Fragrance Boutique Closes In Downtown Hartford

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The House of Essence on Pratt Street, a fragrance shop, has closed after a year. Photo by Jenna Carlesso/

Scented oils are supposedly big business on the West Coast, in the Midwest and in the South.

But apparently not in downtown Hartford.

The House of Essence storefront on Pratt Street in downtown Hartford. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/

The House of Essence on Pratt St., which opened a little over a year ago, has closed, and furniture was being moved out of the storefront today.

The fragrance boutique offered exotic soaps, mud-based body washes and over 1,000 scented oils.

Owners Jermaine Johnson and Niwkia Honore, who financed the opening entirely out of their personal savings, couldn’t be reached for comment today.

See The Courant’s story on store’s opening here.

Pratt Street, while quaint, has had mixed success in recent years with retailers.


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14 thoughts on “Fragrance Boutique Closes In Downtown Hartford

  1. Sam Jones

    Looks like they were missing a well-vetted Business Plan. A business plan for a self-financed venture would not face the scrutiny that a lending institution would offer. Start a business 101 (which is a course offered by the SBA throughout CT)

  2. Mitchell Simpson

    Probably the reason why they didn’t get financing and had to use their own funds to get the business going was due to a potentially sketchy past. At least according to New Britain Court records from 2007:

    Niwkia N. Honore, 25, of New Britain charged with distribution of marijuana, possession of marijuana, conspiracy to violate drug law, and vehicle lights violation, continued to Feb. 21.

    Jermaine A. Johnson, 30, of Middletown, Conn., charged with being a fugitive from justice on a court warrant, distributing marijuana, possession of marijuana, and conspiracy to violate drug law, continued to Feb. 21 on $100,000 cash bail.

    Oh well .. a proper business plan and serious study of the area might have helped, too.

  3. Mike

    If they had done a SWAT analysis, they’d find out that no one was going to buy fragrances over there. It’s not like back in the 80s when more money was living in Hartford.

  4. Jimmy Bogggs

    Mitchell: First an answer to your statements; is selling pot such a big thing for an an anally retentive person like yourself that has had nothing more important on his mind but to look up public records. Are you that freaken board with your life to practice your studied TV CSI detective couch potato abilities. What a piece of work you are. You are probably republican.

    Funny you should find this info out since I opened a business with my owned monies in the 1980s and I succeeded at it even though I now work from my home. (the smart one do.) It just so happens that I too had a situation with pot activities in the 1970s. I turned out to be quite a good lad. My business ethics and morals are probably several steps above yours if you indeed have any at all.

    You are a true piece of sheet. Probably retired and retarded.

    I think I covered everything but I reserve the right to launch another tirade.

  5. Jimmy Bogggs

    The problem with openning a fragrance store is that here in the Hartford area and CT, most people prefer to smell their stink like Michell Simpsen.

    1. Mitchell Simpson

      Jimmy .. nothing wrong with opening a business with your own funds, but the problem is that it can go south very quickly as many do. You know as well as I do that lenders do background background checks and some issues can bring negative results. And is there something wrong if I happened to be retired and not quite sure what political party has to do with anything? All I did was look at public information. Nothing made up, just what was out there from the Massachusetts and Connecticut legal sites. Sorry to hit such a sore nerve with you. Glad your business was successful and you turned out to be a good lad.

      1. Jimmy Boggs

        OK, I’ll be civil. I guess you can’t be objective in how ignorant your statement. first you castigate them because they were caught dealing in pot. big deal. let me say that again. Big deal. do you know that CT has now finally legalized pot? with stipulations?

        So a couple of young people tried now twice to succeed in business. I have no doubt they will eventually make it. But your remarks just tore right into them with complete negativity You don’t get it do you? Your remarks that is.

  6. Jimmy Boggs

    Mitchell: As far as being retired, retarded and republican and a couch potato, well… I guess you didn’t enjoy the negative emotional outbust. i only responded in kind to yours.

    1. Mitchell Simpson

      Jimmy: there was nothing castigating about my initial comment: to quote the opening: “Probably the reason why they didn’t get financing and had to use their own funds to get the business going was due to a potentially sketchy past. At least according to New Britain Court records from 2007″

      Read .. potentially sketchy past. Nothing more or less. No personal attacks, just the facks, ma’m.

      Give it a rest, my friend.

      As I ended it, proper business plan and study of the area would have done wonders.

  7. LMHtfd

    They had a good idea but wrong location. Had they attempted to start up in West Hartford, Avon or Wethersfield (all probably unaffordable considering they were using savings), just anywhere with an apppropriate customer base, they may have been able to make a go of it.

    In the previous article announcing their opening one of the owners mentioned Pratt Street foot traffic. When? Monday through Friday at lunchtime? Would those people be inclined to buy or to browse just to kill time? Lack of competition, also mentioned, similarly is not a good thing. While it may mean a market is open for your goods or services it can also mean the market is nonexistent at that location.

    Hopefully they take their inventory, get some sound advice, and try to make go of it online. With proper marketing, a unique niche (scent gift baskets for bridal parties? made-to-order scented body salvesand lotions?), and less overhead they may be able to make a go of it. When the opening was announced I admired them for making a go of it and the store was attractive, but I suspected it would be a doomed effort.

  8. Wade Boggs

    The problem with people like Jimmy Boggs and many other people in Hartford is the law (and right and wrong) no longer matter. Sorry Bud, but distribution of marijuana is illegal whether you think it is a “big deal” or not.

  9. MG

    I admire and respect Jimmy for attempting to make a go of it on Pratt Street in Hartford. I understand that Avon, West Hartford et all are where people around here are comfortable, but it’s disgraceful the way the people around here have such contempt for their capital city.

  10. Ali Good

    It is of no surprise that this business failed. The owner, Jermaine, had a nice idea and nothing more. Spent beyond his means, owes people money and is a wonderful liar.

Comments are closed.