Statement, a furniture store in the north end, has moved down a few blocks to a new location at 2534 Agricola. “We operated at our old location on the same street for three years, but we just sort of outgrew the place,” says the owner, Ray Frizzell. “It’s nice to stay on Agricola Street, too, because the street has so much character and is sort of off the beaten path.”
The store offers classic and contemporary furniture, most of it from Canada, and some local art, which is featured on the walls. “A lot of the lines we carry are very accommodating towards customers. They’ll customize pieces, in terms of sizes or additions, to fit the buyer’s taste even more.”
Frizzell says the new space is large enough that customers don’t feel cramped and it also gives a better idea of how much space the furniture will take up. Asked why he entered this specific line of business, Frizzell says, “I love it because of the level of detail involved. I also think furniture is one of those things people interact with most intimately. It plays a big part in where and how people live.”
Bob Barker has his beauties. Pat Sajak’s got Vanna White. But neither of them has Sandra Kay, wife and everyday model to Peter Bauer, the creative talent behind Peter Bauer Jewelry.
“I model Peter’s jewellery all the time,” she says. “Everywhere I go I wear it so that people will take notice and ask me where I got it from.”
The Bauers live in Cape Breton. Peter makes all of the large, chunky jewellery himself using a hammer and cold metal and sculpting it with his hands. “Most jewellery is mass-produced. But Peter hates redoing the same design. So every piece of jewellery, while it definitely bears Peter’s mark, is completely different from any other piece of jewellery.”
Bauer grew up with an appreciation of hand-crafted jewellery. His mother lived in Vienna and designed jewellery. Bauer’s uncle, who ran a manufacturing business, sat Peter down one day, gave him a hammer and told him to make something nice for his mother. While he pursued a career in engineering and physics, jewellery has always been his passion. “Jewellery fills his need to invent things,” says Kay. Bauer and Kay display their work during fall and spring shows around metro (their first spring show will be at Goose Island County Store on the Bedford Highway). In the meantime, you can check out their offerings online at peterbauersilver.com.
KRISP, a clothing and sneaker boutique at 5189 Sackville, was scheduled to open its doors in early October. But as the store’s co-founder now tells Shop Talk, getting KRISP ready for business was more difficult than he imagined. “Basically, we totally underestimated how large a job renovating a space for a store is,” says Michael Andreas Kuttner. “There were a couple of factors. It took longer to receive some of our stock—some of which comes from places like California—because a lot of our stuff is from exclusive, hard-to-get lines. We also didn’t want to open the store until it was polished enough to display this type of upscale product.”
Kuttner admits he and his business partner created a lot of work for themselves. “We decided, from the outset, to build the interior of the store ourselves,” he says. “We didn’t have the sort of ‘make your store’ kind of supplies. We started completely from scratch.” The toughest part was lining the walls with metal sheets, which required two people to install and had to be cut to exacting specifications. “That part of the process was very unforgiving,” he adds. “We cut every piece with a skill saw. We also put in some custom flooring and built a bit of shelving. It was like one big art project.” The store will offer clothing (t-shirts, hoodies, sneakers) hard to find “anywhere east of Montreal or Toronto,” and is now slated to open on December 1.
Always a bride
G.C.S. Fashions, specializing in bridal wear and church fashions, had its grand opening last week. Located at 14 Woodlawn Road in Dartmouth, G.C.S. fills a gap in the Halifax area, in the eyes of its owner, Gail Cain-Shephard.
“We don’t have a lot of fancy church wear in Halifax. I know a lot of people in this area who to go LA or New York or who order online for their bridal needs.” Cain-Shephard operated a showroom in Montreal, but served “quite a lot of Nova Scotians. So I thought, if that’s where most my clients are, I might as well go there.”
Cain-Shephard says dealing with brides-to-be can be hair-raising, but that’s why she likes doing it. “It’s a challenge. I know what it was like to be a bride, where everything has to be perfect. So I empathize with my clients and help them until they leave the shop happy.”
Cain-Shephard started in the business very much by accident. Fifteen years ago, while boarding a cruise ship bound for Paris she realized she had forgotten her evening dress for the captain’s ball. Frantically, she scoured stores close to Miami airport, searching for a dress and eventually found one at a small boutique. “The woman who ran the store was so helpful. She rented out formal wear, including the wedding dresses of her six sisters. That’s how I started my business, by renting out my own sisters’ dresses .” G.C.S. also offers high-end gospel church wear for men and women, including hats and matching suits.
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