tiny update!


Coffeeology Espresso Co is now open at 1587 Dresden Row

  Jukai: Japanese and Thai is now open in King’s Wharf 


 Bombay & Co. in Bayers Lake closed yesterday, earlier this year Bombay and their   sister Bowring filed for bankruptcy. Bowring was originally founded 1811 in St. John’s   Newfoundland 

And earlier this week I published my annual wrap up, this is for the retail shops. The eating establishment and bars wrap up is for next week.  

All year, I keep track of the goings-on in the retail and food service industries. Today, I look at the year that was in the brick-and-mortar establishments of the Halifax region, where we buy our goods, and how they fared in 2018.

I observed 73 new or rebranded locations opening, and 78 closing their doors or changing names.

The main trends on the close side were places with multiple locations shutting and local losses of national and international storefronts.

The largest of these changes came in July, when Ultramar gas stations made a banner jump to Irving. Irving and Couche-Tard combined to switch over 13 Ultramars and Corner Stores to Irving and Circle K banners. Many of the converted Circle Ks will see further interior renovations in 2019.

We also lost a few local retailers that had been in business for more than 20 years. In January, children’s clothing store Bib ’n Tucker announced it would be shutting after 42 years in business. First closed, after 25 years, was the Sunnyside Mall outlet, followed a couple months later by the original Quinpool Road location.

P’lovers also said goodbye this year. For a quarter century, it had been selling and promoting environmental consciousness and stability. Early in the new year, though, things came to an end when the locations in Halifax and Dartmouth closed, as well as the Mahone Bay store.

Wicker Emporium, which first opened in Dartmouth in 1973 and had expanded across Atlantic Canada and Ontario, also said goodbye late this year. The chain had been battling financial troubles for a couple years; despite a restructuring and then a promise to return to its roots, it wasn’t enough. The chain, including the locations in Bedford, Bridgewater, Sydney, Halifax and Dartmouth, closed due to bankruptcy. However, a recent post on its website indicates there may be a return as an online store.

In the last couple decades, RUA Sports Fanatic had expanded from a seasonal kiosk in Mic Mac Mall to having stores in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. This year was the end though. The Sunnyside Mall and Halifax Shopping Centre stores have closed, and the final store in the chain in Sydney shuts this week.

National and international brands also closed locations in the region, either due to corporate collapse or changing course. The largest was the former retail giant Sears.

Bench, Alia N TanJay, Bombay, Bowring, Home Outfitters, Nine West and Le Chateau also reduced stores or left our market.

All was not doom and gloom, however, as some new things entered the marketplace.

With the prevailing trend seeming to favour Asian themes, Korean pop-culture store Sarah & Tom opened on Quinpool Road, and a Korean grocery store called OCO Mart opened a few blocks away. Another Asian grocer, MY Market, opened on Granville Street near Salter, and Japanese shop Zakka Mart opened at Robie and Cunard.

We also saw the entry of Chinese variety store MINISO with two Halifax openings, though last week there was some talk of financial troubles with the company’s Canadian division so we will see how that plays out in 2019.

The Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. was busy this year. It started selling cannabis and opened a dedicated store on Clyde Street. It also added a few NSLC Express outlets to the marketplace, with new locations in Dartmouth Crossing and in Clayton Park on Ruth Goldbloom Drive. The Scotia Square location also moved to street level.

U.K. women’s clothier Oasis, which had already expanded into Europe, South America and the Middle East, opened its first North American store on Spring Garden Road in the Doyle, across from the Halifax Central Library.

Montreal designers Judith & Charles, who have been known to be the choice of Meghan Markle, also opened a full store in the Doyle. The development’s high-visibility corner unit became the new Halifax home for Lululemon.

We also saw some quirky openings this year like the “counter-culturalist lifestyle boutique” Riot Pixie, which opened on Prince Albert Road in Dartmouth, and Coffin Skate Shop, which opened its roller-skating boutique on Agricola Street. North-end Halifax also saw the opening of the Tare Shop & Cafe, a “zero-waste lifestyle store.”