Comic timing

Guy Quenneville browses for business news.

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For collectors of Spider-Man comic books, the Holy Grail has arrived in Halifax. Calum Johnston, owner of Strange Adventures Comic Book Shop at 5262 Sackville, recently purchased every Spider-Man fan’s dream at an estate auction: the first comic book to feature the web-slinging crime fighter. In 1962, a new copy of Amazing Fantasy #15—chronicling teenager Peter Parker’s climbing into his webby tights—sold at corner stores for 12 cents. Nowadays, the comic book—if in decent condition—is worth $5,000, says Johnston. “As soon as I put it up in the store, word spread like wildfire. People have been coming in to look at it. It’s like the Stanley Cup coming to town. This comic book isn’t one of the most valuable, but it’s certainly one of the most sought after.” But as all interested parties soon found out, the comic book is there to stay, at least for the time being. “I’d like to hold on to it for a while. Someday, I’ll sell it. But it’s kind of like a car dealer coming across an old Model-T in working order and wanting to have it on the lot for a while.” Johnston has received several offers— “some for thousands of dollars”—from several collectors. Shawn Brockley, a regular customer at Strange Adventures, is one of them. A 28-year-old stockbroker in Dartmouth who has everything from Spider-Man comics to glowing Spider-Man car mats, Brockley says he considered taking radical actions upon first hearing about the comic book. “For a moment I thought of maybe maxing out my credit cards, or selling some of my expensive art. But then I realized it would be hard to explain to my family and my girlfriend that they didn’t get any Christmas presents this year because I spent $4,000 on a comic book.” Brockley decided he needn’t worry the people on his Christmas list, but admits that he understands Johnston’s reasons for holding on to the comic book. “It’s a great thing for this province,” Brockley says. Ever the savvy businessman, Johnston says he might consider selling the comic book when Spider-Man mania reaches its next peak: the May 2007 release of Spider-Man 3.

Pop explosion

The Garrison Brewing Company at 1149 Marginal Road will be expanding its product line to include craft-brewed soda drinks by the end of this year. “This is something we have wanted to do for a number of years,” says the company’s president, Brian Titus. “When we recently moved to our new location by Pier 21, we expanded our capacity. The time was right for it.” Under a separate company, Garrison will produce sodas of the following flavour: root beer, blueberry cream soda, ginger n’ lime, tangerine and, in the name of all things retro, chocolate soda. “The sodas will be produced using a lot of the same equipment we use to brew our line of ales,” says Titus. “They’ll contain no preservatives or additives.” The root beer soda has been quietly selling at the brewery store for the past six weeks, but Titus says he hopes to make all the sodas available by either December or early 2007 at corner stores, bars and restaurants. Garrison’s recent product line expansion will not only result in additional hours for the brewery staff during winter months, it will also give “designated drivers or people not drinking alcohol an opportunity to go out with friends to the brewery or anywhere else the sodas are available.” The brand name Titus chose for the sodas—Cannonball Sodas—is both a nod to the firing of the noon gun on Citadel Hill and the jump-in-the-pool kind of cannonball. “The name reflects the drink, which is youthful and fun,” says Titus.

Fun in the sun

The autumn leaves may be turning brittle and cold nowadays, but a new downtown business is doing what it can to put a sunny disposition on its customers. Located on the boardwalk in Bishop’s Landing beside Bish, Del Sol specializes in color-changing products. The store sells clothing, jewellery, watches, sunglasses and nail polish that change color due to exposure from the UV rays of the sun. “I’ve been to a lot of Del Sol locations while on cruises,” says the store’s co-owner, Tina Legay (her partner is Barbara Moore). “I’ve always been taken with their products. So Barbara and I finally looked into opening our own store.” The Halifax Del More kiosk is one of only two Canadian outlets, the other being in Niagara Falls. Legay says it doesn’t take a bright, sunny day to make the color-changing process work; all it requires is a “light daze.” And customers wondering how to test the products on a dark, cloudy day need not worry, insists Legay. “We’ve got these black lights at the store that simulate the effect of UV rays, so that you can see for yourself how it works at anytime.”

My preciousssss…

A new store offering heavily encrusted, chic bohemian women’s jewellery recently opened last weekend at 1276 Barrington Street. Joanne David, named after its owner, offers women of all ages costume jewellery imported from all the over the world, including the United States and the Middle East. The business is a partnership between David and her husband, Harout, who recently arrived from Beirut. “He was in diamond sales and I’m a jewellery junkie. So we paired up,” says David. “I used to throw private jewellery display shows. But now I want to fill the gap between high- and low-end jewellery and accessorize the Halifax ladies. The stuff at our store is not necessarily high-end, but not stuff that you can find elsewhere.”

Business taking off? Let us know. Email: shoptalk@thecoast.ca

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