Mickey MacDonald, the local businessman who sold Downeast Communications last year and is currently opening a kids' boxing gym on Gottingen, has acquired two local businesses. MacDonald's company, Micco Companies, has recently bought out Nova Scotia mainstays The Chickenburger, at 1531 Bedford Highway, and Mills Brothers women's clothing store, at 5486 Spring Garden. While the acquisition of Mills Brothers is barely a week old, MacDonald has had his sights set on The Chickenburger for years, staying in contact with owners Tom and Paulette Innes. When the Inneses decided to retire, MacDonald made an offer. "Tom and Paulette have been running that place for more than 60 years, seven days a week," says Colin MacDonald, Mickey's son and general manager of Micco. "They decided it was time to retire and enjoy life." Colin says Micco's strategy for running the Chickenburger business is to keep things the same because there's no reason to mess with what has become an institution. "They've perfected everything that they do," says Colin. "It's a family place where family values—you know, the family going on Sundays—is in full view. We want to keep that feeling intact." Colin has been working with the staff to familiarize himself with the business and has seen the degree to which Chickenburger has become a staple of Nova Scotia life. "There literally are regulars," he says. "One guy comes in every day for coffee at 9am and then again for lunch. When staff see his car pull up in the parking lot, they know exactly what to prepare."
Luxx, the fine-dining restaurant on the second floor of the Park Lane Mall, at 5657 Spring Garden, has undergone some major changes. The restaurant has acquired the head chef of the Press Gang, Bryan Corkery, as well as Corkery's sous chef and first cook—greatly expanding the restaurant's menu as a result. "It's like night and day," says Luxx manager Frank Yunace of the difference between the old menu and the new one. "I'm still trying to find the appropriate way to describe the style of food now. We closed the restaurant for four days just to prepare for this. Now we have two exciting new menus for lunch and dinner." Yunace says the lamb and toasted duck breast are among the new selections that are especially pleasing customers. "The presentation and the flavour is just outstanding. One guy had the lamb the other night and he literally said it was "orgasmic.' Now, when you have customers telling you that your food is orgasmic, you know you're doing something right." The restaurant can be reached at 405-4060.
Night Magic Fashions, seller of lingerie and sex toys located at 5268 Sackville, is looking to expand its operation to a second store. But not if Halifax can help it—or so it seems. Manager Pamela Smith says she has encountered a lot of resistance while shopping for potential locations, once their owners find out what she sells. "At first I wanted Bayers Lake, but they won't even look at us. So I thought it was just Bayers Lake—let's try somewhere else." Smith began looking around in Bedford, which would keep the second location close to her home. But she encountered the same problems—phone calls unreturned, two-week-long wait periods. "One owner came into the store and was floored by everything we sell. We were told that, as much as they would like to rent to us, they just can't because they were afraid what their peers would think of them." Smith can't believe she's encountering this problem in this era. "I am a little ticked off that people are still living in the dark ages," says Smith. "It's 2007, not 1907. People have sex and some people even use sex toys. I would have expected this kind of thing when we first opened 17 years ago, but now?
"When we approached these landlords, we wanted to be treated just like anyone else. We wanted them to look at the fact that we've been in business for a number of years and that we've always paid our rent. And it's not like the store is in your face. The sex toys are kept in the back." Smith is now looking at alternate locations in Sackville and Dartmouth. "Hopefully they're more open," she says. Shop Talk will keep you posted.
The Propeller Brewing Company has started a new expansion project, which will see its current location on Gottingen receive a 1650-square-foot extension. The move will help Propeller cope with an increase in warehousing and production demands. Propeller will also add four more brewing tanks and a more efficient bottling machine. Company founder John Allen attributes the changes to Propeller's quick growth in recent years. The news comes in the wake of considerable media exposure for the local company, which was prominently featured in the Trailer Park Boys movie. Propeller was also recently honoured at the World Beer Championships in Chicago, where its Extra Special Bitter and India Pale Ale has now won gold medals for two years in a row.
This is my farewell, as I am heading to a newspaper job in Yellowknife. Shop Talk will live on, after a brief vacation, with a veteran back in the saddle. T.C. Demaresq's first column runs two issues from now.
New columnist, same old email: email@example.com