Think ink

T.C. Demaresq browses for business news.

Harbouring a secret yen for an elaborate tattoo? Oceanic Art in Dartmouth wants to help fulfill that desire. The store, which opened July 1 at 121 Portland Street, is a custom tattoo shop, and all the body art produced inside is the work of one artist—

owner Scott Forbes. "My idea of a tattoo is to create custom, one-of-a-kind pieces," says Forbes. "If people have an idea for the tattoo, and they don't have a picture yet, but they've got a picture in their head, they can come and check us out, and hopefully we can get something drawn up for them." Forbes has been tattooing professionally for about two years, and has been an artist for most of his life. Forbes's wife Julie takes care of the business side of the tattoo operation, and can be found at the front desk every day the shop's open. "She knows quite a bit about tattooing as well—she's got a lot of them," says Forbes. The couple is hoping to throw a grand-opening party soon—people are invited to drop in then to check out the shop, chill out on its leather couch and watch koi swim around in the Oceanic Art indoor pond. Head to: for more info.


The rumours are true: Milano's Ristorante on Chebucto Road is no longer a Bring Your Own Wine establishment. When the restaurant re-opened after its recent renovations, it boasted a new liquor license and bar. "We wanted to be able to serve beer to our patrons who weren't fond of wine and be able to serve specialty coffees and ports and liqueurs," says Milano's supervisor Lisa Touga. Unfortunately, current Nova Scotia liquor laws say that restaurants can be either fully licensed or BYOB, but not both. But don't despair, wine enthusiasts: The wine now available at Milano's is reasonably priced, says Tougas. "I don't think there's a wine on our menu that's over $40. Everything is sort of around the $30 range, because we didn't want to start with a wine menu and seem like we had switched because we wanted to earn more money on the wine." The restaurant's co-owner, Ron Lovett, says business has picked up since Milano's made the switch. "Where you were kind of forced to drink a bottle of wine before...well, now you don't have to do that." Lovett says he'd like to re-instate the Bring Your Own Wine option—as soon as those liquor laws change. You can call Milano's at 431-6500.

Kitchen supplies: the sequel

Fans of kitchen-accoutrement store Cucina Moderna on Dresden Row will be pleased to learn that a second branch of the store is set to open in the Sunnyside Mall in Bedford mid-August. The new store will look and feel a bit different than the existing one, says Ariz David, who owns both locations. "It's just going to be a little more colourful, a little funkier." David opened the downtown store almost two years ago. Both locations will carry similar product lines, but their selection will differ slightly: the Bedford store's specialty will be cookware, knives and appliances, so its selection of these items may be more extensive than it is downtown. Learn more about all things kitchen-related at:

Wide open spaces

Downtown Halifax frequenters have doubtless noticed that the former Sam the Record Man and Dooly's storefronts on Barrington are still pretty vacant. So, what's the delay in filling the spaces? The Dooly's space is still being renovated, says Paul MacKinnon, executive director of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission. "They're basically kind of gutting the ground floor on both the Barrington Street side and the Granville Street side." It was the building's landlord, Starfish Properties, who chose not to renew the Dooly's lease, because they wanted to do some work on the building, he points out. Starfish also owns the Barrington buildings housing Attica, the Peepshow Girly Boutique and Telus Mobility; whenever the company has purchased properties on the street, they've always "put retail in the ground floor," says MacKinnon. A spokesperson from Starfish confirmed that while there has been interest in the property, the company's not ready to officially release the name of a tenant. Meanwhile, the Sam's property has yet to be listed for sale by Sam Sniderman's family, which owns it, says MacKinnon. "We won't see anything happen with that building until it gets sold, but hopefully that will happen soon, and it will be to a buyer who wants to put someone in there right away."

This and that

Responding to recent feedback, The Noodle Nook on Blowers recently launched a new menu, and has lowered many prices; owner Ron Lovett (he also co-owns Milano's Ristorante, remember?) says most of the noodle-boxes are now priced at under $7 per box, and that "everybody's loving" the new Thai Peanut Sautee box (except, one imagines, the peanut-allergic)...Sometime during August, another branch of high-end shoe chain Town Shoes will open in the Halifax Shopping Centre, joining the Dartmouth Crossings location...Independent coffee emporium the Smiling Goat Organic Espresso Bar is set to open in the Paramount building on South Park during mid-August, and a Halifax branch of dog-supply paradise Bark and Fitz should be opening on Doyle August 10.

Don’t make me beg; email news of retail happenings to: Please please please.

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