The good life

Guy Quenneville browses for business news.

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La Dolce Vita, which opened last month, is a new spa at 182 Bedford Highway. The business is owned and run by the husband-and- wife team of Danny and Liza Innocente from Halifax. As the name (it is Italian for “the good life”) suggests, the spa is meant to be a haven for people who want to treat themselves. “When you come into the spa, you want to be able to take your shoes off and relax, like it’s your own home,” says Danny. “It’s also an Italian-themed spa. We have a fountain in the middle of the foyer, the walls are done in Venetian plaster, the trim is in bitter chocolate and there is a lot of marble.” Equally important to the design of the interior of the spa is the sense of grandeur each customer will feel, says Liza. “If you’re going to spend the money on something like this, I think you should have space. All of my rooms are huge.” Liza is the primary caregiver at the spa. She has been a hairstylist for the past seven years and when asked why she entered this business in the first place, her answer was simple, “I love people.” The Innocentes say the location of the spa was key for them because they believe the business fills a gap in the area. “On the Bedford Highway there’s no place close to the Mount and close to Halifax that can offer what we do,” says Danny. “There’s no tanning at all on the Bedford Highway.” A feature of the business is that customers can enjoy an Italian luncheon cooked by a chef, if the spa is given 48 hours’ notice. The Innocentes also have an eye on giving back to the community. Coins placed in the fountain in the centre of the foyer will be donated to the Make A Wish Foundation at the end of the year. You can reach the spa at 443-6093.

Added touches

People walking by Drala Asian Books and Gifts at 1567 Grafton may have noticed a sign in the window announcing that the store’s success has made renovations possible. We checked in with owner Debra Liscomb, who confirmed the interior of the store has undergone what she saw as much-needed renovations. “We just finished,” says Liscomb. “The project involved a little bit of rearrangement of shelving and a lot of painting and repairing. The painting was long overdue. There was a lot of left-over evidence from the restaurant that used to be there. I was trying to get rid of most of that.” Drala has been selling high-end imported goods from Asia for the last 11 years. The store can be reached at 422-2504.

Heritage moment

Heritage Pewter, which has been a mainstay of the Park Lane Mall for the last 21 years, will be closing in the next two months, according to co-owner Peter Aladin. Aladin says he is closing down because he and his wife Sophia are retiring and could not find anyone to take over. “My daughter is not interested!” he says, jokingly. Health is also a concern—Aladin has suffered two heart attacks and three strokes during the past two years and feels that keeping the store open in his condition would be foolish. Mr. Aladin says he will be able to give his customers a better idea of when the store will close as the time approaches. The Park Lane Mall administration does not currently know what store will take Heritage’s place once the business has closed. Call Heritage Pewter at 422-4600.

Hand it to her

Splurge Handbags, an accessories boutique selling jewellery and handbags, will be moving in mid- to late February from Spring Garden Place to a new location in the Park Lane Mall. The move will almost quadruple the store’s size, says owner Sarah Huszagh, who also admits she is both daunted (the rent will be substantially increased) and ecstatic about the size of her new premises. But, she adds, the move was necessary and made solely with customers in mind. “I needed a larger space so that I could expand my stock and my product line and also increase the amount of foot traffic. I’m up to the challenge. I feel like, after four years of running this business, it’s time to go big or go home.” The interior of the store will be designed like “the hall of mirrors from the Palace of Versailles. I wanted something very dramatic, something in keeping with what’s going on now—I’m thinking particularly of the Marie Antoinette movie that came out recently. The store is meant to be fitting for a princess.” Regular customers need not worry since Splurge Handbags’ current Spring Garden Place location will remain open for business until the day the new one opens its doors. As the motto of the store (as told by Huszagh) goes, “If the princess ain’t happy, then ain’t NO ONE happy.” You can reach Splurge Handbags at 420-9530.

Consider us crossed

The official list of stores to open at Dartmouth Crossing was released this week and it contains mostly familiar names for HRM shoppers. Despite rumours, there are currently no plans for an IKEA on the $290- million site near Burnside. Home Depot, Wal-Mart and Staples opened last week. Stores slated to open soon include Golf Town, Petcetera, The Shoe Company, Michaels, Linens-n-Things and SportsChek. Spring openings include Tommy Hilfiger, LauraPlus, Fairweather, Liz Clairborne, Le Chateau, Aldo, Mexx, La Vie en Rose, Cotton Ginny, Esprit, Bentley, Garage, Transit, Reitmans, Buffalo, Smart Set, Trade Secrets Beauty Shop and Ardene.

Opening your own business park? Email: shoptalk@thecoast.ca

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