HAMDEN – Four new businesses—two eateries, a swimming school and a furniture store—are slated to open in Hamden in the coming months.
Visitors to the Hamden Plaza, whose food options currently range from pizza to Thai food, will be able to add two more to their list: a Jersey Mike’s and a Teriyaki Madness.
Nearby, local parents will have a new place to take their kids for swim lessons. A branch of Goldfish Swim School is taking over a storefront at 2340 Dixwell Ave., between The Edge Fitness Club and Burlington.
And residents hoping to furnish a new home can venture a little further up Dixwell, where an Ashley furniture store will replace the shuttered Bed, Bath & Beyond.
“There are so many reasons why having more business coming into Hamden is great. More people shopping in Hamden is awesome. It makes it so that our plaza owners, you know, are doing well,” said Mayor Lauren Garrett. “And we want people to have places to go in Hamden, so it’s great for economic development.”
When businesses fill vacant spaces, it also increases Hamden’s tax revenue, as the town collects property taxes based on the equipment on site, Garrett said.
Some of the new businesses are expected to open as soon as the fall, while others won’t be up and running until early next year.
Mitchell Thomson, owner of the Hamden Jersey Mike’s franchise location, said he is aiming to open the sub shop’s doors by mid-October.
It will be the tenth Jersey Mike’s location Thomson owns in Connecticut, he said, adding that he has two others coming to Shelton and Monroe.
The Hamden Jersey Mike’s will replace the old Starbucks, which moved to a new plaza building with a drive-through.
Thomson is especially excited about the site’s proximity to neighboring Hamden High School.
Thomson grew up in New Jersey, where the brand originated. He started working at the chain at age 14, he said, recalling how he would bike to work.
His new location will represent an employment opportunity for local high schoolers who won’t need to worry about transportation, he said.
“It’s always been kind of a key to our success…hiring high school kids and partnering up with the local schools and supporting each other,” Thomson said.
With each grand opening, Thomson hosts a fundraiser for a charity or good cause, he said. This time, he plans to reach out to the high school to see where the money would be most useful, he said.
Teriyaki Madness is the second food option coming to the Hamden Plaza. It is scheduled to open Jan. 3, a company spokesperson said in an email.
The eatery will occupy the space that formerly housed the plaza’s dry cleaning business, which has since moved to a different location in the same mall, according to plaza owner Andrew Bermant.
“We’re excited to have Jersey Mike’s and Teriyaki Madness join Hamden Plaza. We also added a Wingstop,” he said. “We now have some really good choices for people to go to the shopping center…and then get a bite to eat.”
The plaza has two other spaces Bermant is seeking to rent out, he said: the former site of the T-Mobile store, and the current location of Pretty Woman Outlet.
With the store owner retiring, Pretty Woman Outlet is slated to close at the end of the month, according to Bermant. The retail space is 5,500 square feet and has 40 feet of frontage, he said.
In the shopping center next door to the Hamden Plaza, a Goldfish Swim School branch will be operational in early 2024, said Caitlin Giles, a spokesperson for the national franchise.
The school offers swim lessons for kids ages 4 months to 12 years old, she said. Interested families can pre-register online and be among the first to be notified when registration opens later this year, she said.
In advance of its opening, the Goldfish Swim School is offering free water safety classes to interested community groups, according to Giles. Interested persons can visit the company’s website or email [email protected], she said.
The school will have an on-site swimming facility.
Weekly group lessons at the Hamden location will cost $150 a month, Giles said in an email. The lessons will be offered year-round in small class sizes with a maximum student-to-teacher ratio of four-to-one, she said.
Last but not least, those needing a new couch or mattress will soon be in luck. An Ashley furniture store is in the works in the shopping center at the corner of Dixwell Avenue and Connolly Parkway.
The store will open in mid-October, Betsy Ottman, a media relations manager for the company, said in an email. It represents the third Ashley’s location to open in Connecticut and is expected to create at least 15 new jobs in the area, she said.
“The new Ashley store will feature a bedding gallery with products from Tempur-Pedic, Stearns & Foster, Bedgear and others,” Ottman wrote. “The furniture showroom will feature lifestyle vignettes, including accessories such as lighting, rugs, and wall art.”
To celebrate the opening, Ashley is partnering with the nonprofit Hope to Dream to donate beds to local kids in need, according to Ottman.