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, January 19, 2017

Check out this Swiss Army knife for weed

Doob it all with the DoobTool

Posted By on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 4:00 AM

Talk about a can-doob attitude
  • Talk about a can-doob attitude

Brett Evans wants to squash the stigma around cannabis and do away with the stereotype of lazy “potheads.” He’s invented the DoobTool, a product meant to cater to cannabis users with active lifestyles.

“Here’s a tool that will allow you to go hiking and camping,” says Evans, who is based in Halifax. He’s also the founder of the Canadian Pro-Cannabis Group, which connects patients with licensed producers of medical cannabis. The DoobTool is a “cannabis case and multi-tool”—a Swiss Army knife for weed, if you will. It’s been about a year and a half in the making.

“What we wanted to create was something that was multifaceted,” says Evans. “People consume cannabis in different ways, so we wanted to incorporate the masses when it came to designing the tool.” The DoobTool is actually nine different tools in one, including a glass dabbing tool for cannabis oil or wax, a grinder card and a pair of fold-out scissors.

The Indiegogo campaign went up online a little over a week ago. Evans and his colleague Chris Lewis had to deal with a few hurdles when setting up a crowdfunding page for a product that clearly falls under the category of drug paraphernalia. For one thing, they aren’t allowed to offer the DoobTool as a “perk” for those who contribute to the campaign.

Instead, a $35 donation will get you a return of a $35 credit for the online store. That also happens to be the cost of a DoobTool, but you could use it to buy a bunch of stickers if you really wanted. They’re also not allowed to advertise on platforms such as Facebook.

“We’re running into some problems with that, but it’s not stopping us at all,” says Evans. Evans specifically wants the DoobTool to be launched ahead of marijuana legalization. This way, they’ll be able to have “all of the kinks worked out” and make people familiar with the brand beforehand. “We wanted to be ahead of the curve,” he says, “and say, ‘You know what? This is what legalization is gonna look like.’”

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SHOP THIS: Creative Mind, Happy Soul

DOODLE Lovely aims to inspire self-care and creativity.

Posted By on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 4:00 AM

doodle-lovely-journal-cover-700x700.jpg

Two years ago, feeling smothered by a too-hectic life, Melissa Lloyd started doodling aimlessly. No pressure to create, no goal in mind, just pencil and paper. “I love to be busy but I came to a place and I thought enough is enough, I’m not feeling those moments,” says the designer and creator of local stationery line DOODLE Lovely. “When you’re on autopilot you’re not in the present a lot of the time, there’s a lack of feeling.” After finding some zen within her sketch pad—accidentally staying up until the wee hours scrawling circles and lines—she launched her own line of colouring books and journals to pass it on.

“It’s an incredible relaxation tool—I lost myself in it,” says Lloyd. “I wanted people to take five minutes out of their day to take a breath. There’s not enough people stepping back and acquainting themselves with who they are, stopping the mental chattering.” One of her latest creations, Creative Mind, Happy Soul is part-journal, part-colouring book that makes space for a little daily wandering, notetaking and reflection that’s easy and attainable. “The act of doodling is way more than what people realize, a lot of people think it’s dilly dallying or not paying attention,” she says. “It’s much the opposite.” Get your copy of Creative Mind, Happy Soul online, or pick one up at Inkwell Modern Handmade Boutique (1658 Market Street) and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (1723 Hollis Street).

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Yu Yo makes space for craft

Yu Yo Craft Supply + Tea House is growing the craft community by bringing people together.

Posted By on Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 4:00 AM

Mengnan Qu and Yu Xia think “learning a craft from a different culture is the best thing.” - AYA AL-HAKIM
  • Mengnan Qu and Yu Xia think “learning a craft from a different culture is the best thing.”
  • Aya Al-Hakim

Local craft supply shop and teahouse Yu Yo Craft Supply + Tea House (1498 Lower Water Street) is encouraging people to learn an art form or craft by offering old and new creative workshops every month. Yu Xia and Mengnan Qu opened the shop last April, where they teach classes in bookbinding, Chinese calligraphy, tea ceremony and more.

 “We make sure the student gets the professional knowledge and to have one finished project after the workshop is done, as a way to trigger their passion for craft,” Xia says.

Xia and Qu first got the idea of a craft supply shop in 2011 when they were still students at NSCAD University. “At that time NSCAD students had a hard time buying materials, especially in jewellery design, natural dyes and fabrics,” says Xia, who graduated with a major in craft.

To make materials, such as wires and silver sheets, available for students, Xia and Qu launched an online craft supply store with the same name, but it wasn’t as successful.

“We think Halifax is still an old-fashioned place with people still doing indoor shopping more than online.” Now, the owners are offering craft and art materials, through their physical and online store, not just for art students and professionals, but also for the general public.

“We found a disconnection between the professional side of art and craft and the general public,” says Xia. “There are open courses in NSCAD, but many people don’t have the confidence to take long-term classes, so we start off with one or two classes here.”

In offering the workshops, Qu, a professional jeweller, says that it brought them closer to the community. The shop also serves traditional Chinese tea, imported from China, as well as snacks made using ingredients from the neighbouring Historic Farmers’ Market.

 “Ever since I was a child I had a dream of having a little store and teahouse to share it with friends, like a Chinese salon, where people gather to make and talk about art.”

 Even though the shop hasn’t been open for long, Xia and Qu say that they are proud to have been sharing their professional knowledge and Chinese culture with others.

 “You need some communication between cultures to bring them together in a friendly setting,” says Xia. “And I think learning a craft from a different culture is the best thing.”

 After taking a Chinese painting workshop, Ho Ching Chan, a jeweller, believes that it will give people more confidence. “This is important to the community because not a lot of people are into crafts,” says Chan. “But a workshop can give you an experience to just learn and have something fun to do.”

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Mind Hack opens in Hammonds Plains

Another escape room for all you problem solvers

Posted By on Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 5:08 PM

Matt Hall loved escape rooms so much that he decided to open one of his own—even if it meant giving up his all of his free time. His Mind Hack Room Escape (1410 Hammonds Plains Road)—the city’s fifth escape room— debuted quietly December 18, providing a little friendly problem solving for folks looking to keep busy over the holidays.

“I worked full time but wanted to do it, so I decided to limit my openings to evenings and weekends,” says Hall. “It’s a labour of love, you know?” After much beta testing, his Railroaded room—a treasure hunt of sorts—has about a 20 percent success rate. Hall says making it challenging was important for him, but also making it unique.

“Every room in metro has the same scenario, there’s an element of peril. With the treasure hunter room I wanted to do something different,” he says. “It’s a crossroads decision.” He’s currently working on a second, spy-themed room that you’ll have to break into, not out of (oh, and defuse a bomb) for early spring.

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Drones for the holidays

The sky isn’t the limit, it’s just the beginning at this new Dartmouth tech source.

Posted By on Thu, Dec 22, 2016 at 4:00 AM

The DJI Store is your drone zone - STEVE CURRIE
  • The DJI Store is your drone zone
  • Steve Currie

Views from the two just got a bit more epic thanks to the opening of Dartmouth’s The DJI Store by Dr. Drone (250 Baker Drive). Looking out for both recreational and professional drone operators, the store—Canada’s only DJI retailer—opened last weekend, offering a large range of gear as well as a place for repair.

“We have customers looking for drones for fun, or for hobby, aerial photographers and videographers, but we also have a large client base using drones for business,” says Ali Crane, listing police and fire departments, government, construction, wildlife and conservation are but some of professions using the devices. “It’s a view that was previously unattainable for most people, your only other option would have been a helicopter.”

She says DJI Store owner Edward Habib got the idea to bring the shop to Dartmouth after crashing his own drone at home, and realizing there was no one locally who could fix it. Now, the shop offers not just an impressive line-up of drone options for both the average enthusiast and the tech-savvy innovator, as other photography accessories and gadgets like the Osmo handheld gimbal, which can give a phone-shot sequence a pro-finish.

Crane says the shop is planning to build an indoor flight cage for the store, so that folks can try taking a drone for a spin before committing: “We want to give people the opportunity to see how easy the technology is to use and how they can incorporate it into their lives.”

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Mind your business: 2016's openings and closings

Hellos, goodbyes and good buys

Posted By on Thu, Dec 15, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Hot damn, the entrepreneurial juices were flowing in Halifax this year. The proof of burgeoning business is in the numbers— the openings of new, exciting and expanded local shops and restaurants triples the number of sad departures and unfortunate closings. And what a relief, goodbyes are the worst. (Sniff Cafe Karachi, sniff sniff Video Difference.) Because of the 116 openings—and 38 closings—we didn’t have room to include all of the new locations and renovations that happened in 2016, but they’ve helped keep our streetscapes ever-evolving, too. Well done, town! If we’ve missed anything major (or about 100 vape shops) let us know in the comments.

Special thanks to informant extraordinaire, @HalifaxReTales

BEDFORD/ SACKVILLE

Backoos Korean To Go - LENNY MULLINS
  • Backoos Korean To Go
  • Lenny Mullins

OPENED

Backoos Korean To Go 188 Bedford Highway

Bedford Basin Farmers’ Market 397 Bedford Highway

The Butcher’s Block 540 Southgate Drive

Board Room Game Cafe 936 Bedford Highway

Cortado Tasting Room 50 Gary Martin Drive

Edible Matters Pub 1325 Hammonds Plains

Hammock by Thornbloom 1595 Bedford Highway

Jumping Bean 936 Bedford Highway

Mary Jane’s 73 Sackville Drive

Patty Cakes 131 Sackville Drive

Sushi Nami Royale 827 Bedford Highway

Sweet Beans Boutique 27 Dellridge Lane

Tasty Source 264 Bedford Highway

Tazah Pizza 540 Southgate Drive

The Wedding Venue Cafe 592 Bedford Highway

Wong’s Wok 811 Bedford Highway

CLOSED

Cherry Berry 81 Peakview Way

House of Mei Mei 264 Bedford Highway

Nu Cafe 799 Sackville Drive

Suga Rush Candy Store 619 Sackville Drive

Son Vida Social House 540 Southgate Drive

Video Difference 1239 Bedford Highway

World Tea House 1595 Bedford Highway

Yeh! Frozen Yogurt 800 Sackville Drive

QUINPOOL/ WEST END/CLAYTON PARK/ FAIRVIEW/ SPRYFIELD

Spryfield Farmers' Market - JESSICA JUDGE
  • Spryfield Farmers' Market
  • Jessica Judge

OPENED

Acadian Fish and Chips 16 Dentith Road

The Anchor 3626 Dutch Village Road

Chameleon Cafe 7071 Bayers Road

Dhaba Sweet & Spice Shoppe 8 Oland Crescent

Dilly Dally Cafe 6100 Quinpool Road

East Coast Bakery 6257 Quinpool Road

Golden Fortune 189 Herring Cove Road

Halifax Buy & Sell 70 Lacewood Drive

Halifax VR Room 2863 Oxford Street

Lucky Penny Coffee 6440 Quinpool Road

On The Mat 2985 Oxford Street

Pho Maxim 30 Farnham Gate Road

Riot Snack Bar 6293 Quinpool Road

Station Six 247 Herring Cove Road

Spryfield Farmers’ Market 111 Drysdale Road

Velo’s Pizza 3248 Dutch Village Road

CLOSED

Cherry Berry 6024 Quinpool Road

Golding Lighting 6238 Quinpool Road

Med Cafe 247 Herring Cove Road

Shawarma Stop 6290 Quinpool Road

Video Difference 6086 Quinpool Road

Cafe Karachi 16 Titus Street

BARRINGTON

Highwayman's pintxos
  • Highwayman's pintxos

OPENED

Barrington Steakhouse 1662 Barrington Street

Health Nutz 1723 Barrington Street

Highwayman 1673 Barrington Street

Jake's Florist and Chocolatier 3204 Barrington Street

QTique Fashion Boutique 1020 Barrington Street

Qui Brothers Dumplings 1335 Barrington Street

Tidehouse Brewing 2-5187 Salter Street

Trapped Escape Room 1313 Barrington Street

Weird Harbour 1656 Barrington Street

Hot Plate The Sizzling House 1022 Barrington Street

CLOSED

Skybox Haircutting 1235 Barrington Street

Hiroshima Sushi Xpress 1022 Barrington Street

DOWNTOWN DARTMOUTH

Koko Mod Floral Design - JESSICA JUDGE
  • Koko Mod Floral Design
  • Jessica Judge

OPENED

Best Kept Secret 21 Portland Street

Cafe 98 98 Portland Street

Kew 102 Portland Street

Koko Mod Floral Design 158 Portland Street

La Marche Fruit Boutique 31 King’s Wharf Place

Lady Luck Boutique 118 Portland Street

New Scotland Clothing 20 Wentworth Street

The Passage Cafe at King 65 King Street

Picnic at The Dart 127A Portland Street

Stone Pizza 79 Alderney Drive

The Trainyard General Store 53 Portland Street

CLOSED

Caroline’s Bakery & Patisserie 79 Alderney Drive

King Street Cafe 65 King Street

The Passage Cafe at King 65 King Street

Sugar Shok 112 Portland Street

DARTMOUTH

Nine Locks Brewery - LENNY MULLINS
  • Nine Locks Brewery
  • Lenny Mullins

OPENED

Downeast Beer Factory 612 Windmill Road

Hometown Furniture & Mattress 24 Akerley Boulevard

Joe Toulany’s Pizza & Lebanese Grill 590 Portland Street

Kabayan Food Mart 172 Wyse Road

Lockside Canteen by Lemon Dogs Lemonade 54 Locks Road

Millstone Public House 250 Baker Drive

Nine Locks 219 Waverley Road

St Louis Bar & Grill 547 Portland Street

Seafarers Pub 31 Cow Bay Road

Usta Turkish & Mediterranean Restaurant 635 Portland Hills

CLOSED

Always and Forever 145 Main Street

Ceilidh’s Pub 245 Waverley Road

Darkside Cafe 196 Windmill Road

Emma’s Eatery 31 Cow Bay Road

SPRING GARDEN/ SOUTH END

Go 2 Eat - NXN PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Go 2 Eat
  • NXN Photography

OPENED Chatime 1480 Brenton Street

Curio Art Market 1479 Birmingham Street

Giant Bicycles 5536 Sackville Street

Go 2 Eat 5518 Spring Garden

HFX Dog 968 Mitchell Street

Katrina Tuttle Bridal 5954 Spring Garden

The Juice Press 1551 South Park Street

The Port 5485 Clyde Street

Manual Dairy Bar 5688 Spring Garden Road

Mappatura Bistro 5883 Spring Garden Road

National Access Cannabis 5990 Spring Garden Rd

Nova Scotia Designer Craft Shop 1099 Marginal Road

The Smiling Goat 5466 Spring Garden Road

Stillwell Beergarden 5688 Spring Garden Road

Vica Boutque 5475 Spring Garden Road

Wow Hot Pot 5650 Spring Garden Road

CLOSED

Alex Oh Sushi & Rolls 1589 Dresden Row

Downtown Digital 1078 Queen Street

Dress In Time 5670 Spring Garden

Fresh Goods 1491 South Park Street

Pizza Delight 5680 Spring Garden

Wrap So D 1209 Marginal Road

DOWNTOWN

Halifax Distilling Co. - MEGHAN TANSEY WHITTON
  • Halifax Distilling Co.
  • Meghan Tansey Whitton

OPENED

Blue Apples Arts and Wellness Centre 5228 Blowers Street

By Hand Artisan Market 1867 Granville Street

East of Grafton 1580 Argyle Street

Eastside Mario's 5287 Prince Street

Dandelion Cafe 5228 Blowers Street

Haskapa Premium Berry Products 1477 Lower Water Street

Halifax Distilling Co. 1668 Lower Water Street

Little Oak 1475 Lower Water Street

Moon Moon Cosmetics 1475 Lower Water Street

Pavia Gallery 1723 Hollis Street

Pong Social Club 1741 Grafton Street

Roll It Up Sushi 1995 Brunswick Street

Soap In Your Mouth 5239 Blowers Street

Shuck Seafood & Raw Bar 5120 Salter Street

Stubborn Goat Beer Garden 1549 Lower Water Street

Tawa Grill 1496 Lower Water Street

Yu Yo Craft Supply + Tea House 1496 Lower Water Street

Verano 1871 Hollis Street

CLOSED

Aleppo Cafe 1496 Lower Water Street

Dandelion Cafe 5228 Blowers Street

Hamachi House 5190 Morris Street

ONYX 1580 Argyle Street

NORTH END

Kitsune Food Co. - MEGHAN TANSEY WHITTON
  • Kitsune Food Co.
  • Meghan Tansey Whitton

OPENED

11th Street Boutique 5649 Hennessey Street

The 244 2150 Gottingen Street

Agora 2394 Agricola Street

The Canvas Room 5521 Cornwallis Street

Earth Goddess Shop 5528 Kaye Street

El Chino 2398 Robie Street

Eliot & Vine 2305 Clifton Street

Fibres of Life 2082 Gottingen Street

Hands On Halifax 6072 Almon Street

Hooked 5783 Charles Street

Kitsune Food Co. 5710 Young Street

LF Bakery 2063 Gottingen Street

Made in the Maritimes 5527 Young Street

Panache Luxury Linens 3132 Isleville Street

Pramana 2207 Gottingen Street

Sattva Boutique 2453 Agricola Street

Timber Lounge 2712 Agricola Street

Vapor Plus 2082 Gottingen Street

Waffle Love 5530 Kaye Street Workshop & Co. 2470 Maynard Street

CLOSED

Bogside Gallery 5527 Young Street

Canvas Sip & Paint 5521 Quinpool Road

Chi Bistro 5687 Charles Street

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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

screen_shot_2016-12-08_at_11.14.16_am.png

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
  • 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
  • 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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