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Ducks in a row

Megan Wennberg browses for business news.


The Thirsty Duck is set to re-open on Spring Garden Road at the beginning of May. Grafton Connor Group (owners of the Five Fishermen, The Dome and the North End Diner, among others) took over the business at the end of February. “The Duck has been known for years as a place to go spend an afternoon on the patio, the happy hours and it always had a great brunch,” says the restaurant’s new operations manager Jody MacKenzie. “We want to keep that Spring Garden tradition, but that being said we are going to make some changes to the decor, it will be a little bit more sophisticated, but it will still be really comfortable.” Changes to the menu will be in a similar vein—they’re aiming to bump it up to “contemporary” without abandoning the pub-style roots. The new Duck will also offer 20 wines by the glass and 18 draught beer on tap. As for location, MacKenzie is looking forward to being part of Grafton Connor’s first business on Spring Garden Road. “Spring Garden is Spring Garden. What more can you ask for?” says MacKenzie. “It’s exciting, we don’t have any properties on Spring Garden Road so this will be a new thing for us.”

The only time wet dogs smell good

If all goes according to plan, Terri Henson will be up to her armpits in soapy dogs by month’s end. Henson is opening Halifax’s only Metro Dog Wash at 6021 Cunard, near Robie. “A lot of things happen between now and then but I’m working really hard to make it work,” says Henson. The business will occupy 1,500 square feet, half dedicated to the dog wash and half to dog gear—toys, little coats and Katie’s Farm organic dog treats.

The dog wash will comprise six wash stations, including five raised tubs and one raised shower stall for tall or infirm dogs. Both the tubs and the shower stall are designed to be high enough so that owners don’t have to bend over when washing their pets, and each comes equipped with a professional hand sprayer of regulated water temperature, shampoo and conditioner, a pet hair blower (no heat, they just blast air very quickly), rubber scrub brushes, towels and an apron. “You’ve got everything you need to get a clean dog, you just need to bring in your dirty dog and yourself,” says Henson.

Loose, loud and live

Speakeasy has been open since 1993, but you wouldn’t know it. Karl Crosby took over as manager last month and has been busy cranking up the volume ever since. Reached for comment on Monday at 11:30pm, Crosby has to raise his voice over loud blasts of live punk. “Am I going to be quoted? Because I’m drunk,” he says, laughing, and then soberly tries to explain where the club is. “You go down Dresden, there’s no street address, you go in a door and take an elevator up. It’s impossible to find. I draw little signs on the sidewalk to lead people here. The mall hates us so we can’t put any visible signage.” Mall hatred aside, Speakeasy is gaining the love of independent artists and musicians as a new venue to showcase their work. “We’re open to almost anything,” says Crosby. “It’s a live and still art venue.” Crosby, formerly the head bartender at Ryan Duffy’s (which, like Speakeasy, is owned by Landmark Hospitality Group) is currently arranging a theatre production to be put on in the space, and is also in negotiations with Halifax Dance. Summing up the past month’s changes, Crosby says “I changed a lightbulb,” he says. “And all of a sudden it’s cool. I brought some art in, and changed the lightbulbs, and changed it into a live venue.”

Good wood

One Stop Wood Shop is putting out a call for local wood workers to exhibit and sell in their storefront on Elm Street near Chebucto. “We’re trying to find some local artists to do carvings, small wooden boxes, something along those lines,” says owner Jason Cullen. The store currently features Cullen’s own custom modern furniture, with a small selection of classic pieces. One Stop Wood Shop is also in the process of becoming more environmentally sensitive, and has started using more eco-friendly stains, plywood and finishes. “Even some of the lumber is coming from an eco-friendly farm down in New Germany called Windhorse Farm,” says Cullen. “They mill it with horses—take it out of the woods with horses—and they run solar energy, it’s a big process. We’re just trying to make the furniture a little more eco-friendly so there’s not so many chemicals in people’s houses.”

Think ink spot on Quinpool?

After a few months of vacancy at 6265 Quinpool Road (former home of Gameworld Video Games), a titillating URL has mysteriously appeared in the storefront window, possibly indicating a new business is in the works. The website ( turns out to be the online home of local tattoo artist Amber Thorpe, and mentions the possibility of a new studio opening this summer at a TBA location in Halifax. Could Quinpool be the TBA locale? We’ll keep you posted.

Nail migration

In other emerging news from the world of body asthetics, The Fixx nail salon has moved from Dresden Row to 1477 Lower Water Street. Stay tuned for the polished-up details.

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