BRISTOL - The former Barley Vine gastro pub and The Shaffer Company, both located on Main Street, have been transformed into toy stores for the shooting of scenes for the upcoming movie “Christmas Hours” today.
Those who pass by Barley Vine will notice a new wooden sign hanging above the door, featuring toy trains and labeled “Forrester Toys, EST. 1977.” The windows themselves are decorated to resemble a Christmastime store front, featuring chess and scrabble games, rocking horses, plush deer, dolls, bicycles and more.
“Christmas Hours,” starring Mario Lopez and Melissa Joan Hart, is being shot mostly in New Britain. However, according to Bristol Economic Development Specialist, Ani Chaghatzbanian, a couple scenes will be filmed on Main Street. Parking will be blocked off on the side of Main Street near Barley Vine while the filming takes place.
“They will also be filming in front of Shaffer Co.,” said Chaghatzbanian. “They will be decorating the whole strip on Main Street like it is Christmastime.”
The Shaffer Company now bears a sign titled “Dinova Toys, est. 1983,” and the windows feature giant candy canes, Spider-Man toys and a working model train. Owner David Hrdlicka said that these decorations were brought in Sunday night in preparation of filming after he was contacted by Chaghatzbanian.
“I said ‘of course I’m interested,’” he said. “This is all pretty exciting and fantastic for the community to have some activity and national exposure.”
Hrdlicka said that the building was chosen for its “quaint” appearance. It was once the Bristol Savings Bank.
“Friends and family members were offered the chance to be extras,” he said. “My wife will be here along with several kids of our employees. It’s going to be a little weird getting into the spirit in August.”
Chaghatzbanian added that she personally spoke with Hart’s mother, Paula Hart, about the filming, which may include a snow maker machine.
One of the main locations for the film will be Amato's Toy and Hobby store at 283 Main St. in New Britain. The plot of the movie will center around two competing toy store owners who team up to battle a corporate store and fall in love.
Filming will also take place at the Media Center at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. CCSU Media Relations Officer Janice Palmer has said that Hartbreak Films, a production company owned by Paula Hart and Melissa Joan Hart, will be making use of the university’s floor-to-ceiling green screen and that they will also be scouting out other locations in New Britain. Crews will be filming in New Britain for about two weeks.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.