In a building that has seemingly been in search of a purpose there now resides a new restaurant in the town of Windsor. The Fusion of Windsor Restaurant has grown up out of grit, toil, will and a bit of luck. For the new owner, Antoinette Turner, of Somerville, to find out that she acquired a property on nearly the same day as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions went into place would have been enough for some to reconsider their aspirations. Might this just not be the best time to open a brand new business? But, as days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, Turner found there were just too many good things happening for her not to stick with it and see this idea of a business through.
The property where the Fusion of Windsor now sits, on Rte. 32, nearly half way between Hussey’s General Store and the Windsor Fair Grounds, seemed to Turner to be the perfect spot for a Farmer’s Market, and possibly, at some time in the future, a small farm-to-table restaurant. What exists there now is really more of an evolution than the product of a definite business plan. Talking with Turner, it’s obvious that she is an entrepreneur with a head racing with new ideas and a deep desire to make a difference in her community. She and her daughters also have the gumption to do the work necessary to see her ideas come into being.
Antoinette Turner’s passion was originally in farming and bringing the community together around a farmer’s market. She is a certified goat milk producer who loves farming and appreciates what farms do for a community. Her idea for a farm-to-table restaurant grew out of this, but she knew any restaurant would need to be able to serve beer and wine if it were to compete with other full-service restaurants in neighboring cities and towns.
The Town of Windsor, however, had an ordinance not allowing alcohol to be served and consumed in any establishment. Realizing this would be a deterrent to possible investors, Turner went about changing the ordinance. She attended selectmen’s meetings and took petitions door to door to get the ordnance change put on the ballot. Turner was successful and the town’s people voted to change the No Alcohol ordinance in June of 2019.
It was after this change that the concept of the Fusion of Windsor took shape and became a possibility. Turner was able to get investors to support her idea of a farm-to-table restaurant, farmer’s market, banquet room, and wellness center. She now had some money, but not nearly enough, to transform this building into a functional restaurant and possibly a wellness center. So, she and her daughters went to work and sanded, stripped, painted and reconditioned room after room.
When asked, Turner says COVID-19 restrictions and limitations have, in a strange way, been a blessing. While she is anxious to fully open, the slower pace of business during this period has allowed her to continue to work on the building and tweak her restaurant offerings for what customers are asking.
Aside from a full restaurant, lounge and banquet room on the ground floor, open from Thursday – Sunday, there is also a year around Farmer’s Market open on Sundays. If that wasn’t enough, the basement has a 1,500 square foot room for yoga, Pilates, and other exercise classes and other space being set aside for a mini-spa and bridal dressing room. Turner concluded my tour by saying “and in the back of the building there will be a beer garden” to provide for outside dining and enjoyment. I was stunned that so much could be squeezed out of this space. But, after spending any time with Turner, one realizes she is always thinking; What more can I do? How can I make this better?
It’s clear Antoinette Turner is a person driven to be successful. To see her eyes light up and feel her enthusiasm is enough to believe in her. To see what she and her daughters have done while being restricted by COVID limitations makes me more sure she will be successful.
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