Storefront 01/03/08

Happy new year!... Long exposure and sparklers.

Emilie Bourque takes stock on the year in local business.

Since the new year is always a good time for reflection, I’ve compiled a wee roundup of all the action we’ve seen in Storefront in 2007. Looking back, it’s obvious our little city is growing quickly these days—folks are moving home, new businesses are endlessly popping up. So let’s see what’s happened in 2007…

I think the biggest change we witnessed downtown this year had to do with coffee shops. I’m not sure when or how the coffee-drinking population expanded to accommodate so many purveyors of caffeinated liquids, but there seems to be no end of new spots to grab a hot drink and a snack. One of the most biggest surprises was Coffee Matters on Military Road, which looks filled to the brim most any time of day.

Shortly after, Café Mocha opened in the TD Building, and Starbucks opened in Atlantic Place. Jumping Bean, Tim Horton’s, Wedgwood Café & Catering… Sure even the Fluvarium had ‘The Deck Café’ going on in the summer. How many more cafés can we cram in this town?

Restaurants in this city are also thriving. In the downtown area alone, seven new places to eat your supper have opened in the past year, if not more. We’ve got Asian Taste, Bacalao, Portobello’s, Tangled Up in Blue, The Vault, and in Atlantic Place: Mr. Sub and Totally Greek.

Sadly though, a couple of places closed along the way. Old faithful Ponderosa is no more, and Scope readers’ favourite pizza place, Giovanni Cabots, shut down in the fall.

There was also a pleasant surprise in terms of local produce… Organic Farmers’ Markets popped up at The Masonic Temple, outside The Sprout, and Food for Thought, and at The Torbay Town Hall. Yay for markets! Now, if only there were more organic farms to keep them going…

And, of course, this was a big year for bar business too. The old Spur shut down, and was born again as the better lit Victory Tavern. O’Reilly’s moved up the street, The Dock moved into the old O’Reilly’s place. The old Windsock shut down, and The Musician’s Bar opened. The Rock House opened, and is now the second largest live music venue on George Street (I’m assuming Club One must be the largest.)

Nubody’s opened another location—this time in The Avalon Mall. Out in the Stavanger Drive/Aberdeen Ave. area, Bushido Martial Arts Training & Fitness Center opened recently. And for the little people—as in children—The Little Gym opened in Coaker’s Meadow Plaza.

Lots of renos in the business district downtown. One of the largest changes completed this year was perhaps The Anna Templeton Centre renovations, which had a considerable amount of space added to accomodate a growing numbers of students.

Makeovers, from small to large, were also done on Basho, Wild Things, Living Planet, Zone 216, and Water Street’s PharmaChoice.

Some businesses got a new home altogether, like Dandelion Green, Pasta Plus, Tvål, and Cygnus Gymnastics.

Mega-stores Memorial Market Dominion and Shopper’s on LeMarchant opened in 2007, and Sobey’s Howley Estates expanded even more to include a liquor store.

The road construction on Water Street finally finished up, but not without Spun T-Shirts closing down and blaming their lack of business on the project.

We may see big action this year with the hotel going up at 329-331 Duckworth Street (across from the old CBC radio building.) Speaking of hotels, The Franklin Hotel seems to be doing well. Sara Hodder’s still making dresses for spring grads, so get on that soon graduates! Hooked Up’s got you sorted for playing Wii ‘til the winter blahs go away. For a new look we’ve got the new Zhaira hair salon. And to stay warm there’s Newfound Icelandic Designs cozy stuff.

Citizens of Sin Jahn’s, you will soon not be able to complain that you can’t find this or that in town!
I’ll leave you with one final mystery: when will Yellow Belly’s microbrewery open?

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