While big chain stores are great for convenience and reliable options, sometimes you want something more special. Enter special interest stores, where they focus on one type of product or an aesthetic, and you can wander at will to find whatever your heart might desire. Halifax has lots of wonderful stores like that, and the following are only a small selection. These stores are mainly Halifax businesses, but there are a few representatives of Canadian chains that have a very specific focus.
Address: 104-5431 Doyle Street
Biscuit General Store
This is a store that very much lives up to its name. It’s a quirky little boutique selling everything from clothes to accessories to dolls. The atmosphere is cheerful and seemingly combines several decades’ aesthetics into one. It’s a great place to go shopping with friends when you just want to look around and find fun things.
Address: 1661 Argyle Street
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Candy stores are one of life’s simple pleasures. Halifax has two (the other being the Freak Lunchbox), but Sweet Jane’s is unique to Halifax. They have the traditional bins of candies to scoop into bags to weigh and buy, as well as vintage candy selections, but they also provide a lot of other merchandise. You can get everything from novelty wine glasses to phone accessories. Sweet Jane’s also does gift baskets for every occasion!
Address: 1300 Queen Street
The Plaid Place sells…well, plaid. That’s their main game, at least. We do live in New Scotland, after all, and the Plaid Place honours that, selling tartan products, jewelry, and hats modelled after Scottish clothes. They also sell fabric and knitwear kits, so you can make your own Scottish attire.
Address: 1903 Barrington Street
Coziness is so important in Halifax; our weather demands it. Just Cozy’s therefore right at home with its two locations, selling leggings (both fur-lined and athletic) and slipper socks. They’ve even got you covered for outside with scarfs, mittens, and hats. They have great prices and frequent sales, and when you walk into the store you are simply surrounded with cozy comfort.
Address: Scotia Square, Halifax Shopping Centre
Samuel & Co.
Address & Phone: Halifax Shopping Centre, 902-453-6208
Address & Phone: Park Lane Mall, 902-421-2632
Bookmark is one of the few independent bookstores left in the HRM, which makes it unique all on its own. Bookmark stretches back quite far from the street, and the shelves contain fiction and non fiction for all ages, a huge selection of notebooks and book related products, and maps. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, you can always order it in, and then go in to pick it up. Bookmark supports local authors, and it’s a really great place to get a handle on the local writing scene, while also enjoying a wide selection of books.
Address: 5686 Spring Garden Road
The Clay Café is technically a store, but you are helping to provide the product. The way it works is simple: you go in, pick a clay figurine to paint (everything from giant dragons to mugs to angels), sit down and paint it, and then turn it into the kiln. A couple of days later, your figurine will be finished. This is a great activity to do as a group, and since it’s also a cafe it’s very pleasant to sit in and make something pretty.
Address: 6413 Quinpool Road
Sock it To Ya
You might not guess it from the name, but this store sells socks! Now of course, it sells other things too like underwear, readers, and accessories. But they’re best known for socks, and deservedly so–they’ve been selling them since 1987 at their various homes over the years. Their sock wall includes dozens of funky patterns for anyone’s feet, so take a look!
Address: 5431 Doyle Street
Nautilus Aquatics and Hobbies
This is one of those stores where you know where it is, you’ve passed it dozens of times, but you’re still not 100% sure what they sell. Having been inside, I can tell you that it’s a fascinating store. They have all sorts of SCUBA and snorkeling gear on one side, and model vehicles and puzzles on the other. The owner describes it as combining two passions in one, and he’s certainly succeeded in doing so.
Address: 6442 Quinpool Road
Sarah & Tom’s
The name of this store does not prepare you for what it actually sells–what it sells are anime and k-pop related products. They have stickers, figurines, mugs, CDs, and stationery. The store is bright and manages to avoid being crowded despite it being on the smaller side. If you love all things kawaii, this is the place to go.
Address: 6448 Quinpool Road
Address & Phone: Halifax Shopping Centre, 902-407-5382
5220 Spring Garden Road, 902-407-5381
Woozles is another independent bookstore in Halifax, but unlike Bookmark it has a specific focus: children. It’s Canada’s oldest children’s bookstore, and the experience shows in the charming decor and welcoming atmosphere. I have fond memories of going to Woozles with my mother and siblings for a treat and enjoying looking at the books, toys, and stickers on offer was just as fun as picking out just one thing. If you’ve got little readers, you have to check out this place.
Address: 1533 Birmingham Street
Cupcakes are great, and shops dedicated to them are great too! Layers does both cupcakes and wedding cakes, and does them beautifully. They have a wide variety of flavours for both the cakes and icings, and you’re more than welcome to customize your orders in advance. If you go into the store, you have to ask for the cake scraps–you’ll be given a brown paper bag stuffed with scraps created by molding and designing cakes. It’s the same cake, just a bit messier, and for only a few dollars a bag!
Address: 1276 Barrington Street
The Black Market Boutique
The outside of this store is stunning with mosaic graffiti, but it only gives a hint as to the splendor inside. Overflowing with beautiful import items such as jewelry, clothing, and decorations everywhere you turn, it’s easy to get swept away by your options. The items are handpicked by the owners every year as they travel to countries like Nepal, Bali and Mexico, so they regularly have new inventory. They support local businesses and families in those countries, so you’re “buying local” in two different ways.
Address: 1545 Grafton Street
By: Adrienne Colborne