Sunnyside up

T.C. Demaresq browses for business news.

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May 4 saw the opening of a new Backyard & Veranda at the Sunnyside Mall in Bedford. The furniture and home decor shop carries sofas, kitchen appliances, draperies, accessories for the yard and dog, and more. “It really is quite impressive,” says David Seviour, the mall’s general manager. “And of course, Indigo is still to come. It’s going to be a great punch for this end of the mall.” Yep, that’s right—the mall’s about to get a big book boost. The food court toward the middle of the mall will be relocated this summer to make room for the giant bookstore. “We’re putting in an approximately 4,000-square-foot Indigo. It’s the first Indigo of its kind in the Atlantic region,” says Seviour. Indigo will be able to start construction on June 15, and Seviour estimates the store will be open by August or September.

Golly Gio

Halifax’s latest fine dining option opened on April 28. Gio is on the corner of Prince and Market, to the right of the Prince George Hotel’s main entrance. Chef Ray Bear’s menu features “exciting post-fusion flavours, where classic selections are revved up with playful, new age variations,” says Craig Norton, director of operations at the PG. Lunch is available 12pm to 2pm, Monday to Friday; dinner is from 5pm to 11pm, Monday to Saturday.

Whatever suits you

Tight pants may (or may not) be in style, but it’s never fun shopping in too-tight quarters. Pants buyers rejoice: There’s more room to peruse over at Dugger’s at 5476 Spring Garden. “We did open the back about 1,200 square feet,” says owner Ross McNeil. “Essentially the idea was to give our customers more room when buying suits and to display our suits, sports coats and trousers, and in many cases a little more of a private area for buying suits. It was a little bit crowded we thought before.” As if the idea of roomier pants-capades wasn’t enough, the menswear shop also has some new televisions and a waterfall in the new space. “It’s always a challenge to make it all blend together,” McNeil adds, “but Paul Thibeault, a good friend of mine, has done a lot of great work and it all works pretty well.”

Full of beans

There’s a new Starbucks at 5991 Spring Garden, near the corner of Robie. Manager Anne Swan reports the latest addition to the Seattle-based coffee chain opened on May 1. The shop will be open 7am to 10pm on weekdays, 7am to 11pm weekends. “We have wireless internet and a beautiful patio,” Swan says, which will be open on “nice days.”

Rub-a-dub-dub

When you hear the words “massage” and “a dollar for three minutes,” what comes to mind? The Shiatsu Wonder Massage coin-operated massage chairs at Park Lane, of course! “I guess they’re getting rave reviews, I just heard someone talking about it at the coffee shop,” says Park Lane assistant manager Dan Bourque. The chairs were set up at the end of March near Ardene Style and Maritime Travel. They use power rollers to replicate kneading techniques, charging one dollar for three minutes or two dollars for six.

Ella good

Ella’s Lounge opened on the main floor of Casino Nova Scotia at the end of April. It’s a temporary location; a permanent spot will be built next year. Expect local live entertainment with an emphasis on contemporary, jazz and R&B music on Thursdays (9pm to 12 am), Fridays and Saturdays (10pm to 1am). “When they used to have live entertainment there, it sort of coincided with very cheap drinks, it was like a happy hour-type thing,” says Howard Blank, vice president of media and entertainment for the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, which runs Casino Nova Scotia. “What we did when we came there was we felt that being a responsible gaming operator also meant being a responsible liquor provider, so we cut back on happy hour and drink specials. One thing we wanted to do was bring back entertainment. Our properties that have entertainment are more vibrant and definitely a more exciting venue.” Shows are only Thursdays through Saturdays, but Ella’s will share the casino’s hours.

Soup’d up

The Soup’er Sandwich at 1820 Hollis has gone through some changes since Carla George and Tracey Boughey took it over last fall. The cafe started displaying NSCAD art (“We trying to switch it up every two to four weeks,” says George) and altered their menu. Boughey is the cook and a vegetarian, George explains, and the new menu items reflect her desire to introduce healthy dishes to everyone. Expect vegan and vegetarian wraps, tofu veggie kebabs and soy beverages alongside more traditional sandwich shop fare. And there’s at least one more big change to come: As of June 1, the Soup’er becomes the Sandbar Cafe.

London calling…direct

Good news for Haligonians travelling to the UK, not so good for our friends up in St. John’s: Air Canada flights between Halifax and London will soon cease their stopovers in Newfoundland. The service to St. John’s will continue through the summer, but ends after September 4. No word on how that might affect schedules or ticket prices.

Place your tips in an upright and locked position: shoptalk@thecoast.ca

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