A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
Now that Labor Day has come and gone, the “official” summer season has ended. Back to school, back to work, white pants are put away until Memorial Day (not really, but I’ll avoid wearing them around people who think it’s inappropriate).
Business Buzz was on holiday delay this week, which means lots of news has accumulated, even with a long weekend stuck in there. This week’s news is so exciting, and it was really, really difficult to decide which story would get top billing!
But, before getting to all the news, I just wanted to mention something that has made me incredibly happy: I published a story on Sunday about Eric Feeney, a West Hartford resident and third grade teacher at Wolcott Elementary School who had already been going above and beyond to support the families of two of his former students who had lost their dads. He decided to start a GoFundMe campaign over the summer, and has been raising money to help the families with school supplies as well as funding for sports and camp. When the story was published, the campaign had raised $2,740. As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, that total had increased to $4,570 – very close to the $5,000 goal Feeney had set. While many of the donations are anonymous, I do recognize the names of some loyal We-Ha.com readers among the donors, and the story has garnered more than 500 Facebook Likes and 36 shares. Feeney said he was counting on the thoughtful and generous West Hartford community to help him reach his goal, and this is one of the times that the power of digital and social media has had a very positive impact,
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:
- Get your beer here. Yes, beer brewed right here in West Hartford! After a two-year search for the perfect home New Park Brewing partner John Doyle has officially announced that the brewery has signed a lease and will be opening at 485 New Park – right next to the new Cumberland Farms, in front of Home Depot, and very close to the Flatbush Avenue CTFastrak station (which is perfect for those who may want to do some serious beer tasting). New Park Brewing founders are Doyle, Tom Atkins, and Alex Dee – three friends and beer enthusiasts who are also West Hartford residents. The plan is for New Park to operate as a small batch craft brewery with a full tasting room, and they plan to partner with local food purveyors to offer dining options while the tasting room is open. “We are incredibly excited to bring fresh and inventive ales to a town that appreciates great beer,” said Dee, who will serve as head brewer. There is still plenty of work to be done on the space, which New Park has taken over from Panache (which is still very much open but has moved one space back in the same building), so an opening date has not been set. We will keep everyone posted, but you can also follow New Park Brewing on Facebook for updates. If you can’t wait for a sample, there’s an opportunity coming up at the Noah Webster Real Ale Harvest Fest on Oct. 1. New Park Brewing was a “Taster’s Choice” winner at the 2015 event. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.
- The other really, really exciting news that I couldn’t wait to share is about the partnership between We-Ha.com and Vineyard Vines! Private label We-Ha clothing and accessories will be available this holiday season, exclusively at We-Ha.com, and anyone attending the Best of West Hartford on Thursday night (still some tickets available – click here) will get an exclusive sneak peek/first look at the line and will be able to place their orders. All items will be custom-ordered. Look for images of the items, and details about how to place an order coming soon. You can also scroll down to the bottom of this page to see an example of one of the items! Orders will be due by Oct. 4 and ready in plenty of time for the holidays.
- I failed to mention above that 485 New Park is probably one of West Hartford’s coolest spaces – if not THE coolest and trendiest – and there is some other business news from the building to share in addition to New Park Brewing and Panache’s move. Mindfulness and Matters, the meditation studio owned by West Hartford resident Kim Green, will have its soft opening on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 8:30 a.m. with a “Just Breathe” meditation. She has also launched a website, Mindfulnessandmatters.com, which is where you can find more details and a full schedule. The boutique (where the “matters” will be sold) will open at 10 a.m. on Sept. 7 and according to Green “will featured the beautiful works of local artists Marilyn Holt, Shannen Hartmann, Janice Olson, and Patrick Rivera.”
- Also now open at 485 New Park is Old Crow Vintage which offers “unique vintage, antique, repurposed items.” Items for sale include rustic and funky furniture and home accessories, but they are also having a vintage bike sale and swap on Saturday. Old Crow Vintage is open Wednesday-Saturday, from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Follow them on Facebook for more details, or call 860-348-6607.
- Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming opened in July at 62 Isham Rd. in Blue Back Square, but will have a ribbon-cutting with the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Sept. 7 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. And on Saturday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., Woof Gang will have its official grand opening. The first 20 dogs in the store will get free treats for a year (one per family) and “lovable, adoptable rescues” from Connecticut Greyhound Adoption, Kenway’s Cause, and the Connecticut Humane Society will be on site. Woof Gang offers salon-style pet grooming, healthy pet foods, gourmet dog treats, accessories, and more. Also coming up at Woof Gang on Oct. 2 is a “Food for Fido” fundraiser for Kenway’s Cause. West Hartford resident Patty Swanson of Patty Swanson Photography has teamed up with photographer Kay Bagwell and will offer pet photo sessions with proceeds going to Kenway’s Cause. For more information or to register, see the Facebook event.
- We move back to New Park Avenue for this item – the opening of APEX Movement West Hartford. APEX Movement, based in Denver, will bring its “Ninja Warrior” Parkour training to 635 New Park Ave. Karen Roche of Karen Elizabeth Salon & Academy and The Playground said the opening date is not confirmed, but will be sometime in the next several weeks. Roche said that the Colorado and local coaches are “so excited to bring Parkour to West Hartford.” More details will definitely be forthcoming!
- Finally, in case you skipped over the part about the We-Ha Vineyard Vines merchandise being revealed at Best of West Hartford, here’s your reminder not to ignore the ticker at the top of the page. Depending on when you read this, there may be just hours left to buy your tickets to the Best of West Hartford awards show on Sept. 8 (yes, that’s tomorrow) – a great networking opportunity that includes food and drink and the chance to be first to know who the winners are! Click here to purchase tickets before the price goes up.
Remember, if you have any business news to share, remember to add it in the comments section below or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].
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