The face of Quinpool Road changes as three Halifax businesses close shop – Halifax


Over the past week, three small businesses announced they will be closing their shop on Quinpool Road in Halifax.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a factor, but there are other economics at play as well, such as the rising cost of commercial rents and developers eager to build the street.

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Lucky Penny Cafe is a favorite for many along Quinpool Road and one of three businesses that have announced their closure. The Clay Cafe Halifax and the Athens Restaurant are the other two.

Barb Kaill, owner of Luck Penny, says the company is at the end of its five-year commercial lease. She says the pandemic played a big part in the decision to shut down, but it also prompted her to look in a new direction commercially.

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“Currently, with the spacing and distance, it’s only possible to have a very small fraction of our normal seats,” said Kaill, who will officially close the cafe on June 25.

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Along with rising rents and the lingering uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and plan to reopen the provinces, this has led to many unknowns about what the new normal will look like after the pandemic.

“There could be a payback period of up to five years for the industry,” Kaill said. “It’s really scary and it’s very difficult to make any concrete plans for the future.”

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Many small businesses are feeling this angst and wondering how soon the economy will rebound and if customers will be there when the province emerges from the pandemic.

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“COVID made things a little more difficult last year,” said Evangelos Panopalis, owner of restaurant Athens, a long-time establishment that opened on Barrington Street in 1982, then moved to the north end. from Quinpoool Road in 1996.

Panopalis says COVID-19 wasn’t the only reason they were closing their restaurant, as they decided to sell to local development company Dexell and the Lawen Group of Properties. They plan to build a multi-residential and mixed-use development at 6234 Quinpool Rd., Which currently houses McDonald’s and Fitness FX.

Over the past decade, Panopalis has said he has been approached by several developers looking to buy his restaurant property in Athens and now is the right time. COVID made the decision easier, he added.

“Things were changing along Quinpool Road before the pandemic,” Panopalis said. “I always said if the right offer came, I should consider it and I did.”

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The face of Quinpool Road is changing, there are many development opportunities in the area with several construction projects underway or in the planning stages.

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While it is painful to see local small businesses shut down, new developments on the street signal future business opportunities, says Karla Nicholson, executive director of the Quinpool Road Mainstreet District Association.

“As sad as it is that these businesses are closing and I’m sure they wouldn’t be without the pandemic, a lot of people come to me looking for spaces on Quinpool Road,” Nicholson said.

Councilor Shawn Cleary who lives on Quinpool Road says he sees a slow transformation on the street and says it will be very different 10 years from now.

It’s a desirable location for business, Cleary said, and has now been designated as a pedestrian-oriented main street. It caters to developments like the TED building which is currently under construction by Facade Investment Ltd., and will feature a mix of commercial and residential uses.

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“You have these kinds of businesses on the ground floor and residences above pretty much everywhere in the urban core,” Cleary said. “We don’t want this in all of our established residential neighborhoods, but in our main streets like Agricola, Göttingen, Quinpool, Robie, Spring Garden, Barrington – that’s the impression we want these neighborhoods to have.

As for Lucky Penny Coffee Co., Kaill said he expects a new online business ad coming that will feature pop-up locations in local markets and subscription services.

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Panopalis said restaurant Athens has sold their property but they haven’t sold the business, hinting they may open in a new location at some point.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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