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West Hartford Business Buzz: September 24, 2018

A Hand Up has moved to 635 New Park Ave. and has combined its operations with Journey Home's 'Making a House a Home.' Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.

By Ronni Newton

Happy fall! I almost feel like I am uttering an oxymoron by saying that, but it was such a hot and humid summer that even I am looking forward to some clear, crisp days. If only winter didn’t have to come after autumn, I’d be happy.

I guess the past few days in West Hartford have already felt fall-like – but I wasn’t in town to experience them. As dedicated readers of Business Buzz know, I left early Wednesday for a mystery trip planned my husband, Ted. At first all I knew was that it would involve exercise, wine, and beer, but the weekend before we left I learned that biking would be the exercise when Ted took me to buy a new pair of bike shorts and biking gloves. I also learned that we were going to be only one time zone away and were not leaving the country.

The only other clue I had – “Our daughter asks, ‘Show me a different way to spell my name’” – actually had a dual meaning! Our trip started off in St. Louis and for three days we rode the Katy Trail – a fabulous rails-to-trails greenway that runs across most of the width of Missouri – the “Show Me State.”

Our first day was spent in St. Louis, where it was very hot and humid! We did plenty of touristy things, including going to the top of the arch, and ended the day with drinks and apps at the 360 Rooftop Bar, a popular night spot on the roof of our hotel that overlooks the Cardinals stadium and the city of St. Louis.

Those who know Ted know he is very fit and pretty much tackle any challenge – and so admittedly I was a bit scared when I learned what the biking would entail. On Thursday morning we got on our rented bikes in St. Charles – and I had to stuff ALL of my luggage into two panniers and a front pouch so I could carry it on the bike for the next three days. “Bike packing” is what I have now learned this type of traveling is called.

Riding 44 miles in 94-degree heat the first day was exhilarating – really! It was the farthest I had ridden in many years – since I did a 65-mile MS ride (that I trained for) back when I was in my early 30s. Our ride was punctuated by lunch at a local brewery, great views of the Missouri River, sweeping plains and farmland, and ended with wine tasting at a vineyard that was at the top of a very steep hill in Marthasville, MO. The biggest problem we encountered (other than tired legs and some saddle soreness) was the complete lack of cell service or wifi at our bed and breakfast that night.

We rode 69.5 miles the next day! The weather was a bit cooler and while there weren’t too many people on the trail, we did encounter plenty of wildlife and I nearly ran into (really) a red-tailed squirrel, many grasshoppers, a groundhog, a turtle, and a chicken! A dog chased us for about two miles, and we also saw cows and horses at the many farms that bordered the trail. We crossed the Missouri on a great pedestrian/bike bridge into Jefferson City – where after the-best-tasting-ever-and-very-well-earned burgers and beers at a local Irish Pub we spent the night at an 1860s home that has been turned into a bed and breakfast.

Ted and I arrived – dusty and tired – at Rocheport, MO, on Saturday afternoon after our three-day ride along the Katy Trail.

Saturday’s ride was shorter – “only” 40 miles – and the weather was crisp and clear. I did have to talk Ted out of a 17.6-mile detour to the University of Missouri. We were off the bikes by early afternoon in Rocheport, MO, but walked back along the Katy Trail and up a steep path to the bluff-top Les Bourgeois Vineyards where we enjoyed a bottle of wine and watched the sun set before scrambling down the hill and walking the mile back along the trail before it got dark. The evening ended at a local cafe where there was live music.

Sorry for the long introduction – which I guess will also serve as my travel journal! Thank you to Ted for taking me on a great trip – one that was a physical challenge (and a mental one to convince myself that I could ride nearly 70 miles in one day) and for giving me a chance to experience a beautiful part of the country, a region I’ve never visited before where everyone seemed so warm and friendly and welcoming! The wine tasting and brewery visits were definitely a plus as well. As I write this on the plane headed back to Bradley Airport on Sunday night, I’m tired but exhilarated from the experience.

And I must add – in caps for emphasis – THANK YOU TO KATIE AND MATT who were staying at our house while we were away and had to deal with our very sick dog for the first few days of the trip. We are very thankful that our nearly 16-year-old Scarlett seems to have pretty much recovered.

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:

  • A Hand Up, a nonprofit based in West Hartford (that our family regularly volunteers with) has moved into a new warehouse space and has also merged its operations with Journey Home’s “Making a House a Home” project. I’ve been planning on writing a feature story on how much both organizations can gain by combining and coordinating their efforts and resources, and I will still do that, but now that A Hand Up has finished moving from 93 Talcott Rd. into their larger space at 635 New Park Ave. they are ready and able to accept donations of used furniture and household items (used is okay, as long as nothing is broken) that will be organized and then what is needed will be given to individuals or families who are transitioning out of homelessness and might otherwise be moving into an empty home. For more information or to schedule a pick-up of donated items, email Alison Scharr at [email protected] or Todd Polley at [email protected]. And to understand exactly how meaningful this work can be, click here for a story by Ted Glanzer about how two King Philip students helped out A Hand Up/Journey Home for their mitzvah projects.

    Donut Crazy should open next month at 993 Farmington Ave. in West Hartford Center. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • I happened to be walking by the space at 993 Farmington Ave. that is being built out for Donut Crazy last week – and got a chance to peek inside and chat with the contractor! “About a month out” is what he said about the opening. The drywall is up, and the space is really coming together, and one wall is all subway tile and will soon have red grout, the contractor said. I wonder if I can save up all those calories burned biking for when the donuts are here …
  • Essential Health (formerly TFC Health Foods and Talcott Family Chiropractic in Farmington) is now open at 74 Park Rd. (more information coming soon about their operations), and will be holding an open house in conjunction with the Park Road Parade on Saturday, Oct. 6. Meet the owners and staff, and learn more about their natural foods and body care products and services, which include chiropractic, massage, and yoga. The grand opening/open house will run from 9-5 (the parade starts at 10:30 a.m., so you can easily do both), and will include a bounce house for kids, displays, demos, and samples from select local vendors like Bare-Life, DoTerra Oils, Ralphs Garden CBD Salve, Howling Flats Farm, Baldwin Brook Farms, Carbon Chocolates, and Simply Trudy serving up breakfast sausages, chocolate milks, and chocolate sampling. The schedule also includes: 8-8:45 a.m. – complimentary pre-open house yoga; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. – Natural Market and Clinic open to public/vendor demos/chair massage; private one-on-one plant-based health consultations (RSVP recommended to [email protected]); 12:15 p.m. – Meet Dr. Allie; and 2 p.m. complimentary yoga. There will also be discounts (20 percent with Park Road Parade Day card) and other specials. Visit the website for more details.

    Honeywell is cleaning up the 11.9 acres of land it owns at 179 South St. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Honeywell is currently in the process of cleaning up what was its former manufacturing facility on 11.9 acres of land (industrial zoned) at 179 South St., doing required environmental remediation in preparation for putting the property up for sale, Economic Development Specialist Kristen Gorski advised. The property backs up to the busway.
  • A golf tournament will be held on Oct. 5, raising money for the Michael Zullo Youth Scholarship, which will support scholarships for town recreational sports participation. Zullo passed away last August at the age of 54. His sister, Toni Carreira of West Hartford, said he would “give you the shirt off his back if you needed one. Many of the youth who could not afford to pay the fee to play ball were covered by Mike‘s generosity. That’s right she said, he’d pay right our of his own pocket but never tell anyone,” she said. His niece, Kristina Carreira, is one of the organizers of the golf tournament (see flyer below). She said that it’s not necessary to join as a foursome – and there are also options to come just for dinner, or just make a donation. “Mike would never want finances to be a reason a youth could not participate,” she said.
  • Crawl for the Cure is TONIGHT! The second annual pub crawl being organized by William Raveis Real Estate is a fundraiser for the Willilam Raveis Ride+Walk/William Raveis Charitable Foundation which in turn supports the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. During the “crawl,”participants will visit Max Burger, Zohara and Elbow Room (on the rooftop) for food and drinks. Click here to purchase tickets, which are $40 each.
  • We-HaHA Comedy Night returns to World of Beer this Tuesday night, and Matt Sousa, newly-appointed district manager for World of Beer’s Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York locations said that there are now set prices for food and drink for each Comedy Night, ranging in price from $3-$6. Also every month a free appetizer will be featured and served to each table. Comedian Paul Gregory, who lines up the talent for each show, will introduce a new format this Tuesday with the comedians much more up close and personal – an exciting change for the venue, he said. Host sponsor Dr. Steve Fischman is thrilled with all the changes and feels that mixing things up will only make the evening more enjoyable. The hours are now 6:30-8 p.m., with the comedians performing from 7-8 p.m. Click here for more information about this week’s show.
  • Congrats to West Hartford resident Jonna Gerkenwho was recently appointed to the board of the Girl Scouts of Connecticut for a three-year term. “I’m very excited as it fits nicely in the time now freed up after completing my term as president of the Society of Women Engineers,” Gerken said. She will be serving alongside two girls from West Hartford, current Girl Scouts who are serving one-year terms on the board – Hall High School students Victoria Rosario and Michaela McCormick

    Katy Adams. Submitted photo

  • Sage Solutions, LLC, a geriatric care management company in West Hartford, CT, is pleased to announce that Kathryn (Katy) Betts Adams, MSW, PhD, is joining the practice. In a news release, Sage Solutions said, “Dr. Adams, a West Hartford resident, comes to the practice with over 10 year’s experience as a clinical social worker in nursing home and mental health settings and 15 years as a teacher and researcher. She has worked extensively with older adults with chronic illness, those with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, and their family caregivers. She received her master’s in social work from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D in Social Work from the University of Maryland. Dr. Adams was an Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where she taught social work practice to students specializing in aging or adult mental health. She is an expert on depression in later life.” Adams has also personally been a caregiver for older family members. “I know what it’s like to be the adult child of an older adult with cognitive as well as physical health issues…and how tough it can be to figure out what your parent needs. I also empathize with older people facing health or mobility issues who need support to help them adapt,” she said. “Katy brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Sage Solutions, and most importantly, her philosophy of care is a perfect fit. We are very fortunate to have her,” says Kathryn Freda, founder of Sage Solutions. 
  • And ICYMI – We-Ha.com broke the story late last week (typed on my iPhone while on the plane to St. Louis) that there’s a very strong possibility that Target will be taking over the former Walmart space in Bishops Corner! The Town Council will meet on Tuesday night, and is likely to approve the decision of the town planner to approve the minor changes that have been requested to the existing Special Development District for signage and façade modifications (images added to the story showing the requested signage and changes – which are primarily color-related). Read the complete story here.
  • It wasn’t a quiet week at all last week, and there was a ton of other business news. Click here to see it all– including the podcast where Jeff Lovanio and Ryan Keating interviewed me, and Barbara Lerner’s announcement of her retirement from the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce.

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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