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, December 14, 2017

Rock Candy to close after 15 years

Customers can still get their band merch fix online from Rock World East.

Posted By on Thu, Dec 14, 2017 at 2:22 PM

  • via Facebook

On December 27, Rock Candy Boutique’s (5189 Prince Street) 15 year run will come to an end—but owner Tim Crow holds no bitterness.

“I’m grateful, for the city and the people,” he says.

In a Facebook post that reads “We just fucking want to sleep in from now on!” Crow goes on to thank his employees and the city for years of loyalty. No finger-pointing involved.

“We feel like we’ve been given everything. We had employees that worked right through until they finished their law degree,” says Crow. “I’m very proud of them, they always took big risks and bettered themselves while using the shop as their foundation.”

It all started back when Sunday shopping was illegal: Crow met a friend on eBay that would sell him cheap shirts from Ontario and sold them at the Penhorn Mall flea market. People loved it, so after meeting a few friends, he decided to open a storefront.

“This was when Black Moore just started and Hellacaust was big. The nightlife was thriving people would window shop and come back the next day to get the shirt they liked,” says Crow. “And we got those windows kicked in a lot which is fine, no big deal.”

With about 30 t-shirts on the walls and a couple lunch boxes, Rock Candy opened its doors. And the city loved it.

As the music scene was booming, people swarmed in throughout the years for their favourite band merch. Crow acknowledges the changes in society and the rise of online shopping.

He also reminisces on some of the craziest days. He tells a story about when Metallica came to town, and with the rollercoaster weather, the temperature suddenly dropped.

“We had 150-200 people in Metallica t-shirts lined up to get Metallica hoodies,” Crow says with a chuckle.

This being just one of the many highlights he has throughout the years.

“It’s not the flashiest thing but I met my wife there now I have three kids with her and I love her like crazy,” says Crow.

Sister company rockworldeast.com is still in full operation, employing about 20 people in a 16,000 square foot facility in Dartmouth. Crow is proud that there will be no layoffs from Rock Candy closing.

“Another highlight is the people who helped me and the great things they are doing with their lives in places beyond working at a t-shirt shop,” he says.

As for Crow, an avid surfer, he will continue shredding waves and slinging shirts.

  • Via Facebook

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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.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Earth Goddess Shop is moving, making room to grow

The jewellery boutique is set to leave the Hydrostone and head to Point North.

Posted By on Mon, Dec 11, 2017 at 3:22 PM

After eight months in business, Shannon MacGregor and Sandy McInnis were told their shop’s building had been sold. While Earth Goddess Shop has been attracting customers to the little establishment in the Hydrostone (5528 Kaye Street), plans to tear the place down mean they have to move.

“We wanted to stay in the north end,” says McInnis, so the pair chose a space in the Point North building (5870 Demone Street).  “There’s so much going on in that building I can’t really divulge right now—but there is a great restaurant going in on the other end, that’s all I’m gonna say—and there’s customer parking there as well.”

The new shop will be bigger, allowing MacGregor and McInnis to do things they didn’t have room for before: evening workshops in jewellery-making and reiki are two of the things they hope to begin. “We’ve really fine-tuned what works for us and what doesn’t” in terms of merchandise, says McInnis, so there will also be some changes in products—but she’s mum on the full details for now.

On top of that, MacGregor and McInnis are planning to expand the online shop, which is currently on Etsy featuring some of their most popular products. In the new year, Earth Goddess will have a website of its own featuring new and improved internet offerings.

Earth Goddess’ last day at the Hydrostone location is December 29 and it’s expected to be open in Point North in February. 

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Atlantic News delivers your Saturday Globe and Mail fix

The newsstand is the only place to buy the paper in Atlantic Canada.

Posted By on Fri, Dec 1, 2017 at 3:12 PM

Extra! Extra! The Globe and Mail has left Atlantic Canada, but it's not forgotten.
  • Extra! Extra! The Globe and Mail has left Atlantic Canada, but it's not forgotten.

Saturday is always the busiest day of the week at Atlantic News, the venerable newsstand/temple of media, so it stands to reason Fridays aren’t exactly slow. And sure enough, this morning the shop was humming—staff at two cash registers, someone in the back room unpacking boxes of magazines, multiple phone lines ringing. But it was also the calm before the storm, because tomorrow Atlantic News will be the only place in Atlantic Canada selling the weekend print edition of The Globe and Mail, so it’s going to be an especially busy Saturday.

In her office at the store, owner Michele Gerard takes a moment to explain the logistics behind becoming a national newspaper’s lone east coast outpost. As soon as the Globe announced in August that as of November 30 it would no longer bother distributing print copies in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI (Newfoundland was cut off a few years ago), Gerard reached out to the company. “We were willing to do business differently with the Globe,” she says.

Typically newspaper publishers give copies to their distributors on a kind of consignment model, where the distributor doesn’t have to pay for papers that don’t sell. For the Globe to exit Atlantic Canada, that doesn’t work. They’re willing to send Gerard as many as she wants, but she has to pay for each copy up front. She figured the risk is worth it as long as she doesn’t buy too many papers that nobody buys. As a starting point she asked for 200 copies, then put the word out to her customers. Would anybody want a newspaper?

Decades ago Atlantic News looked like a hoarder’s fire trap, jammed with shelves all over the store overflowing with newspapers from around the world. Easy access to online news really evaporated the market for a week-old copy of Aftonbladet freshly arrived from Stockholm, but as the internet takes away, it also gives.

Gerard’s office is like the bridge of the starship Enterprise, featuring a view onto the bright shop floor. It’s also part engineering, with a big computer-connected photocopier that can quickly churn out large-format reproductions of 700 daily papers from around the planet, Albania to New Zealand. This on-demand printing is popular enough that a handful of Atlantic News customers used the service for their daily Globe and Mail, even when the newsprint version was available, and the store is on its third copier.

The on-demand version of the Globe is nice and all, but it's missing that broadsheet magic.
  • The on-demand version of the Globe is nice and all, but it's missing that broadsheet magic.

The finished product is about three quarters the size of a newspaper, printed on white sheets that are stapled together. It’s a pretty good approximation. “But it’s not the broadsheet,” Gerard says, and the photocopier technician who’s there topping up the toner agrees. There’s still some magic in an actual newspaper; holding those big sheets of newsprint is a unique and special thing.

When Gerard’s customers found out Atlantic News would have the Saturday Globe after the Globe’s retreat from the region, plenty wanted a copy. There was enough demand that a reservation list for one of the 200 copies became a pre-paid list of subscribers who will get the paper—$9.50, taxes in—every week. “The model is there,” Gerard says. “They’re used to the subscription.”

Soon enough Gerard needed more copies from the Globe, but there’s a complicating factor in shipping Saturday papers from Toronto to Halifax so they arrive that same Saturday afternoon: Air Canada Cargo. The freight arm of the widely disliked airline needs its orders confirmed 30 days ahead of time, and there’s a real physical difference between 200 copies of the paper and 250. However, 30 days is a magazine timeline, nowhere near nimble enough for a daily’s weekly. So negotiations continue.

Right now, Atlantic News is getting 275 copies of tomorrow’s Globe, and every one’s already been spoken for. Gerard is hoping to get that upped to 325 for the first run tomorrow, but is being careful not to promise anything. “It’s a work in progress,” she says a couple of times during a short chat. She will be driving out to the airport herself in her Mazda 5, hoping the plane is on time to get the papers back to the shop for Saturday afternoon.

The phone rings yet again. Somebody else hoping to get a Saturday Globe, another name on a waiting list. There’s an added wrinkle, however, as the caller wants to buy a subscription as a Christmas gift. After a few minutes, Gerard hangs up the phone. “We’ve been here 44 years working in print media,” she says. “This is what we do.”

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Wrapper's delight: a holiday market round up

Get your holiday shopping handled with a host of craft fairs, pop-ups and maker's markets.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 30, 2017 at 11:19 AM

There are so. many. amazing. treasures. We can't wait to share with you. 🎁

A post shared by Halifax Crafters (@halifaxcrafters) on

You’ve made your list. You’ve set your budget. A crisp roll of wrapping paper awaits, begging to be busted out of its cellophane packaging and furled around all the gifts you’ll be giving this season. The only thing you need? The gifts themselves.

Or maybe, you’ve got no list, no plan and every time you attempt to get going with your shopping you just buy something for yourself instead (oops).

No matter which camp you fall in, you’re in luck: There are still plenty of markets and pop-ups stuffed with locally made art and artifacts, making it easy to pick up every last purchase and run home to your ugly sweater and eggnog. Go withdraw some cash and grab a reusable shopping bag for these events:

Yuletide Bazzar 
Celebrate the arrival of colder days and longer nights with this fine art bazaar that boasts economical prices.
Dec 1-21, Plan B Merchants Co-op, 2180 Gottingen Street

14th Annual Christmas Market & Bazaar 
A slew of handmade offerings from local vendors helps you get your shopping in order before Santa's big scene.
Sat Dec 2, 10am-1pm, Christ Church Hall , 61 Dundas Street, Dartmouth

Christmas Tea and Sale
Shop for baked goods and collectables before refuelling with sandwiches, sweets and tea at this holiday-cheer-filled time.
Sat Dec 2, 12-2pm, St. James United Church Hall, 181 Portland Street, Dartmouth

Have Yourself a Gothic Little Christmas
The eighth annual Forum bazaar of fairytale, medieval, steampunk, gothic and anime items means you'll be gifting outside-the-box goodies to those on your list.
Dec 2-3, Halifax Forum, 2901 Windsor Street

Halifax Crafters Society Market 
Over 80 vendors bringing a dose of handmade goodness makes this a market you won't wanna miss.
Fri, Dec 1, 5-9pm; Sat, Dec 2 & Sun, Dec 3, 10am-5pm, Olympic Community Hall, 2304 Hunter Street

Holiday Wishlist Expo 
Attending this epic holiday expo is like walking through the Wish Book of your dreams.
Dec 2-3, Exhibition Park, 200 Prospect Road

Big Pony Holidaze Pop-Up
The former Gottingen Street treasure chest rises from the dead to light up Seven Bays—and your holiday shopping—with cool and chic offerings from longtime collaborators like The Bounty, JAW Pottery, Art Brat Comics and more.
Thurs, Dec 7, 6-10pm, Seven Bays Bouldering, 2019 Gottingen Street

NSCAD Holiday Pop-Up
The annual holiday pop-up returns with over 70 NSCAD students selling original art, from photographs to textiles. Stuffing a reusable bag with offerings means you'll be doling out gifts as unique as their recipients.
Fri Dec 8, 4-9pm; Sat, Dec 9, 10am-4pm, Art Bar + Projects, 1873 Granville Street

A Winter Moment
Head to the APEX arts + performance exchange (6068 Quinpool Road) for this one-day buying-bonanza that features cards and prints from illustrator Colleen MacIsaac, sculpted miniatures by Dan Bray, herbal-infused products from Coco Apothecary and more. Bring cash—and your nice list.
Sat, Dec 9, 10am-5pm

Last Minute Christmas Craft Show
Still scrambling for the stragglers on your gift list? This market has your back, with thoughtful offerings that look like they were bought months in advance.
Dec 9-10, Maritime Hall, 2901 Windsor Street

A Very Listless Christmas Market 
Get your last-minute shopping sorted, craft beer in hand, at this maker's market.
Sat, Dec 16, 12-5pm, Good Robot Brewing Company, 2736 Robie Street

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Where I work: OZ

Follow the cobblestone road to the Granville Square shoe store’s stomping grounds.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 at 11:38 AM

  • Dylan Chew

1887 Granville Street


One step into OZ you might think you’ve walked through some kind of portal to a modern footwear exhibit at the Bata Shoe Museum. Michele Giffin opened slick shoe store three months ago on Granville Street, a literal stone’s throw from street fashion emporium RCHMND. Is this the beginning of the Granville fashion district?

OZ is a wonderland of women’s footwear, with brands like fashion go-tos Stuart Weitzman and Senso, and in-the-know ones like the Brazilian label Schutz, that emphatically show Giffin’s buying prowess and curatorial eye. Her product offering also includes candles and personal fragrances by Maison Louis Marie, which has a cult-like following in fashion circles. “When I was debating the name I wanted one that encapsulated all my personal ideals including style, fashion and interior design,” she says. “But how do you even name a baby?”

This baby wasn’t really planned. Giffin was enjoying a career in fashion at Foreign Affair on Spring Garden, where she spent three successful years. “I really enjoyed working at a smaller retailer because it’s more hands-on learning and you’re exposed to all aspects of the operation including, buying, event planning and client development,” she says. However, she wanted to appease her other creative side and study interior design. As soon as Giffin decided to leave Foreign Affair to further her education, the historic space on Granville became available. It was perfect. And, as British author Alan Bennett once said, “Sometimes there is no next time, no time-outs, no second chances. Sometimes it’s now or never.” So, thanks to some gumption, she took the leap.

Armed with a deep understanding of people and things that impact their decisions—Giffin has an undergraduate degree in psychology—a knack for retail and a father who is an entrepreneur, she created a space that is “inspired by the most iconic shoe of all time—Dorothy’s ruby slippers.”
“I wanted a magical place, one where you can get transported to,” say says, adding that she aims to “appeal to women who love travel and have disposable income.” This is just the beginning for Giffin, who opened OZ as a fairly nimble space. “The name is purposely gender neutral so that I can expand whether it’s to men’s shoes or apparel,” she says. “This is just the starting point for me, the brand will continue to grow and evolve.”

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Friendly Divas wants to buy 500 Diva Cups before 2018

Suzanne Lively tackles period poverty by distributing Diva Cups to low-income women across the city.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 23, 2017 at 3:50 AM

"I’m all about women helping women and being in a community with other women," says Suzanne Lively. - RACHEL MCGRATH
  • "I’m all about women helping women and being in a community with other women," says Suzanne Lively.
  • Rachel McGrath

For low-income women in HRM, paying bills often takes priority. Rent, heat and groceries take precedence over hygiene products like shampoo, razors and menstrual products. It’s not ideal, but it’s necessary.

When Haligonians donate to community groups, they often don’t think of those items either. “We buy the soup, and the boxed mac and cheese, but you don’t think of all the other things people need,” says Kathy McNab, the fund development and communications officer at Adsum for Women & Children.

A new fundraising campaign is hoping to increase the amount of menstrual products donated to low-income and women in poverty in the HRM. Suzanne Lively launched the Friendly Divas campaign in early November. Her goal is to raise $15,000 and donate it in the form of 500 Diva Cups.

“I just think it’s something that not a lot of us have thought about,” says Lively. “The issues for women that are living in poverty are different and more complex than a man.”

A Diva Cup is a silicone-based reusable menstrual cup. It can last up to five years and costs about $30. Lively says it’s more environmentally friendly, compared to the average 240 tampons a woman would use each year. This means the fundraiser’s 500 Diva Cups would save 120,000 tampons from going to the landfill in the first year alone.

“If we were for example to do a tampon drive today for women, and everybody got their tampons, well they’re in the same boat next month. It’s a reoccurring problem every month,” Lively says. She has made arrangements to donate the products to several organizations across the city, including Bryony House, the YWCA, Phoenix Youth and Adsum for Women & Children.

McNab says last time Adsum received menstrual product donations, they were very popular. “At least 1,000 women come into our donation centre on a regular basis,” says McNab. “We could easily help out 100 women with these products, just out of Adsum.” When women receive a Diva Cup through Adsum, they’re also learning how to properly use them.

“Part of the program is that we would do a little introductory session and teach people not just about the Diva Cup but about health in general, and menstrual health,” McNab adds.

“It occurred to me somewhere along the way that if people don’t have money to buy food, what are they doing for tampons?” asks Lively, who has been a Diva Cup user herself for seven years.
“If you don’t have money for this, you’re using whatever you can find,” confirms McNab. “Wadded-up tissue paper, cut-up sponges. They’re not as effective and definitely not as sanitary.”
The Friendly Divas campaign has raised $1,500 since it launched. Lively says that once people learn what a Diva Cup is, most people are supportive.

Women who are already Diva Cup users are extremely happy about the initiative. But they’re not for everyone, says McNab.
“For people in the shelter they aren’t the right answer, tampons were more the product of choice. They don’t always have access to a washroom easily to be able to clean things and to carry it around on a regular basis. So, they needed something easy and disposable.”

Lively also suggests buying an extra box of tampons to donate each month, or for women no longer menstruate to donate any extras they have. She hopes Friendly Divas can inspire other similar fundraisers in the future.

“I want to see this go across the country, I’m all about women helping women and being in a community with other women. I think we’re a force to be reckoned with and we can truly change the world.”

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

My Mother's Bloomers' new digs

Posted By on Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 4:23 PM

  • via Facebook

Neville McKay’s flower shop has put down some serious roots on Spring Garden Road. It’s been 25 years of My Mother’s Bloomers (5486 Spring Garden Road) growing with the downtown strip, but 2018 will see the business blossom in a brand new location in the north end.

“It’s not like I wanted to leave the road as much as I wanted to evolve a little bit more as well. We looked around the street, and other parts of the city, and when this area came up we thought it was quite something. It was just the energy in the neighbourhood,” says McKay of his new digs at 2086 Creighton Street, former home of Kevin Muise Interiors. “Spring Garden is a very vibrant important area, it’s a big hustle and bustle. When we first started on the street it was a little calmer—I think we all were—and I like that feel of that relaxation here, people sauntering around, going to the bakery or off to the Goggle or EDNA. There’s so much going on, it’s such a neighbourhood feel.”

Having a standalone storefront will be new for the shop, and McKay says all of the location’s space and windows have him daydreaming already—of more plants, window displays, crafts and community events. He’ll likely be digging into some sweet window planters, too. My Mother’s Bloomers will say goodbye to its old location just in time for the new year, moving out of its current shop December 31.

“The big trek will happen January 1,” says McKay. “Brand-new year, brand new spot, brand new us, brand new look.”

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

The winners of 2017's Best of Halifax Readers' Choice Awards are here!

With 600+ champs to celebrate

Posted By on Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 6:00 AM

  • Meaghan Tansey Whitton
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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Retrospekt is ahead by a mid-century

The throwback furniture store brings classic pieces back to life

Posted By on Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 4:50 PM

Refinished walnut credenza, featuring three sliding doors, adjustable/removable shelving, weave centrepiece, and tapered legs. - VIA FACEBOOK
  • Refinished walnut credenza, featuring three sliding doors, adjustable/removable shelving, weave centrepiece, and tapered legs.
“I love stuff,” says Mark Schaay, one half of Retrospekt, mid-century modern furniture store and 166 Ochterloney Street’s newest tenant.

“Everybody needs a hobby I guess but it’s certainly turned into a lot more than that.” A collector with an eye for design, Shae teamed up with Val Plavan about a year ago to thanks to a shared appreciation for post-World War II pieces. “We’ve been at it for a little while so we’ve been able to develop relationships with pickers,” Shae says. “Though some of the best finds we’ve been able to find are in Nova Scotia, every month or month-and-a-half we rent a 16-foot cube van and head out of province.”

After a year of finding, re-finishing and re-homing the gems they collected sans showroom, the pair settled on downtown Dartmouth, in the former location of Frosting Cake & Event Design. And with renovations behind them, Retrospekt opened its doors last week. “Val knows the product—it’s unbelievable the amount of knowledge he has, he’s taught me a lot about the product itself,” says Shae. “In the late ’40s, early ’50s, even ’60s, the furniture was made so well and is so solid. A lot of times it just needs some love. We bring it back to life.”

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Teenage dream

Posted By on Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 3:15 PM


Cowabunga, dude! The heroes in a half-shell will be making an appearance harbour-side in Dartmouth this week, care of the folks at Giant Robot Comics (114 Woodlawn Road).

Owner Darryl Wall has been bringing everyone from the Transformers to Jem and the Holograms to important HRM landmarks for years, via exclusive comic covers sold at his shop.

Now he has the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gracing the cover of TMNT #75–out this week–posed atop the buoy sculpture at Alderney Landing.

Wall says he was inspired to do the cover while attending the Dartmouth Comics Art Festival this summer, where he saw kids climbing all over the buoy.

"Wouldn't it be cool to have the Power Rangers or the Ninja Turtles on there?" he says he pondered. "I'm going Ninja Turtles, and ba-da bing, ba-da boom."

These exclusive covers are possible through a program with comics publisher IDW—which runs the TMNT title–that gives comic shop owners incentives to order a bulk amount of copies.

"We only have 500 this time, which is only a third a third of what we usually get. This one is a special double-sized issue," says Wall. He adds that, since the rights to the TMNT are owned by media giant Viacom, he had a few more hoops to ninja parkour through than before.

"Viacom/Nickelodeon, who owns them, are much bigger and harder to deal with. Our first cover was actually rejected because we used the original '87 designs," says Wall.

Many of Wall's older customers, who grew up with the classic turtles, are excited to get their hands on a copy, he says. But so far, not many of his younger readers seem to be aware of the special cover. Though, since TMNT is enjoying something of a resurgence these days, he's certain they'll be excited when they see it on the shelves.

"They're going to come out of their shells," he says, knowingly.

The special Dartmouth-based TMNT cover is available now at Giant Robot Comics.

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Reality Check: The Business of Virtual Reality

Launching two 360-video start-ups at once—Nearby Planet VR and QuirkVR—was a scary idea, but all-around support from CUA made it easier.

click image cualogo.png

2D films have the ability to let us “check out” for an hour or two. We can travel back in time, to far-off cities, and connect with characters. But what if, while you were in that world, you could occupy that space? 360-degree video lets you do just that. When you put on your headset, you become fully immersed in another world, and Nearby Planet VR can take you there.

Nearby Planet’s founders Edward Mowbray and Thor Henrikson create virtual tours with 360-video, and work hard every day to offer something to their market. The two wanted to educate people on what exactly 360-degree video was, to help immerse them in it, and to create that “a-ha!” moment for their clients. But just as this series' previous stories from other small business owners went, it was difficult to start up on their own. Thor and Edward add the word “frightening” in as well—especially because they were starting not one business, but two.

With CUA, Nearby Planet VR’s Thor Henrikson and Edward Mowbray have a backer as visionary as they are.
  • With CUA, Nearby Planet VR’s Thor Henrikson and Edward Mowbray have a backer as visionary as they are.

Edward Mowbray first started looking at 360-degree videos in July of 2016, and soon enough, Thor Henrikson wanted in as well. It took six weeks for the two to get the business plan together before they asked for the loan, and CUA (Credit Union Atlantic) had the exact insight and vision to see that what Thor and Edward were offering to the Atlantic Canada region was of value.

“I had a company prior to this, and I couldn’t even get a $2,000 line of credit to pay people from the production company. We went to CUA, and they gave us everything we needed. When you’re working with local people who understand the community and the needs of the small business owner, they respond,” says Edward.

By mid-December, they were pitching to Bryan Richard, Commercial Account Officer at CUA. Bryan was enthusiastic about this unique, ahead-of-the-curve idea, and had a good sense of what could be done with the business. Even though this was a start-up in a new tech sector, Bryan was intrigued.

“It was shockingly simple,” says Edward. Once the two submitted, they phoned after New Years to check in and all Bryan said was, “Oh, you’ve got the loan.” Edward says the two “shook their heads.” Neither of them had ever asked for a business loan of this magnitude. “Don’t you have any questions?” they responded to Bryan. CUA didn’t need anything else. Nearby Planet VR and sister company QuirkVR’s business plan made sense, and CUA knew the founders had a strong idea with the business.

Edward and Thor signed some papers, found their Gottingen Street location, sought the best legal counsel, best accounting firm, and even had some investors in line. CUA saw that Thor and Edward were putting sweat equity and their own finances into it—all of this confirmed with CUA that these guys were worth going out on a limb for.

Both businesses did well in the start, but lately Nearby Planet VR has been going “gangbusters” say Edward and Thor. Nearby Planet now hosts team-building events, adult celebrations, birthdays for kids and has built up a regular clientele. Nearby Planet is most proud of their summer camp for kids who come from backgrounds with not a lot of money involved. The kids can go there to get a break, somewhere where they can feel safe.

QuirkVR, the other side of the company, was successful due to smart business decisions made by Thor and Edward. Instead of buying expensive equipment, the two leased it. CUA noticed that the two had multiple revenue streams: consulting, rental of equipment and full-blown 360 VR video production.

“Bryan is a young guy, and he fought for us. He goes to battle for us, and CUA always listens. They always take into account all the criteria for us to continue to grow in our business,” says Edward.

Their latest production, a dramatic retelling of the legend of The Bluenose, can be seen on the waterfront at the Seadome. Here, we have an 80-seat 360-degree dome theatre with footage shot on the Bluenose from Lunenburg to Boston, archival footage, plus CGI work from Silverback Games

Thor and Edward find their place within the Halifax community by offering services beyond traditional 2D video. With their multiple resources, they work together. The two enjoy projects that come together to do just that: They don’t compete, they complement.

This content has been developed and paid for by CUA, without involvement from The Coast’s editorial department.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Victoria Brumwell's got your back

Posted By on Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 6:14 AM


Victoria Brumwell
thinks like an artist. The painter comes from a fine art background—which helps—but what really shows her creative depth is the way she sees possibility in everyday objects. Her eponymous, up-cycled line sees her transforming thrifted jackets (and more recently, bags and boots) into wearable art in the most literal sense: Bestowed with one-of-a-kind, hand-painted designs like abstract florals and tattoo-style snakes.

“To me, they’re like found canvases,” Brumwell says via phone.
It all started roughly over a year ago, when Brumwell spotted a jacket on social media with a painted back panel. “‘I could do that,’ I thought, so I experimented on this acid-wash vest, posted it online and people started asking for commissions,” she explains.
Steam gathered from there, with Brumwell building a collection of coats and vests—mostly slouchy, ’80s denim pieces—and eventually snagging a spot in Atlantic Fashion Week’s The Medium is the Message showcase earlier this month.

“I’m an avid thrifter. I’m always wearing at least two thrifted things at any one time,” Brumwell adds, explaining how she is able to score her found canvases—like a leather trench evoking ’90s Versace in screaming scarlet. That trench became her favourite piece to date, the back panel painted with a Doberman mid-howl.
Brumwell estimates each jacket takes 12 hours to complete. While she advises against machine washing or wearing in heavy rain, the pieces are built to last—and luckily for the wearer, if the paint chips it just adds to the aesthetic.

While commissioned back panels (often negotiated via Instagram) make up the bulk of her business, Brumwell’s AFW collection featured painted pants and denim dresses—hinting at her dreams of branching into design, which she confesses on the phone. For now, though, fans hungry for more of her Memphis-design-aesthetic can curb cravings with items like squiggle-covered wallets, chain-print bags, or maybe that Doberman trench.

“The value in what I do is making something one of a kind,” Brumwell says. “They’re like a tattoo you can take off.”
Find her work at Lost & Found (2383 Agricola Street) or here.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Guided Tour north end

Visiting the north end is linking up with friends, and being a part of the cultural conversations in a space that is inviting and diverse. Don’t miss out on what’s happening in the most happening part of town.


I scream, you scream

It may be getting crisp and cool out, but that doesn't stop us from screaming for ice cream. It's apple season, pumpkin season and, well, just about everything good season, and Dee Dee's Ice Cream has our favourite fall tastes ready!

Dee Dee's is doing autumn right by serving up a pumpkin spice flavour that will make our basic hearts happy, and is even experimenting with a new flavour using local sweet potatoes and roasted marshmallows. They are our go-to north end neighbourhood ice cream joint, and just about everybody else's. Go in to stay cool, or when it's that kind of day you can warm up with a burrito, or a nice steamy bowl of chili.

The line-up is always worth it, and the staff is speedy, friendly and happy. (How could you not be happy when you're working with this creamy goodness all day long?) Don't be scared to indulge even when the weather is straight-up frosty—just put your scarf on and grab a cone at Dee Dee's. Their flavours will give you shivers.
Dee Dee's Ice Cream, 5668 Cornwallis Street


Clothes captioning

Need custom printing for your business, band or festival? Or maybe that embarrassing picture of your friend should really be immortalized for posterity. Does this sound like something you need? Problem solved! Fresh Prints Custom Screen Printing & Apparel is dedicated to helping locals recreate memories, celebrate and make any outrageous idea come to life.

Just think one up, and send it off. There's no design that's too far out. Fresh Prints has custom silkscreen printing, professional graphic design and supply only the highest quality merch for their friends in the HRM. Their t-shirt machine won't stop churning until you're walking around town smiling, and showing off your unique style.

Located in the north end for nearly a decade now, Fresh Prints has been serving clients all around the Maritimes, and beyond. The creative culture and dynamic lifestyles around Halifax keep them committed to do their best—they're always stoked to hear what's next.
Fresh Prints Custom Screen Printing & Apparel, 2411 Agricola Street

Natural balance

It can be easy to forget sometimes in the city, but humans are completely part of nature. As beings, all of us experience the world the same way through our senses, and we are reflective of the natural order of things. Just like our natural world is made up of the elements—fire, earth, metal, water and wood—so are we. Just as Mother Nature can get out of balance, our human elements can also get out of sync. And when that happens, we feel it!

Elizabeth Heffelfinger has been practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine and Classical Element Acupuncture since 1998. She is the past-president of the Nova Scotia Association of Acupuncturists. Elizabeth's focus is working with individuals in a holistic manner, correcting imbalances of the elements and body, mind, spirit.

Walking into her Cornwallis Street office is walking into a warm, friendly environment where you'll feel uplifted, and inspired. Elizabeth works with her clients personally, with one-on-one sessions, where she takes a hands-on approach to healthcare to help keep you in balance.
Elizabeth Heffelfinger, Registered Acupuncturist, 5663 Cornwallis Street, Suite 305

Celebrate with Makenew

Makenew Curated Thrift | Unique Essentials is celebrating seven years of business!  It all started with a curated vintage collection for an online pop-up shot in Anna Gilkerson’s backyard. Now her shop sells more than 30 Canadian brands including AKG—Makenew’s in-house line of basics, jewellery, accessories, skincare, homeware and art—edited alongside multiple pairs of high-rise ’90s jeans, hand-knitted fisherman’s sweaters, soft jersey tees and cashmere turtlenecks.

For her Halifax-made line AKG each season, Anna introduces fresh silhouettes while also bringing back customer favourites she may tweak from season to season. AKG Fall 2017 includes heavy knit jumpers, raglan mock neck dresses, soft intimates and cozy gender fluid pieces perfect for Maritime mornings. 

To celebrate seven years of Makenew, “We want to thank all of our customers, neighbours and friends,” Anna says, “and give everyone 10 percent off for one entire year and a chance to win a $250 holiday gift basket!” Present the ad in the October 12 issue when making a purchase, get 10 percent off at Makenew for the entire year, then you will be entered to win a holiday gift basket.
Makenew Curated Thrift | Unique Essentials, 2698 Agricola Street

Where there's smokehouse

This old-fashioned deli is a Nova Scotia legend. You know them for their pepperoni, their pride and their family tradition. Brothers Meats and Delicatessen has our mouths watering at the mention of their smoked meats, so you won't want to miss their world-famous smokehouse treats, fresh out of the smokehouse each afternoon.

Brothers Meats is a family-run business that has been in the heart of the north end of Halifax for over 60 years. Their preserved-meat tradition was brought to Halifax from Poland, and the city was instantly hooked. Thankfully, the original family has stayed with the company, so the products are as delicious as ever.

Brothers Meats specializes in the art of smoking, and have six wood-fired smokehouses that serve up house-made deli meats, meatloaves, bacon and pork chops. At Brothers Meats, you can grab a slice of smoky, scrumptious history.
Brothers Meats and Delicatessen, 2665 Agricola Street

Thirst level: quenched

Let's start with what has always been true: You can always count on Propeller Brewing to be open, even when the other guys aren't. Unless it's Christmas morning, there is no way they're letting you go thirsty. That's one of the reasons they've been our go-to "OG" beer store for 20 years, and now, they've just one-upped themselves.

After that long day at work, you can come into Propeller and they'll pour you a nice, tall pint—which is a lot more refreshment than the typical four-ounce sample! You can order a beer, grab some food from anyone along Gottingen, plop down, and enjoy that same dog-friendly, people-friendly, safe space right in your favourite diverse neighbourhood.

Start here to kick off your night before heading to The Local for some pizza, or let Propeller be your nightcap at the end of it all. Accept the invite, and head on in—this is a north end dream come true.
Propeller Brewing Company, 2015 Gottingen Street


Pieces of history

Photos taken by W.R. MacAskill, born 1887, are a part of Nova Scotia's history. These beautiful photographs use light and reflection to highlight key moments and local scenery, and although they haven't been available on the market for a while, that's changed thanks to Studio 14 Gifts & Gallery. In scenes of Citadel Hill, the Northwest Arm and the original Bluenose, Studio 14 now lets you take home your favourite slice of the province.

Originally MacAskill's images were printed in black and white, using glass negatives, then hand-tinted with oil colour inks or sepia tones. Now, Studio 14 owner Jennifer Jacobson will be taking on the task, and teaching herself to hand-tint.

These are must-own pieces—even Andy Warhol couldn't resist getting a copy of "Grey Dawn," and neither should you.

And if you're looking for something else to brighten up your home, Studio 14 has an eclectic mix of artwork from Alex Colville, First Nations and Inuit artists, along with framing options to perfectly match your personality. You won't be able to leave with just one piece.
Studio 14 Gifts & Gallery, 2393 Agricola Street

Your daily Deli

They're not pretentious and they may not be the prettiest, but they have great taste and great value. Hali Deli has been open five years, and they just can't keep us away.

We're drawn to the smell of sweet caramelized onions that hits us the second we walk in, and we demand their house-made hollandaise sauce on the regular. Everything on the Hali Deli menu is made from scratch, and we're not sure what makes our mouths water more: the soups, the desserts or just the thought of their special Deli Benny. Throw some smoked turkey, smoked meat or smoked salmon on crisp potato latkes and consider us more than satisfied.

Hali Deli welcomes everyone to enjoy brunch, lunch or breakfast. They've been featured on the Food Network and You Gotta Eat Here!, and as much as we'd like to keep Hali Deli our best-kept secret, it's time to share it with the world.
Hali Deli Old World Delicatessen, 2389 Agricola Street


HRM in the NYC

Your hair should only be handled by the best. Which is good news for Halifax, because we've officially got access to the best. Since award-winning FRED. expanded to open a location in New York's Lower East Side, it has been repeatedly named by Time Out New York for being in the Top 20 salons in a city of 10 million people. Fred Connors' local team has benefited from this expansion, as his travel between the two locations has brought top-notch advanced hair painting techniques and contemporary, edgy haircuts back to the HRM.

The professionals at FRED. are longtime north end pioneers, and in their latest boutique on Agricola Street, they offer a full range of salon and makeup services to help you feel elegant and effortless. This collaborative team has evolved into a family, and customers will instantly feel the love as they walk through the door. They problem-solve together, and co-consult to the point where the client feels like they're being cared for by the entire FRED. family, instead of just an individual. 
FRED., 2606 Agricola Street

Local knowledge

Sip on a pint and listen to some tunes in this non-judgmental, relaxed and perfect-for-anyone environment. This place isn't just for the "cool kids"—The Local aims to serve as the neighbourhood's local gathering spot.

The Local surprised us as it shows off the broad HRM musical community. You can pop in for Wednesday Jazz Night, or their Sunday Night Blues and Family Dinner, and catch some wholesome fun for all where the parents can waltz, and kids are free to dance too!

When it's time for a night out, you can keep it casual and stay at The Local, or all you party animals can head downstairs to The Seahorse. Just don't forget to put your best costume on, because they've got lots of theme nights happening.

 The Seahorse will have us rockin' to a special Alice Cooper Tribute concert the Friday of Halloween weekend (or catch some spooky fun with S.O.S. upstairs in The Marquee that Saturday). The Local isn't just a special group's place, it's everybody's vibe. 
The Local, The Seahorse Tavern and The Marquee Ballroom, 2037 Gottingen Street


Style is forever

Sattva is a Sanskrit word describing a state of mind of feeling light, clear, connected and content. In other words, exactly how you'll feel when you walk into this beautiful boutique on Agricola Street.

The collection at Sattva Boutique is curated through four principles: ethically made, eco conscious, locally sourced, socially aware. The products give back to the community, without sacrificing on being modern and fashionable.

Inspired by the saying "less is more," Sattva offers you a new way to refresh your wardrobe. The beautiful selection of "modern classics" is full of essential pieces that are timeless, comfortable and high-quality. The kind of pieces you will reach for again and again, wearing them for years to come.

These Canadian-made designs are carefully chosen for the modern, sophisticated woman by a kind and passionate team of women who love bringing people together through fashion. Sattva helps you to feel connected to your clothing and promotes a joyful relationship between you and your wardrobe. A must visit if you haven't been!
Sattva Boutique, 2453 Agricola Street

Tony's, Tony's, Tony's

After a night on the town or a long day, there's a hunger in your belly that nothing else can satisfy. You'll walk aimlessly, until finally it clicks. That's when you can practically taste the sweet sauce even before it reaches your tongue. Nothing says Halifax like a midnight donair from Tony's Donair & Pizza.

Tony's has been welcoming Haligonains for 40 years to his same Robie-at-Cunard location in the north end. And even if you don't live close by, you'll find yourself making the trek for this local goodness. Tony's is one of Halifax's original pizza and donair shops, and they've never let us down.

"Tony's Corner" is a phrase known to all, and shared with only the most special of tourists. So here's your key to the real Hali experience: the neighbourhood place to get an original and famous donair.
Tony's Donair & Pizza, 2390 Robie Street

Work hard, play hard

When Local Source market first opened at the corner of Agricola and Charles Streets, its goal was to give people the opportunity to eat local food, and take part in in the local living economy. Growing to start the attached Lion & Bright Cafe Wine Bar is an evolution of that food philosophy. Lion & Bright is a space for people to gather, participate and connect.

The Bright bar is the early morning cafe that starts our day. It's where bright ideas are conjured up, and bright minds come together in a creative community to have conversations in a cohesive environment. Once we can get things done, the space transforms into a celebration of the art of the hustle.

The Lion bar comes to life in the night. Our lion heart and sense of pride emerge through drinks in this sanctuary where we can talk about workdays, and our hopes for the future. The lion lets us connect on a social and human level over food and drinks. There are two sides of this creative coin: working hard, and then playing even harder.
Lion & Bright Cafe Wine Bar, 2534 Agricola Street

What dreams are made of

We all love to feel our best, so don't we deserve to look like our best, authentic selves? For everyone who answers "yes" to that question, Boutique Zekara is a dream come true. With their constant search for new brands, there's always a unique treasure to be found at Zekara.

Zekara offers fun, fashion-forward lifestyle pieces, footwear and accessories to add to your wardrobe, completely geared to enhance your individual personality. Founder Donna Williamson uses her innovative vision and creativity to find brands like In Wear, Repeat, Spanner, Joseph Ribkoff, Sandwich and more. Coming into Zekara is an unforgettable experience where you'll build a relationship with Donna and her team, and receive the best possible products and services. After launching Zekara in Rothesay, NB, Donna chose Agricola Street as her next adventure.

As if having a trend-setting boutique wasn't enough to send us to Zekara, nestled inside is a Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio. Merle Norman is a brand of makeup and skincare that's been loved and trusted since 1920, proving to be a product that excels in price and performance. Stop by and put some on before you make a purchase. Donna believes in the "Try before you buy" philosophy. If you're not happy, she'll make sure you get something that you love and that will work for you. She's here to serve you, Halifax.
Boutique Zekara, 2698 Agricola Street

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Home, Salty Home—There’s No Place Like New Scotland

Starting with an idea hatched around a pool table, brothers Kevin and Scott Saccary created the New Scotland Clothing Company to share their pride. 

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Tall ships, strolls down the harbour and having the friendliest neighbourhood Maritimers around makes it hard to consider any other place “paradise.” As Scott Saccary backpacked around the world, it dawned on him how proud he was to be a Nova Scotian. The rest is the making of a business.

The Saccary Brothers, Kevin and Scott, wanted to share their homeland love with everyone around them, because they knew no matter where they went, their hearts would always be home. The New Scotland Clothing Company is a way to give everyone a chance to bring a slice of home everywhere they go. Whether you’re teaching in Thailand, backpacking through Europe or taking a beach vacation to Cuba, one of the New Scotland tees is a perfect thing to show off during your travels. It’s a way to keep your old traditions alive as you create new ones.

New Scotland Clothing Company's Scott and Kevin Saccary: brothers, curlers, entrepreneurs, CUA members.
  • New Scotland Clothing Company's Scott and Kevin Saccary: brothers, curlers, entrepreneurs, CUA members.

“Scott and I came up with the idea at the pool table in my basement,” says Kevin Saccary. “Since it was an idea, and we didn’t have a lot of proven sales, we had a few but not a lot, it was hard to get a loan even for a smaller amount for inventory.” The brothers needed to get the cash flow started, and CUA (Credit Union Atlantic) took the risk.

“The Nova Scotia Small Business Loan Guarantee Program made possible a line of credit of $15,000 to work with. It helped us pay for inventory, marketing and the wages we needed to pay,” says Kevin. It was easy to work with CUA. Their company account manager, Bryan Richard, got back to them right away and he saw what the small company needed. It was comforting to work with someone local who understood the process, and who was constantly there for them.

The brothers started selling their logo at Alderney Market, and people were instantly drawn to the idea of representing their home province. Even tourists were attracted to showing off their Maritime love, and were willing to take this love back to their home. There’s no ideal buyer–everyone can be a New Scotland patriot.

Soon, they “went from a Rubbermaid container down at the market to three shops,” says Scott Saccary. New Scotland Clothing Company grew with the help of CUA and their operations loan. The brothers have been back to see CUA three times in the last two years. They’re constantly getting new business ideas, and wanting to expand. With CUA, it’s easy to dream big.

The brothers aren’t afraid to give you the good stuff. CUA gave them the chance to change over most of their line from imported clothing to “made in Nova Scotia” by partnering with Stanfield’s in Truro within the first four months of business. Their customers get the quality of the materials and receive top-notch clothing while proudly supporting their local economy when they wear New Scotland clothing.

Scott and Kevin show their passion for their people through their specially-made tees for a cause that hits home: The MS Society. “I have MS myself and I wanted to give back to that charity and bring awareness,” says Kevin. “I want to show how it affects different people, and how the symptoms are very different.” New Scotland Clothing Company donates $20 from each shirt that they sell. They’ve already sold this promotion out once and are nearing another product sell-out.

They owe a lot of their success to the support they’ve received from the curling community. Kevin and Scott are both competitive curlers, and the New Scotland Clothing Company originally started as an idea to make curling apparel to represent Nova Scotia’s curling team. For the first three years that was their plan, but their friends had bigger plans for them.

“Curling is a big part of us. I’m on the board of directors for the Dartmouth Curling Club, and we’ve been in the community for 25 years—since we were eight and 10,” says Kevin. “They were the ones who were supporting us before the public knew who we were, and supporting the brand. We got out there because of them.” Kevin and Scott still continue to work with and sponsor junior kids teams in Nova Scotia, and have even sponsored the Scottish Olympic team in the past.

“When I first saw someone wearing our logo, it was such a surreal moment. We’ve grown so much, and now we ship all over the world right here from Dartmouth. It’s getting out there,” says Kevin. With all of the word of mouth, and huge amount of support, they’ve gone back to CUA in the last four months to open a new location on the waterfront. The brothers needed some capital to buy their shipping container storefront, and CUA helped them with that.

The ideas are never-ending for these business owners, and so are the opportunities. Scott and Kevin are currently talking to CUA about another business venture in creating the New Scotland Brewing Company, and it’s getting more serious now. The brewery has been in the works for two years, with a registered business name and all. Soon, you’ll be able celebrate New Scotland the right way: with some Nova Scotia swag and a cool local brew.

This content has been developed and paid for by CUA, without involvement from The Coast’s editorial department.

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In Print This Week

Vol 25, No 29
December 14, 2017

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