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, 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

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

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

  • Rachel McGrath
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.

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.”

  • Rachel McGrath
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.

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

  • 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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Thursday, January 17, 2019

R Studios' core strength

With the upcoming arrival of Rebel, Connie McInnes completes a fitness trifecta, rebrands her businesses and focuses even deeper on community

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2019 at 1:53 AM

  • Ian Selig
“We want to revolutionize the way you move,” says Connie McInnes, the owner of Rio & Rogue, two fitness studios in the north end that offer a wide variety of classes—from yoga and pilates at Rio to kickboxing and kettlebell at Rogue.
In March, McInnes will open the doors to her third studio, Rebel, at the corner of Ochterloney and Wentworth in downtown Dartmouth. Rebel will act as a middle ground between Rio and Rogue where people can expect to find fast-paced yoga flows alongside strength-focused pilates and boxing classes.

With the opening of Rebel, McInnes is also rebranding her trio of gyms as R Studios. She hopes the name change will emphasize that, although there are three locations that target various fitness regimes, they are all part of one community.
“Even though each concept is unique, our story, our intention and our community remain unchanged,” McInnes says. “The principles and values of each space are maintained—we still want small classes that feel comfortable, accessible and personalized.”

Since the beginning, McInnes says community has been the core value of R Studios. A former competitive gymnast, McInnes was involved in team-based sports and athletics as a child and teenager. When she moved to Toronto as an adult, she began attending fitness classes because they felt familiar, comforting, and, more importantly, provided her with a sense of belonging.

“When I moved home, I found that all the studios here focused on just one discipline,” McInnes says. “But I always practiced a wide variety of movement, like yoga, pilates, high-intensity cardio and running.”

She decided to start a multi-dimensional studio where people could access a wide range of fitness routines. The first location, Rio, opened in 2014 in a small loft studio on Charles Street, and was followed by Rogue in 2017, which opened in a repurposed industrial warehouse on Lady Hammond Road.

McInnes says that, when it comes to appearances, R Studios is a collection of three fitness studios, but the bricks and mortar are founded on family, community and bringing people together. In order to provide a personalized and individualized experience, classes are purposefully capped at 16 to 24 at Rogue and 9 to 16 at Rio. Plus, each Friday night at Rogue, a keg is on tap to encourage people to stick around and socialize after they sweat.

“It’s about being welcoming and accessible,” McInnes says. “We want to appeal to everyone. You don’t have to be a star athlete to take our kickboxing classes. You don’t need to be comfortable with spiritual teachings to practice yoga.”
McInnes recognizes that some fitness studios promote a negative gym culture that focuses on weight-loss and results-based training. These atmospheres can be demotivating, lonely and just plain unhealthy. By contrast, R Studios maintains that it isn’t about how you look, it’s about how you feel. It isn’t necessary to leave a studio feeling burnt out, exhausted and pouring in sweat. A low impact class can be just as grounding and effective.

“These studios are about having fun while doing something positive for yourself,” McInnes says. “For us, it’s all internal—whether it’s the people you meet or how the classes make you feel. The biggest gift is hearing peoples’ stories. It drives me to see the growth that other people have experienced through our classes.” 
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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

SHOP THIS: East Coast Wedding Planner

Elegant Productions teams up with Nimbus Publishing to print its very own East Coast Wedding Planner

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2019 at 4:02 PM


If you had a merry little holiday engagement and now everyone keeps asking you "when's the big day?," the local nuptial experts are here to keep your head from spinning into oblivion. Kind of a pre-wedding journal and kind of a beautiful art-filled keepsake, An East Coast Wedding Planner is the linen-bound debut publication from Halifax wedding planning and design firm Elegant Productions and its stationery arm, Elegant Paper Co. Together Katelyn Bellefontaine, Lisa MacPherson and Rebecca Dimock released the hardcover book—bursting with whimsical wedding snaps from local photographers—back in December and it's now finding its way onto local bookshop shelves. From expert Q&As, to timelines, budgets, style advice and tips for each season, the Planner aims to inspire, organize and calm nerves. Look for copies at Bookmark (5686 Spring Garden Road), as well as Chapters and Coles locations. The Nimbus Publishing website will do the trick, too.

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Audrey Flanders’ growth mindset

Dartmouth’s new tropical shop has its eyes on the green thumbs.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2019 at 3:52 PM


A few days before Christmas, Audrey's Little Shop of Plants (104 Portland Street, the former home of Bodega Boutique)—a sweet spot for tropical plants and expert advice on keeping them alive—bloomed in downtown Dartmouth. It was a quiet arrival but the oasis, and its owner Audrey Flanders, are more than ready to get growing.

"I've been in horticulture my whole life," she says. "I worked in greenhouses, garden centres, landscaping." She also ran her own shop in Toronto, Stamen and Pistil Botanicals, before moving to Nova Scotia last spring where she honed a passion and expertise in tropicals. "When I was kid everyone had tropical plants and now it's coming back to that," says Flanders. She calls her boutique more of a plant spa than anything. That's because Audrey's Little Shop isn't just a place to find weird and wonderful greenery and planters—think aloes, snake plants, string of pearls and succulents—but a spot to rescue and renew the plants you already own. Flanders is happy to help customers diagnose and deal with issues their house plants are having, as well as transplant, prune or clean them.

"For me it's more about having a store for everyone. Plants are staged a lot in magazines and stuff, sometimes they're not viable, they don't grow that way," she says. "We take in plants from other stores and I don't even care as long as I can fix it."


Aiming to sell beautiful things at affordable prices—and sow her expertise all through your indoor garden—Flanders is bringing in lots of hard-to-find tropicals, mixing up specialty soils and offering public classes in terrariums, moss ball planters and plant care.

She says while right now succulent and rainforest plants are having a highly-Instagrammable moment, peoples' love for them isn't a new thing, or trend that'll fade. That's why Audrey's Little Shop of Plants wants to help people pick plants that they can help thrive easily. "It has a lot to do with being able to watch something grow, having some kind of living thing near you. Everyone should be able to have beautiful things."

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Thursday, January 3, 2019

Shop this: Sunday Rose Handmade

The south-shore-made skincare line is organic, cruelty-free and plant-based

Posted By on Thu, Jan 3, 2019 at 5:48 AM


Jaana Kujala
knows a lot about putting your best face forward. After starting a career in film makeup at 19, she made the shift from prosthetics to esthetics and fell in love with skin health and wellness. As a holistic skin therapist, she studied skin nutrition and the clean, natural ingredients that jive best with various skin types.

“The most healing ingredients you can use for your skin aren’t in most product lines,” says Kujala, a self-proclaimed purist who uses ingredients like tamanu oil—an anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, moisture-barrier-building seed oil— and prickly pear seed oil in her products. “With a lot of the skincare industry there’s so much marketing that goes into it and a lot of those brands don’t know what goes into skin health.”

After spending a few years experimenting with her own creations, handmaking small-batch creams, masks and elixirs for herself, she’s launched Sunday Rose Handmade, a line of organic, plant-based, cruelty-free products made in her south shore studio.

“The self-care product industry is not regulated by anything—a lot of companies do what’s called greenwashing where you have two percent of an organic ingredient and have organic on the label,” Kujala says, adding that Sunday Rose’s inaugural 10 products are a minimum of 95 percent certified organic and use GMO and pesticide-free ingredients. “Everything is really pure so you’re getting all the nutrients right into your skin.”

For now, your thirsty skin can get its fix via Kujala’s online shop where she also sells holistic beauty tools, like jade rollers and brushes, and withinUs collagen products that aren’t available anywhere else on the east coast. And if you’d like some face time with the line’s creator, she’ll be in Halifax for a pop-up next month (February 9, 1-3pm) at Bhavana Yoga Boutique (3063 Gottingen Street).
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Friday, December 21, 2018

Taking care of business: 2018's standout openings and closings

A highlight reel of small biz news

Posted By on Fri, Dec 21, 2018 at 2:34 PM

Clockwise from top left: The Has Bin, Zakka Mart, Cafe Good Luck, Darling Tattoos, Rasa - DYLAN CHEW, MEGHAN TANSEY WHITTON, IAN SELIG, LENNY MULLINS
  • Clockwise from top left: The Has Bin, Zakka Mart, Cafe Good Luck, Darling Tattoos, Rasa

A year isn’t a year until you start making lists, checking ’em twice and remembering all of the good, bad and ugly things that came together to make and/or break it. In the world of local business, we saw lots of growth—especially in Dartmouth and north end Halifax—dealt with some really bad bosses and thanked god the old Oxford Theatre hasn’t been knocked over, yet. A lot of cool stuff happened, but here are the Coles notes about how 2018 went down.

Despite bidding neighbourhood haunts like The Anchor (3625 Dutch Village Road), La Cave de Strasbourg (3104 Highway 2), Canadiana Restaurant (15 Lakelands Boulevard) and Epicurious Morsels (5529 Young Street) adieu, the food and drink scene did pretty well for itself. Dartmouth scored big time with Lake City Cider and Brightwood Brewing’s (35 Portland Street) shared swilling space, Aly Mae’s Bread Basket (11 Mount Hope Avenue) reminded us the Mary’s Bread Basket cinnamon bun is still alive, Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse (612 Windmill Road) gave Burnside a saucy spot to hangout and Cafe Good Luck (145 Portland Street) made us all feel like we won the god damn lottery.

The Little Oak family brought The Ostrich Club (5529 Young Street) to life in the Hydrostone, Deeksha Bhaskar debuted Rasa (1542 Birmingham Street) in the former Fireside, The Exchange on Hollis (1579 Hollis Street) went big with its 200-plus seater while Yoshi Suzuki encouraged take-out from his tiny Tokyo Roll (1598 Argyle Street). You didn’t live if you didn’t Instagram your tayaki ice cream cone at Taiyaki 52 (2009 Brunswick Street) or visit Shivani Dhamija at her new Shivani’s Kitchen at the Seaport Farmers’ Market, probably died when you heard Vandal Doughnuts (2605 Agricola Street) was closing and can’t stop taco-ing (sorry) about the Rinaldo brothers’ Taco Lina’s which took its place in Gus’ Pub. Hopyard Beer Bar (2103 Gottingen Street) kept it interesting with rotating menus while Kam Moon (2013 Brunswick Street) introduced us to Egyptian flat bread, and Cha Baa Thai (5813 Demone Street), Lemon Tree (805 Bedford Highway) and Morris East (1984 Vernon Street) multiplied.

Coffee drinkers had to keep caffeinated to follow all the action: Pro Skates lost Anchored Coffee (6451 Quinpool Road) and gained The Atomic Cafe in its place, four of six Smiling Goats went out to pasture after labour issues went public and Glitter Bean (5896 Spring Garden Road) gave us a reason to believe good things happen to good people. Coffee Matters opened three locations, The Nook (936 Bedford Highway) doubled up, Cafe Marco Polo (15-105 King’s Wharf Place) brought some buzz to Dartmouth’s condo strip, Cafe Lara (2347 Agricola Street) brightened a bleak abandoned laundromat, The Tare Shop (5539 Cornwallis Street) went waste-free and Lion & Bright (2534 Agricola Street) faded to black.

We got a Rage Room (2820 Isleville Street), a pussy palace (Lily Pad Cat Lounge, 590 Portland Street) and a meditation space (Flo, 1574 Argyle Street). Bib ‘N Tucker (6423 Quinpool Road) bowed out after over 40 years while Flower Child (5189 Prince Street) and Baby Chic (1139 Bedford Highway) welcomed little ones and their caretakers to try something new and Coffin Skate Shop (2456 Agricola Street) rolled into town full steam ahead. We said hey to Blue Collar Barbershop (2272 Gottingen Street) and Darling Tattoos (2590 Oxford Street), later days to longstanding gems P’Lovers and Gedde’s Furniture (2739 Agricola Street) and poured one out for Liu’s Formosa House (278 Wyse Road).

There was a lot of action during this blur of a year. We haven’t even touched on bakeries—The Bread Lounge (5880 Demone Street), Dina’s Sour Dough (3540 Novalea Drive) and Halifax Bread Factory (800 Windmill Road)—The Has Bin (269 Windmill Road), Zakka Mart (2180 Robie Street) or when everyone freaked about Kelly’s Deli’s (30 Farnham Gate Road) $3.50 subs. For a more fleshed out look at 2018’s arrivals and departures, KEEP SCROLLING.

What you won't find here are big-box chains, mall shops, renovations or locations that have moved and re-opened. If your favourite spot has been forgotten or overlooked, feel free to comment or email shoptalk@thecoast.ca and we'll add it.

Special thanks to tipster/Best Blogger @HalifaxReTales for keeping me both in-the-know and on my toes, as well as our amazing intern McKenna Giffin (from Sir John A. MacDonald High) for all of her top-notch fact-checking.



Aly Mae’s Bread Basket, 11 Mount Hope Avenue

Brightwood Brewing, 35 Portland Street
Brown Bag Lunch, 20 Wright Avenue
Cafe Good Luck, 145 Portland Street

Cafe Marco Polo, 15-105 King’s Wharf Place
Coffee Matters, 33 Alderney Drive
The Cottage Cafe, 300 Prince Albert Road
Delectable Desserts, 12-50 Eileen Stubbs Avenue
Fish & Chix, 600 Windmill Road
Halifax Bread Factory, 800 Windmill Road
The Has Bin, 269 Windmill Road
Lake City Cider House, 35 Portland Street
Lily Pad Cat Lounge, 590 Portland Street
New Scotland Brewing,  91 Alderney Drive
Piez Bistro, 635 Portland Hills
Riot Pixie Boutique, 300 Prince Albert Road
Rossetto’s Italian American Eatery, 44 Ochterloney Street
Seam Work, 60 Queen Street
Urban Closet Plug, 196 Windmill Road
Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse, 612 Windmill Road


Bodega Boutique, 104 Portland Street
Cicero’s on the Water, 122 Post Office Road
Dartmouth Yarns, 122 Portland Street
Hazelnut & Rose, 45 Queen Street
Lady Luck Boutique, 118 Portland Street
Liu’s Formosa House,  278 Wyse Road
Ma Belle’s, 44 Ochterloney Street
P’Lovers, 52 Queen Street

Smiling Goat, 15-105 King’s Wharf Plaza
Sonia’s Stone Oven Pizza, 635 Portland Hills 

Thirsty Turtle Bar & Grill, 245 Waverley Road



Arisu Table BBQ & Japanese Sushi, 1645 Granville Street

Cacao 70, 1875 Upper Water Street 1875 Upper Water Street
Coffee Matters,
1496 Lower Water Street
Elwood Pens,
1574 Argyle Street
The Exchange on Hollis, 1579 Hollis Street
Flo, 1574 Argyle Street
Flower Child,  5189 Prince Street
Hali Mac, 1920 Brunswick Street

May Garden, 1983 Upper Water Street
Sniggily Wiggily’s, 1665 Argyle Street
Roxbury Urban Dive Bar, 1743 Grafton Street
Ruby’s Rhinestone Reception & Lounge, 5187 Salter Street
Sea Smoke Restaurant & Bar, 1477 Lower Water Street

Shivani’s Kitchen, 1209 Marginal Road
Taipan Express, 1588 Argyle Street
Teriyaki 52, 2009 Brunswick Street
Tokyo Roll, 1598 Argyle Street


Blue Apples Arts and Wellness Centre, 5228 Blowers Street
Ideal Bikes, 1678 Quinpool Road
Ko Doraku, Purdy’s Wharf, 1949 Upper Water Street
Pong Social Club, 1741 Grafton Street
Shawarma Stop, 1588 Argyle Street
Smiling Goat, 1583 Hollis Street



902 Restaurant & Catering, 1579 Dresden Row

Cheeky Cod, 1528 Queen Street
Captain Ma Noodles, 1480 Brenton Street
Chimney’s Cafe, 5466 Spring Garden Road
The Fireside, 1542 Birmingham Street
From Mild to Wild, 5640 Spring Garden Road
Glitter Bean Cafe, 5896 Spring Garden Road
Rabbit Hole Cafe, 1452 Dresden Row

Rasa, 1542 Birmingham Street


Better Than Her, 5640 Spring Garden Road
Go 2 Eat, 5518 Spring Garden Road
The Muse Cafe, 1252 Lemarchant Street
Suzuki Sushi, 1579 Dresden Road
Smiling Goat, 5896 Spring Garden Road
Smiling Goat, 5446 Spring Garden Road



Bliss Breakfast Buffet, 3619 Novalea Drive 

Blue Collar Barbershop, 2272 Gottingen Street
Bread Lounge, 5880 Demone Street
Brookside & Bliss, 5881Almon Street

Brown Hound, 2394 Agricola Street

Cafe Lara, 2347 Agricola Street
Cha Baa Thai, 5813 Demone Street
Coffee Matters, 1496 Lower Water Street
Coffin Skate Shop, 2456 Agricola Street
Dina’s Sour Dough, 3540 Novalea Drive
Geebo Device Repair, 2274 Gottingen Street
Guapa Boutique, 3059 Gottingen Street
Hopyard Beer Bar, 2103 Gottingen Street
Jill Stephenson Esthetics, 2459 Agricola Street
Kam Moon, 2013 Brunswick Street
MEND | RX, 3667 Strawberry Hill Street
The Ostrich Club, 5529 Young Street
Rage Room,  2820 Isleville Street
Taco Lina’s, 2605 Agricola Street
The Tare Shop, 5539 Cornwallis Street
Vandal Doughnuts, 2605 Agricola Street
Waffle Love, 2082 Gottingen Street
Young Pocha, 2400 Agricola Street
Zakka Mart, 2180 Robie Street


Gedde’s Furniture, 2739 Agricola Street
Epicurious Morsels, 5529 Young Street
Lion & Bright, 2534 Agricola Street
Plan B Merchants Co-op, 2180 Gottingen Street
Lola & Odin, 5881 Almon Street
P’Lovers, 3059 Göttingen Street
Fattoush Cafe, 2757 Gladstone Street
Vandal Doughnuts, 2605 Agricola Street



Aster Cafe, 3562 Dutch Village Road
Atomic Cafe,
6451 Quinpool Road

Bap House, 6172 Quinpool Road

Burrito Jax, 287 Lacewood Drive
Cheese Curds / Habanero’s, 277 Lacewood Drive
Darling Tattoos, 2590 Oxford Street

Kelly’s Deli, 30 Farnham Gate Road
Morris East, 1984 Vernon Street 

M&Y Asian Market, 2150 Windsor Street

Naughty Paw, 6298 Quinpool Road
Panada Pizza, 56 Supreme Court
The Raven Espresso Boutique, 14 St. Michaels Avenue
The Red Lunchbox,  6172 Quinpool Road
Sarah & Tom, 6448 Quinpool Road
Sushi Jet Dim Sum, 3481 Dutch Village Road
Wayne & Ricky's Diner, 16 Dentith Road


The Anchor, 3625 Dutch Village Road
Anchored Coffee, 6451 Quinpool Road
Bib ‘N Tucker, 6423 Quinpool Road
Canadiana, 15 Lakelands Boulevard
Joelee’s Cafe, 3481 Dutch Village Road
The Red Lunchbox,  6172 Quinpool Road
Riot Snack Bar, 6293 Quinpool Road

*For the purpose of simplicity, this section includes Quinpool, Fairview, Clayton Park



3A Restaurant, 264 Bedford Highway

Apartment 3, 833 Sackville Drive
Baby Chic, 1139 Bedford Highway
Everwood Avenue Brew Shop, 731 Old Sackville Road

Fourth Lock, 3104 Highway 2
Ice Patch Hollow, 1595 Bedford Highway
Lemon Tree, 805 Bedford Highway
Rowshan Seafood, 622 Sackville Drive
Raffi’s Kitchen, 601 Sackville Drive
Tang Shun Chinese Cuisine,  540 South Gate Drive
Jinloong Restaurant, 518 Sackville Drive


Backoos Korean To Go, 188 Bedford Highway
Board Room Game Cafe, 936 Bedford Highway
Cafe L’Acadie, 636 Bedford Highway
La Cave de Strasbourg, 3104 Highway 2
Limoncello Your Lifestyle, 1595 Bedford Highway
Nature’s Cove, 364 Bedford Highway
Koroni Pizza, 1312 Bedford Highway
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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Halifax street style: Granville Street

Scouring the streets for the city's most fashionable

Posted By on Wed, Dec 5, 2018 at 3:33 PM

  • Meghan Tansey Whitton

Name: Kristi MacDonald
Age: 31
Occupation: co-owner of rchmnd, director of business development at Omar Gandhi Architect
Spotted: Granville Street
Wearing: Raf Simons denim overshirt, rchmnd; Gosha Rubchinskiy flag hoodie, rchmnd; Calvin Klein 205W39NYC Sneakers, The Webster; Céline Sunglasses, Matches; skirt, Zara

How would you describe your style?
Casually refined, easy and expressive. Fashion is very much a creative language for me.

Who/where do you derive inspiration from when putting together an outfit?
I find it everywhere–people, places, art, music, age groups, eras—my eyes are always open. I’d hate to be in a place where I felt limited to thinking my inspiration has to purely come from fashion. That said, I never pre-plan what I am going to wear because I don’t know what I will feel like tomorrow.

Name a current trend that you just can’t get on board with?
It’s not a specific trend, but I can’t get behind dressing to look like someone else—no one is ever completely comfortable in someone else’s look.

Most influential designers of our time?
Raf Simons, Martin Margiela, Pheobe Philo

What fashion advice do you give people on a regular basis?
If you love a piece of clothing, wear it as often as you want to. There is nothing wrong with wearing something multiple times per week.

Interesting fact about your wardrobe?
I would say about 75 percent of it comes from ‘men’s’ collections—and about 50 percent of that is ‘borrowed’ from my husband.
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Objects + Attire hosts its first pop-up market

Covet handmade, consciously designed stuff this weekend

Posted By on Wed, Dec 5, 2018 at 3:26 PM

  • Jessie Wells

A newly formed group of Halifax designers, Objects + Attire, is hosting a holiday pop-up market this Friday and Saturday at 6437 Cork Street (December 7th, 5-7pm and December 8, 10am-4 pm). The group’s goal is to present thoughtful designs to the local community. Participating designers include Maggie Jayne, Sarah Sears Jewelry, Thief & Bandit, Weft End Fine Textiles, Anne-Sophie Vallée among others, each one will be showcased in an hourly giveaway.

Natalie Slater—who’s currently representing Maggie Jayne while designer Maggie MacCormack is in India—calls the collective diverse. “We have clothing design, jewellery design, homeware design, culinary design,” she says, adding that the designers have conscious designing in common. “People represented here go out of their way to either make the pieces themselves or work with sustainable fair trade practices and factories in other locations.”

For instance, MacCormack, “works in Jaipur with an amazing fair trade manufacturing place that supplies organic fabrics,” Slater says, and Thief & Bandit's  Amie Cunningham has her manufacturing place in Bedford, all of the clothes are being made here in Nova Scotia.”

The first Object + Attire holiday market falls during a busy pop-up season but Slater anticipates an excellent turn out.

“It’ll be fun to have the market in an intimate setting with the designers. I’m curious about everyone’s practices in Halifax, it’s a small place and there’s a lot being made.” 
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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Where I Work: Darling Tattoos

Take a look inside the west end’s ’50s-inspired, “dripping in extra” tattoo shop.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2018 at 5:01 AM

Tasha Tonks, Lacey Cormier & Helena Darling - MEGHAN TANSEY WHITTON
  • Tasha Tonks, Lacey Cormier & Helena Darling
  • Meghan Tansey Whitton

Who They Are

Helena Darling and Lacey Cormier co-own Darling Tattoos, a custom tattoo boutique that oozes with personality. After years of working at various tattoo shops—Darling for HFX Tattoo and Cormier for Divergence—they decided it was time to make their own glittery mark on the local scene. After discovering that they had a similar dream and aesthetic, they decided to open Darling Tattoos in August and were soon joined by Tasha Tonks in September.

“We’re the dream team,” Darling says. “My favourite thing about this place is  these two women.” Darling has known Tonks, a childhood friend, for decades. Meanwhile, Cormier met Darling years ago during her morning commute on the ferry. “I saw her and I had to introduce myself,” Cormier says. “After that, we became friends in the local tattoo scene.”

  • Meghan Tansey Whitton

What they do

While Tonks specializes in American traditional and ornamental work, Cormier and Darling each have personalized neo-traditional tattoo styles. “I think you could look at any one of our tattoos and know who did it,” Tonks says. Decorating the walls of Darling Tattoos is an ever-expanding art collection, which includes a portrait of Cormier’s dog, a large painting in tribute to Darling’s cat and an array of work from local artists.

On top of being a tattoo shop, they’re also carving out a space for local art. Darling Tattoos hosts life drawing nights and they have an empty tattoo station that’s often occupied by guests. Last week, makeup artist Elle Munster spent two days offering microbladed freckles and eyebrows.“There’s no competition in art,” says Darling. “We’re hoping to be a destination where everyone feels inspired and invited.”

  • Meghan Tansey Whitton

Where They Do It

It’s hard to miss Darling Tattoos on the corner of Oxford and Chebucto. Cars even occasionally slow down to catch a peek at the space. Amidst an explosion of colour and creativity, a taxidermied pink flamingo greets folks as upon entry. “When clients come in, their first reaction is to look around,” Tonks says. “It’s awesome to have people walk in and be happy before you even start talking to them.”

  • Meghan Tansey Whitton
The floor is glittered and epoxied. The wallpaper is floral. The sink faucet is shaped like a dolphin. The curtains have tassels. A giant monstera lives next to a shiny reupholstered corner couch in the waiting area. Almost everything seems to be a shade of pink. On an average day, Darling can be heard singing to Cardi B or Celine Dion, but ’80s metal and goth make regular appearances too.

“We wanted it to feel like a beauty salon from the ’50s that a freaky art kid would feel at home in,” says Darling, who wrote to John Waters’ booking agent to invite the director of Pink Flamingos and Hairspray to come baptize the shop.

  • Meghan Tansey Whitton

Why It Works

“We wanted a place that’s warm and welcoming, not like your average tattoo shop that’s sterile and industrial,” Cormier says. “We wanted curves.” With their own space, Cormier and Darling were free to foster an inviting, feminine-inspired atmosphere that they hope will become an essential part of the local community.

  • Meghan Tansey Whitton
“I want to come to work early and stay late—I’m happy to be here every day,” Tonks says, capturing the essence of Darling Tattoos. The goal is to create a place where people feel at home in their own skin. 

A believer in the principle that what you put into the world will come back to you, Darling credits the people around them who have helped infuse their shop with happiness and vibrancy.  “We have so many people to thank,” she says. “And we still have some dreams...soon there won’t be a spot in this place that isn’t dripping in extra.”

Darling Tattoos

2590 Oxford Street
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Friday, November 23, 2018

Power Designs pops up at Brightwood Brewery

Meet home decor duo Mary-Ellen and Graeme Power this Saturday

Posted By on Fri, Nov 23, 2018 at 10:39 AM

  • Emily Ennett

After spending a lot of time in their workshop lately, the sibling duo behind Power Designs wants a little bit of face-time with its shoppers and prospective shoppers. Mary-Ellen Power and her brother Graeme Power have been putting their creative minds and woodworking skills together for the last handful of years, making a name for themselves with handcrafted furniture, home accessories and custom designs. But this weekend will be their very first pop-up market.

“It gives people a chance to actually see our work in person,” says Mary-Ellen, “and even if you don’t want to shop you can have a drink, too.” That’s because Brightwood Brewery (35 Portland Street) plays host to the event this Saturday, November 24 (from 12-4pm), where you’ll be able to peruse the Powers’ handmade Christmas signs, cutting boards, plant stands and their most popular item—blanket ladders (see above). “We just always flow with what people want,” says Mary-Ellen. “But that style just kind of took off, the kind of Scandinavian vibes that are super on-trend right now.”
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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Flower Child is ready to bloom

Durable, versatile, fashionable kids clothing is headed downtown

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2018 at 4:30 AM

The soon-to-be home of Flower Child, a kid's boutique
  • The soon-to-be home of Flower Child, a kid's boutique
When Charlotte Pierce had her first son, she couldn’t find the classic, quality clothing she wanted to dress him in anywhere in Halifax. She wound up shopping  online, falling in love with European brands and when baby number two arrived, watching him put his brother’s hand-me-downs to work. That planted the seed for Flower Child, a children’s boutique that Pierce—the aesthete and owner of veteran business The Flower Shop (1705 Barrington Street)—will open this month, just around the corner at 5189 Prince Street.

“I did a good test run, a lot of these brands have made it through both my kids,” she says. “I want to sell stuff I really love. You have to truly believe what you’re selling is awesome and because I’ve been able to test out these lines I feel so strongly about them.” With a desire to give Halifax more options when it came to versatile, hardy, handmade clothing for little ones, and an opportunity a stone’s throw from her shop, Pierce and her husband went hard demoing and renoing the space, transforming what was once Rock Candy Boutique into a brighter, lighter location with an old-fashioned storefront.

She’s also enlisted the retail and fashion-buying expertise of her childhood best friend Liz Culjak-Trafford, who’ll serve as studio manager. “We spent our younger years dressing up so it’s been fun picking lines together. I know that the right staff is everything,” she says, crediting her Flower Shop crew as the reason she can “even entertain the idea of opening another small business.”

Flower Child will boast collections like bonnet-maker Briar Handmade, Misha and Puff knitwear, Angulus shoes from Denmark and local designs from Thief & Bandit, as well as bedding from Camomile London. Pierce says the store will also offer online shopping, gift registries and will serve as a venue for baby showers.

“Once you enter the entrepreneurial world you feel your sense of your roots so much stronger. There’s this duty to make the city great,” says Pierce. “Because I’ve gone through six years of The Flower Shop, I feel like if anything I’ve gained a bit of confidence in the retail world. So this risk, to me, is worth it to try.” 
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SHOP THIS: Cursive Pins

Give a shit about handmade and classic handwriting with Amber Solberg’s accessories

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2018 at 4:00 AM

  • submitted

Artist, maker and instructor Amber Solberg doesn't actually swear that much in her day-to-day life, but she appreciates a well-timed f-bomb when necessary. "A little quiet 'fuck' can get you through the day—there's a time and place for everything," she says. "They're understated, elegant swears."

She's talking about her cute line of accessories, Cursive Pins which spotlight beautiful recycled fabrics, hand-stitched handwriting and curse words. What started as an experimental way to indulge her love of castaway fabric and colourful thread became a good approach to use bad words. (Not all bad words though, she'll never stitch a gender-based swear.)

"I was playing around with embroidery and I do like things that have double meanings," says Solberg. "I thought, I'll just make this and see who else thinks it's funny. Every one comes out different and I'm reverting back to handwriting and when do you ever get to do that anymore?" If you'd like to wear what you can't necessarily say, these strongly-worded pins are currently available at Argyle Fine Art (1559 Barrington Street), Lost & Found (2382 Agricola Street), Riot Pixie Boutique (300 Prince Albert Road) and Trainyard General Store (53 Portland Street).

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Vol 26, No 38
February 14, 2019

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