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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Just cause

Guy Quenneville browses for business news.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 15, 2007 at 6:42 AM

The neighbourhood near Spring Garden and Carleton has welcomed a new Just Us! Coffee Shop (the first Fair Trade coffee roaster in Canada), now operating out of the old UNICEF building. "The space has been substantially renovated and redecorated and looks pretty amazing," says Just Us! event coordinator Derrick Dixon. But the coffee shop is not operating quite at full capacity yet. "Until a re-zoning goes through, we'll be offering self-serve coffee and tea-to-go, as well as a large selection of our Fair Trade, Organic products," says Dixon. "When the re-zoning goes through we will be renovating again to open as a full cafe with food, espresso bar, extended seating and whatnot." The new location can be reached at 423-0856.

La vida local

Spring Garden Road is about to get a big taste of Latin dance life thanks to a Cuban dance specialist/entertainer named Yoanis Roche. Club Caliente will be opening up 5680 Spring Garden, between Mexi's and ONYX—the former home of The Idiot and the Tickle Trunk. The Cuban-born Roche, who has been directing Latin-themed entertainment for parties and weddings since 1993, says that it's high time that Halifax gets a club like this. "There's nothing like it," he says. "I mean, this is going to be a high-end, 100-percent Latin club, totally authentic." Caliente will be more than just a club, though, from the sound of it. It'll open in the morning as a Spanish coffee shop. Then, from 2 to 5pm, the space will operate as a dance studio, with Roche and four other instructors giving dance lessons ("though people will still be able to come in and relax," says Roche). At 5pm, Caliente will be a Cuban fine dining restaurant, with Spanish guitarists serenading the guest as they enjoy their meal. Finally, "At 10:30, the lights will go down and BOOM, it's time to party!" The nighttime Caliente will operate a dance club and bar, with "a tropical atmosphere," says Roche. As Roche sees is, Caliente serves to fill a huge void in the city. "Halifax needs this," he says. "This is the first-ever truly Latin bar in the history of Nova Scotia. I've done my research. Believe me, this is going to be like nothing else people have seen." Roche hopes to have the club up and ready for the first week of April. "We're opening on the busiest street east of Montreal. We'll be ready." In the meantime, anyone looking for more details can contact Roche at the club at 405-4248.

We kid you not

The people behind Uncommon Grounds at South Park and Victoria are opening a children's clothing store, Uncommon Kids, in the space beside the coffee shop. The general manager from the Uncommon Group, Janice Tanner, says the store—which will open on May 1—will sell children's lifestyle products for kids from the age of 0 to 8, things like diaper bags, strollers and other modern baby gear. "We'll also be selling a small car designed by an industrial engineer called an Automoblock," says Tanner. "Uncommon Kids is basically a store with great modern products that will allow parents to retain their sense of style after becoming parents, and that will benefit the children, too. I think there's a huge market for this in the south end." Tanner says the Uncommon Group has been slowly telling its customers about the new store and has received a lot of positive buzz. Anyone seeking more information on the store can visit its website,uncommonkids.ca, where you can sign up to be notified of any upcoming details by email.

We kid you not, II

Destiny Jewelry has been undergoing some major changes lately. The Park Lane jewellery store closed up shop at the end of February. "We shut down operations in preparation for a move to our new location in the Dartmouth Crossing complex this coming fall," says Mat Murrant, an employee with Destiny."We will reopen likely sometime in October. It depends when construction is done on our building." The people behind the store will be venturing into an altogether different kind of business when they open up a new store called Oh So Soft on May 1st in the former space of Heritage Pewter. "It's a baby boutique that will sell cool baby stuff," says Murrant. The store will offer a line of "super soft baby and toddler clothing and gifts that we have been making and marketing for a year and a half. We have been distributing the line to shops across the country during that time." Murrant says there are plans to open up another Oh So Soft in Dartmouth Crossing this fall as well, and that additional locations are being planned for Halifax later this year. To get more details on the baby store, visit its website at www.ohsosoft.ca

Going bananas

Big news for fans of Banana Republic: A source with the Halifax Shopping Centre has confirmed that the mall will be welcoming a Banana Republic outlet to its roster some time this year, making it the first Banana Republic store to hit Halifax. In other Shopping Centre news: The mall is undergoing a $14 million renovation project to improve its looks. By the end of June, the mall will be furnished with new floors, new seating options, a totally redesigned food court and some more mall signage.

Make an appeal. Email: shoptalk@thecoast.ca

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