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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Shopping Spree

T.C. Demaresq browses for business news.

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2007 at 10:59 AM

It's time to face facts: Adrien Labrecque's apartment is cooler than yours. It's also open to the general public nine hours a day, six days a week. Labrecque is currently living in the space that houses his new clothing boutique, the Spree Designer's Market. Living in the fledgling store while he readies it for the public makes perfect sense to Labrecque. "I work from 9am till 3am every day," he points out. The shop has been open informally at 1530 Brunswick (above Steve-O-Reno's Cappuccino) for the last month or so, and will celebrate its grand opening Sept. 1---three fashion shows are scheduled for the occasion. Labrecque co-owns Spree with his mother, Joanne Short. Right now, the shop's filled with unique rescued clothing, accessories and knick-knacks and artwork. Soon, it'll also be a showcase for the original work of local designers. "You can find stuff for Halifax by Halifax from Halifax," says Labrecque. "It's all about the community." Spree also has an outdoor yoga space, and there are rumours of yoga classes to come. Plus, they carry some plus-size clothing. Call the shop at 406-3414.

Sole searchingWorry not, confused sneaker fans. Soled Out Sneakers isn't closed forever, it's just moved to a new home on Dresden Row (above The Cookhouse). The shop closed its Blowers Street doors on July 1 and is set to open at the new location in early September. The decision to move was spurred by customer demand, says store co-owner Alex Strum. "We couldn't keep anything in stock, but now we have triple the inventory, triple the floor space." The shop, which first opened last August, surprised its owners with the degree of its success. "We didn't expect people to have such a quick response," says the store's other owner, Patrick Harland. Soled Out Sneakers carries high-end street wear, and exclusive and rare sneaker lines. The store also now has official high-end Nike, New Balance and Air Jordan accounts, which means it's authorized to sell new releases from the companies as soon as they come out. Learn more (and see pretty, multi-coloured shoes!) online at soledoutsneakers.com.

BYOB'S Back...alright!Grab your bottle, and head for Chebucto Road: Milano's Ristorante is a Bring Your Own Wine destination once more. And the new bar's still there, too. The provincial liquor laws that prevented restaurants from having both a liquor license and a BYOB option changed last week, which means licensed establishments can now allow interested patrons to cart their wine from home. For Milano's, the decision to reinstate the BYOB option (and their old $7.50 corkage fee) was a no-brainer. "I went through quite a few emails when I got here, just from people that were upset that we decided to build a bar," says manager Jake Hubbard, who just started at Milano's recently. "We probably lost a few clients." Thankfully, now fans of the restaurant's new bar and BYOB diehards can co-exist peacefully in the same space and get back to the real order of business---getting pleasantly intoxicated while eating tasty food. It's expected that other licensed Halifax establishments will become BYOB destinations as well. Stay tuned here for more developments on that front. To contact Milano's, call 431-6500.

The man who sold the WorldThe One World Cafe (2412 Agricola) is for sale. Not because it is in any financial trouble, not at all. "It's been doing very well lately," says Dennis Pilkey, who is handling the sale of the business for his son, Ken, the owner. It's just that Ken has been ill and is unable to keep the place going as he has been. That's part of the reason the cafe and live music and arts venue is going for a song: $20,000. But not the only reason. "The biggest hang-up is the lack of a long-term lease on the building," says Dennis. Still, they'd like to see someone buy it that would be "keen to keep the business going." If you'd like to make a bid, call Dennis at 464-8877.

Bye, bye, bicycleNoble BMX on Quinpool is set to close its doors on August 31. The shop's been a Halifax bike-scene staple for the last two-and-a-half years. Owner Ted Efthymiadis says the decision to close wasn't motivated by business concerns, but by more personal reasons. "I've actually turned a profit every month since I've opened," he says. "So it's definitely not done because I have to---it's done because for my sanity, I want to." For Efthymiadis, the day-to-day business of maintaining a retail space has become too stressful. "Retail is not really my thing, I guess." Efthymiadis initially started the store because he was having difficulty locating BMX bikes and products on the East Coast; he also knew other BMX fans were experiencing the same difficulty. "So I basically did it to help out myself, and to help out the local BMX scene. And since I opened, now there's 10 times as many BMXers in Halifax." Fans of the products from Seshin Bikes, Efthymiadis's customized line of bikes, frames, parts and clothing (available at distributors around the world) can still get them online at seshinbikes.com. There's no word yet about what will be done with the store space, but one thing is certain: any business that decides to lease the space will undoubtedly have a less epic-sounding name than Noble BMX. And that's very unfortunate.

Is your store opening? Closing? Have you started accepting mangos as currency? Email shoptalk@thecoast.ca

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