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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mill's makeover, makeover

Browsing for business news

Posted By on Thu, Oct 4, 2007 at 10:16 AM

Spring Garden area shoppers may have noticed that the huge wooden panels that covered the Mills Brothers storefront for most of the summer have finally been taken down. So, what was going on behind them? The store's been undergoing massive renovations. Mills now has a brand-new front entrance and windows—and that fancy new door's just a harbinger of the fancy new Mills Brothers you'll find behind it. The store's beauty section is being expanded and will boast 30 new lines of cosmetic and beauty products, including NARS Cosmetics, Bumble and Bumble, and Leaf & Rusher. "It's just a nice expansion to the business," says Mills general manager Kathryn Mader. Mills also has a new cappuccino bar, complete with a flat-screen TV, giving less enthusiastic shoppers a place to chill out and regroup as they wait for more zealous companions. And while the Mills Brothers men's shop is gone now, it'll soon be even easier for fashion-minded men to mosey over to next-door neighbour Duggers, as a handy throughway is currently being installed, connecting the two stores. A new wheelchair lift is also on its way. The store was purchased by a new owner, local business mogul Mickey MacDonald, back in March and most of the renovations should be complete in the next few weeks. Contact Mills at 1-800-465-1919.

Penhorn to Portland Street

If you've been pining for Petsters, the locally owned pet shop that left Penhorn Mall last June, head to 650 Portland. Petsters re-opened there on September 10. The Penhorn mall is "getting a little bare," points out Petsters owner Debbie Saunders. "In order to survive, we had to leave." Fittingly, the new location used to be a vet clinic. And, since the new Petsters is close to the old one, the store's diehard customers will still be able to easily access it. The new space also fulfills an even more important requirement: "We have our own entrance, which allows animals to come in and out as they please...unlike up on the mall, you weren't allowed to bring your animal in," says Saunders. The store carries the standard pet-store fare, including reptiles, dogs, cats and fish—and supplies for each—as well as a host of rodents, including hamsters, mice and rats; all the rodents are bred by Petsters staff. The shop aims to offer customers a personalized pet-store-going experience. "It's almost like a family-run feeling. We know our customers when they come in," says Saunders. At the new location, expect the same "one-on-one appeal," along with new dog rooms and fish tanks, and an expanded inventory of terrariums, aquariums and exotic pet supplies. And circle October 27 on your calendar now.

New owner, same wash

The Metro Dog Wash (6021 Cunard) has a new owner. If you're one of the shop's loyal dog-washers, don't worry: Aline Oicle the new owner in question, doesn't plan to change much. She recently purchased the shop from Terri Henson, who started the dog wash in May 2006. "It's really neat, the way it's all set up—she did a really good job," says Oicle. "Everything works just fine the way it is, so I think I'll just keep everything going the same." The shop has several self-service bath stations and provides dog-washers with shampoos, brushes, towels, a tub, and a dryer; all owners need to bring is a dirty dog and manpower (which, incidentally, would be an excellent name for a punk band.) Full grooming services are also available intermittently throughout the week, and every second Saturday; the shop's open 11am to 7pm Tuesday to Thursday, and 10am to 5pm Friday to Sunday. While Oicle doesn't want to mess with the store's set-up, she does have a few potential ideas for the shop's future. "Nothing's definite, though. I'm just trying to get in the swing of things here," she says. Give her a warm welcome at 422-9364.

Carnival time?

Bernard Smith has big dreams for Spring Garden Road in the summer of 2008. Big, fun-sounding dreams. He wants to shut down traffic on the street, from Queen to South Park, for an entire month, in either July or August. "It's basically to allow the restaurants to get out on the streets," says Smith, the manager of the Spring Garden Road Area Business Association. "And it's really to give the place a bit of a carnival atmosphere." Smith has discussed the idea "briefly" with the city, but hasn't submitted a formal proposal yet. And he's fully aware of all the factors that have to be considered before such a plan can go ahead: "The question of re-routing transit, ensuring that emergency vehicles can access all the various points the question of deliveries." Right now, the plan's hypothetical. "We'd have to make sure that the bulk of the merchants wanted to do it, too," Smith points out. Call the business association at 423-3751.

Dodo's extinct?

Some sad Quinpool news—by all appearances, Dodo's Café and Barbeque has closed. The restaurant hasn't been open for the last couple weeks, though there's been no official confirmation yet. (Here's hoping it's temporary and that the great hummus and baba ghanouj aren't gone for good. Sigh.)

Do you have more ideas for my cat’s Halloween duds? Or news about your shop? Drop me a line at shoptalk@thecoast.ca.

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