Though they've only been open a couple of weeks, the new location for couture in town, Off The Hanger, is already seeing repeat customers. "It's a trendy, chic store," confirms co-owner Shira Rubin-Handley, who started the business with her sisters Aviva Rubin-Schneider and Carmi Rubin-
Gitalis. Their family has roots in the Nova Scotia fashion retail going back generations, once including the high-end ladies' fashion shop Edward and Elizabeth's The Togery in Historic Properties in the mid-'70s. That store sourced Laura Ashley and Alfred Sung for the fashionistas of the day. The new venture caters to both men and women from the spiffy Paramount Building (1551 South Park) opposite the Public Gardens. Rubin-Handley, who has a degree in fashion merchandising, says people she knows often complain how "you can't get anything here" in town in terms of the newest fashion trends, something she means to rectify. "My younger sister also works in fashion in Toronto and we'll be bringing in lines from ." Expect to see labels such as three stones, BB Dakota, Bionic Dresses, and Bauhaus Jeans. The store is open seven days a week. If you have any inquiries, call 406-4000.
A brand new bag
If you've been shopping at Pete's Frootique on Dresden Row or in Bedford in the past little while, you'll have noticed the little flyers that read: "Effective September 4th... you will see an ECO CHARGE of 5 cents on your receipt (for every plastic bag we supply). This is an encouragement to Bring Your Own Bag and help save the planet!!!" Jeff Supple, store manager at the Bedford location, says they're "getting a lot of flak" for this idea, presumably from customers (people, you don't want to save the planet?) and the charge hasn't even been levied yet. "We had a group of staff who came to us over a year ago now, wondering in what ways they could help make the company greener. We want to do our part for the environment and Pete (Luckett—it's his Frootique) made the decision to do it." The staff formed an in-store eco-committee, and one of their first initiatives was the popular Pete's Green Bag program, offering reusable cloth bags, sold almost at cost. "We sell them for 99 cents each, and it costs 96 cents to bring them in," says Supple. Pete's also has a recycling program on the go (composting, plastic and paper) and is planning to replace all the light bulbs with more eco-friendly, energy-efficient models. And where will the five cents per plastic bag go? "It goes to the eco-committee," says Supple. "These changes are very costly, right? But we want to slowly make the company more green." To learn more, call the downtown location at 425-5700 or 835-4997 for Bedford.
Heartwood and wine
Things are in flux at the Heartwood Bakery at 6250 Quinpool. Check out the Heartwood Vegetarian Cuisine website (heartwood
bakerycafe.ca) if you don't believe me. Manager Krista Watters, owner Laura Bishop's first employee when the vegan and vegetarian food outlet first opened almost 12 years ago (and is now her daughter-in-law), has returned from living out west for the better part of a decade. Her return has precipitated the big change, moving from buffet-style to a restaurant vibe. "It limited our options and limited our creativity," says Watters, of the previous layout. The hot table and the salad bar/desserts are gone, but those delicious staples are still available. "It's a sit-down style," says Watters. "We always have a daily soup and salads. Those things have stayed. But now we have these incredible Heartwood bowls," mouth-watering concoctions including organic brown rice and pasta, with the options of spicy peanut sauce and miso. "You create your own bowl." Also available now are a selection of open-faced sandwiches. But Watters is eager to point out this is just phase one. "We're going to be bringing in organic wine and beer and a coffee bar and organic loose teas," says Watters, who expects the phase two changes to take place over the next couple of months, with changes to seating arrangements and, hopefully, open mic nights. "Here on Quinpool Road the timing is really good," she says. Stop by Heartwood for a better idea of its new look, or call 425-2808.
An apple a day
The Candy Apple (1726 Grafton) is changing its opening times. Nighthawks and early birds will be OK, just don't head over there for a mid-week dinner. "Our core is 7am to 3pm so we're going to specialize in breakfast. If someone wants dinner they don't come to The Candy Apple," says owner Bryan Bridgemohan, explaining why the former Apple Barrel, which was open 24 hours for 14 years and continued to be after The Candy Apple name change and cereal bar addition, will now be open 9pm to 3pm Monday to Thursday (but still 24 hours over Friday, Saturday and Sunday). "Sales were dropping so we closed the Apple Barrel and reopened as The Candy Apple," says Bridgemohan. "I thought it was the Apple Barrel, but it wasn't. Things that I can't control haven't changed."
Bob, to the future
Bob and Lori's Food Emporium will be closed until the end of August, as owner Bob Trenaman needs "time without day-to-day pressures to think of the future," according to his note on the door. The popular Gottingen eatery will reopen after Labour Day.
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