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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Route cause

Guy Quenneville browses for business news.

Posted By on Thu, Oct 12, 2006 at 4:03 PM

Now that Sunday shopping has arrived in Nova Scotia, people are turning their attention to another closely related matter: Sunday bus routes. Metro Transit currently provides limited service on Sundays, although the organization has added 210 hours of Sunday service since 2004. Still, with loads of shoppers now likely to fill both stores and buses on Sundays, Metro Transit is in full-response mode, although no definite change will take place immediately. “A period of study will have to take place,” says HRM spokesperson Deborah Story. “ will take a look at the service level they have and monitor to see if it’s adequate.” Rearranging the bus schedule is nothing new for Metro Transit. Every four months its inspectors make recommendations after monitoring the effectiveness and usefulness of routes. But Story wants to make it clear: Sunday shopping—much like the Rolling Stones concert and the Christmas shopping season—is a special occasion that will prompt a response “outside the usual four-month study cycle.” Story also says any changes to the Sunday schedule and routes will be determined by a combination of factors: inspectors’ recommendations, the opening dates of all local shopping malls choosing to open on Sunday (most will open on October 22) as well as customer feedback received at the HRM call center. Stay tuned.

Royal treatment

The French fine-dining restaurant Chateau Briand at 1873 Granville is undergoing an expansion that will double the restaurant’s size by the end of the year, according to chef and manager, Hervé Hemlin. The Château, which is remaining open during the project, currently has 10 to 12 tables. The expansion means the restaurant will spill over into the adjacent lot, previously occupied by The Pewter House. “My business partner and I knew that the store next door was leaving. All year we were hoping to get next door and we finally got it.” The Château will double its number of tables as well as the size of its outdoor patio and will also add a lounge area to the restaurant. The old and new sections of the restaurant will be connected by an arch with French doors. “We don’t want to knock down the wall because the section, besides acting as additional dining space, will be available for private parties or small weddings,” says Hemlin. “That way, we can have a private party in the new room, close the door and still have the restaurant open.” The new lounge section will bring with it a change to the Château’s liquor license, adds Hemlin. “When the expansion is finished, we’ll have lounge and restaurant licences. Currently, our restaurant licence stipulates that if you want a glass of wine or any alcohol, you have to eat. This new lounge licence will allow customers to just stop by and have a drink in the lounge. During the summer people will be able to come onto the patio and have a beer or just have a drink at the bar without having a meal.” The new section is expected to be ready in early December.

TV time

There’s a new TV in town at the Soho Bar and Grill at 1667 Argyle. Soho owner Tom Roussell decided it was time for his bar to “come into the 21st century” and installed a 23-inch flatscreen TV behind his bar two weeks ago. “We decided that, even though we had been a certain way for a number of years, change is a good thing,” says Roussell. “A TV can deliver all kinds of things, especially with so many different channels: movies sports, relevant news.” The Soho’s cooking staff has had a TV in the kitchen for 15 years, so Roussell decided it was time to extend the same courtesy to the bar’s customers. “From a business point of view, if you’re by yourself, sitting at a bar, and there’s a TV there, at least you’re doing something. It definitely makes feel like they’re not alone.” The response to Roussell’s change has been overwhelmingly positive, he says, but if the TV ever becomes a problem, there’s a simple solution. “If there’s something going on, or it doesn’t feel appropriate to the room, you just turn it off.”

A-Game

Students living between Coburg and Quinpool have no doubt noticed that one of the area’s key convenience stores, Triple AAA Convenience, has been shut down lately. The store, located at the corner of Preston and Jubilee, has not left for good but is in the midst of much-needed renovations, says John Amyoony, property owner and the store’s new manager. “I bought the property in 1987 and it hasn’t had any major renovations since then,” says Amyoony, who, together with his two brothers (hence the Triple AAA moniker), has been leasing the property and the Triple AAA name to other store managers since 1991. “We want to make the store look better for the customers. We’re putting in new floors, ceiling, walls, and painting it to be updated.” Amyoony will now serve as the store’s manager and he hopes the new and improved store will reopen by the end of this week.

Crossing your mind

An update on Dartmouth Crossing, the shopping plaza being built alongside Highway 118: A CBC Radio report in late August stated that the Wal-Mart outlet in the plaza was trying to begin operations in mid-October (making it the first store in the two- million-square-foot plaza to open its doors) but it now looks like neither Wal-Mart nor Home Depot will open until the end of this year, says media contact Noel Sampson. Other mid-sized stores in the development, such as Best Buy, are expected to follow with possible March openings.

Opening right now? Email: shoptalk@thecoast.ca

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