Not quite ready to open their doors but already selling online is Agricola Street Books and Studios. They will be at 2684 Agricola (near Brothers Meats)

The Fairview location of BK Backoos Korean Food soft opened in The Boss Plaza on Supreme Court. This is the third location for the restaurateurs with their original location on Birmingham Street off Spring Garden Road, and Tacoma Dive in Dartmouth.

There is a new fish and chip truck called Lorraine’s that has started serving up in the Dartmouth Crossing Canadian Tire parking lot. They are open weekdays.

Halifax ReTales Closed

The Last Word on Windsor St near Cunard has permanently closed their used book shop.

Newfoundland Chocolate Co.  announced the permanent closure of the three Nova Scotia locations.

At the end of March, I talked with Laura MacLeod, who started The Old Apothecary with her daughter, Katie, in May 2015. They had recently moved the main location of their bakery and cafe from Barrington Street in Halifax to the Brewery Market on Lower Water Street.

I asked how the business had changed in the first few weeks, and what her reaction was when she heard about what was happening in China with the coronavirus.

“Honestly, like most, I was still viewing it as an ‘over there’ issue. Sad for them but far removed from it having ramifications here,” MacLeod said.

“My partner is in the luxury car business. He has a sales rep who is Chinese and his wife had just gone home for a visit. It was already a problem back in January, trying to get her a flight home. But, again, happening there.”

We transitioned to her reaction after the realization Canada would be affected.

“Our health care, smaller, more dispersed population, and our higher standards of food safety would prevent what happened in China from happening in Canada.

“Believing that to my core. Needing to believe that. Not understanding fully how it was transmitted,” said MacLeod.

“I was getting ready to open up at night with an entirely new menu, liquor licence. Head in the sand putting all of that together. Set open date for April 1. Kate and I took a social media workshop on March 3. It wasn’t brought up by any of the attendants, all small-business owners. Wasn’t even on our radar,” she said.

“March 3 feels like six months ago.”

COVID-19 became a reality and business started to feel the effects. In a matter of days after the first reported cases in Canada but before any were reported in Nova Scotia, sales dropped.

March 17, the day the Old Apothecary closed, sales were down by 64 per cent from the previous week.

“Overall, down 85 per cent over the same time last year. Before this happened, we were up nine per cent over last year” MacLeod said.

What was that decision to close like? “It was the worst day. I looked at our bank account, we tallied up the payroll hours. I realized that at our present revenue, if people continued to bank hours, we wouldn’t be able to pay everyone what they were due. Bank and credit combined, I was able to pay everyone what they were owed. But it cleaned us out,” she said.

“I was standing on the sidewalk in front of our new spot, which three weeks ago held so much promise, crying. I was scared for my employees, scared for the business Katie and I had spent almost six years building, and scared for what tomorrow would bring. I still am.“

MacLeod said that the most shocking thing is how in the first three weeks the world changed and people weren’t prepared.

“I’m worried that the restaurant industry as a whole is going to take a giant hit.

Worried for all of the business owners who I share hardships and banter and silly tweets with. I don’t know how many will close for good because of this. It took three weeks to bring an entire industry to its knees.”

The Old Apothecary has reopened for now with preorder Saturday pickup orders through its website. There is still a large question mark about how cafes are going to function in Nova Scotia. I checked in with MacLeod.

“I am determined to make this work. I will not let all of the hard work that Katie and I put into this business be for nothing.”

She said all businesses are going through the same things but an upside is that it has brought them together.

“The restaurant folks in Halifax are taking care of each other and that’s something to be happy about.”

Walmart closing their Tire & Lube Centres nationwide, will still sell automotive items but will no longer be selling tires or offering automotive services

With the restrictions on the ability to dine in being lifted on June 5, I will be discontinuing, as establishments will all have their own schedule for opening dine in options.
I hope it helped you support a local business in this unprecedented time.