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.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Q/A with P'LOVERS' Shelby Lendrum

Talking Dartmouth, indie business and shopping with a conscience.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 22, 2014 at 4:44 PM


After 17 years as one of P’LOVERS’ devoted employees, Shelby Lendrum took over its ownership last spring. This fall she opened a new location for the environmentally conscious shop in downtown Dartmouth, at 52 Queen Street. Needless to say, it's been a busy year.

Why shop with a conscience?
Shifting a consumer’s mindset from a “me” mentality to a “we” mentality is what we hope to do at P’LOVERS. Thinking about the long-term effects of our purchasing power. What effect does this product have on the planet? Who is my money supporting when I make this purchase? P’LOVERS provides a community with the most responsible alternative for the planet and the people.

What drew you to open a new location in downtown Dartmouth?
I live in Eastern Passage and spend quite a bit of time in the downtown Dartmouth area. I see a lot of young families moving in and starting the next phase of their lives. This is an opportunity for P’LOVERS to make offerings and share information that guides people towards living more sensitively with the earth and all of its inhabitants.

What’s your personal favourite shop in the neighbourhood?
Definitely Kept. I love their style and energy.

What have you learned making the transition from employee to owner?
The most important lesson I’m learning right now is that my presence on the floor is just as important now as it has ever been. Although I’ve invested in a POS [point of sale system] to help support the staff with inventory management, we still haven’t found a way to pass on 17 years of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm, other than sharing it through being present.

What’s the best advice you can give about running an indie business?
Have a good team on your side. The people I work with and the customers we serve are what ensure this business thrives.

What in the store are you most excited about right now?
Our clothing. We’ve expanded the men’s section and brought in a few new Canadian designers that we are really excited about. Oom, Susan Harris Design and Miik are just a few.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

ShopTalk visits the Hydrostone

It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood

Posted By on Thu, May 8, 2014 at 4:00 AM


If you judge this book by its cover, the Hydrostone Market is a page- turner. Steeped in history and soaked in style it looks good, yes—so good that when Mother’s Pizza went up, it used the original row of shops for design inspiration—but this wee shopping district feels good, too. The tight-knit strip of boutiques, restaurants and services could easily be a European cobblestone street where coffee breaks are long, baguettes are fresh and everybody knows your name. Whether it’s live music in its little park, a community tree lighting or the camaraderie between its local indie businesses, this shining star in Halifax’s north end has character that runs way deeper than the concrete bricks that built it.


Julien’s Patisserie Bakery and Cafe
In their search for a new project, a business to run together, Mike and Lana Ansari didn’t have to look too far. The pair—a retired banker and former accountant—took over Julien’s, the little cafe with a big heart, a big following and tasty baked goods, in April. “It’s a stone’s throw from our condo,” says Mike. “This is our community and it’s a lovely place,” echoes Lana. “And we just love it.” Though they’ll be chipping away at some renos and equipment replacements, Lana says its important to keep the same ambience that made them, and many others, regular customers.
5517 Young Street, 455-9717

Just an example of Andy Wolf's magic
  • Just an example of Andy Wolf's magic

The fashionable and practical Lang Optometry team fell in love with Andy Wolf Eyewear on a recent trip to the Big Apple. Dr. Gaétan Lang calls the Austrian collection of frames and sunglasses “classy-but-edgy.” We call it eye candy.
5550 Kaye Street, 453-6100

Stay cool
  • Stay cool

5 Hydrostone Flavours

Jessi Gillis the tastemaker and chef behind popular stop Highland Drive Storehouse Butchery and Local Produce (5544 Kaye Street) dishes on her favourite flavours in the neighbourhood. Take note, her eats are damn delectable, too.

1. Salvatore’s Roasted Portobello Melt, I could easily eat this every day. 5541 Young Street

2. Bretons from Juliens Patisserie—jam-filled cookies, DEEEElicious.

3. Humani-T Cafe’s shortbread cookies and gelato—plus, if you sit on the top floor and take a break you can look out at the whole Hydrostone. 5755 Young Street

4. Hamachi Kita’s Chef’s Spicy Tuna Roll. 5543 Young Street

5. Brunch at Epicurious Morsels—it’s great and often when I work Saturdays I wish to be sitting there eating poached eggs. 5529 Young Street

Alliance Française
Your French skills—or lack thereof— shouldn’t be an excuse to not scope out what the Alliance Francaise has to offer. Kind of like your favourite neighbour, the one who invites you over for tea and means it, you’re very welcome here. With courses and events for people of all ages, and language abilities, AF is all about helping Halifax learn. At the end of the month (Friday, May 23 and Saturday, May 24) check out its Mini Immersion, which offers workshops of different themes (from news to cinema, art to cooking) for different abilities. “It’s a chance to meet the instructors, be with a group of people speaking French and learn about all things Francophone,” says AF’s Sophie Pilipczuk. It’s $15 per workshop, or you can stick around for the whole weekend. Check out afhalifax.ca for more courses and camps.
5509 Young Street, 455-4411

To: Mom, Love, Props
  • To: Mom, Love, Props
Props Floral Design
Mom’s the word that should be on your lips this weekend (and every weekend, that woman birthed you!). Whether you’re the prized child who never forgets Mother’s Day, or the brat who usually calls grovelling the day after, Props has dedicated a chunk of its store to mamas. When Sunday comes around don’t say we didn’t remind you.
5533 Young Street, 429-1935

216 million bottles of beer on the wall
The Oland Brewery (3055 Agricola Street) makes the equivalent of 18 million dozen beer (that’s Oland Export, Keith’s, Budweiser, Bud Light and Labatt Blue) a year.

SeaGrass Earrings from TORI.XO
  • SeaGrass Earrings from TORI.XO

Australian-born, Halifax-based, nature-loving artist Tori Poynton of TORI.XO is holding a Mother’s Day Trunk Show at Lady Luck Boutique (5519 Young Street, 444-3050) from 10am-5pm, showcasing her spring and summer collection of handmade beauties inspired by the deep, blue sea—including these SeaGrass earrings.

Amazing Space's sweet view
  • Amazing Space's sweet view

Home Team
If your homestead needs some loving, this ’hood is kind of like a live dream board. Within a hop, skip and hot coffee of each other are some of the city’s best places for home and garden goodies. Rusty Hinges (5513 Young Street, 406-1056) has recently seen some renos, it stocks all things rustic looking—from handmade ceramics to frames aplenty, furniture made from salvaged material and now, chalk paint. Across the street you’ll find both Your Kitchen by Lynn (5528 Kaye Street, 880-8078), home of interior decortator and kitchen designer Lynn Macaulay and Amazing Space Interiors (5546 Kaye Street, 407-7211), where you’ll find furniture, lighting, wallpaper and accessories as well as mother-daughter design team Carla MacLellan and Lynzie Smith. But maybe it’s your yard that’s looking tired, not your living room. The institution that is Halifax Seed (5860 Kane Street, 454-7456) has everything and anything you’d need for your garden—they have been in the biz for nearly 150 years. Veggies, flowers, fruits, bulbs, herbs, grass and serious expert advice live here.

Eyecandy's handy work
  • Eyecandy's handy work

The Halifamous, former Hydrostone resident Eyecandy Signs (2705 Agricola Street) is responsible for seven of the Hydrostone’s sweet-looking signs—including this award-winning one for Bogside Gallery—but Allison Moz says “being part of the community isn’t just selling to the community”, they also happily donate banners and signage for Hydrostone Business Association events.


Open City, Open Hydrostone
This Saturday is the third annual Open City, where shops and restos offer deals and deliciousness that’ll encourage the masses to get off their butts and explore this fair town. Here are some highlights that’ll help you immerse yourself (and perhaps over-indulge) in this ’hood. Grab a brioche at Alliance Française before checking out Bogside Gallery’s (5527 Young Street) sidewalk pottery making from 10am-4pm. Phone a friend for two-for-one $4 gelato at Humani-T Cafe, bring a travel mug for free coffee at Je T’aime Eco Artistic Family Space and Cafe (3081 Gottingen Street) and treat yourself to olive oil tastings and froyo at Liquid Gold (5525 Young Street). Send your DIY side to the trunk show at LK Yarns (5545 Young Street) or perhaps pot a pansy at Halifax Seed, but above all you need to be in the front of the pack to get back-door takeout. Find it at Hamachi Kita (maki and pad Thai), Highland Drive Storehouse (burgers and sausages), Salvatore’s Pizziola Trattoria (breakfast calzones and Coney Island heroes) and Mother’s Pizza (5710 Young Street), where it’s $1 soft serve.

Find more at ilovelocalhfx.ca.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

ShopTalk visits Dartmouth

Taking the bridge to boom town

Posted By and on Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 6:43 PM

The City of Lakes’ personality sparkles brighter than its many swimming spots do, with creative new ventures and flavours popping up on the regular. Downtown Dartmouth alone has seen 15 new businesses in the past 20 months, and the communities within the community— whether Cole Harbour, Burnside, Woodside or Portland HIlls—are snowballing, too. It’s more than the Trailer Park Boys or Sidney Crosby. It’s the farmers’ market, the carousel, the perfect pulled pork sandwich and the people behind them. This neighbourhood is long past up-and-coming, it’s coming into its own.

Tartan times
  • Tartan times

Ceilidh's Pub
It feels like a ceilidh daily at this new Dartmouth hangout, which arrived on the resto scene in 2013. Beaming with Maritime pride—the tartans of Cape Breton, PEI, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia decorate the chairs—Ceilidh’s Pub boasts quality comfort food, Thursday night trivia and regular, toe-tapping music that’ll make you wonder if you just stepped into somebody’s kitchen party. 245 Waverley Road

Propeller Brewing Company
Nine months in, Team Propeller is pumped about their second location in Burnside—and it’s not just because all of that extra brewing space. “The more exciting part of moving there and having the retail store—we’ve already reached our anticipated potential for sales and every month is better than the last,” says Propeller’s Andrew Cooper. “New customers are coming in and trying out the location, customers that are brand new to Propeller and a significant number that have traditionally gone to Halifax and shopped at that store. It's great to have two locations that are quite unique to each other.” Get your growler topped up daily from 12-8pm. 617 Windmill Road

Comic guru, Calum Johnson
  • Comic guru, Calum Johnson

Strange Adventures
We’re lucky to be able to find a little bit of Strange on both sides of the bridge. Comic guru and Dartmouth resident Calum Johnson opened the Portland Street sidekick to Halifax landmark Strange Adventures in 2010, because every hero needs a sidekick, right? With prime venue Alderney Landing (2 Ochterloney Street) nearby, he’s organized summertime delight DCAF—the Dartmouth Comic Arts Festival, a celebration of local shops, artists and publishers—for the past two years. Round three will return to the Dartmouth waterfront in all its glory on August 17, start filling that piggy bank. 101 Portland Street

Briana Corr Scott's ferry stamps are at Kept
  • Briana Corr Scott's ferry stamps are at Kept

This independently owned boutique is a magnet for the gift-giver, jam-packed with oodles of local treasures. Owners Charlotte Jewer and Alex Sims are constantly stocking their shop with unique handmade pieces. Their personal favourite is the hand-carved stamp set crafted by local artist Briana Corr Scott. Each stamp is mounted on carefully selected wood from her husband’s shop, so every piece has its own story before it even stamps yours. 127 Portland Street

The interesting part is the community support is behind the rejuvenation. The Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market is the community gathering place on Saturdays. The coffee shops are populated throughout the day by business people, artists and families. The local stores, restaurants and pubs are gaining a local following and are carving out niche markets for themselves across Halifax and beyond. —Tim Rissesco, executive director of the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission

Cheers to Jamieson's
  • Cheers to Jamieson's

Jamieson's Irish House and Grill
Chris Smith opened Jamieson’s in his own ’hood, Cole Harbour, in 1999, when things were “very metro-centric in terms of where to go to dine and have a nice single malt scotch or a craft beer from an independent.” Veering against the mainstream, he gave his community what it needed and opened a neighbourhood pub in the burbs. He’s still serving up made-from-scratch eats, single malts and local, indie beers, but is constantly adding exciting stuff—like $10 lunches, corkage fee-free bring your own wine Mondays and Tuesdays, and gourmet burgers of the month. 5 Cumberland Drive

GRC's Darryl Wall
  • GRC's Darryl Wall

Giant Robot Comics
Darryl Wall’s comic book store is the perfect spot for nerds to bask—packed with plenty of graphic novels and figurines to choose from. But for Wall, there’s a special comic that stands far apart from the rest, The Regeneration One. Wall collaborated with comic book artist Casey Coller to create a comic that was exclusive to his store. The cover displays Transformers battling atop Citadel Hill and can only be purchased at Giant Robot. Wall received 1,200 copies of the comic back in September 2013, but hurry on in and grab your copy while supplies last. 114 Woodlawn Road

Tai Chi 4 Health
“It’s the sneakiest form of exercise on the planet,” says Janice Webber of the underestimated power of tai chi. She’s run Tai Chi 4 Health, a small tai chi school within her physiotherapy clinic The Body In Balance, on Ochterloney Street for the last five years. There she offers both medical (to treat osteoporosis, diabetes and arthritis) and traditional forms of the practice, for kids, teens, adults and seniors, to help with focus, balance, coordination, cardio vascular, general health. 33 Ochterloney Street, 469-3214

Two times the Bike Pedaler, coming soon
  • Two times the Bike Pedaler, coming soon

The Bike Pedaler
The Bike Pedaler is about to celebrate its third anniversary of wheeling and dealing on Portland Street, but owner Marc Rickard has been quietly celebrating something else for about a month. He’s signed a lease for a second location in Downtown Dartmouth! Though we can’t tell you where, we can tell you it means big things. The current location will remain a service centre (bringing in six new mechanics), while the new spot will be the retail space and hub for Rickard’s new fleet of rental bikes—he’s got 45 of ’em for your summer adventures. He says his staff will even be able to help you pick a route and some sights to see along the way. Stay tuned for more on this. 25 Portland Street

For 13 years Mandee Labelle has been bringing yoga and meditation to the minds, bodies and spirits of downtown Dartmouth. With a perfect home base in Christ Church’s hall, Yogaheart welcomes myriad students and abilities to its weekly classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. “Along with strength and flexibility we focus on peace and joy and happiness,” says Labelle. “It’s less about trying to perfect the body—that happens—but it’s more about enjoying ourselves, peace, relaxation and well-being.” Find the class that suits you at yogaheart.ca. Christ Church Parish Hall, 61 Dundas Street

George Chater knows meat
  • George Chater knows meat

Chater Meat Market
George Chater says he knows almost every person that enters his meat shop. He first opened on Portland Street back in 1969 and still sees some of the same customers today. “Everyone that comes in my shop, we treat like family,” says Chater. “We joke with the customers and everybody is always smiling.” He says the most important thing since day one has been good service and quality prices, and promises the happy vibes will never change while he’s around. 250 Wyse Road

5 Dartmouth Doers

Uplifting Properties is working on big things on Portland Street
  • Uplifting Properties is working on big things on Portland Street

1. Three wunderkind women have put their brains and daydreams together to come up with an idea for the Dartmouth Carousel, a grassroots initiative aiming for interactive art on the waterfront. A real, live, magical, mystical carousel! Read more at dartmouthcarousel.wordpress.com.

2. One of Portland Street’s newest faces, Jane MacDougald’s commercial art space The Dart Gallery (127 A Portland Street), is currently showing At The heArt of it, an exhibit of science-inspired works. It’s up and shining bright until April 30. SPRUNG, a collection of paintings from Kelli Janson, opens May 2.

3. The Park Avenue Community Oven re-opens for another season of pizzas and picnics at noon on May 3. It’s a truly awesome thing, and you can be trained to use it all summer long.

4. The second annual Dartmouth Cookie Jam rolls out the dough once again at Grace United Church (70 King Street) on May 10, inviting bakers and tasters to do their thing. It’s a swap. It’s a competition. It’s a day devoted to cookies! Find them on Facebook for the sweet deets.

5. Wendy Friedman and Claudia Chender are onto something brilliant with their latest venture, and it’s starting in Dartmouth. Uplifting Properties—aimed at invigorating downtown Halifax and Dartmouth by investing in properties and finding the right indie businesses to fill them— has bought the legendary Fisher’s Stationery building (122 Portland Street) and is currently in reno-mode, working on finding the perfect tenant. “We're interested in emerging or under-used areas that we feel have potential to re-animate and become the hub of their local communities,” says Friedman. “And become areas where locally owned businesses can thrive.” For details on Uplifting's available space at Fisher's, call 499-7193.

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