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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bowled over

T.C. Demaresq browses for business news.

Posted By on Thu, Dec 28, 2006 at 9:41 AM

Homemade soup has the power to warm your insides like nothing else can, and Soup Sergeant is opening a new place to make that happen. A second location opened on Quinpool on December 21. It currently serves the same menu as the original Spring Garden location, which has been up and running for just over a month (both locations can be reached at 444-7687). Owner Chandra Pottle says they were planning to expand from the start, and have two more locations—at the Halifax Shopping Centre and MicMac Mall—in the works, with hopes of opening by mid-February. She’s also working on a franchising package, and aims to have it ready by the end of 2007. “We knew we wanted to get into an industry that was going to be high growth, and when we looked at the food service industry, certainly all-healthy, natural foods are the way the market is trending,” says Pottle. “And of course, we live in a cold climate here in Atlantic Canada, so soup was certainly the right fit for us.” The menu rotates, but Pottle says, “you can be assured every time you come in there’s always a wide selection of a vegetarian, a chili, a chowder, a stew; we have a good cross-section of soups every day.” Starting in January soupsergeant.com will include a schedule of the soups for each day, so you can check what’s being served, and plan ahead to catch your favourites. Around the same time, Soup Sergeant will be launching a catering menu, and you’ll also be able to place orders online for catering and pickup.

Nubody’s business

Nubody’s in Scotia Square, 492-9289, has an updated look, thanks to renovations that wrapped up this fall. “We pretty much gutted the men’s and women’s change, shower and sauna area,” says general manager Lisa Tilley, “so those are all sparkly and brand spanking new with private showers and change areas.” They also changed the layout of the club, making room for more weight-training and cardio equipment, and new flat-screen TV’s. Studios for pilates, yoga and personal training are also available, and they’ve started offering massage therapy. Accessible directly from the women’s locker room, a new women-only section includes cardio equipment, weight training equipment and a special line of circuit training equipment. Tilley says there are many new fitness programs being added to the curriculum in the new year, and to watch for a schedule at nubodysfitness.com.

Fresh-faced Frenchy’s

Frenchy’s on Gottingen reopened on December 15 after 10 days of renovations. New owner Moises Aguirre took over the store about three and a half weeks ago, and decided it needed some changes. The Gottingen Frenchy’s, which can be contacted at 444-3434, used to sell merchandise that was purchased locally. Now all the clothes coming in are from an American supplier and, according to Aguirre, “the quality of clothing has gone up tremendously.” The stock comes three times a week in 1,000 pound bales, gets re-sorted and is rotated through the store daily. Aguirre, who has another Frenchy’s in Dartmouth and several outside the province, says he took over this spot because “it’s a good location, and really in the immediate downtown area there aren’t any .” He also says there are new staff members and the interior has been freshened up with things like new paint and hardware.

Relax with Atlantic News

Atlantic News on Morris, 429-5468, took a unique approach to advertising recently—human mannequins relaxing in the store window. Michele Gerard, who owns the store with her husband, says their graphic designer made the suggestion last year. Noting how busy the holiday season can get, and how we often forget to take time for ourselves, they thought “wouldn’t it be fun if we made a window here, of people literally sitting in their living room, taking time out and reading some magazines,” says Gerard. She says she immediately liked the idea, but couldn’t pull it off last year. But this year, during the two weeks before Christmas, the store window was turned into a living room with furniture supplied by Attica, and people were hired to sit and relax with an unlimited selection of magazines. “Really it’s that sort of reminder…slow down, take a few minutes to yourself,” says Gerard. “What’s been really nice about it from our side is just the pleasure that people have had, too. People walk in with a smile…somebody walked in, looked right over at the counter and said ‘that’s the best job.’” Gerard says the people hired for the display, who sat in the window for two hours at a time, have had a lot of fun doing it, especially watching the reactions of passing pedestrians.

A sad sew long

The founder of Vogue Men’s Wear and Tailoring recently died at the age of 68, after more than 40 years of running the business. Gerasimos Dimitropoulos opened the shop—one of the oldest on Gottingen—in 1965, and his brother Nick Dimitropoulos joined him in 1966. The two had been working together ever since. Gerasimos, who died on December 9, was married with three children and four grandchildren. He was one of six siblings in his family. Nick says, “He was a good brother, he was a good father, he was just a good person.” For now, Nick says he will continue to run the business, which you can reach at 423-6504. “We’re going to look after our customers, and we’ll keep going.”

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