West Hartford Business Buzz: April 18, 2022 – We-Ha


An overview of openings, closings and other news about West Hartford businesses.

by Keith Griffin

As some of you will remember from last week’s Business Buzz, We-Ha.com editor Ronni Newton was on vacation. It did a pretty good job staying offline. too much texts and emails come my way.

She landed at JFK last night and reported: “Husband Ted, daughter Katie, and son-in-law Matt returned from Aruba after a week of sunshine, warmth, swimming and snorkeling in turquoise water. Lots of great food and topical drinks! Everyone on Monday work for…”

If anyone deserves a week off, it’s Ronni. I used to be an editor West Hartford News When it was owned by Imprint Newspapers. At the time, I thought I was wasting too many hours, but that doesn’t compare to the hours Ronni worked (especially since I wasn’t exposed to social media and her demands 24/7).

I ran We-Ha.com from my desk last week, except to go out to take pictures at the West Hartford Center Easter Egg Hunt, which was attended by several hundred people on Saturday morning. Even in the relative quiet of a school holiday week, there were still more events I could attend (but I have a full-time job as senior editor at American Business Media).

Puppies form the basis of Keith Griffin’s GastroPark/We-Ha.com photo

The truffle macaroni cheese bites from Craft Bird were delicious / We-Ha.com photo by Keith Griffin

Breakfast burrito for dinner as a treat from Hot Taco Street Kitchen in GastroPark. We-Ha.com photo of Keith Griffin

There is more news about GastroPark below, courtesy of the Facebook pages we discovered after we left. GastroPark is a great place to be on a sunny spring evening, especially if you love kids, general friendliness and dogs here are a few eight week old puppies we had to visit but somehow managed to avoid from adopting.

Okay, the good news is that as you read this, Ronni is officially back in control. It’s been a fun week dipping my feet in community journalism but Ronni is hard to replace!

The universal indoor mask requirement in West Hartford has been lifted from Thursday, February 10 (click here for details), masks will be optional in schools, libraries and other city buildings from today (click here for details). However, some business owners may still require their customers to wear masks. And many people will choose to wear masks in a variety of settings. Please be patient with each other and our choices, continue to take care of each other, support our local businesses, and stay safe and healthy (especially as the infection rate seems to be rising again).

If you have information to share about local businesses, please provide the details in the comments or email Ronni Newton. [email protected].

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Here is this week’s Buzz:

  • As some of you may have noticed, the old Subway at 932 Farmington Avenue is showing signs of life! will become one Gong Cha bubble tea place Sonny Chen will open the business, a franchise he describes as “Starbucks of bubble tea.” The permit process is ongoing, but Chen, who has owned the property with his family since March 2020, does not expect any delays. “There should be a pretty quick turnaround as there has been no usage change,” Chen said in an anticipated opening in the early summer. Updates to the space are cosmetic only and include new flooring, lighting, new tables and remodeling of the bathroom. The layout will not change. “I’m excited. It’s a good spot and there’s plenty of parking,” said Chen.

972 Farmington Ave in West Hartford Center. Signage of Sparrow Restaurant at / photo posted

  • I completely overlooked this babbling while recounting the Easter Egg Hunt with real journalism training. “wooden hut” protective structure Sparrow The site of the old Grant’s restaurant on Farmington Avenue has been removed and signs for Sparrow have been put up. The restaurant at Central 977 Farmington Ave. is owned by former Barteca (Barcelona and bartaco) manager David Boyajian. See more details to come from Ronni as his opening draws near.

1061 New Britain Ave. Ashley HomeStores Outlet is getting ready to close its doors before a major renovation. Courtesy image (we-ha.com file photo)

  • This Ashley Homestore Outlet Center On New Britain Avenue in Elmwood (formerly the Puritan building), she launched a ‘Renewal Sale’ that will run until her showroom inventory is completely exhausted. From there, they will be closed so that the property can undergo the appropriate environmental remediation needed for future plans and renovations. More details on what needs to be done for the property will be provided once the environmental improvement work begins. Owner Sami Abunasra is working closely with city officials to ensure that renovations focus on expanding opportunities for multiple sectors and bringing positive redevelopment to the Elmwood community. In January, the state announced grants under the Brownfield Improvement Program, including more than $950,000 in grants, to clean up the site on New Britain Avenue currently occupied by Ashley Home Furniture Outlet. Abunsara told We-Ha.com that he planned to build $34 million in mixed-use residential and commercial development construction at the time. He said preliminary plans are for 131 apartments that are “a good mix, maybe 50-50” of one- and two-bedroom units in a four-story building. While existing structures built in the 1950s and 1960s will be demolished, Ashley plans to reopen the HomeStore on the ground floor along with several other retailers. Abunasra said a restaurant with rooftop space is being considered.

GastroPark now offers its own food! / Facebook photo

  • gastropark It announced on its Facebook page Friday that it now offers its own menu items, in addition to its rotating food trucks. The post reads, “In addition to our food truck family’s endless options, you can now get bomb piece burgers or hot dogs (with options for plant-based and for our GF friends!) Order from the bar daily from 12-7pm We are open!”

Some cakes for sale at Nothing Bundt Cakes are coming to Corbins Corner

  • Connecticut native Traci Halky is set to open it Nothing Bundt Cakes Bakery in Corbins Corner in West Hartford this summer. Nothing Bundt Cakes specializes in takeaway cakes, where guests can choose from 10 flavors and a seasonally rotating flavor crowned with signature cream cheese icing. With more than 400 locations throughout the county, the bakery offers a variety of sizes including bite-sized Bundtinis, miniature Bundtlets, and 8″ and 10″ cupcakes for any size celebration or dessert craving. Nothing Bundt Cakes will also present more than 60 unique handmade cake decorations themed around holidays and celebrations throughout the year. Many of these decorations can be customized for any occasion, including birthdays, showers, weddings and graduations. And for that extra touch, the West Hartford bakery will carry a variety of retail products, including sustainable party supplies, eco-friendly greeting cards and unique gifts and household items, including women’s and socially conscious small businesses.

Abercrombie Kids at Westfarms Mall is closing / Contributed photo

  • it seems abercrombie kids It closes on April 24 at Westfarms.

West Hartford attorney Elizabeth ‘Beth’ Alquist / Photo Submitted

  • This Hartford Business JournalDay has named Elizabeth “Beth” Alquist, a litigation attorney in the Intellectual Property group at Pitney LLP’s Hartford office, as the winner of the 2022 Top 25 Women in Business Awards. “Beth is a bright advocate for making positive change to her clients, her team, and the firm,” said Thomas Goldberg, Managing Partner of Day Pitney, Alquist, who is also head of the firm’s litigation division. “She is always open to her colleagues and never backs down when she feels that changes are necessary, especially when it means fostering a new generation of lawyers.” Alquist has long been a standout, from his days as a Division I Academic All-American Basketball player to becoming a leading litigation attorney. She built her practice from the ground up within a newly formed intellectual property group. He represents a variety of clients in patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, non-competitive, and technology-related disputes before federal and state courts, as well as before the International Trade Commission, the Patent Litigation and Appeals Board, and the Trademark Litigation and Appeals Board. Alquist has held a number of leadership positions on Day Pitney, including serving as a member of the firm’s eight-person Executive Board and serving as the first female president of the Intellectual Property and Technology group. She is also the co-founder of the firm’s women’s initiative, Women Working Together, and is the former chair of the firm’s WWT and Diversity committees. Alquist has been an ardent advocate for women in these roles, including helping shape the company’s parental leave and flexible working policies, and ensuring equal pay.
  • Last week, there was news about Business Buzz’s local winners. Connecticut Entrepreneur Awards. We apologize. One winner is off our list. West Hartford Coworking won first place in the Space for Entrepreneurs competition.

Remember, if you have business news to share, add it in the comments section below or email Ronni Newton. [email protected].

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