New Clay Cafe | Shoptalk | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Confused by the Clay Cafe's (6413 Quinpool) recent "grand re-opening" events? That's fair: the cafe was never closed. However, the shop has been under new ownership since February and has undergone a whole pile of fancy changes, too. And let's face it---"grand unveiling of new owners and fancy new changes" lacks pizzazz.

The new owners in question are hardly unfamiliar to the municipality's more ardent clay-painters; after all, Martin Ross and Amanda Stewart have been managing the store for a while. They'd been itching to open their own Clay Cafe, in Antigonish, but had difficulty finding a location. Nan Newhall, the chain's founder (and the Halifax location's owner), was aware of this. As a result, when Newhall decided she wanted out of the clay business, she approached Ross and Stewart and asked them if they wanted to realize their dream of owning a Clay Cafe here in Halifax. "We already had all the bugs worked out, because we had been managing it," says Stewart, of the Halifax store. "So, we kindajust slipped right into the role."

When the pair bought the place, they decided to put some of the ideas they'd had for the Antigonish store into action here. The store's layout has been re-arranged, making the place a "little more spacious." The way the store's supplies are laid out has also been revamped (design aids and paint are now displayed in the same handy spot) and the pair plan to start offering mosaic-making as an option for cafe-goers. Plus, Stewart and Ross have added a new music night: Live tunes are now available at the shop until 9pm on Saturday, as well as on Friday (where you can rock out, as always, until midnight). More importantly, Ross constructed a new stage for the musicians to play on---"nothing fancy, but just enough to make them feel a little more showcased," says Stewart. "Before, we just moved a table and they kinda sat in the corner." Well, that's just unacceptable. Nobody puts musicians in a corner. Interested in wishing the new owners well, starting your own Clay Cafe or booking your kid into one of their summer art camps? Call 429-2994.

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