WALLINGFORD — Fabi Giguere stood alongside local dignitaries and her husband, Brad Giguere, on Thursday as she celebrated the grand opening of ACHIQ Designs and Le Jardin Café at 86 North Main St.
Mayor William Dickinson Jr, Joe Mirra, chair of Wallingford’s economic development commission, Liz Davis, executive director of Wallingford Center Inc., Ray Andrewsen, executive director of the Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce, and Yetta Augur, president of the Cheshire Chamber of Commerce, attended the grand opening to celebrate the business.
ACHIQ Designs was originally located at 1081 South Main St. in Cheshire. Fabi Giguere said the business operated in Cheshire for six years. She had the opportunity to move to Wallingford after Joe Gouveia decided to lease the first floor of the building, which in total is 4,000 square feet.
Originally Fabi Giguere wasn’t going to utilize the side of the first floor where her café is now located, since another restaurant was going to open up there. But those plans fell through. So her husband Brad Giguere came up with the menu for Le Jardin Café and is the chef de cuisine.
“It would be nice to have a place where you can sit down,” Fabiola Giguere said. “The ambience is really nice. We have nice coffee, pastries, all kinds of stuff. We’re doing paninis, chicken pesto, nice soups with bread. You got your nice desserts, too. We have a whole variety of desserts.”
The other side of the space is ACHIQ Designs, featuring a variety of jewelry, clothing for children and women, bags, candles, diffusers, some artwork and more.
“It’s an open concept,” Fabi Giguere said. “You go there, you sit down, you can have a nice breakfast, you can have a nice lunch. The coffee is amazing and then you can go shopping too.”
Fabi Giguere said the foot traffic of downtown Wallingford was a factor in the decision to move locations.
“There’s no comparison,” Fabi Giguere said. “I love Cheshire but right now we’re looking for people who are walking all the time and we’re getting really nice feedback so we’re very happy to be in Wallingford. Plus, I live in Wallingford.”
Davis said that while the winter season can make the economic climate in Wallingford center a little slower, new business openings can help bring foot traffic back in the area.
“The climate is changing, which is great,” Davis said. Med spa
Glow Medical Aesthetics also opened up in downtown Wallingford back in May. Owner Allison Jones also chose downtown due to the location, but also since she and her family live in the town.
“I just love this town and I really could not have imagined opening it anywhere else and just staying close to home, so I work like five minutes away from home, five minutes away from my kids if they need me and I just love Wallingford,” Jones said.
The business is located at 186 Center St. Jones wanted a smaller building since she and the medical director are the only two employees of Glow. Jones is a nurse and the medical director is an advanced practice registered nurse. The two offer injectables, laser hair removal, chemical peels, hair replacement, hydrafacial and more.
“Our goal is to help you maintain your natural beauty, that is our goal,” Jones said. “We’re not trying to change the way you look … A lot of my clients that I have been getting who have been following my work whether it be through social media, they just constantly comment how they like that natural. You’re not making anybody look different than what they are.”
Mirra noticed a lot of service businesses recently opened up in town.
“Most of it has been services on the smaller end and manufacturers,” Mirra said.
Many of these new businesses were formulated during the pandemic and when building vacancies opened up, that was the beginning of these new businesses.
“It looks like they are all going to do well,” Mirra said. “The economy in Wallingford is really good. Our utility rates are really attractive, so that’s another reason why a lot of businesses like to locate in Wallingford.” Vodka distillery
In August, Paul and Diane DiMauro received the license to distill and distribute their vodka, Vengeance Vodka. Their distillery is located at 101 N. Plains Industrial Road.
The two distill the vodka together, while Paul DiMauro focuses on selling and distributing their product and Diane DiMauro works on the social media side of the business.
Paul DiMauro said they chose Wallingford due to needing a specialized building that can support a distillery.
“That takes a lot of the real estate right out of the picture,” he said.
Paul DiMauro is a member of the Amity Club of New Haven and he said that tie is how he was able to secure his building. A portion of each sale of vodka goes back to the club. He said he knew Marco Verna, whose family owns the building at 101 N. Plains Industrial Road, and Lou Proto, owner of The Proto Group, through the club.
Marco “was willing to outfit the building into what the fire marshal wants so he went above and beyond to (where) I couldn’t say no,” Paul DiMauro said.
Vengeance Vodka is smooth, Paul Dimauro said, and he and his wife first focused on distributing it to “the places we go and our favorite restaurants.”
“I don’t want to be in every retail location, that’s not my objective,” Paul DiMauro said. “My real objective is to go where the people are. So whether it’s a busy bar or a music venue, that’s where I want to focus my energies.”
He added that the town of Wallingford has been “open to businesses.”
“Everybody I’ve met in town has just been absolutely great, from the fire marshal to the tax folks, they’ve all been very good,” Paul DiMauro said.