Local business and consumer news. Openings, closings, deals, sales, what to buy and where to buy it, we round it all up and give you an insider's shopper's special on small business in Halifax. Contact shoptalk@thecoast.ca to send a tip.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

KingsPier Curated Collections is heading to Halifax

New digs for the Dartmouth vintage seller

Posted By on Wed, May 15, 2019 at 2:40 PM

VIA FACEBOOK
  • via Facebook

After four years of business in downtown Dartmouth, Laura MacNutt says the price is wrong. The KingsPier Curated Collections owner—who first ran her vintage clothing shop in a cute spot behind King’s Wharf, on the Shubie Canal and most recently at 122 Portland Street—is moving to 1568 Argyle Street because after a recent rent increase, she’s says she’s been priced out on her side of the bridge.

“The gentrification of some of these places is at the expense of local culture,” says MacNutt. “It completely shocked me a space on Argyle was 40 percent less than a place on Portland Street.”

The move comes on the heels of last weekend’s Halifax Vintage Show, at which KingsPier had its most successful weekend sales to date. MacNutt says despite the fact she didn’t initiate this upcoming change, she’s thrilled by the potential for growth in Halifax: “I’m so tired of moving. I’ve signed a three-year lease and I’m very confident in this being a successful elevation of mainstreaming what I’m doing.”

A longtime collector and “self-proclaimed snob,” MacNutt says she has a storage locker of vintage pieces she’s accumulated over the past two-plus decades just waiting to be unpacked. Her shop’s tagline—“experienced haute
couture for discerning men and women”—will stay true at the new location, which will continue to offer a boutique experience for thrift shoppers.

“Early on I realized there was no one really satisfying the men’s market or the unisex market. And there are a lot of women who gravitate to men’s footwear and clothing,” says MacNutt of her selection. “It’s more about quality and era, I choose things that just don’t go out of style—classic, timeless pieces.”

She’s already started the moving process in preparation for a June 1 opening date, but the Portland Street location will remain open and full of wearable treasures until the end of May. 
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Thursday, May 9, 2019

A Halifax Vintage Show presents the past

The Curio Collective brings together 30 vendors for the throwback weekend

Posted By on Thu, May 9, 2019 at 3:52 AM

RACHEL MCGRATH
  • Rachel McGrath
A Halifax Vintage Show
1566 Barrington Street
May 11 (10am-7pm)
May 12 (10am-4pm)
$2


The Curio Collective talked about organizing a vintage fest for years. On a mission to combine the authentic with the eclectic, Brigid Milway (What These Old Things?) and Melanie Huntley (Lady Luck Vintage) wanted to bring the community together for one big show, the likes of Montreal, Toronto or even New York. They decided to just go for it.

With 30 vendors ranging in ages and interest, A Halifax Vintage Show hopes to attract the same to the former Attica Furnishings space on Barrington Street this weekend. Antiques, video games and records, estate jewellery, mid-century furniture and clothes—lots of clothes, from the ’40s to the ’90s—will provide “something for everyone who is interested in vintage,” Milway says. “Everyone connects to pieces for different reasons and so it is really cool to see so many different people come together.”

There have always been antique stores and a clientele to go with them, but seemingly there is a recent and renewed interest in pieces from the past. Vintage is trendy thanks to one of the most millennial of apps—Instagram.

“It is a real contradiction, but it works so well together,” says Milway of the odd-couple pairing of her skills—using new technology to sell things from the past. She used a digital presence instead of a storefront to get her business off the ground. Instagram is also how she found and reached out to many of the vendors who will be at the Halifax Vintage Show.

“With Instagram and social media it’s really easy to see who is out there and it’s been really helpful to connect all of us,” says Milway.  “Everyone has always been there, but we are ready to come together now. I feel like Halifax is ready for a show like this.”
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The Loot brings streetwear to Charles Street

Attention shoppers, it's a new second-hand shop

Posted By on Thu, May 9, 2019 at 3:43 AM

“I curate vintage and thrift, inspired by ’90s, ’80s and early 2000s streetwear,” says Anna Campbell, the sole proprietor of The Loot, a new vintage shop in the former home of RIO (5781 Charles Street, behind EnVie).

Donning a vintage pair of black Air Max 95s, Campbell says that the store is a result of family and community support. “I’m really grateful that I’ve been able to have this opportunity, I definitely couldn’t have done it on my own. I have a big family, every one of my siblings has been in here helping me every day.”

Cleaned and pressed vintage clothing drapes the walls of the airy sunlit space, which opened officially at the end of April. With her favourite local shop Big Pony (which closed in 2017) on her mind, Campbell saw that there was a market in the city for a trendy and affordable alternative to fast fashion.

“Ever since they closed, I had it in my head. I drew a lot of inspiration from them—I have a lot of local inspiration,” she says while patting Lenny the shop dog, a customer favourite. “It is a beautiful space and I’m really lucky to be surrounded by well-known businesses and other young entrepreneurs in the building.”

Campbell has family and friends who source products for her throughout the Maritimes, leaving her to operate, manage and focus on the store itself. She aims to sell clothing that is made to last, saving it from ending up in a landfill and is committed to using the space to showcase local artists designers and up-cyclers.

“I try to make it a nice experience for people,” says Campbell. The Loot is open Tuesday through Sunday.
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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Pilates Barre is now open

Erika Ferguson’s studio offers a welcoming space to move your at your own pace.

Posted By on Wed, May 1, 2019 at 2:33 PM

“I feel like it’s just my time,” says Ferguson of her new studio. - IAN SELIG
  • “I feel like it’s just my time,” says Ferguson of her new studio.
  • IAN SELIG

P lié into spring at The Pilates Barre (5649 Hennessey Street, the former home of 11 Street Boutique, which moved right next door). The bright and sunshine-filled soft-pink studio just opened on May 1.

Owner Erika Ferguson starting taking pilates classes 20 years ago. She says pilates gave her strength in her body and she became pain-free. "I was so blown away with what it did for me–mentally as well."

She's been teaching for just over 15 years– 10 of those years spent in various studios around Halifax–finding what she loves about pilates and barre, and what she wants to bring to the community as an instructor and studio owner. "I feel like it's just my time," she says. "I wanted to bring something for people in my age group as well."

The studio will offer a low impact and intensity interval training style of pilates and barre.

"It's not just that 'Let's go and sweat and jump around,'" says Ferguson. "We need to take care of our bodies more. Let's start to focus on what we can do to age gracefully and bring ourselves into the next 30 years of our lives, injury-free, strong and empowered."

A jokingly self-described "drill sergeant," she takes alignment seriously. "It's one of the most important things in a class." You won't see her working out at the front of the class with you—she's walking around the room, correcting your posture and giving verbal instructions in-time with the music.

She says in an industry that seems to push push push for people to move their bodies faster and sweat harder aren't always the right work out.

Pilates is intense, it's all about working those deep-down ab muscles and working on core strength, whereas barre is more of a dance-style workout. It's mostly standing up, so can be more accessible to folks who maybe can't get on the ground to work out or still working on building the core strength for a pilates class.

"What about the person that hates working out? Can we find a workout that people like? And people seem to enjoy barre and pilates," says Ferguson. "I've gotten the most amazing feedback all the time about what barre makes people feel like and how fun and accessible it is. And that's what I want to keep going. I don't want people to come and dread coming to barre class."

When you're in her barre class, you'll feel like a dancer.  "People that come to my classes," she says, "they know I'm there for them."

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Guided Tour - Dartmouth

No matter which side of the harbour you’re on, the shops, services and restaurants available in today’s Dartmouth are worth a special trip.

Posted on Thu, Apr 18, 2019 at 4:00 AM

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You're Timeless to Me
John's Lunch is a 50-year-old diner, and they're not trying to hide the fact.

Why would they? John's has been a gathering place for families since the 1970s—kids have grown up on their food, and they've even brought their own kids in for their first French fry.

This legendary diner is known for their quality fresh-beef burgers, real turkey sandwiches and '70s-style thick-crust pizza. Their local clams and award-wining fish and chips have hungry Haligonians flying down straight from the airport after they've been away; John's is always is their first stop back because they know there's no other fish out there that will satisfy their maritime craving.

The quality of their food is the reason John's Lunch has won three Best of Food categories, including Best Seafood. These are timeless recipes, \guarded and passed down through their loyal staff. Maintaining the Dartmouth tradition is what sets them apart, and will keep people coming back another 50 years. John's Lunch, 352 Pleasant Street


Guilt-Free Lebanese Eats
Byblos Lebanese & Mediterranean Cuisine is the destination for incredible Mediterranean flavours. When you visit Byblos, you will not only enjoy the food but also the relaxing atmosphere. The chef and his team create a family-like welcoming that gives you the opportunity to learn about Mediterranean culture away from Lebanon. You will also enjoy watching the chef freshly cooking your meals right in front of you.

This restaurant ensures that they are fulfilling everyone's taste buds by serving a range of platters that suits both meat eaters and vegans. They are proud to be supporting local businesses, and share the list of their sources online and on their menu. Enjoy your meal in-house or take it home! It is not to be missed.

Look for the coupon in this issue of The Coast for 25 percent off the evening menu. Offer ends April 25.

Byblos Lebanese & Mediterranean Cuisine 644 Portland Street


All Vibes Welcome
Feel your energy shift the minute you walk through the doors of Into the Mystic—this spiritual shop is where you can come in and reconnect with your inner self. Through their psychic and intuitive services like chakra balancing, feng shui, palm readings and numerology, you'll walk out feeling more aligned than you have in a while.

They offer a salt halotherapy booth to help with breathing, skin and mood issues, as well as a jade infrared mat for circulation and pain issues like fibromyalgia.

The focus of Into the Mystic isn't just to help with your emotional and physical balancing, but also to bring light into the lives around you. Pick a gift for a loved one that has energetic meaning and has visual and emotional healing purposes. This shop houses the largest crystal collection on the east coast with one-of-a-kind imported treasures you will only find here.

Into The Mystic, 1082 Cole Harbour Road


We're Loving Them Apples
Cideries are so big right now, it's a good thing that apples do grow on trees.

Nova Scotia has some of the best apples in North America and Lake City Cider knows that it would be a shame to let our other fresh summer fruits go to waste. They build on the booming craft cider movement by playing with fun flavours and showing us that there is more to cider than the traditional apple.

With eight local taps on site, you'll spot a few unique flavours: Red Head, made with strawberries; Exit 6 Oxford, a blueberry cider; and if you're having trouble sleeping, the Tea & Honey chamomile cider is your ideal bedtime treat. For a limited time in June, you can even sip on their District Pride Rose, the sponsored cider for Halifax Pride.

Lake City Cider is where a love of Dartmouth meets a love of cider. These two worlds collide in an adventurous recipe that we're sure you've never tasted before.

Lake City Cider, 35 Portland Street


The Bar that Starts us off Right
The Watch that Ends the Night is where alternative meets comfort—just let your bartender know what you're craving, and they'll whip up something that's all your own.

Their cocktail presence is strong, but this Best New Bar is known for more than their innovative drinks. Their talented kitchen team brainstorms a rotating menu every other week, and there's constantly something new coming from head Chef Janie. On a bi-monthly basis, she collaborates with a featured NSCC culinary arts graduate to bring a six-course dinner series to life. You just need to sit back and let yourself be serenated by the live tunes of Barometer Rising.

Weekday adventurers are encouraged at The Watch—and they're even rewarded with special promos like a Dartmouth Neighbours discount on Mondays, burger features on Tuesdays and live jazz music on Wednesdays with no cover. Make a reservation, because a night at The Watch is a night you don't want to miss.

The Watch that Ends The Night 15 King's Wharf Place


A Delicious Neighbourhood Takeover
It's every sailor's dream to own a brewery, and retired navy cook Bill Pratt finally gets to live out his. Not only does he keep busy with Cheese Curds and Habaneros, but right across the parking lot you'll find his new Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse. Bill is taking over the neighbourhood with his clever recipes, and let's just say our mouths are watering already.

The slow-smoked brisket and ribs are tender, the beef is juicy, and the craft beer is the perfect balance of hoppy and malty. You can keep with the southern flair and break corn bread with your buds on a Friday night, and you won't regret ordering a pulled pork sandwich or the smoked jackfruit.

Bill continues to craft unique recipes, including ones for vegans and vegetarians. You can expect more plant-based menu items across all three of his restaurants this summer. We know that whatever he comes up with, he'll bring the same quality of creativity and innovation to our plates. 

Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse 612 Windmill Road


Dartmouth Expanded
Watching Dartmouth grow in the last year has been soul-fulfilling and hunger-satisfying. The area's ample restaurants keep surprising us with their unique flavour fusions, and the cideries and bars are constantly crafting something delicious. These new expansions to the HRM have been driving in both locals and tourists to see what all the fuss is about (and we promise, you won't be disappointed when you arrive).

Tim Rissesco, Executive Director with the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission, says, "There is so much that you can only experience in downtown Dartmouth! Our compact district is home to some of the best independent shops and restaurants in the country.

"Two thousand nineteen is another year of growth for downtown Dartmouth, with two new fitness facilities—Queensbury Rules Boxing Studio and REBEL Studio and TicTacGo— setting a new standard for escape rooms in the region," he adds.

It's amazing to see how much there is to do on this side of the harbour—these are unique experiences that can't be found anywhere else.  

Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission, 163 Portland Street


Designs through the decades
In their second year of business, Retrospekt is bringing even more mid-century modern furniture to the HRM. Dating back to the 1950s and '60s, these are one-of-a-kind pieces that you won't find anywhere else. With their new Best of Halifax status, Retrospekt has been able to build more of a local presence. The perk of purchasing more locally is that the owners never know what new product will pop through their doors.

With Retrospekt's rotating inventory, there's sure to be a piece of restored furniture suited for the collector and novice alike. Find excitement in furnishing your first condo or in redecorating your long-term home—there's never any sales pressure when you walk through their doors. They believe in taking the time to find that original piece that suits your style.

Whether it's a new sofa, accent chair, dining set or bedroom set you're looking for, you'll find your perfect match in a piece of furniture that is authentic, versatile and timeless.

Retrospekt, 166 Ochterloney Street


Taking The HRM By "Perfect Storm"
We've been drinking their locally made sodas for years, whether it's straight-up or mixed in with clever cocktails around town. Now, Propeller is taking the soda industry to the next level with their own brand: Windmill Craft Cocktails.

Their first batch back in September mixed locally blended rum and Dartmouth-made ginger beer for a "Perfect Storm" and the HRM went wild for it. This line of ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages are expanding to make more of your favourite easy-drinking cocktails.

This week, you can try the new a Vodka Soda with Grapefruit & Lime—it's what all the cool kids are doing. It's clean, light and refreshing with natural flavours, and available in Propeller stores this week and will be in NSLCs later this month.

  After Christmas, they launched a Small Batch Program, where Windmill partners with local bartenders and play off of their cutting-edge cocktail trends for a one-off crafted drink (next one out soon!).  

Propellor Brewing Co., 617 Windmill Road


The Cat's Out Of The Bag
We have to let you in on the best Kept secret in the Dartmouth area, because this charming store is the ideal one-stop shop for all gift-giving occasions. Anyone who unwraps one of Kept's well-designed items is going to be the happiest receiver.

The store will win you over with its cat-themed items, and who could resist the adorable squirrel on their logo? Kept's selection is impeccable, and the staff really go above and beyond to make sure that you find exactly what you came in looking for (and maybe a few items that weren't on your list). With knick-knacks and kitchen gadgets galore, you won't be able to leave with just the essentials.

Grab that perfect Maritime trinket for a friend who is living away from home and needs a little taste of the salty sea. With so many locally made and fair-trade items, you'll never feel guilty when shopping at Kept.

Kept Gifts & Housewares, 75 King Street


Live More, Stress Less
Brighten your day with 10,000 square feet of lighting and cabinetry at Station12 Lighting | Kitchen | Bath. The family operated business has provided us with all of our lighting needs for 15 years. They continue to handle the "behind the scenes" layout work for us and never fail to provide customers—in Dartmouth and beyond—with recommendations and technical aspects so our lighting projects can be done stress-free.

Their fashion-forward showroom keeps up with current trends through an inventory rotation, but still offers clients classic pieces that suit every space. With 40-plus suppliers, and housing Atlantic Canada's largest selection for residential, commercial and hospitality lighting, you're sure to find something in your style and budget.

Their team adds to the "light" environment with their lively personalities and passion for the products, which shines through in each project they work on. They're all certified through the American Lighting Association and their kitchen designers boast years of experience and passion, so you can feel confident knowing that you are dealing with the best. Station12 Lighting Kitchen

560 Windmill Road


Southern Italy next door
In need of a vacation? Il Trullo Ristorante brings the feel of southern Italy right to Downtown Dartmouth for you. Sit amongst the natural structure based off a trullo, the unique conical roof found in southern Italy, and let yourself be transported to its home region of Puglia.

Who needs to hop on a plane when you have the view of the water right here? Il Trullo ties the Mediterranean vibe together with light olive oil-based sauces and incorporating local fish into the menu items. With homemade traditional lasagnas, squid ink risotto and their bestselling ravioli fungi, you're sure to get your Italian fix.

Il Trullo was designed with the idea of incorporating recycled, local and natural materials to make the interior space sustainable. The owners are passionate about sustainability and have trained their staff on their aggressive recycling and composting programs. With compostable take-away containers and paper straws, eating at Il Trullo really does mean going back to our natural elements.

Il Trullo Ristorante, 67 King's Wharf Place

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Get hitched with East Coast Pop Up Weddings

Sarah Anderson’s new company makes elopements and tiny weddings easy.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 17, 2019 at 4:51 PM

CHRIS AND AMBER PHOTOGRAPHY
  • CHRIS AND Amber Photography

Sarah Anderson wants to help you set virtual fire to your Pinterest wedding board and just elope instead. Anderson, the founder of East Coast Pop Up Weddings as well as an administrative justice of the peace, saw a hole in the wedding marketplace a year ago.

"I would get lots of couples who were looking for a JP, but people were asking for a few little extras that you might not get at a courthouse," she says.

Now, she offers those missing flourishes in a set of packages like The Modern Elopement, which includes artisanal cake and refreshments, and the Tiny Wedding, which lives up to its name with a guestlist of eight.

This weekend, though, East Coast Pop Up Weddings is taking the ready-made wedding one step further, throwing an event titled Pop Up Love in the upstairs of The Stubborn Goat (1579 Grafton Street), where four couples can tie the knot (though Anderson is quick to note only one slot remains).

"For lack of a better way to explain it, it's like a Vegas wedding chapel where you show up, get your bouquet, get married and then go do some photos with Applehead Photography. You pick a timeslot and you bring 20 friends and you have a ceremony," Anderson offers, adding that a champagne toast at the bar is included in the $2,500 cost. "So many brides and grooms, they get a ring on their finger and then there's this rabbit hole they fall into," she adds. But, "that whole attitude of 'Let's just get married,' that will never stop being romantic." —Morgan Mullin

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Primordial Yoga finds strength in numbers

This intimate place of practice aims to be more of a healing space than a studio.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 10, 2019 at 5:11 PM

VIA FACEBOOK
  • VIA FACEBOOK

When Taylor Alexandra first started practicing yoga, it was a solo journey—a coping mechanism that allowed her to connect with herself in a way she'd never experienced. It wasn't until years later that she finally brought her practice into a studio setting, testing out a class at downtown Halifax's Shanti Yoga for no other reason than "Why not?"

"When I was going through difficult times and barriers, they weren't as difficult when I was practicing with others. I found more resilience then I had otherwise. It was progress in a different way," she says. "I learned through that I wanted to be able to share that with others. I knew what I was getting in the studio I could increase 10-fold by doing training."

Now, with eight years of practice behind her, and training in kundalini yoga, she's opening her own space—Primordial Yoga (3323 Agricola Street)—an intimate setting for folks to feel the power of strength in numbers. Its aim is to be more of a "healing centre" than a yoga studio, with classes catering to groups of five or six, says Alexandra. "I really wanted to have a client-focused, small-group approach to how I offer yoga because it is very intense and can be intimidating for a newcomer coming into a class of 30 people." Primordial will offer classes in nidra, kundalini and hatha yoga—as well as a gentle, trauma-informed hatha—and gong bathing.

Find Primordial's entire April schedule, and prices for both drop-ins and members, at primordial.life. —AS

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SHOP THIS: suite’s sweet hair accessories

Grin and barrette with this pop-up dealer.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 10, 2019 at 5:07 PM

AKRAM HAMDAN
  • Akram Hamdan

When Kristi MacDonald, fashion fiend and co-owner of rchmnd (1869 Granville Street), was getting married last year, she scoured shops for the right barrette only to continuously come up empty-handed. When she finally landed on a look she liked, MacDonald—thanks to her wide-spanning connections in the fashion world—ordered a whack of hair accessories from Australia, and planned to gift them to friends and family with similar taste. Then, thinking nothing of it, she posted a her haul on Instagram.

After an outpouring of oooos, ahhhs and DMs begging for details, suite was born. "It's no secret that hair accessories are having a major moment this season, but to date, they have really only been available online through International," meaning mega shipping and duty costs, says MacDonald. She went back to her contacts and ordered an even bigger batch for Haligonian shoppers and, last weekend, hosted a her first pop-up (and sell-out) as an accessory dealer. Now she's planning her next event for April 27 at Sweet Pea Boutique, this time with more items that might appeal to brides, bridesmaids and wedding guests with barrettes on the brain.

And while she's sticking with hair stuff for the time being, MacDonald will follow where fashion leads her. "We have deep roots in the global fashion industry," she says, "and as we travel and observe the latest in fashion around the world, we look forward to bringing what's going on, in real time, to Canada." Follow along with the latest and most adorable at @__suite.

AKRAM HAMDAN
  • Akram Hamdan
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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Indulgence celebrates 10 years in the business of intimacy

"Entrepreneurs wear a lot of hats," says owner Shannon Marshall.

Posted By on Tue, Apr 2, 2019 at 4:09 PM

click to enlarge Indulgence's colourful corner on Portland Street - VIA FACEBOOK
  • Indulgence's colourful corner on Portland Street
  • via Facebook

A decade ago, Shannon Marshall took a risk and opened a shop dedicated to intimate clothing and accessories—for women, by women—in downtown Dartmouth. At the time, the neighbourhood was quieter, the online world was worlds away from where it is today and the local options for safe, supportive, inclusive shops for sexy stuff were limited.

“I had been lucky enough to do a little bit of travelling in my early 20s and I saw a couple of shops in Europe that were just beautiful, and really geared towards women. They were selling garments in all sizes,” says Marshall of her inspiration. “I did a fair amount of market research with friends and colleagues, and a lot of places just kind of creeped us out. Everyone has their demographic but no one was targeting women. You’ve got big box stores with lots of lingerie but they stop at extra-large. My number one size I can’t keep in the store is 2X. ”

Her shop, Indulgence Intimate Products & Apparel (30 Portland Street), was born out of this idea in 2009 and became a reality thanks to help from her mother, and retail boss, Barbara. At the time the boutique brought books, bras, lingerie, sex toys, sensual creams and lubes to the table.

“As we became more established we’ve eliminated bras and books because there’s a fantastic bookstore across the pond at Venus Envy, and there are fantastic bra stores like Lily’s and Custom Curves. So we thought, let’s stick to what we’re good at,” says Marshall.

And that’s putting shoppers at ease in an environment that can be awkward to navigate.

Indulgence still sells a wide variety of naughty apparel, bondage, vibrators, games and oils—online and in-store— and aims to make the process of buying them simple. “The first challenge is getting people in the door, the second is to make them comfortable enough to actually ask the questions they want answers for,” says Marshall. “There is that mindset where people still tend to be embarrassed. Everyone has those friends that are really open, but the bulk of people are shy.” She credits shop dog, Goldie the golden retriever, with helping to set a chill tone for Indulgence.

Ten years in, Marshall says it's been a rollercoaster making her entrepreneurial dreams come true, and she's thankful for the support of her neighbours, fellow small business owners and, of course, the customers.

"It leaves me speechless to be honest. I never really thought we’d make it this far, there’ve been times we’ve wanted to give up," she says. "This will be the best summer ever for downtown Dartmouth."
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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Treasure hunt with Twice Clothing

Jordan Britten's online thrift shop is popping up irl on Saturday

Posted By on Wed, Mar 27, 2019 at 5:23 PM

SUBMITTED
  • SUBMITTED

When Jordan Britten turned 19, she couldn’t wait to go to the bar. That is until she realized that she looked a lot like every other 19-year-old there. “That American Apparel dress,” she says of her thrift shop awakening. “I stopped shopping at American Apparel and H&M and the places everyone was going. I’ve become obsessed with it—it’s like treasure hunting. I zone out, turn off my phone and do my thing.”

A year ago she took her well-honed thrift obsession and made it a business. It started when she was moving apartments and cleaning out her closet—after posting a bunch of clothing on her Instagram for sale she noticed, people liked and wanted her style. Next thing she knew, she was hosting a pop-up. Then another one.

“It was just something I was already doing and everybody was like, ‘Can you thrift for me?’” she says.

Now, just over a year later Twice Clothing is celebrating its growth with another pop-up, this Saturday from noon to 3pm at Brightwood Brewery (35 Portland Street). “Our seasons never line up with the real world, it’s an awkward transition,” says Britten. She’ll be cleaning out her collection of winter stuff with some sales, and urging spring to reveal itself with some colours and patterns that beckon warmer weather.

“I travel a lot for work, so even if I see a thrift store on the way to where I’m going I go in and set a timer,” says the Twice Clothing owner of her collections. “I think to challenge myself with ‘How many treasures can you find in 15 minutes?’ I pop into random thrift stores from the east to west coast.”

Britten says she’s constantly developing “hit lists” based on needs from her shoppers (size variety being the biggest one). If you can’t catch her person this Saturday, follow @twice.clothing_ for regular updates or to add your needs (wants) to her next hunt.
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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Props Floral Design's next generation

The Hydrostone florist has changed hands after 21 years.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 21, 2019 at 2:20 AM

Jayme Melrose and Ashley MacNeill - KYLEE NUNN
  • Jayme Melrose and Ashley MacNeill
  • Kylee Nunn


The new year has brought new growth to veteran florist Props Floral Design (5533 Young Street). After 20-plus years at the helm, owner Susan MacIntosh has sold the Hydrostone business to her niece and longtime employee Ashley MacNeill and the Halifax’s garden doula herself, Jayme Melrose. Recently returning from maternity leave, MacNeill—who at just 35 has worked at the shop for half her life—says she’s excited to maintain Props’ reputation for quality while simultaneously building on it.

“I think we have a really complementary skill set,” says Melrose of the blooming partnership. “She’s a florist who can do literally anything and knows what the shop needs to run, and I have the accounting background from Common Roots.” Melrose’s work with Halifax’s urban farm is what helped her build a relationship with the florist in the first place. “I started selling flowers to the shop from Common Roots four years ago—I sold a lot of flowers to the shop and got to know the folks here,” she says. “I was wanting to grow more flowers so I was spending more time at the shop when I learned the owner was looking to sell.”

Melrose, who still pitches in with the urban farm on a part-time basis and teaches Halifax’s Bloom Institute for Herbal Studies, hopes to help Props expand its selection to include more herbs, edibles and local plants. She also hopes to nurture relationships with as many social enterprises as possible.
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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

SHOP THIS: The Valentine's Edition

Here’s looking at you, last-minute lovebirds.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2019 at 6:30 PM

click to enlarge In the (sort of) words of crooner Frank Loesser, you'd love to be on a slow boat to Dartmouth with them. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • In the (sort of) words of crooner Frank Loesser, you'd love to be on a slow boat to Dartmouth with them.
  • Submitted photo

First you were running late on all of your Valentine’s Day gestures, then the snow storm hit and you didn’t leave your blanket fort for the entirety of Wednesday. Now you need physical proof you love your loved one, and it’s down to the wire. Lucky for you, Inkwell Modern Handmade Boutique (2011 Brunswick Street) is prepared to help. Not only can you find scads of locally made stationery with cute metaphors and puns (see this pictured Inkwell Original, $6), but the boutique is also hosting a V-Day pop-up with Flora Flower Studio from 2-6pm. Small rustic bouquets will run for $45, larger for $60, and if you didn’t pre-order yours online you better run, too.

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Unconditional Body Love

Jessie Harrold celebrates her body and yours—the way they are—with her debut book, Project Body Love.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2019 at 6:23 PM

click to enlarge Harrold says her readers' feedback reminds her of the Cheryl Strayed quote: "I write to tell the truth about my life and what happens is people feel I’ve told the truth about theirs." - SUBMITTED
  • Harrold says her readers' feedback reminds her of the Cheryl Strayed quote: "I write to tell the truth about my life and what happens is people feel I’ve told the truth about theirs."
  • Submitted

Sometimes what we crave most is a bolt of lightning, a moment of pristine clarity. But, if Jessie Harrold knows anything, it’s that we need to capture the lightning for ourselves—that we have to decide what things are sure and certain. The life coach, doula and mother of two—who’s recently added author to her list of job titles—describes this feeling when she began the quest of body positivity after the birth of her youngest child.

“As the process of trying to find acceptance in myself went on, I sort of finished 98 percent of [my book, Project Body Love] and I was like ‘there’s something that’s gonna happen here.’ So the book sat, mostly finished, waiting for this shiny, happy ending. It wasn’t until I realized, ‘Oh no, I live in the world, and the world is never gonna stop telling me this body isn’t OK,’” that she realized “unconditional body love felt like a big ask all of a sudden.”

This surprisingly honest take that centres on self-acceptance and self-compassion is documented in real time, she adds. “I had started the process, realizing I had always lived with a lot of self-loathing, thinking ‘OK, what haven’t I done before? That everyone hasn’t already done before, that could move the needle on how I feel about myself?” she says. “I assumed that there was gonna be a change to my physical shape that occurred along this process for me to come to a place of acceptance. It wasn’t until I found the Health at Every Size movement and I started to realize what a lifetime of dieting had done to my body… I was floored by the idea that I could be healthy in the body that I was in.

“I was told by an agent, ‘You know you don’t have a huge following, you’re just an average person, you’re not a fat activist, this is just everybody’s story.’ And I took that as ‘Yeah, this is everybody’s story,’” Harrold continues. The self-published book was released officially this week at projectbodylove.com, and in coming weeks it will also be available at local shops. “I feel like I kind of accidentally wrote this for every woman who’s just like me and doesn’t have this understanding of the larger cultural context of which we have to navigate.”

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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Where I work: Downeast Trophies

To mark 40 years in business, owner Mike McGuigan gives us a peek inside the trophy case.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 7, 2019 at 3:17 PM

click to enlarge RACHEL MCGRATH
  • Rachel McGrath
WHO HE IS
Mike McGuigan didn’t aspire to become a trophy maker. In 1980, fresh out of high school and wondering what to do with his life, he was tasked with running his father’s new north end business, Downeast Trophies. At the time, he had no idea that this would become his career, and that one day he would look back on 40 years of trophy making with a sense of accomplishment. “My dad and I were proud of this place,” McGuigan says. He taps the name plate on his office desk that reads, “Ed McGuigan.” “He’ll always be a part of the business. We did it all together.” His father passed away almost nine years ago, but his legacy is still alive and well.

WHAT HE DOES
A large portion of Downeast Trophies’ business comes from repeat customers. Year after year, trophy orders pile in for annual softball tourneys, corporate events and even motorcycle races. McGuigan recently wrapped up an order for 880 medals, 575 custom medals and 300 trophies, which took around a month to complete. But that’s nothing compared to the time he was commissioned to build a four feet by six feet plaque for the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame. “I’ve built trophies that are taller than me,” McGuigan says. “If that’s what they want, then that’s what they’ll get.” Not only does McGuigan assemble and engrave the trophies, he also does the bookkeeping, cleans the floors and occasionally delivers orders. Despite his unending list of responsibilities, he goes to work happy. “Some people hate Mondays, but I like them,” he says. “There’s no such thing as a bad day.”

click to enlarge RACHEL MCGRATH
  • Rachel McGrath
WHERE HE DOES IT
Upon arriving at Downeast Trophies, customers are often greeted by McGuigan’s faithful assistant, Molly. The 13-year-old golden retriever is never far from his side. Molly has a bed in his office and a stash of treats on the top shelf—just out of reach. Over the years, she has become synonymous with Downeast Trophies, and McGuigan makes sure to close every business email with “From Mike and Molly.” The store’s showroom is lined with shelves and bookcases of stock trophies, plastic signs and plaques and bulletin boards tacked with custom medals and lapel pins. In the centre of the room is a tiered stand piled high with trophies and glass awards, and at the very top sits a silver cup attached to a base of green marble. McGuigan and his father bought the cup in Italy in 1979 as their showpiece, and, as you may have guessed, it’s not for sale.

WHY IT WORKS
McGuigan credits much of Downeast Trophies’ reputation to his father, who taught him that honesty is the best business quality. “Whatever their needs, I’ll try to accommodate them,” McGuigan says about his customers. “Whether it’s a five dollar order or a 5,000 dollar order, you treat everyone the same.” He enjoys watching customers gaze at the trophies on display, and he swears he has seen middle-aged adults light up like kids as they poke around the shop. “Everybody likes to be recognized,” McGuigan says. “Whether you’re five or 55, if you get an award as an accomplishment, then that’s something you can look back on and be proud of forever."
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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

north and willow's clothing conscience

An online curated thrift shop focuses on sustainability and accessibility

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2019 at 3:10 PM

click to enlarge JULIA CHAPMAN
  • Julia Chapman
Kari Beiswanger and Alex Stewart’s friendship has lasted longer than any piece of clothing in your closet, no doubt. The pair of pre-school pals and longtime thrifters are behind north and willow, an online second-hand shop and sustainable fashion initiative that launched its web store this week.

The idea started simply after a conversation at a party, Beiswanger says: “We wanted to start some sort of clothing exchange where we could get involved in the community.” It’s part of north and willow’s current program—if you’ve got stuff you don’t want or wear anymore, they’ll take it, evaluate it and trade you some store credit for it.

“We just want people to know we’re a different option for buying second-hand and consuming in a sustainable way. There’s curated thrift in the city, but we’re really focused on the sustainability and the way our impact can make a difference,” adds Beiswanger. “We also really want to be accessible. The draw to fast-fashion is that it’s accessible to most budgets. But we’ve found a lot of the curated thrift is a little bit on the pricier side. We can hopefully disrupt the way the fashion industry works.”

Earlier this week, to celebrate its shiny new online boutique, north and willow hosted the first of “periodic pop-ups” at flo meditation, selling off its latest thrifted finds and exchanged items, and plans are already in the works for a February edition.

With an aim to offer folks of all sizes (waist and wallet) ways to keep their clothing out of landfills, Beiswanger and Stewart also hope to host community workshops—on stuff like repairing and altering clothes—and connect more with their shoppers about fashion’s affinity for wasteful abundance.

“We want to see a shift in the mentality,” says Beiswanger, “and it can be hard to do that without context.”
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Vol 26, No 51
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