Happiness is magic

Guy Quenneville browses for business news.

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And you thought your job was hard? Imagine being suspended in a straitjacket 20 metres above a bed of flaming spikes as the ropes to your trapeze are set on fire. That’s all in a day’s work for Don Faith, owner, operator and one of the magicians whose illusions are on display at The Magic Studio, 18 Rosedale Drive (Unit 3) in Dartmouth. Winnipeg-born Faith, whose love of magic was sparked when he stumbled upon a book about Houdini at the age of 17, says the Magic Studio is an affordable alternative for magic lovers that doesn’t skimp on the quality of its performances. “I wanted to open a studio equipped with a 2,500-square-foot theatre that features high-end Las Vegas-style magic,” he says. “It’s not often that these kinds of acts come to town and when they do, the tickets will probably be $25 each to get in.” That’s a big problem in Faith’s eyes. “A lot of low-income families wouldn’t be able to afford to see a show like that. We’re making this affordable for everybody.” The studio will offer one- and two-hour shows for up to 30 people. The shows will include tried-and- true acts such as a woman being cut into three pieces and levitation, but also edgier fare such as “22 spears being thrust through the head of a woman.” The small, intimate space has its perks, adds Faith. “If you go to most illusion shows, there’s a chance you’ll be sitting very far from the stage, even from the balcony. Here, you can be 10 feet away and see the illusion right up close. After the show you can even interact with the performers and mingle.” The Studio hopes to expand soon by adding cabaret dinner programs and a store selling rare hand-carved toys from around the world. For now though, Faith is having plenty of fun entertaining people of all ages. “It’s interesting. When we host a birthday party there are usually more adults and seniors in the audience than kids!”

Dizzy spell

Halifax has its share of used bookstores. So what will distinguish the newly opened DizzyLou Books, at 3649 Dutch Village Road, from the rest of the pack? Owner Gary Castle says, “I want it to be really organized. A lot of people complain about that when they go to other bookstores. Of course that worries me, too, because I know I’m going to have more books than I have space for.” Castle began buying books two years ago and now estimates he has about 3,000 (mostly used) in a variety of genres including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Two of his largest collections happen to be travel and Russian history and politics. “I don’t know how I got those,” he says of the latter. Castle, a longtime Halifax photographer and artist, also hopes to make his store distinctive by creating a sort of mecca for local artists and creative types to come together and discuss their projects. DizzyLou will also sell books by self-published artists and, providing he gets the right permit, Castle hopes to add a small cafe and a gallery featuring the work of local artists, both for show and for sale. “I’d like to get to the point where we’re popular enough that we could have a few artist talks that are open to the public,” he says.

Added boost

Booster Juice has expanded its operations in Halifax. The franchise has added a third location in addition to the two seasonal huts currently located in the Historic Properties and on the corner of Spring Garden and Queen. The latest outlet of the smoothie and freshly-squeezed juice provider recently had its grand opening at 278 Lacewood Drive in Clayton Park. Unlike the two other huts, however, the new Booster Juice is open year-round. “It’s a little larger than most outlets,” says franchise owner John Keizer. “The store is about 1,000 square feet.” It also boasts more offerings including hot food such as quesadillas and panini sandwiches. Now that he has formed a solid customer base, Keizer is also setting his sights on doing some fundraising for local hockey teams and youth groups. “I’m a believer that there’s a period when the business manages you, and then you’ve got to start managing the business. I think we’ve turned that corner in just the last two weeks. It’s a nice position to be in.”

Soup salute

People walking by The Soup Sergeant on Spring Garden are no doubt curious about why the store, which was supposed to open this week, has had to delay its launch. Co-founder Chandra Pottle explains: “Some of our key equipment coming in from the US got tied up a little longer than we expected at customs, so that put us back by a few days. It knocked us out by about eight days in total.” Now that construction is virtually complete, Pottle can also give more details about the decor of the restaurant. “It will be more on the high end than you would expect to see at your average fast-food place. It will have what you could consider an urban decor, with natural stone, granite and lots of earth-tone colours,” she says. The new launch date for The Soup Sergeant is Tuesday, October 24.

Pumped for info

Construction is currently underway on a gas bar in the parking lot at the Barrington Street Superstore. The gas station will be operated by Atlantic Superstore under the name Refuel and will feature three pumps, says Dirk Romyn, vice president of marketing for Atlantic Superstore. Construction on the gas bar is expected to be complete by early to mid-November.

Pump up your business. Email: shoptalk@thecoast.ca

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