By Kaitlyn Naples
After about a year-and-a-half since Jitters Café burned down, Shirley Bloethe, the owner, has a new venture that echoes what she did at Jitters, and then some. As of a few weeks ago, Bloethe took over the former RockWell’s Dance Hall and turned it into “The Loop.” She isn’t changing the nature of the old RockWell’s, just building upon it.
“It was the kind of thing that just came at the right time in my life,” said Bloethe, whose Jitters Cafe/Sunflower Bungalow on the Southington/ Plainville border, burned down on Sept. 26. Jitters Café, also known as The Sunflower Bungalow, was a space that provided music, food, culture, spa treatments, and much more. Bloethe had owned the building for 22 years.
Since the cafe, Pass-It-Sn store building was destroyed, Bloethe has been hosting holistic fairs at RockWell’s and has been trying to continue to provide what she used to provide to the community, remotely. Then, the owner of RockWell’s, Meghan Mitchell, decided she wanted to focus more on her holistic therapy business. She subsequently sold it to her friend, Bloethe.
Since she took over the space, Bloethe has been changing the décor of the area and put in more furniture to give it a bit of a brighter feel. The space still will be used for events like parties, fundraisers, weddings, banquets, receptions, seminars, dance recitals, social dances, corporate events, and more. There is catering available as well as a staff of waiters, disc jockeys, event planners, and more. The space is 5,500 square feet and has a dance floor, disc jockey booth, and can fit up to 250 people.
Bloethe said she wants to bring back some of the events she used to offer at Jitters, such as comedy and music nights. She also said she will continue to host holistic fairs at the space every two months, with her next one on March 2. She also wants to host more daytime events.
“I’m looking forward to helping people find what they are looking for,” she said. She said that is something she has always enjoyed, whether it was a kind of healing through holistic therapy, music, a comedy show, and anything else, “I just can’t wait to connect with people again. That’s what I need, and it is exactly what we will be doing here.”
She will even be getting support from the local community for her new business, as students at Plainville High School will be designing and constructing her new sign for her. Also, students from the University of Hartford’s business school will be doing a project on how to grow a business, using The Loop as an experiment and learning tool.
Over the last two years, Bloethe has had some trying times. She lost her nephew, her father, and then her businesses. However, she has still been able to maintain her willingness to continue doing what she loves, and continue to help the community.
“It’s kind of like the phoenix coming out of the ashes; it’s a fresh start, and I’m taking what I know to a new venue. It’s another opportunity to do what I do best,” Bloethe said. She added she is glad she could still be in the same geographical area, as many residents of both Southington and Plainville were patrons of Jitters.
At The Loop, there will still be line dancing every Wednesday night. There will be belly dancing classes and other types of open-to-the-public events where anyone can drop in. Bloethe said she already has events booked, some of which were already planned before RockWell’s was turned over. She said she will work with each person who wants to plan an event and make sure all of their needs are met. On Mondays, there will be Tai Chi workshops at 7 p.m. at The Loop, which will also be free of charge for individuals who are undergoing cancer treatments.
To book an event, check upcoming events, and more, visit www.InTheLoopCT.com or call (860)747-1100 or (860)793-9800 or email Bloethe at InTheLoopCT@ gmail.com.
By Kaitlyn Naples