I have been tracking the openings and closures of retail and food service locations in the Halifax region.
In 2019, before the pandemic, I recorded 184 openings and 122 closures. In 2020, I saw 169 openings versus 139 closures, with 188 openings this year and only 88 closures.
While they are more positive numbers, it should be noted some places have significantly reduced their offerings and are desperate for staff and shoppers, though it shows recovery in these sectors should be easier when things get back to normal.
The most significant trend this year was the continued growth of the flavours of Southern Asia.
Dartmouth began the year with zero Desi groceries and now is home to four: Namaste on Gaston Road, BIGS on Tacoma Drive, South Asian Grocery on Illsley Avenue and Bombay Spices on Portland Street.
There was also New Indian Bazaar, which opened on Chain Lake Drive.
A significant number of eateries also focused on Southern Asia, including Atithi on the Bedford Highway, Peacock in the Larry Uteck area of Bedford and Spice Box in Rockingham.
Others include Beyond Temptation and Passage to India in Park Lane, Famous Curry Garden on Agricola Street, Bombay Bistro on Ruth Goldbloom Drive off Dunbrack Street, My Recipe Indian on Boland Road and Vines Fusion on Alderney Drive.
We are also starting to see Indian-flavoured pizzas make their way onto menus.
Starbucks had a significant impact by closing four locations on the Halifax peninsula and two inside Chapters stores. It opened kiosk locations in the Portland Street and Bayers Lake Superstores and within the Sobeys on Lacewood, and it has a standalone location planned for Lower Sackville.
There was also a bit of swapping around with pizza places.
Hala’s on Kearney Lake Road closed due to retirement and became a new location of Randy’s Pizza. Coin’s pizza moved from Woodside to Fairview, replacing a location of Sicilian, and Pizzadelic took over the Woodside spot but it is in the process of becoming a Pizza Pizza.
The Joe Howe Pizza Pizza moved to Mumford Road, replacing Papa Mario’s, which moved to a new home on Dutch Village Road. Pizzatown in Burnside closed to become Geo’s Pizzeria. Joe Toulany’s on Portland Street was replaced by Classic Pizza, while Snappy Pizza in Bayers Lake was replaced by Downtown Pizza.
Some decades-old businesses said goodbye this year.
Buyers & Sellers Depot in Dartmouth closed, as did the two Halifax-area locations of Clay Cafe. Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market stall Chenpapa closed due to retirement. Phil’s Seafood on Quinpool Road shut, along with brunch spot the Coastal Cafe on Robie Street. Nova Scotian Crystal also ceased operations.
There are already quite a few openings planned for 2022 so, hopefully, retail can remain resilient despite the challenges.
Here are a couple of current retail happenings:
- LS Express, the corner store beside Kaiser’s in Lower Sackville, has closed. It is being replaced by Tayla’s Taverna, which, despite the name, appears to be a Ukrainian bakery.
- Gift shop Lily Bee Bazaar has opened at 1264 St. Margarets Bay Rd. in Beechville, across from Loblaws.
Arthur Gaudreau is a retail enthusiast and publisher of a blog on retail comings and goings.