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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sam’s town, no longer

Guy Quenneville browses for business news.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 22, 2007 at 7:44 AM

Sam the Record Man, the hallowed music store at 1656 Barrington, shined a spotlight on many a local artist for more than 20 years. That was until last week—Sam’s closed its doors on Tuesday with little warning, to the surprise of many. The owner, Bobby Sniderman, says he and his brother (and co-owner) Jason are “very saddened by the loss of the store. Our affinity for the east coast goes back to our father, Sam.” (The elder Sniderman spoke at the East Coast Music Awards last year.) Sniderman admits the store’s closure is the unfortunate side effect of a bigger trend in the music business: music stores trying to compete in the digital age. “Running a retail store is a labour of love,” says Sniderman. “It’s very hard. Closing down the store was a responsible business decision. To continue running the store would have been difficult.” While the store’s inventory is being sent to Toronto, Sniderman says he’d be happy to sell the business to anyone who is interested in taking on the challenge.

Getting personal

One might think Meryl Streep’s Anna Wintour send-up in The Devil Wears Prada would discourage people from becoming personal assistants, but two local women are proving there’s fun to be had in the job. Alison MacCormack and Gentina Smith formed their company, Your Beck and Call, in August. MacCormack and Smith work as personal assistants to people in the Halifax and Dartmouth area—people who simply don’t have the time (or the patience) for day-to-day chores like grocery shopping. “Some people just don’t like to do banking. Or mortgage shopping. They just don’t like the hassle,” says MacCormack. “We cater to really busy people. Professional people who find they no longer have the time to do things themselves. A lot of working parents.”

Each morning, MacCormack and Smith separate the day’s duties. MacCormack lives in Halifax, while Smith calls Dartmouth home, making it easy for each woman to cover her home territory.

“What’s great about the job is that I’m doing something different every day,” says MacCormack. “We’ve done things as varied as dry cleaning, researching insurance quotes, searching for a German language teacher and even looking into one client’s home renovations.” There are things that they won’t do, however. It comes down to common sense. “We don’t do anything illegal or immoral,” she says. “Or cook meals.” You can call Your Beck and Call at 443-7151.

Keeping mum

Charlie Seeman has been making pizzas since he was 13 years old. Seeman came to Halifax from Lebanon in the 1970s and has been in the pizza business for 33 years. Last December, he took over Pizza Girls, at 7037 Mumford, and renamed it Mumford Pizza. “I’m trying to separate myself ” Seeman says, who used to run Vilo’s Pizza on Almon Street. “Other places charge ridiculous prices. I like to offer people quality pizza. Pizza with real cheese, not just two or three ounces of it. And fresh vegetables. I don’t cut corners when I make pizza.” Seeman says he’s been getting great compliments so far. Order your pizza pies from the newly christened Mumford Pizza by calling 404-4242.

On the market

You’re not alone if, the last time you visited the Halifax Farmer’s Market inside the Keith’s Brewery Building, you got the feeling things were a little cramped. Fred Kilcup, the market manager, confirms that the Market is eyeing a new location—“It’s one of Halifax’s worst kept secrets!” he says. Kilcup is reluctant to say what specific locations are being considered for the relocation (but rumour has it the Market is expected to land close to the waterfront, near Pier 21). However, Kilcup did say that a formal announcement will likely be made in the next few weeks. Keep an eye on “Shop Talk” for more information.

See you at Sanremo

The Sanremo Day Spa, Salon and Boutique recently opened its doors at 5239 Blowers (Suite 11). Matthew Snow is a hairstylist and barber for Sanremo. He says the atmosphere is meant to be “pleasant, kind of laid back really comfortable. When you’re being treated, the view is great. You’re actually overlooking Blowers Street. You can look out onto the street.” Sanremo also has the advantage of being small, says Snow. “It means that when you come in, it’s more personable. It’s not crowded with lots of hairdressers and people. You get more attention, more one-on-one service.” The Spa offers full hair services and has an esthetician and a masseuse. Snow has been cutting hair since he was a teenager. “When I was about 13, I kinda started cutting my own hair, just messing around. It got more serious when my friends started asking me to cut their hair. Finally I started learning barbering and went to school for it.” While things are little slow now, Snow is confident business will pick up. “The weather lately has made it hard for people to come out.” Call 446-4449 to make an appointment.

Make way for her

The Nike Store in the Mic Mac Mall closed two weeks ago, with a new store quickly taking its place. Her World opened this week, selling women’s exercise apparel and gym equipment. The store can be reached at 469-6453.

Something going on in the business world? Email: shoptalk@thecoast.ca

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