How do you like your coffee, er, shoes?

TC Demaresq browses for business news.

A new clothing and sneaker boutique, KRISP, will be opening its doors this month at 5189 Sackville, across from Reflections. Beau Cleeton, the store’s president and a graduate of NSCAD, says the store will offer “high-end street wear—stuff designed by different graphic designers and graffiti artists. The sneaker section of it will be all limited-edition artist-run sneakers from major companies as well as smaller collectible companies.” The main attraction of KRISP, according to Cleeton, will be its back section focusing on the custom air-brushing of shoes. “It’ll be a lot like a tattoo parlour. You can go in, go through three different binders of in-house artists, choose an all-white sneaker and make an appointment to sit down and get your own custom air-brushing done on your sneakers,” he says. Many of the sneaker artists on hand are current NSCAD students or recent graduates. “ will be using water-based car paint so it doesn’t have fumes but still has a long-lasting and adhesive power.” Cleeton says providing exposure for the local artistic community was a large reason for opening the store. Next spring, Cleeton will be launching a monthly art-exhibit program. “We’ll be emptying the store of all its stock for a couple of days, setting up a gallery show of an artist featured at our store and having a private opening. The show will stand for a day or two, then we’ll strip the show down and reinstall the product, with a good portion of the artist’s work still up. There will be a lot of artists coming through and visiting.” Clearly, Cleeton has thought of everything: The store will even have a chalk wall for kids to play on while their parents are browsing.

Seventh heaven

The co-founders of the local wine bar and restaurant Seven are setting their sights on a new development project. Chris Tzaneteas says that he and his business partner, Costa Elles, are in the preliminary stages of planning to open a boutique hotel. The hotel, which Tzaneteas says will be very high-end, will contain 25 guest rooms and take up not only the adjacent lot beside Seven (which Elles and Tzaneteas own) but also several floors above the restaurant. “We’re in the hospitality industry and we’re always looking for new ideas and new concepts to bring to the market,” says Tzaneteas. He describes the hotel’s target customers as “travellers who are looking for something more than what a big-box hotel has to offer. They’re looking for that attention to their needs. They want top-quality bedding. They’ve had a hard day of work. They’re here for relaxation. When they go back to their rooms, they want it to be more like home and who they are.” Tzaneteas says he wants the rooms to feature hard-wood floors and spa-like bathrooms. “We’re very close to putting in a development agreement with the city. If everything goes according to schedule, we’re probably looking to be up and running about a year from today. We’re in the final stages of financing now.”

Rocky in a hard place

Rocky Tayona is in a bind. He’s the owner of the ASAP Maybuay Bar & Grill on Blowers, where his wife, Ludi, has cooked Filipino food for the past 32 years. “ASAP is the only Filipino restaurant in the city,” says Tayona. But Ludi wants to retire, hopefully by the end of the year. Tayona has been searching for a replacement to take over his wife’s cooking for months, with no luck. ASAP did hire a replacement chef at one point, but the arrangement didn’t work out and the chef has since been let go. And Tayona, who is in his late 50s and says the situation has caused him great stress, is beginning to worry a new cook will not materialize. “We have a great customer base that doesn’t want us to close shop,” he says. “That’s why we don’t want to give it up.” Asked what he’ll do if no cook turns up by the end of the year, Tayona says the store will not close but that he’ll have to evaluate his and his wife’s priorities.

In memoriam

Patrons and employees of Gus’ Pub and Grill on Agricola were saddened to learn about the passing of the pub’s original founder, Georgakakos Konftantinos, on September 13. Known to customers, family and friends as “Gus,” Konftantinos started the pub, originally called Gus’ Grill, in 1961. While his son took over as manager a couple of years ago, Konftantinos remained a strong presence despite health problems. Barry Howard, a bar staffer who worked for Konftantinos for 20 years, describes him as “a fine, quiet man. He didn’t talk a lot. But when he did talk, he always listened, too.” Family remained important to Konftantinos throughout his life. “We don’t allow children in the bar,” says Howard, “but Gus made it a point to come in on Sundays and have brunch with his grandchildren in the corner. They saw an awful lot of him.”

One last thing

Halifax’s only “bring your own wine” restaurant, Milano’s, may be adding a new twist to its alcohol policy. Ron Lovett, owner of Milano’s, says the restaurant is currently eyeing an alcohol licence for its upstairs area, allowing customers to purchase alcohol with their meals for the first time, although they will still be able to bring their own. Lovett says the restaurant is currently submitting its applications to the Alcohol Gaming Authority, and hopes to hear the result in the next month or so.

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