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.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

SHOP THIS: Halifax Paper Hearts enamel pins

Stationery-makers stick it to you with new enamel pins

Posted By on Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 2:33 AM


It has been a big few years for Stefanie MacDonald, the owner and designer of Halifax Paper Hearts, a stationery company inspired to tell love stories and fairytales that don’t fit the standard narrative. Now, her work is sold in over 125 stores countrywide and will be debuting in the US the spring and she’s adding something new to the mix—a line of enamel pins that invites folks to carry some of her cards’ characters with them all the time.

“The stationery industry has been evolving significantly over the past couple of years, and many makers that traditionally only made greeting cards are branching out into creating lifestyle and gift lines. When I walked into the National Stationery Show in New York City last year, I was so inspired by how card makers were expanding their lines—and diversifying their income stream–by creating pins, patches, buttons, keychains mugs and so much more,” says MacDonald. “It seemed like a natural fit to start with enamel pins for us, as our characters are relatable and lend themselves well to wearable pins.”

You can get stuck on Paper Hearts’ smiling avocado, Dartmouth ferry and gal pal pins at Kept (75 King Street), Duly Noted Stationery (5431 Doyle Street), Bellissimo (2743 Agricola Street) and Coconut Creek (162 Hector Gate).

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

RCHMND gets creative with future__seasons

The downtown boutique challenges traditional retail concepts, and brings big name designers to the rack

Posted By on Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 5:45 PM

  • via RCHMND

hosted a launch event for its first delivery of Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy last week. Highlights included a set of neon tracksuits and a football jersey, both collaborative efforts with Adidas that incorporated the designer’s hallmark Russian typeface.

An extension of RCHMND (1869 Granville Street), future__seasons is envisioned as a venue and cultural hub for the fashion community of Halifax. “We wanted to do something conceptual, not just open another store” says RCHMND co-owner says Kristi Smith. “It can display products, hold people, really anything.” The space does not have traditional hours and will only open for special events and product releases.

Inspired by clothing showrooms, the co-owners desired to creatively display their products. At the Gosha Rubchinskiy launch, future__seasons matched the football aesthetic of the Adidas collaboration. To the soundtrack of early Euro rave music, the garments were thoughtfully placed alongside a set of bleachers and turf, cast in fluorescent light. At future__seasons, the relationship between product and space is dynamic; every element within the space is modular.

Above all, future__seasons is a chance for RCHMND to challenge traditional notions of a retail concept. “It gives us the ability to highlight different designers, and to tell different stories” says co-owner Pete MacDonald of the new space’s potential. Look forward to what story future__seasons will tell next. It will probably sound a lot different.

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Where I work: N.S.K.D

A shared a passion for rare streetwear inspired four friends to open Nova Scotia Kids, a boutique fuelled by hype.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 4:43 PM

1876 Hollis Street

Zhen Fan, Bob Bao, Andong Wang and Edward Wei are probably Halifax's swaggiest quartet. All from China, the four transformed their shared passion for streetwear into a retail concept earlier this year. The name Nova Scotia Kids (shortened to simply N.S.K.D) refers to their relative unfamiliarity with the province. "I am like a baby in Halifax, like a kid," Wei says about their experience of living in a new country. "A new language, new friends, a new life. Everything is new."

N.S.K.D specializes in reselling rare pieces from trendy streetwear brands. Inspired by internationally known storefronts like Round Two and the online clothing marketplace Grailed, the Kids have reinterpreted those experiences into a Halifax retail concept. You won't find these garments anywhere else in Halifax; Supreme, Bape and Off-White are the designers featured most prominently, plus rotating rack of consignment clothes. In the future, the co-founders hope to place a stronger emphasis on their own in-house line of apparel.

Hype is what drives N.S.K.D. You can feel it when you step inside, almost everything in the store is limited run and hard-to-find. Even the decor is collectable, as rows of Supreme decks cover the wall while a collection of NEIGHBORHOOD incense burners can be found on the window sill. I fawn over a pair of Converse x Fragment collaboration One-Stars (anybody have a size 10?). Flipping through the racks of clothing, Wei is excited about every piece he shows me. First and foremost, the co-founders are fans of what they are reselling. It's hard not to be swept up in their excitement.

Along with several upcoming collaborations, N.S.K.D will launch the second season of its self-titled apparel this year. The co-founders will also make an appearance at the International Toy Show in Shanghai to debut their own figurine. Though Halifax has typically been seen as a fashionable place, Wei says the city is changing—and the Kids hope to be its destination for streetwear. "Six years ago people didn't really think about fashion in the same way. It's like a revolution."

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Maggie MacCormick is having a seconds sale

Posted By on Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 4:44 PM

  • Alexa Cude

Maggie MacCormick
moved and we are reaping all the benefits.
The Halifax designer known for Maggie Jayne—her dreamy line of made-in-India dresses, flightsuits and skirts—is warming her brand new west end studio space by selling off all of her factory seconds, samples and leftovers.

This Saturday, February 3 get a blast from seasons past at said studio (6437 Cork Street) where from 12 to 4pm MacCormick’s work will be marked down in the name of her upcoming summer collection. And while that s-word may seem out of reach at this icy juncture, a breezy new (local) look is not.

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Rousseau Chocolatier's redux

Posted By on Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 4:37 AM

  • via Instagram

It was just about four years ago when Julien Rousseau-Dumarcet and Nathalie Morin opened Rousseau Chocolatier (1277 Hollis Street) after moving from France to Halifax and getting their start selling handmade chocolates at the Historic Farmers’ Market. This weekend the pair celebrates the next wave of their business with their grand reopening at a gorgeous, larger location around the corner in the soho (5151 South Street).

The new Euro-style espresso bar and sweet shop opens at 10am on Saturday, February 3, and boasts menu additions like croissants, pains au chocolat and brioche. Stay tuned for a summer dairy bar, too.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Seven Bays Bouldering takes it higher

North end bouldering gym expands to basement, offers new equipment.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 6:15 PM

Rad renderings of the new SBB set-up - SUBMITTED
  • Rad renderings of the new SBB set-up
  • submitted

Seven Bays Bouldering
(2019 Gottingen Street) is peaking in size thanks to a basement expansion that will feature additional space and activities for climbers.

“From the moment we started building Seven Bays, the possibility was always there,” owner Geneviève de la Plante says of the renovations, which will make use the massive parking garage underneath their current gym space. “I think it was clear within, I would say, the first few months it was going to happen eventually.” Seven Bays’ new additions will include 45-degree and 15-degree climbing walls, as well as a campus board for finger strengthening.

For intermediate and advanced climbers, a MoonBoard is part of the set-up as well. “It’s basically like a benchmark training tool, so there’s an app that has a database of all kinds of problems set all over the world,” explains de la Plante. “You’re not limited to what we call resets, which are when we change the holes in the wall.”

Additional gear—such as weights and a squat board—will also available to complement the climbing gym, targeting especially those who have plateaued in skill level. “We’re also trying to get some people who live in the north end and who want to just train without climbing, potentially,” de la Plante says.

A launch event is scheduled to take place on February 17, which will include demos of the new equipment.

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

New Scotland Clothing goes big

Posted By on Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 1:46 PM

  • Geoff Creighton
New Scotland Clothing Co. is taking the whole “new year, new you” thing pretty seriously in 2018. The start-up apparel company, founded by brothers Kevin and Scott Saccary, will leave its tiny spot at 20 Wentworth Street and launch its new flagship location in downtown Dartmouth next month.

“The Wentworth store location has been a sort of incubator for small businesses,” says Kevin of the space, which also helped sprout Bodega Boutique (now at 104 Portland Street). “It’s 250 square feet. We took a big risk signing on to a one year lease—we went from literally selling shirts out of cardboard boxes at Alderney Landing to opening that space in May 2016. Three or four weeks later we opened on the waterfront and at the airport, so it sort of just boomed for us right there.”

The new storefront at 102 Portland Street, which is the former home of KEW furniture, will give the Saccary brothers space for more storage and inventory as well as the freedom to add more products and designs to their line. This growth comes on the heels of a big year for New Scotland Clothing, which included international shipping, testing the market at Halifax Shopping Centre and planning for a new partnership and sibling company, New Scotland Brewing (the Saccarys found their new storefront while looking for a taproom location).

“The goal was to grow the business this year,” says Kevin. “And we’ve more than proven we have.”

The shop’s grand reopening will take place Saturday, February 3 and more details on a brewing location should follow (hopefully, says Kevin) soon after. But that’s another story.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Speeding beauty

Posted By on Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 5:17 PM

  • THE TEN SPOT Halifax

The urge to return home hit Nicole Turlo when she was working at a spa in Toronto, pregnant with her second child. She didn't have a job in Nova Scotia, and she told her husband he didn't have to come, but she knew moving felt right: "As long as I'm in Halifax, I'll be happy." After the family—husband included—relocated, Turlo started looking for opportunities. One that intrigued her was THE TEN SPOT, a Canadian chain of beauty bars.

Turlo was a satisfied TEN SPOT customer in Toronto, and, judging by the presence of a Charlottetown branch, the company was open to east coast franchise partners, so Turlo filled out a web form to say she was interested in opening a Halifax location. Six hours later, the CEO phoned. "I was shocked. I didn't think it was gonna be that easy," says Turlo, now owner of the 23rd store. "They liked that I'm a local girl from Halifax."

THE TEN SPOT halifax opens Saturday at 5165 South Street, near the Elmwood. Offering speedy manicures, pedicures, waxing, facials and laser hair removal in a lively, social setting, it's "kind of like an anti-spa," Turlo says. The focus is "high-quality, highly hygenic services" for people on the go. "Get in, get it done, get out."

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King's Pier pops up on Agricola

Finally! Some action on Agricola and Woodill!

Posted By on Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 3:23 PM

A post shared by KingsPier (@kingspiervintage) on

The long-abandoned 2347 Agricola Street is coming back to life this week. Dartmouth vintage boutique King's Pier Curated Collections (13 Kings Wharf Place) is popping up as a satellite store in the former north end laundromat, bringing its pre-loved fashions to Agricola and Woodill for the next two weeks.

King's Pier owner Laura MacNutt is taking her show on the road as Port of Call because her location on the Dartmouth canal—which has been closed since the end of December—isn't exactly winter-friendly. So, to tide over shoppers until warmer days, she'll bring a bunch of brand new, yet-to-be-seen stock, lots of men's footwear and "a ridiculous amount of winter coats" with her to what she calls a "raw space" on Agricola.

What will become of 2347 Agricola after Port of Call pulls up its anchor in a couple of weeks remains a mystery for now. Priority 1 real estate's Adam Conter, a co-owner of the building, says he's had significant interest from potential new tenants — 27 of them to be exact.

 "We believe we've bought the gateway to the north end," he says, adding that he's focussed on bringing someone "strong and local" into the building.

Conter and his partners have gutted the street-level retail space and its second-floor apartment, both of which will be fully rebuilt. He hopes to have more news on what's next for the space in the coming weeks.

Starting tomorrow (Thursday, January 25), King's Pier's Port of Call will be open Tuesday through Sunday, noon 'til 5pm.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Levi Store opening doubles as a presidential homecoming

Levi Strauss head-honcho James Curleigh has his company's jeans in Halifax, and Halifax in his genes.

Posted By on Tue, Jan 23, 2018 at 3:45 PM

Levi Strauss president James "JC" Curleigh at the opening of the Halifax Levi Store, a stone's throw from the church where he got married. - NOAH WIDMEYER
  • Levi Strauss president James "JC" Curleigh at the opening of the Halifax Levi Store, a stone's throw from the church where he got married.
  • Noah Widmeyer

Not only did the president of denim dealers Levi Strauss & Co. come to town for the jean store’s grand opening celebration, but that president is from Halifax. 

For James Curleigh, better known as JC, helping open a store in his hometown is pretty spectacular.

"I've been on a world journey, and I never thought I'd get to come back to where it all started and open a store," says the corporate president.

Halifax-born and a Saint Mary’s University alumni, JC got his start in retail at Aerobics First on Quinpool Road in the ’80s with his brother. Working at the athletic boutique, his job included tasks like setting up displays and doing sales, which actually sounds pretty applicable to getting a new Levi Store up and running.

Now based out of San Francisco, he hasn’t forgotten where he came from.

“Once people found out I was from here, there became an urgency to open a store," he says.

Watch the following video for an extended interview.

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Goodbye, my P’lovers

Eco-friendly store closes all three of its locations.

Posted By on Thu, Jan 18, 2018 at 3:15 PM

The P'lovers South Park Street location, before it moved to the north end. - SAMSON LEARN
  • The P'lovers South Park Street location, before it moved to the north end.
  • Samson Learn

After 25 years, P’lovers is closing. 

In an Instagram post, owner Shelby Lendrum lamented her store: “Despite my best efforts, P’lovers is closing its doors permanently,” she wrote. “My deepest apologies to those who are caught in the turmoil of these sudden events.”

Lendrum was a P’lovers employee before taking ownership of the Halifax and Mahone Bay shops—originally owned by Ann Caverzan and Liz Crocker—in 2013. She opened an additional location in Dartmouth, which is now shuttered for good along with the Mahone Bay location. According to Lendrum’s post, the Halifax store (3059 Gottingen Street) will briefly re-open for a liquidation sale in February.

Lendrum continued: “I have devoted more than half my life to this company, some of which is recorded here in this virtual world of social media. For that reason, only the Instagram account will remain active. Having said that, it will switch over to a personal account unless I feel it’s time to let go of it as well. Otherwise, I will use this platform to remain connected to those interested throughout my grieving, and hopefully healing, process.”

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Lily Pad Cat Lounge is opening
in Dartmouth

All resident cats are adoptable from the NS SPCA.

Posted By on Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 4:02 PM


Jody Godin
had always wanted to start her own business, and a couple years ago she decided to take the leap. After jumping through some hoops and doing some crowdfunding, the Lily Pad Cat Lounge (590 Portland Street) is about to open in Dartmouth.

“I love animals, but I especially love cats,” says Godin. She got the idea for a cat-centric space as she read up on cat cafes around the country, particularly the Catfe in Vancouver. When the time came to get down to business, she found the rules around animals in food establishments are much stricter here than in other provinces. 

“It wasn’t until I actually finished my business plan and stuff like that, that I realized ‘Oh, OK, so I have to change this aspect and go on from there,’” says Godin.As a result, the lounge will be more focused on cats than being a cafe. Visitors first enter through the shop section of the store, where they can buy cat supplies or merchandise for themselves: “Necklaces, rings—things you’d want to give a crazy cat lady.” If they want a coffee or tea, there’s a self-serve station with a Keurig machine. After paying an entrance fee, it’s time to head to the lounge to meet the resident cats.

  • via Facebook

The kitties in question are all adoptable pets from the Nova Scotia SPCA. Godin’s job is to ensure they are happy and healthy in the lounge while the SPCA provides the food and vet care. If the cats need a break from people (as we all often do), they can slip through a kitty door to another room.

A couple roadblocks—including a power outage—have prevented Lily Pad from opening in the last few weeks, as Godin hoped it would. She’s hoping things will be up and running by the end of next week, if not before.

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Friday, January 5, 2018

Seam Work coming soon to downtown Dartmouth

Quilter brings a sewing workshop to Queen Street

Posted By on Fri, Jan 5, 2018 at 3:49 PM

  • via Facebook

Adrienne Klenk will have Dartmouth in stitches come February. That’s when she’ll open Seam Work, a sewing studio and classroom space that’ll share a home with Urban Gardens Ltd.—her husband Max’s new business—at 60 Queen Street.

“I’ve been quilting for 20 years, and I started an Etsy shop in 2016, but I’d been teaching for the last three years and my dream was always to have a workshop and have fabric to sell,” says Klenk, who saw the opportunity to bring that dream to life when her husband opened his shop in November. “It's in the first level of house on Queen Street, it's naturally divided into two halves. It’ll be a link to people doing for themselves, growing their own stuff, making their own stuff.”

Seam Work will have six sewing machines for hourly rental and will offer open studio time as well as an array of classes. Klenk, who’s been teaching at Halifax’s Patch (2571 Robie Street), says she’ll provide everything from beginner to advanced classes, from basic intros to sewing, quilting and garments to kids classes later in the year once things get rolling. “I started the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild three years ago, so I’ve met many sewers and quilters through that group,” she says of the teaching roster she hopes to offer.

The studio won’t be selling fabric due to space, but Klenk says students will have the choice to have their supplies included with their class registration. Seam Work aims to open and debut its class schedule in early February and classes kick off in March.

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Halifax street style: Argyle Street

Scouring the streets for the city's most fashionable.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 3, 2018 at 11:00 AM

  • Meghan Tansey Whitton

Name: Stephanie L’Italien and Arya
Age: 27
Spotted: Argyle Street
Wearing: jacket and shoes, Zara; jeans, H&M; blouse, Frenchy’s; sweater: Club Monaco; purse, Old Navy; scarf, purchased while traveling abroad   

How would you describe your style?
My style has always been very basic, simple and classic. I don’t like to overcomplicate my outfits and I always stick to neutral colours. I am always on the hunt for sales and I never buy anything full price, which is a big money-saver!  When it comes to my style, the saying “less is more” is quite accurate.   

Who/where do you derive inspiration from when putting together an outfit? Instagram is definitely my inspirational tool nowadays. I can spends hours on Instagram looking at various outfits on different fashion accounts without even realizing I’ve spent a good chunk of my day scrolling through photos.

How does living in Halifax affect your fashion choices?
I just moved to Halifax this summer but it’s already influenced my style quite drastically. It’s a very trendy city so it’s nice to be able to see different fashion trends whether you're in line getting a coffee or going for a walk at Point Pleasant. I would also say the weather here is definitely the number one factor that affects my fashion choice. I tend to dress in layers as the weather is a bit unpredictable so wearing an oversized scarf or a comfy knitted cardigan is definitely key during winters in Halifax.

Name a current trend that you just can't get on board with?
Bold colours or differing patterns have always been considered a trend but that is something I could never get on board with.  My colour scheme never seems to go further than browns or maybe even a forest green but I’ve always admired those who can pull off bold colours or patterns.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

There’s always room for dessert at Taiyaki 52

A new cafe brings taiyaki—and taiyaki ice cream—to the table

Posted By on Wed, Dec 20, 2017 at 5:57 PM

  • via iStock
Sophie Lee moved to Halifax from Vancouver about a year ago and the city immediately made an impression on her. “There was something quite different from larger cities,” she says. “People are really interested in local businesses and want to help each other succeed.”

It was that feeling, in combination with her experience in the food industry, that helped inspire her to open something of her own. Lee tapped into her sweeter side and dreamed up Taiyaki 52, a dessert cafe that’ll open at 2001 Brunswick Street (next door to Inkwell) in February and feature traditional, golden brown taiyaki cakes, with fillings like red bean and custard, as a centrepiece.

“Basically we’ll be selling Japanese, old-fashioned taiyaki—fish-shaped waffles—but sort of a fusion version. It’ll be similar to a waffle dessert plate, with fruit, whipped cream and syrups,” she says, citing the golden fish of New York’s Taiyaki NYC (we highly recommend looking it up) as a sort of muse. She also hopes to be serving taiyaki ice cream—AKA soft serve ice cream in a taiyaki cone—in the warmer months.

“I worked sushi restaurants for the longest time but wanted to create something more fun. Halifax, I think, is all about creativity.”

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Recent Comments

  • Re: Speeding beauty

    • Great article! This will be my first 'speedy' stop next time I'm in Halifax!!! Good…

    • on January 24, 2018
  • Re: Goodbye, my P’lovers

    • So WHY did it close? Her best efforts to keep the doors open despite what?…

    • on January 22, 2018
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