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 shoptalk@thecoast.ca to send a tip.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Curious about Curio Art Market?

Add this one to the shopping list

Posted By on Thu, Dec 8, 2016 at 11:17 AM


Best buds and Acadia grads Scott MacLean and Lauren Harwood are passionate about giving entrepreneurs a running start to help grow their small businesses. The pair are behind Inspire Halifax, an endeavour responsible for new downtown shopping spot Curio Art Market (1479 Birmingham Street), which made its debut last weekend. “Our goal and vision is to inspire Halifax that you can be a small business owner and and entrepreneur and make it work,” says MacLean of the boutique, which is located in the former Daily Grind. “We don’t really have a policy of who can sell their stuff, we’re very open into bringing in as many artists as possible.” Right now you’ll find work from 50 local makers, budding businesses and NSCAD students, and MacLean and Harwood hope to keep that number growing. For now, Curio will be open through until Christmas (Sun-Wed, 10am-6pm; Thu-Sat, 9am-9pm) but the pair hopes it will be sustainable enough to stay open for the foreseeable future.

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BZLY aims for big things

The Dartmouth clothing company offers A Guide To The Revolution

Posted By on Thu, Dec 8, 2016 at 9:52 AM

  • RedE Media

Entrepreneur and artist Peter Hemsworth plans to affirm the fashion industry in Halifax with his debut line of paintings turned casual wear. It’s called A Guide to the Revolution, and Hemsworth says the loose-fitting eco-friendly tees, layerable Grime hoodies and sleek bomber jackets are all about personal empowerment.

“It’s built around the archetype of the revolutionary. It seeks to capture the strength and confidence of a person who believes in something, and despite adversity, pushes forward and elicits positive change.” While Hemsworth cites the recent launch of his clothing company, BZLY, as his personal revolution, he’s known that he wanted to be an entrepreneur as early as age 11. “This was a few years after coping with the news I would never be a Power Ranger or the next Michael Jordan. I knew whatever I ended up doing had to be my own. I started BZLY to do just that, give myself an uncensored avenue to create.”

This creativity is made intrinsic to every BZLY garment by Hemsworth first locking himself in a room, most often in the company of an XL pizza and an Al Green record. There, he puts acrylics and spraypaint to canvas, crafting abstract paintings that will embody the feeling of his designer line. The best of the batch get converted into digital blueprints, and with the help of seasoned designer James Awmack, the themes and colourways of the art imbue a fresh fashion series with a unique creative touch. “Nova Scotia is an amazing creative environment for a project like this,” says Hemsworth. “Art galleries are speckled through the city almost as frequently as Tim Hortons’. It just seems like our export here is our creativity.”

For BZLY, the future holds an appearance at the Last Minute Holiday Pop-Up (Friday, December 9, 3-8pm) put on by Bodega Boutique (104 Portland Street), a line of Offseason Classics to tide you over post-January, and when spring arrives it’s time for Series II: Legacy Systems.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ment shines bright this weekend

Local jeweller Rachel Blair-Johns finds inspiration in ancient ruins

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2016 at 6:04 PM

Ring the alarm - LINDSAY DUNCAN
  • Ring the alarm
  • Lindsay Duncan

For Rachel Blair-Johns, owner of Dartmouth’s Ment Jewellery, a piece begins to take shape long before she begins molding metal in her home studio. Her minimalist architectural collars, studs and midi-rings rest in her imagination first, next to childhood memories and visions of Incan empires.

“I’ve always been inspired by ruins. As a little girl, my uncle”—from Wales—“used to take me around to all the Welsh castles. I always felt like, as a child hearing Arthurian legends, I was wandering around where giants had walked. It felt like seeing those buildings was like seeing strength,” she remembers. “I started to travel as a young lady. I went to Machu Picchu, and many South American ruins, and I noticed that these shapes of my childhood in England were universal throughout ancient cultures, and those sort of shapes inspire me, just the lines and forms—to try and re-invent them to a modern aesthetic for today.”

These themes are evident when looking at her piece’s clean lines, full of angles and edges. When asked who she envisions her customer as, her natural answer is “modern queens.” So, it fits that Blair-Johns is bringing her crown jewel(lery) to Makenew (2468 Agricola Street) as part of Winter Warriors, a holiday pop-up on Thursday, December 1 from 5-8pm. Meet the artist, and try one of her openwork neck pieces or shield-shaped rings for yourself—paired best with an invisible crown. She'll also be selling her beautiful things at Halifax Crafters Winter Market, all weekend.

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Tracey & Joan's Angels bring diversity to Christmas decorations

Find Halifax's Africentric angels this weekend at Halifax Crafters Winter Market

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2016 at 5:50 PM

Tracey & Joan's angels
  • Tracey & Joan's angels

Tracey Jones-Grant wants her home to be decorated with ornaments that reflect her as a person of African descent, but such things can be difficult to find in stores. After seeing the steep prices of Africentric angel tree-toppers online, Jones-Grant decided to create her own and about two years ago, she started making them. She brought them to the annual Africentric conference in Cole Harbour, and the response was positive. “People went nuts,” says Jones-Grant. “The room predominately full of people of African descent, they had not been able to get them—black Christmas cards or tree-toppers or anything.”

Along with her mother, Joan Jones, she has been working away at the sewing machine ever since making Tracey & Joan's Angels. “We have a significant African Nova Scotian population here,” says Jones-Grant. “Plus, we have a significant number of people who just like diversity around them.”

She picks up cones and fabric from the fabric store, and since she can’t find black doll heads and hands locally, she orders them from the United States and much of her other material, such as glitter and ribbons, comes from the dollar store.

“After an angel is made I leave it to sit for a day, and then I look at it to say: ‘OK, what kind of head-wrap does this angel need to complement it?’” she says, adding that each head-wrap is unique. No two angels are ever the same. As Jones-Grant works a full-time job—she’s the manager for HRM’s diversity and inclusion department—it takes her about three days to finish an angel.

“I enjoy making them because I know each one is going to a place where somebody wants it,” she says. This weekend, Jones-Grant is taking part in this weekend's Halifax Crafters’ Winter Market with her Africentric angels in tow. She hopes they’ll spark a conversation.

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Earth Goddess sparkles

Beautiful things abound at this new Hydrostone boutique

Posted By on Sun, Nov 27, 2016 at 4:00 AM

  • via Earth Goddess Shop

Shannon MacGregor and Sandy McInnis were sitting on a beach when they made the decision to open a shop together. It sounds like a whimsical way to go into business, but MacGregor, the designer and maker behind Earth Goddess Jewellery, and McInnis, who has a background in management and merchandising, had a solid foundation to build on—McInnis spent years selling MacGregor's stunning pieces at the Hydrostone's Lady Luck.

“She always wanted to open a jewellery store,” says McInnis of Earth Goddess Shop (5528 Kaye Street), which sells handmade jewellery, clothing and art. “We knew that we wanted everything ethically made. All of our wools are organically dyed, our silk is organically dyed, everything that we have is naturally produced.”

The shop, which opened in early November, aims to highlight the makers’ process and materials and features work from the likes of Thief and Bandit, Sarah Kelly Design, Katelyn Morse and Oh Dina! alongside MacGregor’s own jewellery.

“To be able to portray the maker’s story is so important, when you tell the maker’s story people are just drawn into that piece,” says McInnis. “I feel honoured that I can do that. It’s incredible sometimes, what it takes.”

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Cure what ails you at National Access Cannabis

Chill out, we’re talking about the legal kind.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 23, 2016 at 5:23 PM

Kenny Lord and Diandra Phipps want to give people with pain or illness another option. - REBECCA DINGWELL
  • Kenny Lord and Diandra Phipps want to give people with pain or illness another option.
  • Rebecca Dingwell

"If we were having this conversation two years ago, people would think we're bananas," says National Access Cannabis' Atlantic Canadian manager, Kenny Lord. NAC has several storefronts in Canada, with its latest just opened at 5990 Spring Garden Road.

You can't stroll into the place and pick up a bag of weed—it's not a dispensary. With nurses and doctors on site, the staff finds out if cannabis is an appropriate treatment for what ails you.

Diandra Phipps (you might recognize her from enVie—A Vegan Kitchen) manages the Halifax store. She says some doctors aren't comfortable prescribing cannabis, while others don't have enough information about it.

"A patient from outside can get referred here as any doctor would refer to a specialist, whether it be a dermatologist, a pain specialist or what have you," she explains. Cannabis can help with issues such as anxiety, insomnia and multiple sclerosis. Folks like Lord and Phipps act as consultants, but NAC's physicians make the final call as to whether someone qualifies.

According to Phipps, most of the patients who come to the clinic are people over 40, and have been using prescription drugs with little success. "When we think of cannabis, we think of getting high," says Phipps. "You don't even have to have any psychoactive effect from this product anymore to gain access to the benefits."

Smoking a joint every day is far from the only option. "We motivate our patients to actually vapourize. It takes away that carcinogenic effect...it also, of course, preserves the really important compounds in the plant."

Cannabis is also available in the form of oils, pills and—well —edibles. NAC sells products to help you with your cooking and the Halifax location plans to host workshops on the topic, among others, next month.

"We really want to give all of our patients the tools, the resources they need to make sure they are getting the most out of this product," says Phipps.

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Hyped on handmade: 12 holiday markets and pop-ups to check out

Keep your premature festive feels at bay with these 12 excuses to buy local, handmade gifts, decorations and stationery.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 17, 2016 at 4:00 AM

North by Night - SAM KEAN
  • North by Night
  • Sam Kean

North by Night Holiday Market
Back again, taking over the corner of Charles and Agricola, is the North by Night Holiday Market, a seasonal street party. Just before the sun goes down for the day (curse you, early darkness!) the strip comes alive with food trucks, live music, a beer garden, clothing, crafts and snacks. It’s basically the best block party imaginable—but everyone’s invited.
Sat Nov 19, 2500 Agricola Street, 4-9pm

Christmas in Cole Harbour Craft Market
If you aren’t one of those people who decked the halls on November 12 like some kind of season-pusher, you’ll find decoration inspiration at Cole Harbour Place. Whether food (cookies! fudge! bacon jam!), gifts or crafts—it’s all handmade here.
Sat Nov 19 and Sun Nov 20, Cole Harbour Place, 51 Forest Hills Parkway, 10am-4pm,$2

Anne Pryde pottery at the NSDCC Designer Craft Show
  • Anne Pryde pottery at the NSDCC Designer Craft Show

NSDCC Designer Craft Show
The Nova Scotia Designer Craft Council gathers the finest stocking stuffers in the land for this annual juried show and sale. Work from NSDCC members includes sculpture, jewellery, textiles, pottery, metal work, glass, organic skincare and many others.
Fri Nov 18 (10am-9pm), Sat Nov 19 (9am-5pm), Sun Nov 20 (10am-5pm), Cunard Centre, 961 Marginal Road, $6-9

Dalplex Christmas Craft Market
Dalplex has been doing this Christmassy thing for over 30 years, meaning its got its shit figured out. Gathering one-of-a-kind goodness from across the Atlantic provinces, Dal offers tables upon tables of snacks, toys, crafts and decorations.
Fri Nov 25 (12-9:30pm), Sat Nov 26 (9:30am-6pm), Sun Nov 27 (10am-5pm), Dalplex, 6260 South Street, $7 ($5 for Dal students/staff/Dalplex members)

Dartmouth Makers Winter Market - GINA COMEAU
  • Dartmouth Makers Winter Market
  • Gina Comeau

Dartmouth Makers Winter Market
And the Makers gonna make make make make make you want to spend all your money, just a warning. This crafty weekend brings together 50 of Darmouth’s finest—including Ment Jewellery, TNT Candles, Folk and Forest woodwares and Off Beet Farms—for a cozy couple of shopping days.
Fri Nov 25 (5-9pm) and Sat Nov 26 (9am-5pm), Christ Church Hall, 61 Dundas Street

Halifax Lights at Historic Properties
  • Halifax Lights at Historic Properties

Halifax Lights Holiday Market
Kind of like an shopping advent calendar for counting down your weekends until Santa’s big scene, Halifax Lights makes Historic Properties even more charming than its natural state with twinkling lights, festive treats, local vendors and live music. Get bundled up and bask in the atmosphere.
BONUS: This year check out pop-up version of the market at 1566 Barrington Street (Nov 23-Dec 18) and 1593 Argyle Street (Dec 16-18).
Fri Nov 25 to Sun Dec 18, Historic Properties, 1869 Upper Water Street, Fridays 4-9pm, Saturdays 12-9pm, Sundays 12-4pm

NSCAD Holiday Pop-up
Support local makers and NSCAD students by stuffing your stockings via pop-up sales at various spaces at the Fountain Campus. Over 70 students will be selling their original work—expect textiles, letterpress cards, photos, prints and a serious case of talent-envy.
Fri Nov 25 (4-9pm), Sat Nov 26 (10am-4pm), Fountain Campus, Granville Mall, 5163 Duke Street

A Humble Burdock wreath
  • A Humble Burdock wreath

Humble Burdock Pop-up at Abode
Where’s the wreath? Look no further. The north end source for mid-century modern furniture and accessories is welcoming Amanda Muis of Humble Burdock flowers, and her creative takes on the classic wreath, to the shop for one afternoon only. Your door will thank you for this one.
Sat Nov 26, Abode, 5881 Almon Street, 1-4pm

Pro Skates’ Holiday Handmade Sale
Extra pretty little things in Pro—Melody Hillman ceramics, Thief & Bandit clothing, Swine-Jay jewellery and other handmade gems.
Sat Nov 26, Pro Skateboards, Snowboards & Surfboards, 6451 Quinpool Road, 8am-4pm

Wish Book II
Nope, not the hefty Sears catalogue. Gather round this former gallery space and find over 35 makers and their hard work—ceramics, stationery, fashion, apothecary, homeware, jewellery and piles more. Party at the kick-off, Monday, November 28 at 6pm.
Nov 28-Dec 18, 1869 Granville Street, Sun, Tue, Thu, 10am-6pm; Fri-Sat, 10am-7pm

Ice cream cone decorations by Emily Lawrence  will be at Big Pony's pop-up - SUBMITTED
  • Ice cream cone decorations by Emily Lawrence will be at Big Pony's pop-up
  • submitted

Big Pony Holiday Pop-up
This majestic creature is a gift-giving playground on a regular day, but Big Pony’s offering up additional season’s greetings by bringing 30 bonus artists (local and Canadian) into the shop, perfect for those shopping for “the quirky or unconventional folks on your list.” The pop-up launches with tax-free shopping on December 2.
Fri Dec 2, Big Pony, 2168 Gottingen Street, 6-10pm

Halifax Crafters Society Winter Market
An annual inspiration for festive feelings, the Halifax Crafters Society’s juried craft market brings together a little bit of everything (ceramics, cosmetics, cookies, jewellery, stationery and so on) and a lot of talent.
Fri Dec 2 (5-9pm), Sat Dec 3, Sun Dec 4 (10am-5pm), Olympic Community Centre, 2304 Hunter Street

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Till kingdom come: meet local designer, Unique Jones

Fashion Kingz seeks to inspire and empower.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 10, 2016 at 4:00 AM

“It’s just about when you stand out and look good, you feel powerful,” says Unique Jones. - LINDSAY MCMULLEN
  • “It’s just about when you stand out and look good, you feel powerful,” says Unique Jones.
  • Lindsay McMullen

“Everyone deserves to feel powerful in their own way,” says Unique Jones. “That’s what I want my clothing line to express.”

Jones, a 20-year-old designer, crafts a custom collection in Fashion Kingz, encouraging everyone and anyone to adorn themselves in comfy, feel-good garments. An arbiter of street style, Jones says the inspiration to start his own clothing line sparked nearly three years ago, but he never thought this dream would come to fruition.

The idea happened on a whim.

“I’ve always liked to look good,” he says. “I thought one day, ‘Hey, it may be cool to share my style with other people,’ but I didn’t take it seriously at first because I didn’t think it was something I could actually do.”

Jones credits the growth of his business to the OPtions: Youth Program—a program partnering with Service Canada and the Sobey School Business Development Centre aiding in evolving its participants’ soft skills to help them succeed in their futures. During Jones’ six-month enrollment, he began to lay the foundation for what eventually became Fashion Kingz. After experiencing challenges in his mandatory work placement during this time, he was paired up to work with Alex MacLean, creator and owner of East Coast Lifestyle. The moment that happened, Jones says, is when everything changed.

“The choice to stick with what I was doing was because of Alex,” says Jones. “He showed me the ropes about business and taught me the positives and negatives this industry has.” Jones says the creative connection was instant. In October of last year, he was working alongside MacLean at the East Coast Lifestyle warehouse when Jones decided show MacLean his designs.

“He’s been there for me every step of the way, he guides me through it,” says Jones, “and that’s what motivates me to keep going, knowing he’s on my side.”

After drawing inspiration from how other clothing lines communicated their messages, Jones decided to design a crown as a representation of power and MacLean inspired him to include “fashion” in the brand’s name. Both stuck. It was then and there Jones says he solidified his collections motivation and aesthetic.

“Initially the clothing was targeted for men, but after getting feedback from women in the community, I decided to branch out and make stuff for women too,” he says. “To me now, a fashion king can mean more. It’s just about when you stand out and look good, you feel powerful.”

Jones reiterates how the “look good, feel good” mentality is important to him and how he hopes to continue making waves with that mantra in the industry.

Though he’s been selling shirts, sweaters and jerseys for only about a year now, Jones has decided to expand his collection for the winter season. Fashion Kingz boasts bombers, toques, sweatpants, scarves—anything that will keep you warm—within the next couple months. He’s also working on pillows, blankets and patches.

“Being from the north end of Halifax, a lot of people have dreams but take different routes,” he says. “I never thought a normal kid like me who’s experienced a lot of challenges in school, the community and just a general lack of motivation could be where I am right now.”

Jones says he knows every business has to take a loss at some point, and while he’s faced his fair share of challenges branding and promoting his collection, he has no plans to slow down.

“I started paying attention and motivating myself,” he says, “and it got me on the right path that I’m still on today and I’m excited to see where this all goes.”

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Thursday, November 3, 2016

The winners of the Best of Halifax Readers' Choice Awards 2016

Winner winner chicken dinner

Posted By on Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 1:00 AM

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Sugar Shok Treat Boutique to close

Downtown Dartmouth will say goodbye to the local candy shop by the end of November.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 1:41 PM

Sugar Shok's Stacey Cayea - ALLISON SAUNDERS
  • Sugar Shok's Stacey Cayea
  • Allison Saunders

After four years in the business, owner Stacey Cayea has decided to close Sugar Shok Treat Boutique in Dartmouth.

“The numbers talk and you gotta listen sometimes,” Cayea says of her financial troubles.

In the past few years, Cayea has had to sell personal belongings to get stock into the candy store.

“This year, there’s nothing left to sell,” she continues. “I need candy and I need Christmas items, and there’s no money to do it.”

Cayea says East Coast winters took a toll on the shop, as “nobody wants to go outside” and people are concerned about parking. On top of that, she feels there needs to be more support for small businesses like hers.

“It’s not just downtown Dartmouth – it’s downtown Halifax and everywhere that isn’t a mall or a big box store,” says Cayea. “People are kind of hooked on convenience and habit.”

Cayea went on to say there are lots of “new, awesome businesses” opening in Dartmouth every month. She hopes the Sugar Shok’s closure will open people’s eyes to those places.

“I’ve seen a couple of comments like, ‘I didn’t even know this place was here,’” says Cayea. “Just go downtown – take a drive around. You’re not supporting Walmart, you’re supporting the guy that lives next-door to you.”

Sugar Shok will remain open until the end of November, or until it runs out of stock.

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Reality check: Halifax VR Room opens

Find a whole new world without leaving the west end

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 at 4:00 AM

Are you experiencing? - PHOTO BY CHRIS MUISE
  • Are you experiencing?
  • photo by Chris Muise

When Dan Baldwin first waded into the local gaming scene here in Halifax, he took a decidedly retro route. Halifax Vintage Arcade, operating out of the back room of Daily Sweets (2860 Oxford Street), was a place where you could relive the days when video games could be played on big, wood-panelled cabinets one quarter at a time. Baldwin kept the nostalgia going strong out back until competition moved in across the street.

“After a few rounds of battle, we ended up getting the lease over here,” says Baldwin, who would end up selling the Halifax Vintage Arcade business, but also acquiring the lease to Ardmore Grocery & Variety. Baldwin debated what he wanted to sell at the new space, but instead of opening another vape store or smoke shop, he decided to sell the video game experience again—but his time, taking a more modern tack.

“The big catch is the full-room VR experience,” says Baldwin, who launches his new business, Halifax VR Room, from the storefront this week. Virtual reality technology is the big talk of the gaming industry these days, with people buzzing about the possibilities for the past few years. But it is still in its infancy, and is pricey at that—not a lot of average folks are likely to invest the money into trying out the budding tech at home. Therein lies Halifax VR’s business model.

“You want to come in and try it, but you don’t want to invest 10 grand into setting up your home system,” says Baldwin. “You’re really renting the hardware.” Customers will be able to connect to their personal Steam accounts—an online PC gaming streaming service—or get just a taste by checking out an a la carte menu of tech demos and proof-of-concept programs. “This is definitely the way that the technology should be introduced to people,” says Victor Canales, who tried out a Star Wars game demo. “Until you actually get here and play it, it’s really almost indescribable.”

Halifax VR will be open for business Monday to Friday.

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Friday, October 7, 2016

Over the moon for Moon Moon Cosmetics

Downtown speciality shop brings Asian beauty essentials to Halifax.

Posted By on Fri, Oct 7, 2016 at 12:30 PM

  • via Facebook

When Mengyi Bian hopped on a plane from China to start her business degree at Dalhousie, she wasn’t necessarily planning to set up shop in Halifax. But after spotting a niche, her entrepreneurial senses kicked in.

“I was thinking of bringing international to local,” she says of her idea for Moon Moon Cosmetics, a new store at Bishop's Landing (1475 Lower Water Street) offering Korean and Japanese products. A tiny but mighty space, Moon Moon sells brands you won’t find anywhere else in HRM, from face care to makeup, to electronic eyelash curlers, Bian tries to offer a wide variety. The biz opened two weeks ago, and has been steady with curious customers, she says.

“I spend a lot of time explaining what the products are,” says Bian, laughing. On the flip side, much of Moon Moon’s clientele have also been international students—people who are already familiar with these brands. The biggest obsession from Korean and Japanese beauty lovers? Sheet masks. Essentially a facial in a package, these thin cotton sheets are packed with nourishing vitamins used to hydrate, prevent acne, brighten and more. Prices start as low as $1.49 per mask— an affordable way to treat yo’ self.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Guided Tour - North End Halifax

Welcome to Halifax’s independent business incubator, a vibrant, charming neighbourhood where great shops and restaurants are thriving and launching—with very few chains or franchises in sight.

Posted on Wed, Oct 5, 2016 at 6:24 PM


For more than 12 years, Foxy Moon Hair Gallery has been doing things just a little bit differently. One of the first locations in Halifax to join the Green Circle Salons, Foxy Moon works to be a sustainable salon, with green principles in dealing with the waste a salon produces. Eveyneia Dexter also stresses excellent customer service, ethical practices and, above all, incredibly high-quality services. A further example of Foxy Moon's commitment to being a green salon is the explicit use of eco-friendly products such as Aveda and, exclusively at Foxy Moon, Davines, promoting the concept of sustainable beauty. Foxy Moon has also recently opened a small boutique in the shop, which only carries eco-friendly beauty and home products. Foxy Moon Hair Gallery, 2725 Agricola Street

A combo package of small independent record label and vinyl-only retail store, Black Buffalo Records is all about local music. The label focuses on short-run limited seveninch 45s from local artists, while the store has a large collection of new and used records from a wide variety of genres.

Believing in the atmosphere of the north end, and its strong affinity for arts and music, Kevin Beal's space also affords touring and local bands a venue to perform, and he organizes record fairs twice a year. The next one is this Saturday, October 8 at the Halifax Forum Maritime Hall, 10am-4pm. Black Buffalo Records, 5576 Cornwallis Street

When you're looking to create incredible custom team jerseys, shirts for a group event, or you just have a cool design you want to put on a unique t-shirt for yourself, more often than not Fresh Prints is where you end up. Locally owned and operated for six years by Nigel Lutes and Joseph Fischer, Fresh Prints can do anything from an individual garment to a shipment of over 1,000 pieces.

Every staff member at Fresh Prints is an artist; whether it's a graphic designer, sketch artist or graffiti writer, everyone at the shop has a keen eye for design, and they are willing to share their knowledge.

They don't simply take your design and print it. Rather they are able to offer suggestions (if they have any) to improve a customer's design and introduce new brands and print applications/options to truly make your desired project stand out. Customer service at its finest. Fresh Prints Custom Screen Printing & Apparely, 2411 Agricola Street

A variety store that ties music, art and fashion all together, Lost & Found is essentially a vintage wonderland in Halifax's north end.

Launched by Jay Melanson and Sherry Lynn Jollymore, the store has spent years offering unique clothing items, local pieces and hand-picked handmade goods. Managed by Melanson's wife Anya Nordeen, the staff at Lost & Found are equally as creative and ambitious as the designers you'll find inside.

Lost & Found doesn't try to follow trends, but rather aims for the unique items—be it their ever-rotating line of unique dresses, locally made jewellery or music records—that will truly call out to you. Lost & Found, 2383 Agricola Street

Specializing in midcentury modern and Scandinavian designs, Abode is a furniture and home decor boutique that offers authentic, original pieces, reflecting an era that focused on quality materials and craftsmanship. Modern production from Normann Copenhagen, Dansk, Herman Miller and Mezzaluna Studio complement these original ideals of the 1950s and '60s.

A north end resident for more than a quarter century, Daun Windover has created a space with extensively researched products (with an effort to have many Canadian and local items as well), leading to an unparalleled level of quality and unique items, plus top-rate customer service, including plenty of parking and access to other design shops, solidifying the north end as a Halifax destination for furniture and design. Abode Boutique, 5881 Almon Street

Locally owned and operated with a staff comprised entirely of passionate cyclists, Cyclesmith offers the widest selection of products, with a focus solely on bicycles. Whether you're a commuter, road, hybrid, rails to trail, leisure cyclist or a mountain biker, Andrew Feenstra and his staff take great pride in offering great customer service and expert advice to help their customers get the most enjoyment out of their cycling experiences.

Halifax's north end is a very tight-knit community, and those ideals extend to Cyclesmith, where there's great cycling and awesome products available; they've created one of the strongest cycling communities in Atlantic Canada. Cyclesmith, 2553 Agricola Street

It started out as a weekend pop-up inside the venerable Gus' Pub, but Ace Burger became madly popular and took over Gus' kitchen permanently. It was a bold—but great—move, as one of three of Leo and George Christakos' eateries, it became one of the premiere burger shops in all of Halifax.

Inspired by big city street food stands and old-school burger joints of the late '40s and mid-'50s, Ace Burger puts an emphasis on tasty, handcrafted eats made from fresh, local ingredients—Slow Food Done Fast. The menu is simple and well-tuned, allowing customers to experience the flavours of each carefully constructed burger creation.

Go with the Classic or DeLuxe, or try a more adventurous creation. Have it solo or with a side, and grab a beer from the bar at Gus'—easy, simple and delicious. Ace Burger Company, 2605 Agricola Street

If you're looking for a cozy coffee shop in north end Halifax, look no farther than The Nook. Open seven days a week, the staff at The Nook don't just serve; they share your love for coffee, food and drink! Originally opened in November 2013, The Nook was taken over by Kathleen Healy, Adam Healy and Liesl Mulholland in June of 2015. Offering a variety of baked goods and freshly made food items, The Nook takes great care to have something to accommodate any dietary restriction.

More than just a coffee shop, however, The Nook also hosts fast-paced trivia nights, laid-back open mic events and more gatherings.

Grab a homemade raspberry Nutella square and locally roasted coffee, or share some of its wildly popular nachos. Whatever route you decide to go, your favourite little north end coffee shop has you covered! The Nook, 2118 Gottingen Street

A neighbourhood pub where you can go for a lunch break, after-work beer, casual evening dinner, weekend brunch or even late-night karaoke on Fridays and Saturdays, the Lion's Head Tavern is flexible enough to suit any social need.

Boasting friendly service, good food and a great variety of beers on tap, Lion's Head has been a north end mainstay for a long time, playing a key part in the recent growth and development of the area. Be sure to check out their incredible Tuesday wing nights, but visit anytime—the entire menu is loaded with options that are delicious every day of the week! Lion's Head Tavern, 3081 Robie Street

Opening on October 13, Halifax will have a new place to find delicious, fresh seafood, when Hooked Halifax officially opens its doors. Focusing on small-scale, sustainable seafood from Nova Scotia and all over Canada, the selection at Hooked Halifax will be based on what has landed that week.

Nova Scotia was built on smaller-scale, family-run fishing operations, and Hooked Halifax will stick to those partnerships, with all their seafood provided from reputable partners they know and trust from across the Hooked network, all of which practice sustainable fishing and fair trade.

Owned and operated by Dave Adler, Hooked Halifax works closely with chefs, and is even managed by local chef Annie Brace-Lavoie. So not only will you be getting the best quality of seafood such as local haddock, oysters, shrimp and wild BC salmon, but you'll also be also to get on-the-spot advice and suggestions on the best ways to prepare your seafood when you get home. It's the ultimate ocean-to-table experience! Hooked Halifax, 5783 Charles Street

Living up to its motto "REAL GOOD FOOD SERVED HERE," Hali Deli is a north end institution. Known for large portions, great value and 100 pounds of caramelized onions a week, Victor Fineberg offers a menu that is hard to replicate anywhere else. Preparing most items from scratch (thanks in part to his wife Sybil—the best cook he knows), Hali Deli strives for authentic flavours in a relaxed atmosphere.

Whether it's onions caramelizing for hours, sweet pickled brisket in a special brine for days (then steam for more than five hours) or potato latkes, expect incredible flavours when you walk through the door. And don't even think about going to Hali Deli and not having the matzah ball soup—made from scratch using stewing hens, it's just that good. Hali Deli, 2389 Agricola Street

FRED. is an affordable, boutique luxury destination, focusing on beauty and delivering the best possible customer experience. Opened by Fred Connors as a cafe, salon and art gallery in the north end 12 years ago, FRED. quickly became more more. It turned into a community gathering place, at a time when the area lacked one.

FRED. developed programs to open our doors to the community, and to those who had not experienced all the diversity the north end had to offer. A breakfast program for inner-city girls, community partnerships with Leave Out ViolencE, Adsum House and Stepping Stone, participation in neighbourhood festivals, events and more—FRED. is proud to have been an anchor in the north end.

Having moved from its flagship Agricola location, FRED. is now focusing its passion on beauty. With a feel more like the salon Connors created in New York City two years ago, the new FRED. is intimate, unexpected and extraordinary. FRED., 2713 Agricola Street

Halifax's north end is a one-of-a-kind community. You won't find many standard chain stores here, as the streets are filled with a vibrant, eclectic mix of small businesses, which focus on championing local food, drink, art and culture.

"What separates us is our diversity, history and community spirit—north enders are a special bunch," says Patricia Cuttell, executive director of the North End Business Association. "The north end is home to a lot of artists—musicians, poets, painters—and you can definitely pick up on that artistic, creative vibe when in the north end, especially as it has transformed into Halifax's design district."

The area has seen tremendous growth the last 10-plus years, and a big role in that was played by the North End Business Association. The association has advocated for better conditions to enhance economic growth—such as increased parking, improved cycling infrastructure and overall improving the aesthetics of the streets—and also hosts events that not only support the community, but expose others to everything the north end has to offer.

The growth isn't stopping either. With recently opened businesses such as Fibres of Life, LF Bakery and Agora, plus the construction of the Compass Distillery and renowned furniture and design shops Attica and P9 moving to the area, it still is—and will continue to be—exciting times for Halifax's north end. North End Business Association, 206-2099 Gottingen Street

Originally a staple of downtown Halifax, when it opened in the late 1940s, The Seahorse Tavern moved to the north end on New Year's Eve in 2014.

And then—just like now—what makes the Seahorse so iconic is that it doesn't adhere to any one style. From loud bands and dance parties to quiet concerts, comedy shows and any special event in between, the Seahorse has (and always will) embrace it all. The premier venue for live music and dance parties in Halifax, the Seahorse holds monthly dance parties ranging from Motown and Soul to '90s jams and its famous retro night, Halifax's oldest and original retro-themed party.

The Seahorse also has its sister venue upstairs—The Marquee Ballroom—which only enhances the atmosphere with additional great events and shows. The Seahorse Tavern, 2037 Gottingen Street

When Sarah Bannerman Andrews opened her own retail store in April, she was offering more than simply women's clothing and accessories and natural beauty products—she created a modern example of conscious consumerism,

Everything you'll find at Sattva Boutique was chosen based on four principles: Eco-aware practices or eco-friendly fabrics, ethical production, locally made (95 percent of its clothing is made in Canada) and socially responsible companies.

While the focus is on items that are modern that are comfortable, versatile and high-quality, such as Miik, Yoga Jeans, Jennifer Glasgow, Des Petit Haus and Province Apothecary, SattVa has created a social community that provides much, much more. Sattva Boutique, 2453 Agricola Street

The Alliance Française in Halifax has been in Nova Scotia since 1903, and is part of an international network founded in 1883 in Paris, France. A not-for-profit organization, Alliance Française Halifax serves as a French cultural centre (ranging from showings of French movies, guided tours and many other cultural events), an official examination and resource centre for DELF-DALF diplomas and, most important, a location to learn French as a second language.

Alliance Française Halifax offers French classes for every age and level. From toddlers as young as 19 months, to high school students, people looking for additional professional development and those looking to keep their mind sharp and acquire another hobby, Alliance Française Halifax combines small class sizes with expert instructors and a total immersion process, offering the highest-quality French language instruction available. Alliance Française Halifax, 5509 Young Street

Set to open January 2017, the Hydrostone's newest location for growing families and businesses alike is ready for north end residents to call home. St. Joseph's Square will boast roughly 6,000 square feet of commercial space, with 106 residential rental units—including suites and townhouses.

Developed by Dexel Developments and managed by Paramount Management, St. Joseph's Square is also acknowledging the history of the land it will be standing on—the building at one point in time was a church, and the old stained glass and reclaimed limestone will be incorporated into the building, mixing historic elements with modern comfort.

With interior amenities such as a fitness centre, residents' lounge, entertainment kitchen, resident workshop and an outdoor green space, St. Joseph's Square will only further the renaissance that north end Halifax is undergoing. St. Joseph's Square, 5450 Kaye Street

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Friday, September 30, 2016

East of Montreal moves this weekend

The consignment dress shop re-opens in Sophie's Place

Posted By on Fri, Sep 30, 2016 at 4:00 AM


Exactly two years to the day after opening up shop at 1474 Brenton Street, consignment dress shop East of Montreal will re-open its doors at a new location this Saturday. At nearly double the size of its current spot, the next evolution of the boutique will call Sophie’s Place (5486 Spring Garden Road, the former location of Mills) home, alongside neighbours Casa Dante, House of Moda and Lily’s Lingerie.

“We were determined to stay in the downtown core,” says Linda Rand who owns East of Montreal with her longtime friend and fellow fashion enthusiast Leeanne Carson. “What we’re hoping is that we’ll get exposed to a whole group of people who didn’t know about us.” The extra space doesn’t just mean more room to make the brand name, gently-used dresses and other formalwear shine, but also opportunity to take more consignment pieces from the public.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Cape and Cowl celebrates two years in Sackville

A Q+A with owner shop owner and activist, Jay Roy

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 11:47 AM

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Jay Aaron Roy is the owner of comic shop, and youth drop-in centre, Cape & Cowl Comics & Collectibles (536 Sackville Drive), which celebrates two years in business this week. We chatted about lessons learned, the importance of a strong community and why the shop will never leave the neighbourhood.


What is the biggest thing you’ve learned about running a small business?
I think really I learned a lot about myself, actually. I don’t have a staff yet. I have great volunteers that help me, but I am Cape & Cowl. I learned a lot in the first year, and basically double that in the second. You’re just thrown into so many situations in which you have to be able to think on your feet. People know I’m a well organized person, but there are just some things you can’t plan for. I’ve learned a lot about myself that way.

It’s incredible that after two years you’re still a one-person operation!
I think that’s why I say I’ve learned a lot about what I can handle. I’m very tired, but I’ve embraced this. I have so much energy, I don’t where to put it…but this has been a really great energy sink. I’m a colourful, organized person and that’s what my store is—colourful and organized.

You opened your business in Sackville, which is kind of off-the-beaten retail path. Why was the location important to you?
And let me tell you I’m paying the same, if not more, in rent, monthly what someone would pay on Spring Garden Road or Barrington Street. Out here even if you don’t have the foot traffic everyday, you have a dedicated community that will gather around you—and that’s why Jennifer Welcher organized the cash mob [in February], because my landlords aren’t connected to what’s going on here, but my community cares. They help me survive and stay.

Why is it important for you to stay in there, despite the issues with rent?
What’s important to me is that it’s my community, it’s my rural area. I grew up in Fall River and was keenly aware there was nothing out this way. And by nothing I don’t mean literally nothing, I mean next to nothing. Every now and then something would pop up but nothing would stay, and I mean something for the youth to do. Other than the McDonald's and the library there's nowhere to go and do anything, and I wanted to provide that. That’s where my heart is. I also love comics and literacy, but where my heart is is connecting with youth, helping them find something that will get them passionate. A lot of youth are my consignment artists, and volunteers.

What would you say has been your biggest challenge to overcome since opening?
I guess just dealing with the Big Business mentality, that’s been my struggle. People know me I’m loud, transparent and fight for what I believe in and that’s been the struggle, trying to run my business and fight those fights at the same time. But I don't know, I love going to work every day to see those faces, and see kids playing Nintendo, or having a good time at their parties And the drop-in centre, seeing youth just hang out—I have over 43 volunteers and I’m on a first-name basis with over 50 local kids. I like being in my community, really. For me, I love being the maestro. At this point, there are so many people involved in consignment, volunteering, running events— I really feel like the facilitator. I get the final say and that makes me happy, but there are so many other people involved and it just wouldn’t work without them.

What are your goals for the next two years?
Right now my battles with the landlord make it unknown if I’ll even be able to stay in the location I’m in, but whatever happens I will survive and Cape & Cowl will survive—I will find another location and the community will help me set that up. If we have to move anywhere, we’ll just be bigger and better, but we’re staying in Sackville, that’s for sure.

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Vol 24, No 28
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