Local business and consumer news. Openings, closings, deals, sales, what to buy and where to buy it, we round it all up and give you an insider's shopper's special on small business in Halifax. Contact shoptalk@thecoast.ca to send a tip.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Get ready for lake season with Makenew's swimsuit pop-up

She suits, she scores.

Posted By on Fri, May 18, 2018 at 12:40 PM


Dive into summer head-first with some brand-new, locally made swimmers. Tonight Makenew (2698 Agricola Street) is summoning warm weather by hosting a Summer Swim Pop-up (Friday, May 18th from 8-10pm) with jams from DJ T-Woo, seasonal refreshments and special guests.

Meet the designers behind Girl On The Moon—a line of hand-crocheted bikinis from Alison Durning—and Sueno Swimwear. Sueno's Jo Tranter will bring a curated version of her collection to the shop along with some special suits made in collaboration AKG's (and Makenew's) Anna Gilkerson.

The pool party doesn't stop there. For those looking for thrifted throwbacks, there’ll also be vintage bathing suits up for grabs, plus Gilkerson’s SS18 collection of her AKG basics will be available.

RSVP online if you’re interested in a dip.
  • Pin It

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Q+A: Art Pays Me designer Duane Jones on creativity and starting conversations

"If people feel uncomfortable I don’t mind that."

Posted By on Thu, May 17, 2018 at 4:44 AM

Duane Jones says APM is "about finding that balance" between making money and being creative - ALEX PEARSON
  • Duane Jones says APM is "about finding that balance" between making money and being creative
  • Alex Pearson


uane Jones has been making conversation-starting streetwear under the label Art Pays Me for years, but this Saturday he’s trying something new: His first solo fashion show, a high-concept project titled Moments In Culture, that sees a departure from pieces like his WuTang-inspired t-shirts. Here, he sits down to talk about the creative process and high fashion.

Tell me the story of the name of your label?
“I grew up being told that being an artist isn’t necessarily the career path to go on, and then at one point, I started to believe it myself. But then I started seeing these artists who were able to make money while still staying true to their artistic vision. There is a way you can do both and Art Pays Me is about finding that balance.”

The name of your first solo show is Moments in Culture, what does that mean?
“When we first thought of the name of the show, I had two or three moments where I was like ‘I wanna design around these.’ Like for instance, we’ve started to step back and appreciate we’re on Aboriginal land. I’m addressing that in the show and some big media things that happened.”

How do you take something like realizing we’re on unceded Indigenous land and turn that into something visual, specifically clothes?
“I just spit it out in my sketchbook. Here, I’ll show you..."

[Jones opens his sketchbook to a page that reads “Our experience is valid” in rough marker strokes]

"More of my thinking is this is less of a fashion show and more of an artistic thing. This is me being able to depart from [t-shirts with logos] and just say ‘Look, these are some things on my mind.’ I might not even sell them after the show, I just wanna put this out there.”

Whenever the audience leaves, what do you want them to be thinking or feeling?
“I want them to talk about race openly. I want them to talk about gender, sexuality, culture. If people feel uncomfortable I don’t mind that.”

This show feels more like conceptual haute couture versus your typical streetwear looks. Does streetwear ever feel limiting because it needs to be more wearable?
“I find it is a hard thing to stand out in because I don’t have technical sewing skills. I have a lot of insecurity around describing myself as a fashion designer. I feel like I’m a graphic designer whose medium is clothing. It is definitely limiting, but it's a challenge I enjoy because I know I have to work within the parameters of a t-shirt and make something that’s interesting but that people can grasp by just walking by.”


Moments in Culture
Halifax Central Library, 5440 Spring Garden Road

Sat May 18, 7pm, $25
  • Pin It

Makin’ it New: Creating Sustainable Fashion Before it was Cool

How Anna Gilkerson went from selling her own clothes online to building a curated thrift empire.

click image cualogo.png

“A challenge is not the challenge itself, but how you respond to it,” Anna Gilkerson says, eight years after starting her curated thrift shop. She says her responses have evolved since the beginning of Makenew, knowing that no matter what challenge she faces, she is contributing to the ever-growing sustainable fashion movement every single day. 

Makenew Curated Thrift & Unique Essentials was, and still is, a one-of-a-kind shop—one that keeps Halifax both trendy and eco-friendly. And even though the concept is all the rage today, the “curated thrift store” idea was a foreign concept to the fashion industry when Gilkerson began in 2010.

Anna Gilkerson and her partner Zac from Makenew Curated Thrift & Unique Essentials
  • Anna Gilkerson and her partner Zac from Makenew Curated Thrift & Unique Essentials

“I was actually just trying to sell some of my own personal second-hand pieces online to make some extra cash,” Gilkerson says about the early days of Makenew. Soon, her background as a designer in Montreal and her experience with owning her first sustainable fashion line combined to uniquely position her perspective as an entrepreneur.

“It felt like I was curating,” Gilkerson says about staging her clothing on models. Her designer instinct knew that the presentation would read well visually. Inevitably, the craving for uniquely curated clothing caught on with online shoppers. To test how well the e-business would translate to the world of bricks-and-mortar retail, Gilkerson set up a few pop-up shops, and the community was officially hooked on the idea. 

Gilkerson recalls opening her first retail location—a tiny hole-in-the-wall upstairs from another thrift store. “I worked hard and tried to save as much as I could, buying more stock to keep the lines fresh,” she says. “I did it all: the trades, my own photography, marketing, buying, merchandising and bookkeeping. Everything.”

As the business grew, Gilkerson started thinking about a bigger location. She wanted a financial partner who believed in and understood her sustainable vision. And that’s exactly what CUA provided. 

“CUA helped me get what I needed to grow, while also encouraging realistic financial goals,” says Gilkerson. “It was important to CUA that I had a strong business model and good work ethic.” The advice that CUA gave Gilkerson motivated her to not only look out for her business, but also for herself. 

“My account advisor always took the time to sit down with me when I needed it. It was important to them that I was paying myself and not taking on debt. Those simple things are so important for small businesses, and CUA really understands that. CUA is way more than just a bank.” 

Makenew keeps growing both on and offline, with an increasing selection of quality clothing and accessories, as well as expanded hours for the Agricola Street store. Gilkerson has stayed true to the brand all the while experimenting with new ideas. Her customer base has expanded to connect with those aged 16-to-85. According to Gilkerson, any generation can find their unique style at the shop.

“Our customers are smart and follow global trends. They expect a lot—and they should. Aiming to please and offering a unique shopping experience will always be something we strive for at Makenew,” says Gilkerson, who continues to be hands-on with the business at all times. 

Spending half her time in the shop, Gilkerson splits her remaining hours sourcing pre-worn clothes and designing her own AKG clothing line, a slow-fashion model of fluid basics that is sustainably sourced and ethically made in Halifax. With the business bursting at the seams, additional help from a trusted source has been the secret to continued growth—that’s where Gilkerson’s partner Zac comes in. 

“He has been helping me behind the scenes for five years and officially joined the company in 2018. Zac’s skills and previous work in men’s fashion have taken Makenew to a new level. In addition to having experience with buying, merchandising and sales, Zac is also a trained photographer and filmmaker. Once we took the plunge, we realized right away it was the best decision for the growth of the business.”

With extremely full schedules, Anna and Zac find balance between Makenew and making time to relax. For this tailored pair, peace of mind comes with a daily dose of family time including eight-year-old daughter Elly, the family dog, bird, and sometimes a laptop. To learn more, visit makenewcollections.com or visit 2698 Agricola Street.

This content has been developed and paid for by CUA, without involvement from The Coast’s editorial department.

  • Pin It

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Guided Tour - Hydrostone

Posted on Wed, May 16, 2018 at 6:50 PM

Halifax Seed
  • Halifax Seed

Make plans for wealth

Assante Hydrostone is a wealth management company that has been firmly rooted in the Hydrostone area since 2010. Their holistic approach to wealth planning examines a client's investment goals, retirement and estate plans, and even more. Assante's team is experienced and has the specialized knowledge to ensure that their clients have access to all options and ideas, and that nothing is overlooked.

In building strong, long-lasting relationships with their clients, Assante is committed to watching your goals come to life. By creating a personal and complete wealth plan for you, they'll make sure that you are on the right path to your financial success.

Assante Hydrostone is a proud supporter of many local charities, including Street Connection, Make-a-Wish and motionball for Special Olympics. They also sponsor the neighbourhood's annual tree-lighting ceremony—a highlight of the holiday season. Assante Hydrostone is a true cornerstone of the community.  

Assante Hydrostone, 5548 Kaye Street

Halifax's French oasis

Dreaming of a summer immersed in the French language? There's no need to fly off to Paris or Quebec, when an easy trip to the Hydrostone's Alliance Française Halifax helps bring the French to you.

Alliance Française provides the HRM with top-quality French courses to keep your language sharp and ready to use at a moment's notice. Their week-long intensive is perfect if you've been looking to move up a level and really challenge yourself. Come in for six-hour days, and you'll find yourself speaking French in your sleep!

Alliance Française's instructors are passionate about increasing your language proficiency, and that goes for developing or maintaining your kids' language skills as well. With structured weekly classes, watch your children's French improve as they have the opportunity to practice, move up a level and be completely school-ready come the fall term.

Alliance Française Halifax, 5509 Young Street

Coming home to the Hydro

North end neighbourhood real estate expert Edie Hancock is a must go-to if you're looking for property in the area. Not only has she been in real estate for more than 30 years, but she probably knows the Hydrostone area better than anyone.

You can always trust Edie to help you find the exact space that suits you in this ideal location. From furniture stores to restaurants to other shopping amenities, the north end is your next great home! The area is booming with new clients moving in; Fort Needham Park upgrading benches, lighting and adding in a new playground; and lots of upscale high-rise buildings being built.

The Hydrostone is readily accessible to anywhere in HRM, especially with both rotaries now complete—a quick five-minute drive along North Park Street will get you to downtown. Edie has all the tips to keep you satisfied in this up-and-coming area, all while staying connected with other parts of town.

Reach Edie Hancock at 902-456-9988

Planting ideas

With spring in full bloom, us gardeners are looking for the best of the best for our backyards, and we wouldn't have it any other way than to find our seeds at Canada's oldest family-run seed company. Celebrating 152 years this spring, Halifax Seed Company knows a thing or two about our planting needs.

Whether you're a veteran gardener or a newbie trying to make it on your own, the Halifax Seed team is here to support you with all of your gardening projects. Ask your questions, and make sure to take in-depth notes—these staff members offer knowledgeable advice to make sure your crop is successful.

Not an outdoorsy person? Halifax Seed also has a full selection of indoor house plants, succulents and trendy containers to pair with. This urban garden centre has it all, from vegetables, flowers and herbs, to shrubs, berries and more. They just can't get enough of plants, and neither can we.

Halifax Seed Company, 5860 Kane Street

A neighbourhood with Heart

They captured our hearts in 1995 and have been nourishing Halifax ever since. As if we couldn't get enough before, a new location of Heartwood Restaurant has opened its doors to the Hydrostone community and we couldn't be happier. Or hungrier!

Heartwood loves feeding the community, almost as much as we love tasting their delicious creations. They've already settled into the area and contributed daily vegetarian lunches to the pre-primaries at the Shambhala School. Between the original Quinpool Road restaurant, the new Heartwood Hydrostone and their Heartwood By The Sea waterfront location opening up this week, there's no going without. There's a Heartwood in every nook to play a healthy role in feeding and fuelling the hungry locals and tourists.

Their Hydrostone location is every plant-lover's dream, with greenery lining the windows, the luscious trees canopying just outside and their veggie eats satisfying your every craving. Patio season is calling, and you know you'll need a Heartwood Bowl there by your side.

Heartwood Hydrostone, 3061 Gottingen Street

The eyes have it

Lang Optometry & Eyewear bring us comfort and style all wrapped up in one. After meeting with Dr. Gaétan Lang or Dr. Christopher Poh for your appointment, be prepared to find the exact unique look that you've been searching for—we all see differently, shouldn't our frames be different too?

The team at Lang's stop at nothing to bring us the best and the boldest eyewear they can locate. In addition to their already exclusive lines like Bruno Choussignand, Gaétan and his team have found another perfect addition to the family. Originating in Belgium, the brand "Theo" have that fashion-forward, colourful edge that Lang's is known for. By mixing primary colours with a variety of accents, there is a perfect match for every personality and face shape.

Theo, like Lang's, goes beyond the ordinary to show the HRM the beauty of colour possibilities and textures that will make your face pop. Lang Optometry & Eyewear, 5550 Kaye Street

  • Pin It

Venus Envy is turning 20

And it wants to celebrate with you

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2018 at 4:02 PM

  • via Instagram

“It’s pretty amazing for any small business to hit 20 years and I feel particularly proud a business like ours has been able to last so long. It speaks to something special about Halifax, it supports small businesses and people looking for products like ours,” says Marshall Haywood of Venus Envy’s (1598 Barrington Street) big anniversary. Halifax’s favourite source for sex-positive education and exploration will ring in two decades of doing its thing this Saturday, May 19.

The momentous occasion stirs up a strong urge to celebrate, which the shop’s keepers will do by hosting a massive sale (everything is 20 percent off), giving away freebies (first 20 shoppers to spend $25 get a gift) and good, make that great, vibes. We Vibes that is, they’ll draw for an anniversary collection valued at $260 on Saturday and have been giving out toys daily via Instagram. "We're pulling out all the stops," says Venus Envy's Christine Oilier, who's behind the festivities, which also include an enviable party Saturday night at Art Bar (1873 Granville Street). Doors open at 9pm for drag and burlesque performances, and lots of dancing. And the shop’s founder Shelley Taylor will be in town, too.

“She started the store as a very teeny tiny space on Inglis Street, it was volunteer staffed and she got some pushback opening a sex shop,” says Haywood, who bought the store from Taylor in 2008, of the early days. “I think attitudes have changed over the years—you can buy sex toys on Amazon and in pharmacies—but I think the fact is that even with more open-mindedness, people still want to have that connection.”

If you’ve had such a connection, and would like to share a Venus Envy memory, musing or anniversary shout out, send it to shelley@venusenvy.ca.
  • Pin It

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Riot Pixie Boutique is ready to rock

Fun stuff headed for Paddler's Cove

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2018 at 1:00 AM

  • submitted

When Kristin MacLean got sick of shopping online, she did something about it. After two years of planning a way to share her love for everything “punkabilly”, she’ll open Riot Pixie Boutique this summer at Paddler’s Cove, overlooking Lake Banook. The feisty little shop will sell clothing that’s “’40s and ’50s style with a little bit of ’90s grunge”, accessories and quirky housewares.

“I’ve travelled across Canada four or five times and finally settled in Dartmouth in 2001 and fell in love with the arts and music scene here—and have a huge love of anything punk and rockabilly,” says MacLean of her inspiration. “My children are older now and I wanted something to put my all into and concentrate on.” Her boutique—which she hopes to open in early July—will carry brands like Too Fast Apparel, Sour Puss Clothing and Darkside Clothing, but MacLean hopes to get local artists and designers onto her shelves, too.

“I also want to use my space to help the community and give back,” she says, adding that she’s already thinking of ways to support local charities. MacLean hopes to make a few appearances in Dartmouth and Halifax via pop-up shops before opening her doors this summer, the first one taking place at Lola & Odin on a TBA date. Follow her for details.
  • Pin It

In Print This Week

Vol 27, No 39
February 20, 2020

Cover Gallery »

Real Time Web Analytics

© 2020 Coast Publishing Ltd.