It’s that perfect time to look back and reflect. I suppose that is why these type of post is standard.So let’s start off with:
This year we lost names that had been in the metro for decades, the biggest being after 96 years, the end of the Mills Brothers name. Quinpool lost 2 of their King’s, Kings Palace and King Wah. The Halifax Feast Dinner Theatre put on its last show. Unicorn closed after nearly 50 years. North End long stays Nauss Bicycle Shop on Agricola and House of Beauty on Windsor both closed after 45+ years in business.
Other notable losses were the end of the Steve-O-Reno drive thru shed on Robie, Vinnie’s Pasta, which had quietly served up affordable Italian for a decade and Gottingen St’s, big idea The Carrot co-operative which couldn’t quite make it.
Again on the local scene for the third, we saw two local small retail/restos open for every one that closed. Some of my favourites that I experienced, who have opened this year were, Good Robot Brewing on Robie and now the tap room is open as well, The Old Apothecary bakery on Barrington well crafted baked goods, delightful service and a fantastic upstairs seating area. Souper Douper Soup on Octorloney, hiding in the basement these guys have been turning out awesome things. Starfresh Modern Diner (it’s worth driving to Burnside for) every day turning out a couple of new dishes, soups, sandwiches and always having something geared towards the Gluten-Free and Vegan crowd as well. Portland Street Creperie just an amazingly simple idea for the “on the rise” neighbourhood, great ingredients, great service. Finally, the Stillwell beer garden that was a big idea for a dead space. Halifax and tourist alike embraced it; I hope political stupidity doesn’t win, and they get to keep it next year. New ones I look forward to checking out better in the coming weeks, Battery Park, Temple, Lot Six and Black Sheep.
Everything was coming up Downtown Dartmouth, over the last few years, DT D has been growing with charming shops that are melding in with the other stores. Showing up this year were the much hyped Battery Park, a collaboration between North Brewing and Brooklyn Warehouse. Joel Plaskett entered the scene with New Scotland Yard Emporium, which has Honey & Butter for baked goods, Elk’s Haircutting and vinyl provided by Taz. The previous mentioned Portland Street Creperie and Souper Duper Soups. The charming retro clothing of Kings Pier Vintage. The new Il Trullo in Kings Pier and Humble Pie expanded from farmers market to a permanent shop on King. Fran’s fish and chip truck saw an expansion of sorts as well with Fran opening the King St Cafe. Combined with Two if by Sea, The Canteen, Bodega Boutique, Hazelnut & Rose Room 152 and shops like SugarShok and Kept both growing into new spaces and places like The Dart Gallery expanding and partnering with Picnic to include cocktails and food in 2016. There is a natural health food store going in on Queen, and I just discovered yesterday that KEW Furniture is opening a second location Portland at Wentworth. Downtown Dartmouth looks like it will continue to trend in 2016.
Purdy’s Pub in Sackville, Indian Maple in Granville Mall and Cafe by Michel on Larry Uteck were the closed before they really opened in 2015.
We saw the end of national retailers Target, Future Shop, Smart Set and Mexx. The shuttering of Target contributed to HRM’s rejection of Starbucks with the three target locations closing as well as the locations in the Halifax Ferry Terminal, Bedford Highway and Woodside, one new outlet did open though replacing Tims in Dalhousie’s Tupper building. Dollarama continued to grow, with new metro locations popping up in Dartmouth Crossing, Forest Hills, Mill Cove, Baker Drive, and Elmsdale. Lacewood and Park Lane Dollaramas should both open in 2016. We also saw the first Aritiza and Urban Outfitters open in town.
Also, on the chain stores front, Kit and Ace, Anthropologie, Brandy Melville, Simons, Torrid, Le Creuset, and Zara have all been RUMOURED to be seeking space here. I predict Zara and Brandy Melville will both turn up in Halifax Shopping Centre this fall as part of their renovation.
What about IKEA? My guess is, in 2016 we will hear that a physical presence is coming to HRM. Will that be one of their new small format shipping centres or a full blown store remains to be seen. Though IKEA has said it would like to have the full format stores “Coast to Coast” by 2020.
Looking forward to what happens in 2016!