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February 12, 2024

West Hartford chosen for state’s second Caffé Nero coffee house

Contributed Caffé Nero hopes to open a location in West Hartford in June.

An international coffee chain with just one other location in Connecticut plans to open in downtown West Hartford later this year.

AK Central Properties LLC has filed building permit applications to renovate the space at 13 South Main St. That location was left vacant when Sweet Frog, a national frozen yogurt chain, closed its shop there at the end of August 2022.

The building permit applications state that the renovations are intended as a “full interior fit-out of a Caffé Nero coffee shop.” A permit application for signage and awnings also cite the brand name.

Ashley Owens, an architect with the firm RE Architect in Ayer, Massachusetts, that is working on the project, confirmed Monday that Caffé Nero intends to open in that location. “We still need approval of the permits, but they are hoping to open sometime in June,” she said.

Caffé Nero has just one other location in Connecticut, at 1071 Boston Post Road (Route 1) in Darien. It has 33 shops in Massachusetts, including 20 in the Boston area, and one in Cranston, R.I. Overall, the London-based company boasts more than 1,000 locations in 11 countries. 

The chain was founded in London in 1997 when Gerry Ford, now the company’s chairman and CEO, and other investors purchased five coffee shops. Caffé Nero today is known for its signature house blend coffee, called Classico.

The shops serve hot and cold drinks, including coffee, tea, hot chocolate and more, as well as all-day breakfast and baked goods, according to its website. It also states that the shops offer “unknown artists the opportunity to showcase their talents monthly through gigs in our coffee houses.” 

The company is advertising for a store manager on various job-search websites. Company officials did not respond to a request for comment on how many people it plans to employ in the West Hartford location.

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