ha.com and WHsquared – the Experience We-Ha app – which launched on Friday. It’s a one-stop click on your smartphone or tablet for everything you need to know about West Hartford. Read more about Experience We-Ha 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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