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Handmade heaven


Store-owners talk a good game about their stores being friendly and welcoming. But artisan Chara Kingston is working to make her new shop, the Love Me Boutique (1539 Birmingham), literally feel like home. "It's set up like an apartment," says Kingston. "People who come through our door...are our guests. They can come, they can sit down; we'll have a sofa, we'll have magazines." The faux-apartment will be filled with a variety of apartment-friendly supplies—everything from soap and candles to dishes, books, music, art, and clothing for men, women and children. And all the shop's products are handmade by Canadian artisans and independent artists; info will be displayed in the boutique about the artisans it features. For the last few weeks, Kingston's been watching all the nifty inventory she ordered finally arrive. "It's been really exciting for me because I've been able to open boxes, and it's like Christmas," she says. Kingston ran her own accessories business, Simply C Designs, for two years, selling her work at the Farmer's Market and other craft fairs, but this is the first shop she's owned. She'll showcase some of her own work at Love Me, but only occasionally. "I want it to necessarily be a vehicle to sell my own work. I want it to be a vehicle to educate people...about artisan-made products." Bonus: The shop's eco-friendly. And men can shop there, while still leaving their dude-cred intact; there are "cheeky" aristan-made boxers for sale, plastered with pics of manly tractors and moose. The shop opens this Saturday. Give it a ring at 444-3668.

Auto repair for the people

Are you having a muffler emergency? Head to the North End—Elie Hoyeck has your back. Hoyeck's new shop, the Gottingen St. Auto Corner opened for business last week, at 2019 Gottingen. Hoyeck's been in the car game for ages; he started his first business, the Dartmouth Repot Auto Centre, about 10 years ago. "I like working on cars. And it's a good way to make a living, if you're going to be honest with people," says Hoyeck. He'll be handling some sales and appraisals but the Auto Centre's main focus will be providing complete auto service. Right now, the shop has a couple hoists and a few mechanics working there. But soon, Hoyeck plans to have seven hoists in operation and to assemble a team of 18 mechanics. "This is where the customer is something," adds Hoyeck, who'll be at the shop full-time. Major renovations have been done to the space, which was formerly the home of Enterprise Rent-A-Car—all the hoists had to be brought in and installed, and the space was painted. "There was nothing here but a bunch of bricks," says Hoyeck. The shop'll be open every day, from 8am to 8pm and the Auto Corner also offers a free shuttle service—so if you have to leave your car there, Hoyeck and company will get you where you need to go. Contact the shop at 421-5557.

Woe for Whiskey's

Whiskey's Lounge in Dartmouth wants to rock and roll a little longer every night, but the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal still says it can't. According to the terms of its liquor license, Whiskey's (29 Portland) is only allowed to have live entertainment playing until 9pm. After that, the pub can only play "recorded background music." Looking to change that, Whiskey's owner Jack Toulany applied to the provincial Alcohol and Gaming division in April 2006, in hopes of obtaining unrestricted entertainment privileges, which would allow the restaurant to keep the music going until its 2am close. Customers and supporters of Whiskey's signed a petition in favour of the application; residents from a nearby condo complex spoke out against it. The request was ultimately denied, as was a recent appeal of the decision. The reasoning: taking away the current limitations on entertainment at Whiskey's could interfere with the right to "quiet enjoyment" by "neighbouring properties." But relatively close-by Celtic Corner is permitted to have music until 2am points out, Toulany. "We like to compete with other bars around us." Plus, he says, lots of noise in the area is unfairly attributed to Whiskey's. He's unhappy with the decision. When he has a popular act booked, the place is packed from 5pm until 9pm," says Toulany. "After 9pm, everybody goes...the only entertainment we have for the customer is the poker machine." Despite the recent disappointment, Toulany plans to keep trying to pump up the volume. "We're going to keep applying every year," he says.

Chow down, Cheelin-style

Some sweet news for fans of Cheelin Restaurant's (1496 Lower Water) yummy Chinese eats (also available every week at the Farmer's Market): Cheelin has opened a new take-out counter in the Dalhousie Grad House, in the spot formerly occupied by Best Choice Chinese Food. The counter will be open Monday to Friday, 11:30am to 4pm. Expect fare similar to that available at the Cheelin stand at the Saturday market—dumplings, egg rolls, vegetables and noodles—plus revolving specials and vegetarian dishes. You can also expect reasonable prices—customers can pick up one side for $3 (tax included), or a whole meal for $7. All the food at the counter is prepared at Cheelin's Water Street location. (If food runs out, the main restaurant ships more over right away.) The original Cheelin can be contacted at 422-2252.

Let’s do some shop talkin’. (But don’t go telling me lies.) Drop me a line at

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