A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
Wasn’t Sunday just a beautiful day? Sunny and in the 70s, with low humidity, is definitely my kind of September weather!
Millie, who seems to be much too huge to be a 4-month-old puppy who will only grow to 45 pounds, spent pretty much the whole day outside. Of course she likes being outside when it rains, too, so she can catch raindrops on her tongue (not kidding) and get her plushy fur all muddy. While I personally don’t want it to snow anytime soon, I am kind of looking forward to how she reacts to the snow.
Saturday, while not a beautiful day weather-wise, was a wonderful day!
Katie, her future mother-in-law, my sister, and I embarked on our second day of wedding dress shopping – and she “said yes to the dress” at the first place we visited. A shout out to The White Dress by the Shore for their great service.
There’s something about seeing my daughter looking so beautiful in that white dress that brings tears to my eyes. The next nine months are going to fly by …
Ted (who was not included in the dress shopping but instead cleaned out the garage) and I ended the day at the Firefighters Beer Tasting and Grill for MDA at Town Hall. It was quite rainy by that time, but there was a good crowd in spite of the weather, and some great beer, including the special IPA that Hanging Hills created just for the West Hartford Fire Department.
Before getting to the business, I wanted to include this information I saw on the Neighbors and Friends in West Hartford Facebook page, posted by Administrator Patti Sheehan Albee:
“West Hartford Food Pantry Needs Our Help:
“I am challenging all 16,700 of you to donate ONE item to the food pantry….imagine what a difference we could make!! Maybe every street can have a drop off spot and then in a week, it should be an overflowing box. It doesn’t matter how it happens, just that we all help! (I will happily be a drop off location in the Whiting Lane area neighborhood, just PM for address. I am willing to match every donation that is dropped off at my house)
“More than 800 households receive food from the Food Pantry each year. In 2018, the Pantry distributed over 6,000 bags of food to residents in need.
“Now, more than ever, the food pantry needs the help of the community in order to continue to assist residents struggling to put food on their tables.
“Donations can also be left in the Town Hall lobby If you need assistance unloading your food donation, please call in advance to schedule an appointment. 860-561-7569 or 860-561-7561
“Donate While You Shop
“Pick it up and drop in the collection box on your way out.
“Super Stop & Shop, 176 Newington Rd., West Hartford, Stop & Shop 1235 Farmington Ave., West Hartford, Whole Foods – Bishop’s Corner, 333 North Main St., West Hartford, Whole Foods – Blue Black Square, 50 Raymond Rd., West Hartford, ShopRite 46 Kane St., West Hartford.
“If you would like to make a monetary donation to the Food Pantry, please donate to The Town That Cares.”
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:
- Miriam Taylor said back in May that she hoped to open the West Hartford location of her Taste by Spellbound bakery by September, and sure enough it will be opening this week! The boutique bakery, that specializes in the quality of its baked goods, rather than the quantity of options each day, will have some merchandise available at the 8 Mayflower St. location in Elmwood beginning Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 10 a.m., and will have the official grand opening party from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20. “We will have samples and give-aways, and a ribbon-cutting,” Taylor said about Friday’s event. Taste by Spellbound specializes in the sweet. There will be cupcakes, French macarons, cakes, cheesecakes, cake by the slice, cookies, bars, cinnamon rolls, and other breakfast items on Saturday. There will be coffee and espresso, and she is also planning to serve ice cream, although said that may not be available right away. “All sweet, no savory,” Taylor said, and no Italian pastries. The cheerful pink and green interior was almost complete when I stopped by on Friday (no samples yet, unfortunately), including butterfly globes on the lights. Taylor said she loves the symbolism of the butterfly and it’s her special motif, but she hadn’t figured out how to incorporate it into the West Hartford shop until there was a problem with the order for the original lights she planned. When she went in search of a replacement, she found the butterflies. Taste by Spellbound already has quite a following, with locations in Avon and South Windsor. The West Hartford shop will be open Tuesday-Saturday. Taylor told me I could download photos from her Facebook page of the bakery items to use for this article. I got very hungry while doing so, and it was hard to stop because each photo looked tastier and more beautiful than the one before it. See some of those photos below.
- People often ask me how I find the bits of news for this column, and I always respond that there are many ways, including being observant about storefronts – and that includes while I am running. On a long run Friday, that took me through Blue Back Square, I noticed a temporary sign over the door to what used to be Lucy (corner of Isham and Memorial). I got in touch with Roni Rodman at The Medspa, and she shared the details that “due to our remarkable growth,” The MedSpa will be closing its location in the Delamar Hotel on Sept. 19, and will reopen in its new space on Monday, Sept. 23, at 10 a.m.. “Formerly known as The Medspa at the Delamar, The Medspa at West Hartford will continue to offer the same outstanding services at our new address located at 84 Memorial Rd., West Hartford, CT right in the heart of Blue Back Square. This location is temporary while we put the finishing touches on our permanent and spacious new home which will be located at 65 Raymond Rd., West Hartford, CT right behind Cheesecake Factory and across from the new Spaces in Blue Back Square … Loyalty from customers like you fueled our growth, making a move to a new, and more spacious facility necessary. Please contact us with any questions you may have concerning our new location. We look forward to continuing to offer you exceptional services at our new address.” For more information, call 860-272-6245 or email [email protected]. The website address will become www.themedspamd.com as of September 19. To clarify, the Delamar Hotel will still have a spa located in the hotel offering massage, facials, and other non-medical procedures. The Medspa was always a separate operation.
- The storefront where The Medspa will ultimately be located (65 Memorial Rd.) has been the location of Eyeglasses.com. According to their website, Eyeglasses.com‘s “Fit Plus Shop Store” will be moving into the Spaces co-working location at 71 Memorial Rd., and will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. More details to come on how that will work.
- The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce has held a plethora (three) of ribbon cuttings this past week. Tuesday was the ribbon cutting for Spine by Design, a new chiropractic business at 121 Talcott Rd. Thursday was a ribbon cutting celebrating the 10th anniversary of Armeny, a jewelry store at 995B Farmington Ave., and on Friday the Chamber welcomed therapist Aneta Porczak and her practice, A Brighter Path, at 41 South Main St. Congratulations to all!
- Hartford Baking Company, which currently has two locations in West Hartford (965 Famington Ave. and 625 New Park Ave.) and a commissary in Bloomfield where all the bread is baked for the shops and more than 90 other businesses throughout the area, is excited to announce plans to open a third retail location. This time they will be expanding east of the river, to open a 2,100 square foot cafe at 400 Hebron Ave. in Glastonbury in January 2020. Plans are for the same “vibe” as well as menu and bread selection as in West Hartford. HBC President Scott Kluger said of the reason for the new location: “Glastonbury is a fantastic local community and ideal for the next step of our business, which will be bringing the fresh, artisanal Hartford Baking Company products to a broader audience in Connecticut. We are so grateful for all the love and support for our two existing cafes and very excited for the next location.”
- Max Restaurant Group has announced the debut of the new “Max Family Cuvee Reserve Chardonnay” – adding to its Max Family Cuvee label that began with a Napa Valley red blend in 2007. The Reserve Chardonnay is “French oaked with nuances of baking spices and is versatile enough to complement any dish,” a news release states. “Max Family Cuvee is specially curated wine. We work with a partner winery to customize the flavor profile and style,” said Brian Mitchell, Max Restaurant Group’s wine and beverage director. “I take part in the production cycle, tasting barrel samples before the wines are finalized to ensure each vintage works with the cuisine across our various restaurants.” The release also notes that the “Max” name in the restaurants and wine is in honor of Max Veroff, a World War I veteran and grandfather of Max Restaurant Group founder and President Rich Rosenthal. “We have a strong sense of family and service. Sharing these wines is part of extending that family atmosphere of warmth and belonging at all the Max restaurants,” said Rosenthal. All Max locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts will offer reduced prices on bottles of the wine.
- Christopher Dutton, LCSW, recently joined the Bridge Family Center as clinical director of Community and School Services, the organization announced in a news release. Dutton is responsible for the Bridge’s Youth and Family Services Department and overseeing all school-based services offered by the Bridge including case consultation and crisis intervention, counseling, support groups, and positive youth development programs. He is also responsible for leading the West Hartford Youth Services Bureau, providing comprehensive prevention and intervention services, resource development, community involvement, and advocacy. “Chris has extensive experience in school, residential, and outpatient clinical environments. His ability to connect with children, adolescents, and adults, while providing mental health and substance abuse treatment, has earned him the distinction of a skilled, strategic leader with a compassionate and nurturing nature,” Bridge Family Center Executive Director Margaret Hann said in the release. “The Bridge has a strong presence in the Greater Hartford community and its school system and Chris will be a tremendous asset as we continue to grow and enhance the vital programs and services we offer to children, youth and their families.”
- Congratulations to Michael Mullin and Benjamin Denalsky, both of whom were recently promoted by West Hartford-based Environmental Systems Corporation (ESC), a leading provider of building technology solutions throughout Connecticut. Mullin, who has 32 years of business operations experience, eight at ESC, has been named chief operating officer. “Mike has great vision for the business and an immense capacity to keep many things moving simultaneously. He has evolved into my “right hand man” and we have been co-running the company for some time now. The COO title better reflects the importance of his position at ESC and the authority he has to guide business operations – both on a day-to-day basis and in setting the long-term strategic direction of ESC,” ESC President Craig McCurdy said in a news release. Denalsky, who has been with ESC since 2014 and has 28 years of planning, design, and construction experience, has been promoted to vice president of field operations. “Ben’s career at ESC has been marked by rapid advancement. He has consistently demonstrated strong planning and coordination skills, a keen eye for identifying opportunities to improve processes and the ability to implement those ideas,” McCurdy said.
- The West Hartford-based Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford (JCF) announced last week that it has appointed Kathryn Gonnerman as vice president of Philanthropy, responsible for leading a three-person team to expand JCF’s philanthropic initiatives and grow JCF’s $120 million in assets. Gonnerman has been with JCF since 2013, as marketing and communications director and as director of the Center for Innovative Philanthropy, as well as interim CEO in 2018. “Kathryn owns an advanced knowledge of our Jewish community and high levels of effectiveness in building trusting relationships, strategic planning, management and execution of projects,” Jacob Schreiber, President and CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford said in a news release. “All of this will help JCF expand its fund development initiatives and enhance our donors’ philanthropic impact.”
- Connecticut law firm Czepiga Daly Pope & Perri announced last week that it has hired West Hartford resident Paul Knierim, a graduate of Williams College and Yale Law School, to head its expansion into the dispute resolution practice area. “With a specific focus on probate and elder law dispute resolution, Knierim will provide mediation and arbitration services to Connecticut residents. Knierim served as the Simsbury probate judge for 10 years and more recently, he retired as the Connecticut Probate Court Administrator, responsible for policy leadership and operation of all 54 of the state’s probate courts. He has been recognized for launching numerous initiatives which include the enactment of stronger judicial ethics code, establishing better support and oversight for conservators and the complete overhaul of the rules of procedure that govern probate cases.”
- Today’s sad news is the planning closing of Williams Shoes at 132 Park Rd. Best of luck to the owner who plans to retire on Oct. 19 after 37 years in business. The store, which offers high quality comfortable shoes in brands that include Ugg, Merrill, Clark, and Dansko, is selling off inventory at greatly reduced prices.
- This week’s podcast features WeHa Wheels. Click here to listen for more information about West Hartford’s new – and free – transportation to and from the Center and Blue Back Square. I rode it to the Mayor’s Charity Ball last week and it was great!
- Lots of Park Road happenings, including a walking tour, clean-up, parade, and opportunity to donate to the parade by redeeming returnables at ShopRite. Click here for details.
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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