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.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Lucky Cat Barbershop opens its doors in Dartmouth

Downtown Dartmouth has a new spot to get a trim

Posted By on Tue, Dec 12, 2017 at 3:09 PM

Logan Hawkes - NOAH WIDMEYER
  • Logan Hawkes
  • Noah Widmeyer

“Lucky Cat is everything you love about your grandmother's basement,” says co-owner Logan Hawkes of the homey space as he capes a customer.

It’s the barbershop’s (49 Kings Wharf Place) opening day and its couch is already full of eager Dartmouthians. Patsy the pug happily greets customers at the door.

Lucky Cat has a sleek minimalistic setup with three chairs, offering haircuts and hot shaves. Hawkes co-owns it with fellow barbers Ashley Hawkes and Neil Atkinson.

“It’s the dream when you're a barber to have your own shop, I decided it was time to pull the trigger,” says Hawkes, who expects a hectic week and new year.

Patsy, right, manages the crowd - NOAH WIDMEYER
  • Patsy, right, manages the crowd
  • Noah Widmeyer
The need for a place for a trim in the ever-evolving downtown Dartmouth drew in the team. Small businesses continue to pop up in the area like neighbours The Watch That Ends The Night and Sidecar Goods and Yeah Yeahs Pizza (66 Ochterloney Street), which will be collaborating with the shop to make a Lucky Cat pizza.

"We have lots of collabs coming with other Dartmouth businesses," Hawkes adds. "That’s the beautiful thing about Dartmouth, how strong the community is.”

Follow @luckycatbarbershop for updates.

  • Pin It

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Church's Barbershop opens on Agricola

Posted By on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 at 4:02 PM

  • submitted

After two years of lowering ears from their west end joint, Scallywags Barbershop (6513 Chebucto Road), Dylan MacEachern and Brad MacDonald are expanding their fleet. Last week the pair quietly opened Church’s Barbershop in the former Makenew location (2468 Agricola Street), a spin off location that offers the same service with a slightly sleeker different look.

“We were just interested in having barbershops that service different little neighbourhoods in the city. Agricola Street is cool, there’s a whole bunch going on in the street right now—it’s super bustling,” says MacEachern. “Scallywags is a little bit knick knacky, a little busy. This one I’m trying to keep more minimal, clean and contemporary—concrete countertops and birch.”

Contemporary with a healthy dose of throwback inspiration, though. MacEachern says both the name, and some of the shop’s decor, are a hat tip to Harold Church, “an OG barber” who opened his first shop in Truro in 1953, and later hung his clippers in Tatamagouche.

“I have a cottage in Tatamagouche and I was kind of keeping my eye on the spot, until he passed away a couple of years ago,” he says. “I got in touch with Bonnie Church, his widow, and purchased all the fixtures out of the shop.”

A barber pole and Belmont chairs —along with a letter of consent from Bonnie Church herself—decorate and influence the new north end barbershop. Church’s is currently cutting from two chairs Tuesday through Sunday, hoping to expand to three or four by summer’s end.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , ,

Friday, June 30, 2017

Get on board with Roll The Dice

Halifax's newest board game cafe recently opened on Quinpool.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 1:34 PM


After spending several years in Toronto, Zack Amiri returned to Halifax to open up a board game cafe. As of June 12, Roll the Dice Board Game Cafe and Restaurant is making its home at Mezza’s former Quinpool location (6386 Quinpool Road).

“It’s one of the main streets in Halifax,” says Amiri, “and I think it’s not getting what’s deserved.”

He saw the growing variety and popularity of board games over the last few years. Five bucks (taxes in) will get you unlimited time to sit and play. Amiri says the cafe’s selection of games has room to grow, and he’s open to suggestions on what to add to the collection. If multiple people request a particular game, he’s happy to bring it in.

Amiri says there’s a variety of options for both intense gamers and folks how prefer something a little lighter. Some games might go for two or three hours while others take around 15 minutes to play.

Roll The Dice’s menu is a combination of Mexican and Mediterranean foods, along with other eats such as burgers and desserts. All in all, Amiri calls it “easy and handy food.”

“People eating with a spoon and playing board game—it doesn’t fit.”

The cafe had a soft, quiet opening earlier this month and Amiri is hoping it will become a valuable addition to the area: A place to socialize that’s not just about drinking. 

“There’s a lot of students and there’s a lot of business going on, but not much entertainment going on here.”

  • Pin It

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Splurge debuts The Shop Upstairs

New stuff at Sophie's Place

Posted By on Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 4:27 PM

Our shop is OPEN! Follow our brick and mortar shopping experience @theshopupstairs! #theshopupstairs

A post shared by Splurge Boutique (@splurgehandbags) on

Clothing and accessories boutique Splurge has been operating solely from the World Wide Web for the last three years. Since closing its Brenton Street location in 2014, its owners Nadia and Nadin Dajani, who took over the shop that same year, have concentrated on beefing up its online store but as of this week have returned to the Spring Garden strip irl, opening in Sophie’s Place (5486 Spring Garden Road).

“We’ve been online for three years and have been doing pop up shops during that time,” says Nadia of the decision to reopen under the name The Shop Upstairs. “We really missed the in-person experience we were getting from pop-up shops, we really liked feeling like we were friends with our customers and it was girls shopping time.”

The sister-owned boutique aims to inspire its shoppers to be unique, never carrying more than a handful of the same piece, and they hope to push that further with their new location. “We are two sisters with two different lifestyles and styles, what we wanted to offer the customer is that we’re not trying to fit customers into a specific mould. We want to encourage people to find their own style.”

  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Octopus Skateboards opens on West Street

A small but mighty skate shop for all

Posted By on Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 5:52 PM

When Michael Thompson came back to Halifax after years of working out west, he didn’t quite know what to do with himself. “My wife said, you know what, just do what you love and open up a skateboard shop,” says the owner of new north end biz,
Octopus Skateboards (5587 West Street, suite 200).

A longtime skaterboarder and board collector, Thompson opened the itty bitty shop earlier this month, filling it with independent and Canadian brands—like Chance and Olive—and all things skateboarding. Octopus not only carries affordable decks and accessories, but apparel, jewellery and art too, and Thompson is working hard to get more handmade and Halifax-made options on his shelves. He says his number one focus is the next generation of skaters.

“The kids get overlooked. The guys buying lots of skateboards are the guys who are really good at it,” adding he’s committed to supporting and educating young folks who come into the shop. “It’s all about the art and the community.”

  • Pin It

Tags: , ,

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Mind Hack opens in Hammonds Plains

Another escape room for all you problem solvers

Posted By on Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 5:08 PM

Matt Hall loved escape rooms so much that he decided to open one of his own—even if it meant giving up his all of his free time. His Mind Hack Room Escape (1410 Hammonds Plains Road)—the city’s fifth escape room— debuted quietly December 18, providing a little friendly problem solving for folks looking to keep busy over the holidays.

“I worked full time but wanted to do it, so I decided to limit my openings to evenings and weekends,” says Hall. “It’s a labour of love, you know?” After much beta testing, his Railroaded room—a treasure hunt of sorts—has about a 20 percent success rate. Hall says making it challenging was important for him, but also making it unique.

“Every room in metro has the same scenario, there’s an element of peril. With the treasure hunter room I wanted to do something different,” he says. “It’s a crossroads decision.” He’s currently working on a second, spy-themed room that you’ll have to break into, not out of (oh, and defuse a bomb) for early spring.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Game on for a second Board Room cafe

Halifax's board game cafe opens a Bedford location later this fall

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2016 at 6:34 PM

Board Room rolls the dice on a second location - LENNY MULLINS
  • Board Room rolls the dice on a second location
  • Lenny Mullins

The Board Room Game Cafe (1256 Barrington Street) wants to invite more players to the table. After three years of bringing fun and games—like hundreds of games—to downtown, the city’s first board game cafe/bar has announced it’ll open a second location later this fall, giving Haligonians another place to exercise their brains.

“We wanted to be accessible to a different part of the city,” says owner Kris Moulton of the upcoming expansion. “A lot of people don’t like driving downtown and parking can be a challenge. We hear a lot of people say they’ve heard of us but have never been.”

He hopes that’ll change in late fall, when the Board Room will welcome board-gamers from beyond the peninsula to its new spot at 932 Bedford Highway (the former Aplaydia Indoor Playground). Moulton says regulars can expect the same experience they’re used to on Barrington Street—good, clean, friendly competition.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Massage and yoga meet at Pramana

Gottingen street, zen is coming your way.

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 1:29 PM

Pramana's Alica Wright and Lara Frankcom - SUBMITTED
  • Pramana's Alica Wright and Lara Frankcom
  • submitted

Massage therapist Alicia Wright and yoga instructor Lara Frankcom will combine forces at Pramana—a new business coming to Gottingen street in August.

Wright describes Pramana as a space to learn about your body. A client’s needs can dictate the service they receive. For example, if someone is trying to correct an injury, Wright and Frankcom would work together to assess and treat the client, and also provide them with a set of exercises to take home. The services will be offered separately as well. Yoga at Pramana will be focused on small classes sizes and body alignment work. Wright will offer deep massage therapy, with roots in tissue work and physical rehabilitation.

“We didn’t want to look like a yoga studio, and we didn’t want to look a wellness centre,” says Wright. “Our vision of health and wellness and the way we approach the body is similar—but it’s hard to get that across.” In order to try and communicate their vision, the business partners decided on the name Pramana, which refers to the philosophy of attaining “true and accurate knowledge.”

“We want to bring community together—to be a non-pretentious, accessible and open place,” says Wright. “Once you learn about your physical body, you can go deeper into connecting with yourself.”

Pramana is set to open at 2207 Gottingen Street—Megan Leslie’s former office— in early August. See its website for price listings.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

11 Street Boutique opens this weekend

The Hydrostone gets a women's and men's clothing store

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2016 at 12:11 PM

  • via @11streetboutique

Erica Cormier is inspired. The north end resident and entrepreneur is opening her first venture into small business—11 Street Boutique (5649 Hennessy Street, on the corner of Isleville)—this weekend in the Hydrostone, and she says she couldn’t have done it without her local retail muses.

“I’m really into shopping local, and boutique shopping, and I saw a lot of younger women opening stores,” she says. “I started feeling like, I can do this because I’m seeing other women like me do it. Seeing Sweet Pea come so far in the last few years was definitely inspiring.”

Her boutique—named for the 10 historic streets of the Hydrostone neighbourhood, from Sebastian to Young, the 11th being Kaye—will sell women’s and men’s clothing and accessories from brands like Beck and Boosh, Cake for Breakfast, MACCS and Muttonhead Apparel, carrying limited numbers of each piece, and replenishing regularly, to ensure to give shoppers that few-of-a-kind experience. Located in the ground floor of a brand new building, Cormier hopes that 11 Street will bring something different to the already popular shopping strip. The shop will officially opens this Saturday, July 2, from 10am to 5pm.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Trainyard General Store pulls into downtown Dartmouth

The new shop and creative space opens in June

Posted By on Wed, Apr 20, 2016 at 4:00 AM

Coming soon to 53 Portland Street - @TRAINYARDSTORE
  • Coming soon to 53 Portland Street
  • @trainyardstore

There’s yet another addition to Dartmouth’s budding downtown— The Trainyard General Store is a new shop that’ll open this summer. The store is going to be focused on all gifts, goods and furniture crafted in Nova Scotia, and there'll be workshop space for people who want to do their own creating.

Saturday "Open Project Days" will feature craft experimenting with a weekly featured material. Other crafter-led workshops will be held throughout the week, giving the those of us unskilled at craft to try our hands at it.

Jason MacDonald, who’s opening The Trainyard General Store with his wife Kimberly, is happy to be adding to downtown Dartmouth’s development.

“Dartmouth has a really cool vibe going on right now," he says. "Why not bring a little more awesomeness to the community?"

The shop, which will call 53 Portland Street (right between New Scotland Yard Emporium and the Portland Street Creperie) home, is getting ready for a soft open in mid-June.

Stay tuned to Trainyard's Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for updates.

  • Pin It

Tags: ,

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Cyclone Group Fitness spins to Barrington

The downtown fitness studio gears up to open in its new location next week

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 4:37 PM

Breaking in the new location with some kettlebell action - SHANNON GEORGE PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Breaking in the new location with some kettlebell action
  • Shannon George Photography

“This is the second chapter, and it’s so exciting,” says Elana Liberman of her Cyclone Group Fitness’ brand-new location at 200-1717 Barrington Street. “I look at Barrington Street as growing up. I look at Cyclone that way too, it’s kind of grown up. We now know what the community wants and needs and we’re trying to offer that.” Moving into the bright space overlooking Parade Square—the former home of Studio in Essence—means floor-to-ceiling windows, hardwood floors, newly renovated changing rooms and an excuse to add more classes to the Cyclone schedule, which has added TRX, barre, kettlebell, pilates and yoga to its indoor cycling offerings. Liberman says she was planning the move for about a year before landing on the perfect location and after renovating the heck out of the bathrooms, and lugging all of Cyclone’s gear from its Salter Street location this weekend, Cyclone will officially re-open for classes on April 4.

“I sometimes feel like I’m in The Twilight Zone. It was four years ago that we signed the lease at Salter Street and it didn’t have floors or walls and somehow we built this incredible community around that space,” says Liberman. “If it wasn’t for my staff and this community downtown that’s embraced us, I wouldn’t be moving at all.”

  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

Monday, March 28, 2016

KoKo Mod Floral Design blooms on Portland Street

Out-of-the-box special event flowers from Korayne Romanchuk hit Dartmouth's downtown

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 4:00 AM

  • via Koko Mod

Korayne Romanchuk’s passion for floral design bloomed when she was sweeping floors at a flower shop in Calgary. Her curiousity for the art led her to put down the broom and learn for herself, by working in high-end floral design and soaking up skills from the experts around her. But the dream of opening her own flower shop didn’t bring her to Nova Scotia—the film industry did. “I’m doing this because I’m a product of the Nova Scotia film tax credit cut,” she says of her latest venture. “This is how I stay in Nova Scotia.”

Stepping away from film, Romanchuk got back into the flower world through working in wholesale, and eventually selling her own bouquets and arrangements as KoKo Mod Floral Design at farmers’ markets—a move that inspired her to open her own shop at 158 Portland Street (next to curated second-hand shop, Room 152).

“It was really interesting to me coming from a busy economy like Calgary. It had just boomed, there was money everywhere and people didn’t think twice about spending a couple of hundred dollars on flowers,” she says. “I really had to dial it back and learn and understand the industry here.”

The bricks-and-mortar KoKo Mod, which she aims to open by early April, will sell plants, flowers and handmade gifts, and focus on modern, out-of-the-box design. “I approach my work from an artistic viewpoint, it takes me a long time to put an order of flowers together,” says Romanchuk. “I love looking at the world through curious, questioning eyes. And I love sparking that in people. I’m passionate about not just flowers, but being able to share my passion with people.”

  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Made in the Maritimes hits the Hydrostone

A second location for the artisan boutique

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 1:32 PM

Joel Kelly and Mark Smith in the Bedford store - SUBMITTED
  • Joel Kelly and Mark Smith in the Bedford store
  • submitted

“People are looking for high quality, and they want to support local,” says Joel Kelly. He’s learned that in the last year, during which he’s been bringing beautiful things to Bedford via art, craft and handmade boutique Made in the Maritimes (Sunnyside Mall, 1595 Bedford Highway), which he runs with Mark Smith.

Amidst a busy first year in business Kelly and Smith quickly realized they wanted to grow the brand and open a companion location closer to downtown Halifax, but were waiting for the right place and time, which came together just in time for spring. This week Made in the Maritimes announced that in a perfectly fitting tenant swap it will take over the home of the recently retired Bogside Gallery—a business that dedicated decades to local artisans—and open shop number two at 5527 Young Street on the Hydrostone shopping strip. “It will look and feel the same,” says Kelly of the slightly smaller space. “But it’ll be really nice to have two locations to bring different things to.”

The Halifax location of Made in the Maritimes aims to open in early May.

  • Pin It

Tags: , ,

Friday, January 22, 2016

Yes, a "full size" IKEA is opening in Halifax in 2017

Swedish design embassy coming to Dartmouth Crossing

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2016 at 10:00 AM

The Halikea is a thing. IKEA is opening a Halifax store in Dartmouth Crossin
  • The Halikea is a thing. IKEA is opening a Halifax store in Dartmouth Crossin

Haligonians have been pining for the impossible furniture store's return since its Burnside outlet closed late last millennium. Today's announcement from IKEA Canada's president, Stefan Sjöstrand, earned media coverage as if it was the biblical Second Coming—which might happen before IKEA's new shop in Dartmouth Crossing is built.

The press release says the giant (328,000 square feet) store "will take roughly 14-16 months to build once ground is broken in summer 2016." And you know from bitter experience with Allen keys and non-lingual direction sheets that IKEA always underestimates how long stuff takes to put together. Of all the people excited about this, local divorce lawyers are probably at the top of the list.

The Dartmouth Crossing location of the big box heavy-hitter will be Canada’s most sustainable IKEA store, zeroing in on energy efficiency and waste management. It also will create hundreds of jobs—350 to start, closer to 500 by the time the store opens.

You can while away the time in your unfurnished house watching this IKEA Shining tribute ad.

  • Pin It

Tags: , ,

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Trapped queen: a night at Captured Escape Rooms

Going behind lock and key to find out what the heck an escape room is.

Posted By on Thu, Jan 7, 2016 at 10:38 AM

The gluttony associated with the Holiday season is (sadly) behind us and we’ve been left scrambling for an activity to replace the mind-numbing mounds of food and booze we once indulged in. I suggest skipping the bar, rallying your buds and entering Captured Escape Rooms (1649 Barrington Street)—which opened back in December— for a new kind of race against time.

Though Captured has six different rooms to choose from, co-owner Kelsey Keddy suggests my friends and I choose Pirates’ Brig room as beginners. Keddy hands us flashlights and a walkie-talkie that we can use for two hints while in the room. She then reads us a spooky backstory relaying why we’ve been captured and leads us into the room handcuffed. The door locks, eerie music plays. With only 45 minutes on the clock, we’re quickly jolted with adrenaline. We hastily bustle around the dim room, moving the clutter and searching for keys to set ourselves free.

The room is packed with false bottoms, hidden corners and codes that may or may not contain the information or pieces you need to escape. Keddy had told us not to be afraid to literally tear the room apart. Since the space is small with clues aplenty, you have to multitask and communicate consistently with your group. Each key we find or puzzle we solve leads to another obstacle. Both the fun and the frustration lies in the seemingly never-ending riddles.

At 20 minutes in, my group has used up our hints. We shuffle around, unorganized, and as seconds melt away, Keddy slips in another hint. We come so very close to freedom, but the final riddle stumps us and we don’t escape. As disappointed (and embarrassed) as we are, Keddy assures us not many make it out. I suggest you endure the challenge.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

Recent Comments

In Print This Week

Vol 25, No 28
December 7, 2017

Cover Gallery »

Real Time Web Analytics

© 2017 Coast Publishing Ltd.