Local business and consumer news. Openings, closings, deals, sales, what to buy and where to buy it, we round it all up and give you an insider's shopper's special on small business in Halifax. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to send a tip.
Wednesday doesn’t exist for April Feener and Ben Smith’s family. It’s fly day. For the past three years, Smith’s been working 14 days on, seven days off in Fort McMurray, flying to and from Halifax on Wednesdays while his two young kids wave to “daddy’s plane.” It’s a lifestyle that he recognizes isn’t for everyone, but he’s proud of it.
“Two on, one off—that’s our life,” says Feener. “Most people wake up on Monday and have to get through to Friday, I wake up Thursday and have to get through two weeks.” The couple made the choice to make a change in Smith’s career—and their family—when their daughter was just six months old. After weighing the pros and cons, their goals of paying off debt and putting away some savings won over. Though it isn’t always easy, they’ve adapted.
“It’s all about finding out what works for us, figuring out a routine,” she says. For them, the routine includes a lot of Skype and Facetime dates, making sure to keep in touch even about the littlest, seemingly unimportant goings on, staying busy and then cramming as much as possible into the window of time when they’re together under the same roof. It was last spring when the couple decided to go into business together, launching a clothing line after a happy accident of a fashion statement. “My husband came up with the idea coming home on the plane,” says Feener. “Looking at all of the people wearing East Coast Lifestyle and West Coast Lifestyle he thought, ‘I’d like to have a shirt that represents what I do. I don’t live either of those lifestyles.’”
It started with one t-shirt Smith had made for himself, branded similarly to the other incredibly popular Lifestyle shirts with Oilfield Lifestyle. Make that two t-shirts—Feener got herself one that read Oilfield Wifestyle that she’d rep with pride here at home in Halifax. On yet another Wednesday, Smith wore his shirt back to camp and thought nothing of it. Suddenly, his work buddies all wanted one too. Then it wasn’t just his buddies. “When he started calling and saying ‘so-and-so wants one,’ I was like—we could be the next big thing!” says Feener. “It’s kind of been my little pet project, that’s one of the other key things to making this work is staying busy and keeping your mind off things. A lot of times they’ll work 12-hour shifts out there, they don’t take days off because it’s pointless. You work and get back to your family as fast as you can.”
She and Smith have since incorporated the business, launched a website and applied for trademarks. They use a local graphic designer, a local print shop and a local web host to make Oilfield Lifestyle work. Feener has also found a new circle of friends thanks to the brand, an oilfield support group for Nova Scotians with loved ones working away in the patch.
“You can’t understand this life until you’re in it,” says Feener, who says despite the hard times, her family it incredibly proud of its life. “You do what you have to do for your family, and we’ve met so many people along the way doing it for different reasons. The community of the oilfield lifestyle is huge.”
1. Let's start with TOMORROW, shall we? FRED. (2606 Agricola Street) hosts an evening of merriment from 7-9pm. Enjoy a cash bar and some snacky things as your peruse gorgeous fashions from local designer Maggie MacCormick, handmade jewellery from Sarah Sears, art from Benjamin Allain and leather goods (make that greats) from Old Birch.
2. J&R Grimsmo is spreading its holiday love over five days. The Barrington Street store is teaming up with Second Life Ethiopian Artisans and Seastar Pottery over in Dartmouth, popping up at 122 Portland Street (above Dartmouth Yarns) today through Sunday, December 14 from 10am-6pm.
3. Then there's Saturday, December 13—a day so jam-packed with action, you best break out the Palm Pilot now and get scheduling. Across the bridge, Dartmouth Clothing Co. and Frank & Folly will make an appearance at The Canteen (66 Ochterloney Street) from 9am-3pm, get your mitts on one of the new Woody the Christmas Tree tees among many other stocking stuffers.
4. At Wonder'neath Studio (2891 Islesville Street), from 11am-5pm, check out work from Bread and Butter Pottery, Therese Bombardier, Christine Waugh among others, while over at 6345 London Street in the west end you can check out Drift Holiday Art Sale. The Hat Junkie, Forage Studios, Allyson Simmie and more will have their work on display from 11am to 4pm.
5. The always cheery Zafira Apparel has moved into 2594 Agricola Street for Saturday, pairing up with Distinguished Designs statement jewellery for a day that's sure to inspire your holiday party-wear. Check it out from 10am-6pm..."surprise guests" are promised. Santa?
6. For three years the Last Minute Christmas Craft Show has been assisting the folks who love the rush of rushing to buy all of their loved ones' gifts at the 11th hour. Head to the Halifax Forum's Maritime Hall (2901 Windsor Street) on Saturday from 11am-6pm, or Sunday 10am-5pm for loads o' locally made crafts and free admission.
7. Alteregos Cafe (2193 Gottingen Street) has us procrastinators in mind with its Last minute shopper local art sale next Wednesday, December 17 from 6-8pm. Cards! Gifts! Handmade beautiful things! Lattes!
The gutted shell of what was once home to Raceway Auto Centre's seven bay garage (2019 Gottingen Street, next to Propeller Brewing Co.) will soon be the north end's newest source of entertainment, and exercise—Seven Bays Bouldering is set to open this spring.
The idea for an east coast spin-off of Montreal's Allez Up came to be after the popular climbing gym opened a brand new facility in 2012. "We felt like we kind of had the wind in our sails and we wanted to do something else," says Jean-Marc de la Plante, whose family owns the business. After doing some market research the Richer-de la Plant's decided Halifax needed an accessible spot to climb, in the heart of the city. "There is really good outdoor bouldering here, there's a strong community but a lack of urban facilities."
Thanks to family, friends and connections in town, local climbing enthusiast Hana Ogasawara—who also had ambitions to open her own gym in the north end—came into the picture. "That really spawned the project, knowing that we had the connection with someone who could be here full time," says de la Plante. "We really don't want it to be an elitist gym. She's a hardcore climber, but she kind of shares a humble approach."
After searching for the perfect spot, the Allez Up crew landed on 2019 Gottingen, seeing major potential not only in its location, but the bright windowy garage doors that what would be the gym's namesake. Currently, they're working together with routesetter Tonde Katiyo and Canadian wall-building company B-121 to map out how Seven Bays' bouldering walls will look.
But it'll be more than just a spot to climb. Taking a hint from his Montreal customers' requests, de la Plante says that the new space will also house a cafe that'll serve great coffee, snacks and beer, making Seven Bays even more of a place to hang out and also a place to unwind (and re-fuel) post bouldering. "I've been here for a month-and-a-half or two months and it's ben fun joining the north end community and meeting other business owners," says de la Plante. Seven Bays aims to be open in March.
Tonight night brings the second installment of Shopping Under The Stars on Spring Garden Road, where special sales and carolers sweeten the holiday shopping from 5-10pm.
Adding to the festivities, Fresh Goods (1491 South Park Street) will debut its collaboration t-shirt with the Quarrelsome Yeti AKA Geordan Moore. This hand-dyed, cotton Stanfield’s shirt—screenprinted with a new, freaky homemade-booze-inspired design from Moore—can be yours for $35 and it's 100 percent local.
“Gothic might be a bit of a misnomer,” says Marina Smith of the annual Have Yourself a Gothic Little Christmas crafter fair, which takes place this weekend. “It’s based in a fairytale realm where there’s light and dark.”
This year a wide range of Halifax’s most unique creations will gather at the Halifax Forum (2901 Windsor Street)—hand-stitched anime dolls, soap that’ll ward off the Kraken, a Maid Cafe, voodoo doll-shaped lampwork and loads of steampunk art and jewellery—from 11am-7pm on Saturday, December 6 and 11am-6pm on Sunday, December 7. “The show is made up of people who dont fit into regular shows,” says Smith, whose own Arcane Angel works will be there as well. Tickets are $5, or $3 for students and seniors—but bring a friend on Sunday, and they’ll get in for free.
This weekend is ALSO the 10th annual Halifax Crafters Winter Market—it kicks off this evening at 5pm, and runs all weekend long at the Olympic Centre (2304 Cunard Street). We suggest checking out both of these great events to get a great idea of the makers making awesome stuff in this city. Read more about Halifax Crafters here in Jade Nauss' holiday events round up.
In the spirit of ice-cold toes and all of the giving that goes on during this month, Barb Mulrooney—a friendly face you might recognize from Julien’s Bakery’s stall at the Seaport Farmers‘ Market (1209 Marginal Road)—is holding her second annual sock drive for Shelter Nova Scotia and the Mobile Outreach Street Health program this Saturday, December 6.
Julien’s and Mulrooney will be accepting men’s, women’s and children’s socks (preferably new ones) all day from her market stall. Last year, she collected 553 pairs and hopes to make an even bigger difference this year. “It really doesn’t take much,” she says. “If everyone that came to the market brought one pair of socks with them, it would do them for a year.”
Brandt Eisner, owner of Swoon—Fine Art & Antiques, recently made the tough decision to leave the charming Victorian farmhouse at 1410 Hammonds Plains Road. Eisner says sales have been down, his lease was ending and the owners were not properly maintaining the building. “I spent at least a year and a half looking for a new venue or land to build,” says Eisner, “but nothing seemed to work out.”
The gallery, which recently celebrated its fourth anniversary, features antiques and collectibles nestled next to the work of Nova Scotia artists and artisans. The closure of Swoon means a big change for the people that rely on the gallery for representation and to make ends meet. “There are those who do have work in other spaces but I am their top seller,” says Eisner. “This could mean a shift in their income.” Swoon will close on December 21, but the closure isn’t an end so much as a metamorphosis. Eisner will maintain the gallery’s web presence and he’s excited about organizing pop-up shows. “The closing of this space is not a failure,” he says. “It is only an opportunity to dig deeper, get more creative and move ahead in new and exciting ways.”
Theresa Lee Capell’s line of nature-inspired jewellery and accessories, Foxine, could have been plucked from a fairytale—her pieces are romantic and woodsy with just the right amount of grandeur, using repurposed materials like bark, leather and pinecones.
Last weekend she was plunked into her own fairytale, showing off her line in the gift lounge at the American Music Awards in LA, rubbing elbows with the likes of Mary J. Blige, who took home this piece, the Mother of the Monarchs necklace, which uses real butterfly wings (harvested from gardens across Canada, after each butterfly reaches its natural life span). Find Foxine at the Seaport Farmers’ Market (1209 Marginal Road) every weekend.
If you're more likely to fall into the third class of shoppers—and you're looking for unique or rare prezzies and more personal shopping experiences—you should know that it's officially pop-up shop season. Special shopping events abound! The best thing about these intimate soirees is how easy they make it on you, the spender...you can be lazy, locally-minded and a great gift-giver all at once. If you're looking to fulfill all of those, or even one of those, here are some temporary shopping spots you can cash in on over the next two weekends.
1. NSCAD’s many talented folks present Pop-up at the Christmas Shop this Friday (4-9pm) and Saturday (9am-5pm) at the former Christmas By The Sea (1800 Hollis Street), bringing the empty storefront to life with the art and craft of 60-plus students. There'll be jewellery, prints, ceramics, textiles, as well as wrapping on-site, treats and cider.
2. Over at Lost & Found (2383 Agricola Street) the creations of Sherry Lynn Jollymore—“a smattering of upcycled and handmade clothes with a smidge of special vintage and a sprinkle of some crafty bits like Christmas decorations”— will grace the shop Friday, November 28 from 6-8pm.
3. Tori Poynton will adorn The Flower Shop (1887 Granville Street) with her jewels or her seventh annual TORI.XO Jewellery Party, also on Friday, from 6:30-8:30pm. Live jazz, wine pairings from Bishop’s Cellar and an intimate setting to shop the 2014 collection—it should be a great (and fragrant) night.
4. This Saturday, November 29, Pro Skateboards and Snowboards (2451 Quinpool Road) hosts Holiday Handmade Sale, an all-day sale of handmade goodness from the likes of Thief and Bandit, swinej, Drifter Goods and Melody Hillman's ceramics.
5. Next weekend, Frank & Folly arrives! We told you about this coming-soon gift-inspired shop a while back, and since then it's pumped up its website, but the potty-mouthed shop is kicking off its IRL presence with presents! Tanked & Jolly, Frank & Folly's first pop-up, will take over The Company House (2202 Gottingen Street) next Thursday (December 4) from 6-8pm, bringing cards, prints, jewellery, and goods from Bad Mouth Soap, Better Beard Co. and Dartmouth Clothing Co. to the table.
6. *H*O*L*I*D*A*Z*E* is Big Pony's (1453 Brenton Street) festive pop-up and the reason for amazing poster art. It'll go down over the next three weeks, but the celebrations/kick-off take place next Friday, December 5, from 6-11pm. *H*O*L*I*D*A*Z*E* will boast snacks, egg nog lattes, its usual supply of amazing second-hand deals but also new clothing, ceramics, accessories and art from over 20 artists. DAMN.
The babelicious fashions at Vivacious Vixen Apparel (6092 Cunard Street) will be gracing the racks at a brand-new Dartmouth location in the very near future. Owner, designer and seamstress Brittany Connors, says she chose 86 Portland Street because the area is becoming its own little shopping district.
“I have two friends with businesses on Portland,” says Connors. “And in the last few months they have had two new clothing boutiques open as well.” Her plans to add a third new clothing store to Portland were threatened when her Cunard Street shop in Halifax was robbed in the early morning hours of November 14. In addition to the merchandise and cash register, Connors says the perps took everything they thought was worth money. “Seemed like they just grabbed what they could,” says Connors. “Some fabric, and dog food samples and a water bottle for my water cooler—which was weird, too.”
What isn't weird is the outpouring of support Connors received from family, friends and fans. In the days following the robbery two friends independently established crowdfunding campaigns, a performance group held a variety show fundraiser and a local bakery sold cookies and donated the proceeds.
“Honestly, it's made me cry harder then the robbery,” says Connors. “The amount of even just kind words has been so amazing. It makes me realize there are definitely more good people than bad.”
Connors is looking forward to dressing good people once again. Her sister-in-law gave her a barely-used sewing machine and she'll start stitching up a sassy storm once her new location is ready. In the meantime, the support she's received has enabled Connors to order some fabulous new stock.
Connors says she'll likely open the first weekend in December. You can follow her progress here. ￼
In the face of the upcoming construction at 6112 Quinpool Road, Noble Grape has followed Cyclesmith’s lead and moved its winemaking wonders to a new home. The longtime Quinpool resident didn’t stray too far, taking over (and making over) the long-neglected 2100 Oxford Street. The new shop is 50 percent bigger than the former Noble Grape, meaning more space for retail, but also for the in-store winery and its two bottle-filling stations. And we’ve gotta say, it looks pretty damn spiffy.
Lenore Kinsman wants to bring art and your dirty clothes together. Since taking over ownership of The Cranberry Laundromat (575 Main Street) in July she's been working ot renovate the space to make it about more than spin cycles and dry-cleaning. Her vision for The Cranberry Laundromat & Gallery is to create an alternative space for emerging artists to exhibit and to help bring art to everyone (in turn, making laundry-doing a much more pleasureful experience).
"A laundromat attracts every walk of life and income level, so we thought it would be a a great opportunity to showcase some work," says Kinsman. She encourages interested artists to get in touch via email@example.com.
Outfitter of beautiful men, Frank & Oak, is opening a location in downtown Halifax. Born in Montreal from the brains of Ethan Song and Hicham Ratnani, Frank & Oak's become one of Canada's most lauded menswear brands (it's so cool it even publishes its own quarterly mag called Oak Street) and we'll be home to its third retail location—a flagship store in Toronto is slated to open soon.
While F&O is indeed coming to town, they couldn't confirm where or when. Well dressed and mysterious.
We've heard that it'll open its doors on perpetual up-and-comer Barrington Street, where there are plenty of leasing opportunities. F&O says it'll release an exact address soon (feel free to wager your guesses in the comments).
Job-seekers looking for work in fashion/retail, you might want to drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org—they're hiring.
Updated, November 21
Frank & Oak has confirmed 1557 Barrington Street—the former Carsand Mosher and Maritime Summit Shop, which closed last February. The Halifax shop (which is said to open "very soon") is part of a chain of temporary stores opening across Canada—they'll pop up in Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa too—for eight to 12 month stints. It's a way of feeling out the cities for "future retail locations," says an email from F&O.
Dartmouth icon Beazley’s Bowling Lanes (613 Main Street) broke many nostalgic hearts last week when it announced via its website it would be closed for good as of Halloween. Offering good times in the form of mini-putt, bowling and cold beers since 1927, the Halifamous hangout was forced to close due to an increase in taxes and maintenance costs for the property. Saying goodbye can be so hard, but you can dull the blow by buying up your favourite memories from the bowling alley—pins, balls and hopefully some glow-in-the-dark accessories will be for sale from Monday to Friday, 10am-3pm, for the next two weeks.
Name: Amanda Wenek
Spotted: Granville Street
Wearing: Jacket, Forever 21; toque, Zara; boots, Clark’s; shirt, Urban Outfitters; jeans, H&M
If your clothes could talk, what would they say about you? I’d rather be in a cabin with six books, endless wine and a dance floor with all my best friends.
What are you listening to right now? Christmas music. I’m sorry, it snowed this week!
Name a current trend that you just can’t get on board with?
The samurai bun! This is a half-up, half-down top knot that just doesn’t look good on anyone.
Local hotspot for hidden gems? My best friend’s closet.
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