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Thursday, February 1, 2007

Do-over

Guy Quenneville browses for business news.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 1, 2007 at 2:41 PM

Kinh-Do Vietnamese Restaurant, which served the public for 10 years at 1284 Barrington, has shut its doors and a new restaurant has surfaced in its place. Gingergrass (425-8555) is a Thai restaurant, but owner Nira Mugroho is keeping many Vietnamese dishes on the menu (while also introducing many popular Thai dishes). Mugroho, who often ate at Kinh-Do, saw a sign in the window saying the lease was up. “Mine was one of several offers they had on the table,” she says. “I think I was chosen because the mother, who used to run the kitchen, told me I reminded her of her and her husband when they first started Kinh-Do so many years ago.” Mugroho says that Vietnamese and Thai food share a lot of ingredients such as lemon grass and curry spices. At the same time, she adds, Thai food is generally spicier.

The menu isn’t the only thing that has changed: The restaurant also has a new look. “I have done lots of renovations,” Mugroho says. “We lifted up the ceiling. We changed the colour of the interior of the restaurant from salmon pink to green, and the floor, which used to be a dark carpet, is now wooden. We wanted to make the place more appealing.” The restaurant has been up and running for a week and a half now and Mugroho has had a couple of walk-in customers who have already returned. “A good sign,” she says.

Hair apparent

Hairstylists are used to putting other people in the hot seat, but the tables are being turned on 20 Canadian hairdressers including Mischaela Richter of Kara’s Urban Day Spa. She is one of 20 contestants on The Life Network’s upcoming Superstar Hair Challenge, a reality TV show that pits competing hairdressers against each other. She discovered the challenge when she saw a flyer advertising it in Kara’s. After submitting a video and an essay, she was asked by the producers to go to Toronto, where the show was filmed. “It was interesting getting used to having the camera in your face all the time,” she says. “Being followed around...‘Cut! Do that again. We need to get another shot of that’...the whole behind-the-scenes world of TV was really interesting to see.” You might think being up against stiff competition from across Canada would inspire some America’s Next Top Model-esque sparring. But that wasn’t the case, insists Richter. “You know, hairstylists definitely have a reputation for being catty and snotty. Hopefully, this will show people it’s not like that at all. People are helping each other during challenges—not physically, but ‘Hey, you got a run brush?’ ‘I got one. Here you go.’ Everyone was really supportive of each other.” The show will air in July.

Something old, something new

Winchesters, the bridal shop at 1479 Dresden Row (421-1999), has expanded under the watch of its new owner. “We’ve taken the bridal floor, which used to be on the top floor, and put it on the main floor,” says Sandy Getta, who took over last April. “And we’ve also added 2,000 square feet to the retail space for bridal.” Customers had the oppportunity to see all the changes on January 31, when the store reopened. Shoppers have already had the chance to see a new couture section carrying high-end fashions such as Justina McCaffrey (Winchesters is one of only four stores in Canada to carry the line), Pronovias and Paloma Blanca. “The store does not look anything like it did before,” says Getta. “We’ve added new lines of jewellery and shoes, we’ve increased our sales and we’re busier than ever. We’ve had to hire a bunch of new people,” he says. Winchesters does not only offer bridal wear, but has recently expanded its product line of prom dresses and many designs are exclusive to the store. “We also try to register each prom dress,” says Getta. “We don’t want any girl to go to a prom and see that someone else is wearing the same dress, or have to come into the store saying, ‘Another girl will be wearing the same dress!’”

Well and good

When Jessica Fitzpatrick and Richard Thompson began making plans to open up a chiropractic clinic, there was no question about the location. “When I started my undergrad in Halifax, I always knew I was coming back,” says Fitzpatrick. “We didn’t even discuss another city. Halifax is the kind of city where you can do what you want to do, but small enough that you don’t feel uncomfortable.” Fitzpatrick and Thompson, who both graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, have just opened their clinic, Active Approach Health and Wellness Centre, on the corner of Spring Garden and Summer (429-2225). It will operate from the former home of Mesa Therapeutics. Unlike Mesa, however, Active will offer chiropractic and massage services. Fitzpatrick says the greatest challenge in opening the clinic was handling the business side of things. “The goal coming out of school is to open your own clinic,” she says. “But they don’t teach you the business side at school!” she says. “Running a business, finding new patients and establishing yourself as a new clinic in the city—it’s a lot on your plate.” Some of the services available at the clinic will include active release technique, which is a more aggressive technique than a typical massage, (“You get a lot of results with it very fast,”) and low-level laser therapy, a form of healing using therapeutic light that is especially useful for sports injuries.

Want to get a lot of results, very fast? Email: shoptalk@thecoast.ca

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