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Thursday, June 8, 2006

Electric wheels

Megan Wennberg browses for business news.

Posted By on Thu, Jun 8, 2006 at 9:54 AM

Scooter Commuter opened Saturday at 1589 Dresden Row. The store is stocked with electric scooters, bikes, trikes, remote-control golf trolleys, wheelie sneakers and gas-powered skateboards and roller blades. “I’m just looking at the environment as a big concern, and people are looking for more economical ways to commute, feeling the effects of the high gas prices,” says owner Dwayne Fraser. “Everywhere else you go in this world, everybody’s driving scooters, and it’s about time that we got there. We’re behind.” Fraser’s scooters all come with a charger and AC battery that can be plugged into any normal outlet. Charging takes about six hours and will last for around 50km. Fraser himself doesn’t drive a scooter at present—“I live way out in Clayton Park, but if I lived in this area I definitely would”—but believes his scooters are ideally suited to downtown professionals and students alike. “I plan to keep low and sell in volume and make people happy that they get a good product at a low price,” he says.

Getting freaky in Bedford

Freak Lunchbox plans to open a new location in the Sunnyside Mall by September 1. Since its creation in 2001, Freak Lunchbox has “become the mecca for all things sugar in Halifax,” and co-owner Jeremy Smith looks forward to spreading sweetness across the basin. “We really want to make it so there’s a reason for people to visit both stores,” says Smith.

“There’s going to be the same love, obviously, the same attention to design and everything, but we are trying to make some unique differences.” Differences will exist in terms of both design and product stocked (a larger Jelly Belly section is planned for Bedford), but “we’re keeping with the circus side-show freak scene,” says Smith. “We wouldn’t want to mess with that, we’re not all of a sudden going to get all chi-chi.” As for the store’s five years of success on the peninsula, Smith says it’s all about the love. “We really love what we do and I think it really comes across when people walk in. I think the excitement sort of catches on…. And obviously the candy is a very easy sell.”

Silky transition

Silver Silk opened a new location at 1781 Upper Water on May 7. The silk garment, material, scarf and jewelry shop’s original location at 6417 Quinpool is still open, but owner and manager Ping Yip hopes to close it by the end of July. “I will move completely from Quinpool Road to Upper Water Street because I’m alone, and I find it’s really hard to manage two places. I’m doing it, and I find it really exhausting,” says Yip. “I was thinking , but after a month’s operations I can’t be too ambitious.” Yip looks forward to attracting more tourists at Silver Silk’s waterfront location and hopes her former clients will come find her on their lunch breaks. “The cruise ship people in general just go to that area, they don’t go up to Quinpool Road,” she says, “and most of my customers at Quinpool told me they work downtown, so it may be easy for them to go there during lunchtime.” Her storefront on Quinpool is now available for lease.

North meets East

The Samosa Hut opened in late March at 5783 Charles. Formerly located at 2731 Robie, the take-out restaurant/grocery store changed its name following the move to Charles, but the business remains the same. “We do the same,” says Naresh Pasupulati, husband of owner Rekha Pasupulati, “groceries and restaurant.” The menu consists of East Indian dishes such as meat and vegetarian curries, rice, naan and “samosas are our specialties. Fresh samosas are available most of the day,” says Naresh. Following the move, Naresh estimates The Samosa Hut has kept roughly 80 percent of its former customers, but says the business has since gained many new customers from the surrounding neighbourhood. “They’re very excited,” says Naresh, “they told me that it’s the best Indian food they’re getting now. And now they don’t have to go downtown because they can get it in their own area.”

Politically inclined

Blom Signs of Lakeside is one of several sign printing businesses profiting from this spring’s provincial election. Blom, and others like United Sign of Dartmouth and Fine Line Silkscreening of Musquodoboit Harbour, are responsible for all the colour-coded candidate signs that have sprung up in windows, front lawns, farmers’ fields and busy intersections across the province in the past few weeks. Elections are a boon to such businesses, and “we always employ extra people for that time,” says Scott Blom, Blom Signs’ production sales manager. As for political affiliation, “we work for pretty well anybody,” says Blom. “The money’s the same colour whether it’s blue, orange, red…it doesn’t much matter to me.” Blom is not as heavily involved in the election printing business this year as in the past, printing only 5,000 saigns for a few select candidates. “This election I’ve been really busy on other things, so I didn’t do a whole big pile of it this time around,” says Blom, but he adds, “I’ve done the whole province numerous times on different political events, so you know, you’re talking 60,000 pieces.”

Bowled over

The Candy Bowl at 6466 Quinpool is closed, leaving a sad gap in Quinpool’s smile where its sweet tooth used to be.

Show your teeth. Email: shoptalk@thecoast.ca

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