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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cutting a rug

Posted By on Thu, Sep 27, 2007 at 11:03 AM

Did the April closing of the Zephyr Rug Gallery on Cunard leaving you feeling adrift and abandoned? Worry not, friend—Zehpyr is back. And it's roomier, fancier and has customer parking. This week, Zephyr Rug and Home, the second incarnation of the aforementioned rug emporium, is set to open at 6232 Quinpool (formerly the Scout Shop). The new space gives sibling co-owners Labi Kousoulis and Matina Aucoin more room to work with. The old store space was around 800 square feet while the new one boasts a whopping 2,500. That means Zephyr's pretty hand-knotted Iranian and Afghan rugs can now be displayed on a moveable rack, rather than being laid out flat on inconvenient platforms. The store's inventory has expanded, too: Zephyr now carries furniture, home decor items and art, along with its standard floor coverings. Aucoin and Kousoulis had always hoped to move to a bigger location. "When we first opened, we opened in a small space with very low overhead, and we thought "If things go well...'" says Aucoin. "Our goal was always to buy our own building." Since April, the siblings have renovated the new space; the floor has been lowered several feet and stained, the storefront is new and the interior has been gutted. Bigger, better Zephyr is also doing its part to support the Halifax art scene—all the paintings for sale inside are the work of the store's featured local artist, Barbi Jollota. Intrigued? Check out zephyrhome.com for more, or call the store at 446-4622.

Here comes the bridal shop

Across the way, Annabell's Fashions also re-opens this week, in its new location at 6245 Quinpool (formerly Mitchell Furs & Outerwear). For the last couple of years, the shop, which specializes in bridal wear and "day wear," has shared a space with The Model Shop down the street. Why the move? "I want my business to grow and become successful," says shop owner Nan Delorey. "The traffic is busier at this end , too," she points out. The store, which carries "different, classic, sweet" gowns and lots of "timeless" pieces, is named after Delorey's grandmother, Annabell. Before the shop became Annabell's, it was called Model Bride. Delorey worked there for eight years, before agreeing to buy the business from its former owner. "This is what I was cut out to do in life," she says. "I like seeing happy people." Delorey also enjoys helping to make people's weddings memorable. "It's a very important day of people's lives. If I can make it fun and exciting for them while they're looking for their dress, I'm going to do that." Heading down the aisle? Contact the shop at 404-3825.

Hey! Homemade hummus!

We told you it was coming. Now, we're telling you it's here. Aladdin's Palace, Spring Garden's newest Lebanese eatery, opened its doors for business last Thursday. The store's space was formerly home to the Italian Garden; it's now home to delicious hummus, and other yummy Middle Eastern eats, including falafel, fried kibbi and stuffed grape leaves. The restaurant will offer "the real taste of Lebanese food...all homemade," says store owner Kaz Elajami. Elajami (who co-owns the restaurant with Mohammed Hamdan), is originally from Lebanon, and has wanted to open a Middle Eastern restaurant since coming to Halifax two years ago, but has been waiting to find the right location. Elajami also owns Artisans Hair Room, a salon in Mic Mac Mall. Talking to his customers there helped Elajami realize that if he built his restaurant, people would come. "I saw lots of demand for Lebanese food," he says. And, the Aladdin's Palace food has pedigree: Both chefs worked at popular Lebanese restaurants in Montreal and Elajami's sure customers will be happy with the restaurant's generous portions, too. Students with a valid student ID get a 15 percent discount so drop the ramen noodles and head downtown. Call them at 459-5550.

I do hope that doggy's for sale

Down the street at MacKay Fashions, Spring Garden's other newest business (5411 Spring Garden), owner Alvin MacKay can't offer you a chicken shwarma. But he can offer you "quality, service and value." He describes his new boutique as a "contemporary ladies' fashion shop with traditional values." The store space, which was home to Brio Bodywear, required minimal renovation, although, a fancy new sign is on the way. MacKay has worked in retail for 35 years and MacKay's Fashions is the first business he's owned. It's also a family affair: MacKay's wife and stepdaughter are working there to help get it off the ground. His dog is helping, too. Meka, a terrier, has been declared the store's mascot. The store opened last week. Give it a call at 444-7557.

Mall talk

Some welcome news for fans of all things itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, yellow, and polka dotted: Quebec- and Ontario-based bathing suit vendor Bikini Village will open a store in the Halifax Shopping Centre in mid-October and a branch of shoe chain Feetfirst Shoes is also set to open in the mall at around the same time. There's a distinct possibility that they'll be carrying Hush Puppies; there's a distinct possibility we'll be buying some.

Shop openings and closings are happening as we speak, and the public has a right to know. Send tips my way at shoptalk@thecoast.ca

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