Bethel area oenophiles have a new place to meet and mingle. The 227 Wine Bar, owned by Linda and Michael Rizzo, opened to the public Friday, August 8, in a comfortable setting at 227 Greenwood Avenue.
“We’ve had a really good response. People are happy to have something different,” said Ms Rizzo. “We’re not a restaurant and not a bar; we’re somewhere in between,” she said. Returning from a trip to the Napa wine country in California, in 2009, the Rizzos decided to follow their years’ long interest in wine and wine making, and open the kind of sophisticated but casual gathering spot they had seen in California. “There was nothing like it here,” she said.
The Power Network, sponsored by the Monroe and Newtown Chambers of Commerce, will host a workshop featuring Lynn Moore of Moore Marketing on Thursday, July 24, from 8 to 9:15 am, at the Collaborative Work Center. “The Anatomy and Psychology of Facebook for Business Owners” will address key tips and techniques on how business owners can use Facebook to manage privacy and other settings, when to post and where to share and how to boost posts to grow your community.
The Newtown Chamber of Commerce continues to host free monthly networking events open to all local business professionals. The next event will be held at Sal e Pepe Contemporary Italian Bistro on Wednesday, July 9, at 8 am, when guest speaker Scott Anders presents "The Four Disciplines of Execution.” The program will include a workshop that actively improves the ability of guests to discipline their actions. On Thursday, July 10, Chamber members Don and Jane Sharpe, owners of Design Limited LLS, will host a "Cocktails at the Cabin" open house.
A variety of Newtown businesses were among those ranked as top choices in the recent Best of Fairfield County Reader’s Choice Poll conducted by CTNow.com. Gathered Friday, June 6, for a lunch and celebration at Barnwood Grill on Queen Street were several of the winners, which included real estate agents, hair salons, boutiques, restaurants, fitness facilities, and others.
Lidia and Paul Corey of Bethel opened the doors of their business, Vital Rain, in late April, giving Newtown and area customers a brick and mortar outlet for the line of all natural baby, children, mother, and pet products they have been selling online and at craft shows since 2013. Located at 83 South Main Street in Newtown, Vital Rain is more than just a retail store filled with bath and body, herbal teas, and other wellness products. A generously-sized children’s playroom to one side of the retail section provides shoppers with a pleasant area for small children to play while the adults browse. Adjacent to the checkout is a sunny section of the store, where comfortable chairs welcome those in need of a break. A selection from the Vital Rain herbal tea line is set up on a small table there, and a pot of hot water is always bubbling. Customers are invited to use the free Wi-Fi at Vital Rain.
They came, they listened, and hopefully, a critical mass of representatives from Newtown’s leading manufacturing and related companies departed an early June breakfast forum with ideas about how various state and federal support agencies could help them sustain and grow their businesses in town. On the morning of June 4, more than two dozen business leaders, including several company principals, founders, and CEOs, packed the meeting room at My Place for a 90-minute networking session and breakfast, highlighted by four special guests representing the US Department of Commerce, and Connecticut’s Departments of Labor, and Economic and Community Development. After a round of introductions from guests who attended on behalf of local companies, including Rand Whitney, Advanced Fusion Systems, Sonics, Architectural Glass, SMT Corporation, Tier One, The Taunton Press, Wind Corp, and Curtis Packaging, the speakers each took time to relate how their agencies stand ready to promote local manufacturers’ success and sustainability.
There is no “Rita” at Rita’s of Bethel, the “Ice Custard Happiness” store that opened February 17 in the Stony Hill Corners plaza, at the corner of Route 6 and Hawleyville Road. “Rita” is an acronym for Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability, all values of the iced desserts store owned by Irene and Joe DeAngelis. The Philadelphia-area-based Rita’s Italian Ice franchise is one of two — with two more scheduled to open soon — owned by the DeAngelis family. Inside the bright and cheerful storefront, customers can choose from 16 flavors of ice each day (including two sugar-free flavors), four custard flavors, plus shakes, gelati, sundaes, and Blendinis — a shake of ice and custard flavors. Twenty toppings or mix-ins range from peanuts to Gummi Bears to hot caramel. In the freezer, takeout selections include cakes and cookie treats.
The Newtown Chamber of Commerce continues to host free monthly networking events open to all local business professionals. The next event will be held at Sal e Pepe Contemporary Italian Bistro on Wednesday, June 18, from 8 to 9 am. The guest speaker for that meeting will be Stan Perrone of Kesco Electric & Home Improvement. Mr Perrone’s presentation is titled “The Three C’s of a Great Business: Community, Charity, Customer Service,” and will include a discussion of how significant these three elements are to maintaining a stable and productive business.
The Toy Tree, a fixture in Sandy Hook Center for nearly a decade for local toy and game purchases, relocated May 10 to 14 Church Hill Road in the plaza at the corner of Queen Street and Church Hill Road. Owner Tracy Schmid and manager JoAnn Whiting are thrilled that the additional 300 square feet they now have, plus 12-foot ceilings, allows them to offer new lines of merchandise and expand popular lines, such as Legos, which they have always carried. “We now have space for the line of Estes model rockets, Dunecraft, a gardening line for kids, and the Giving Keys jewelry line,” said Ms Schmid.
Since February 14, customers have been pouring through the doors to sample the fare offered at Barnwood Grill, 5 Queen Street, nestled next to the Bottle Stop and Caraluzzi’s Newtown Market. The official opening for Barnwood Grill was February 12. Then one of last winter’s many storms shut down the restaurant the following day for 24 hours, said owners Simi Polozani of Newtown and Denard Brahimag of New York. It was just a brief pause in what has otherwise been a successful opening, they said.
“We’ve been very busy. People like the décor, the food, and the atmosphere,” Mr Polozani said. This is the first restaurant for Mr Polozani and Mr Brahimag, but between them, they have 25 years experience working in other New York and Connecticut restaurants. “We’ve always wanted to open our own restaurant,” Mr Polozani said. When he saw that the Queen Street space was open, it took him only a week to talk his friend into delving into the restaurant business.