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The day the music died

TC Demaresq browses for business news.


Halifax has lost another venue dedicated to local music—as of January 1, Stage Nine has permanently closed its doors. Co-owner Greg Clark says the location has been vulnerable to tough times since it opened in June 2004.“When we started the club we were a little bit undercapitalized to begin with, but we managed to make a go of things,” he says. But lately, Clark says, it had become even more difficult to make ends meet. “We did explore bringing some new financing into the club, but after taking a good look at it we decided that it was probably best to wind up the operation,” he says. “There were certain assumptions that we made when we took the place over that didn’t really turn out to be true. We thought that we could do well with a steady diet of local bands, which we did to a certain extent, but unfortunately we didn’t really do quite the numbers that we needed.”He says they had also hoped to attract an early evening crowd, which never happened. This meant trying to bring in enough revenue to make a profit in just two or three hours of steady business. The second-storey location at Pizza Corner has seen many failed businesses over the years. “It’s tough,” he says. “Even though we’re right in the middle of downtown, being upstairs you just don’t get the walk-by traffic that you would have if you had a ground floor location in that same area.So really it was a destination point for people who were coming specifically to see the bands.” For more on Clark, see our music section.

Mediterranean mecca

A new restaurant called Mezza is now under construction at 6386 Quinpool. Owner Tony Nahas says he’s run into a few roadblocks during the building process but is planning to open around the end of the month. The menu will consist of authentic Lebanese food, but Nahas leaves the specifics a surprise. Still, he promises an intimate experience, surrounded by warm colours and fresh, healthy food. According to Nahas, many of their products will come straight from the Mediterranean. “We import a lot from Lebanon; dried goods, olive oil, mostly everything really,” says Nahas. “There’s going to be a lot of one-on-one dining, and we have a private room for 40 people”—which can also be divided into smaller sections. Preparations for Mezza are still underway, but the restaurant can be reached at 444-3913.

Rockin’ designs

If you’re looking for graphic design services, from posters to websites, Mike Belyea Design (209-2712) can help. This fall, after a few years of dabbling in design, Belyea kicked his business into full gear. The business specializes in music and art-related work, but also has experience with corporate services and is open to any task. “Personally, I like to focus on print, like posters and CD covers,” says Belyea, who is a musician in a couple of bands himself, “but I have been getting a lot more website work.” It could be because his convenient new programming allows clients to easily update their own sites. Belyea works alone for the most part, “but I have a few people that I hire for different aspects, such as specialty website coding, hand illustrations and professional photography,” he says. “Technically it’s just me, but I hire out other talent when I know it’s not my forte.” For more, see

2007: Year of the abs?

Still trying to jump-start that New Year’s resolution to get in shape? Studio In Essence might be able to help. This week, the studio celebrates its grand re-opening. The studio offers pilates classes regularly throughout the week, and dance classes like coyote ugly and belly dancing on the weekends. The new location at 1717 Barrington opened in September, but has been undergoing renovations ever since. Christy Wade, the owner and one of the pilates instructors, says, “the renovations are finally complete so we decided to have the grand opening now. We’re offering free introductory classes from January 8 until the 15.”The studio was previously located at 1566 Barrington, but has relocated to a larger space. The new location is 2,000 square feet, enabling them to run two pilates classes side by side, and there is room to host larger events. The space can also be used for private or duet instruction, or to host parties. Wade says bachelorette parties are popular, especially with the nine poles now available for pole dancing lessons. “We have a lot more space here, more room for equipment, more room to grow,” she says. “We’re actually selling pilates clothing and fitness apparel as well.” Their website,, “is an interactive website, so people can sign up online and they can see every class being offered through the day on a daily basis,” says Wade. Call to register at 405-5500, or just take care of it online.

Noodles still cooking

A long-anticipated downtown late-night noodle stop is set to open in January. Although The Noodle Nook has had a few attempted opening dates already, difficulties getting everything organized has delayed them getting underway. The restaurant will be serving a variety of Asian noodles in a take-out style location at 5239 Blowers. Mike MacLellan, who will be managing the much anticipated venue, says, “People are dropping by, getting pretty excited. It’ll be good to get open.” For now, they are finishing the set-up, finalizing permits and sorting out the hiring. Their selection of Thai, Japanese and Chinese style noodles, along with soups of the same origin, should be available soon. Call 422-6665 to check in.

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xxx - Deprecated in favor of GTM, above.