2020-09-02

Businesses in transition

by Gayle Wilson

  • <p>CONTRIBUTED PHOTO</p><p>Alexandra Nedergaard (left) and Tracy Murdoch are stretching the number of services on offer in Blockhouse by establishing a new yoga and wellness studio on Highway 325.</p>

COVID helps prompts changes at Primrose Lane

Lunenburg's loss will be Bridgewater's gain as the owner of Primrose Lane women's clothing store in the seaside town prepares to close its doors there for good and shift its casual apparel lines to her store on Bridgewater's Dominion Street.

Christa Dexter, who owns Primrose Lane stores in Lunenburg, Bridgewater and Moncton, is expecting to close up shop in Lunenburg by the end of October.

"I'm not going to say that COVID was the key ingredient in making the decision, but it certainly helped move us in that direction," Dexter told LighthouseNOW.

She said other factors included competition from other clothing stores in Lunenburg as well as online shopping.

Moreover, she sees a market gap in Bridgewater with the recent closing of K&S Fashion Boutique on King Street and the impending closing of Designer Fashion Exchange in the South Shore Centre.

Designer Fashion Exchange was owned by the Winnipeg-based Nygard retail chain of stores, which was founded by designer Peter Nygard. Nygard's company has been placed into receivership and the fashion mogul is facing a class-action lawsuit alleging he sexually assaulted dozens of women.

In addition to its regular array of bridal, prom and special occasion women's dresses, Bridgewater's Primrose Lane will expand its offerings to include casual attire lines offered by the Lunenburg store.

"We needed to offer that to the ladies in Bridgewater," said Dexter. "Because there really is not any other place to go."

Don't judge a book by its cover

The owners of Lexicon Books in Lunenburg have changed the name of their store to Block Shop Books, although the store itself remains virtually the same.

The move comes following a slight change of ownership. In July, the number of owners reduced from three to two, with Alice Burdick selling her one-third share in the business to the other partners, Jo Treggiari and Anne-Marie Sheppard.

"It seemed like a nice idea to make a new start and we jumped at the opportunity to rebrand as Block Shop Books," the two owners explained in an email to LighthouseNOW. They said the new name was a nod to the store's historical building, where long ago Dauphinee and Sons made wooden pulleys (blocks) for the sailing ships for which Lunenburg is famous.

"Our business vision remains the same," the owners assured, however. " We will continue to offer great customer service and curate a wonderful selection of books for all ages, always aiming for inclusion and quality," they said.

Currently, Block Shop Books is open three days a week, Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. while observing COVID-19 protocols. As well, for now it's offering curbside pick-up and free once-a-week delivery in the Lunenburg and Mahone Bay areas. It also has an online service.

"Hopefully in the not-too-distant future we will be able to return to hosting events such as author readings and book-clubs," said Treggiari and Sheppard.

Keliza Healthy Living on the move

Customers of Mahone Bay's Keliza Healthy Living will be shopping at a new venue by the end of the year, according to Lisa Higgins, who co-owns the health food store on Aberdeen Lane with her daughter Kelly Slade.

The building it is in now is up for sale and the business will be relocating to a nearby location by January if not sooner, Higgins told LighthouseNOW. However, the mother is keeping mum on the new location until all concerned have been notified.

Meanwhile, the business itself has remained relatively healthy, despite the pandemic.

"We remained open as far as we did pickups and deliveries. Actually, we were quite busy during it," said Higgins. "It's been really good, actually. We have a lot of good, local customers that are loyal customers."

Blockhouse services expanding

More and more businesses are becoming established in Blockhouse, Lunenburg County. The last few years have seen the establishment of the French bakery, Boulangerie La Vendéenne, and the Brindle Boston antique and giftware store, both on Highway 325. While Chicory Blue General Store has set up shop on School Road.

And a new yoga studio - Blockhouse Yoga & Wellness Studio - was set to open August 31 at 566 Highway 325, or what the co-owners Tracy Murdoch and Alexandra Nedergaard are calling "a healing sanctuary."

Murdoch and Nedergaard are seasoned yoga and wellness practitioners on the South Shore and are partnering together to offer their classes in one complete package to students. All classes will be held in-person and online simultaneously.

"As with most new things, there will be some adjusting to how you will sign up for classes, make payments and a brand new schedule that will combine both Alex's and my teaching styles," Murdoch said in an email to customers.

However, just as in exercise, it may be a case of short-term pain for long-term gain. According to Murdoch, the hope is that the changes will give students "variety, flexible class times, and ease in attending beyond the confines of sessions."

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