Story and photo by Jacob Hoytema –
Thus far into the new year, 2019 has already dealt Kitchissippi not only a blast of cold weather and a flurry of changes to the lineup of local businesses.
Glamour FX, on Richmond at Berkley, is the neighbourhood’s newest beauty school and salon. Owner Krystell Guevera, whose background is in teaching literature, traveled the world to learn new and exotic techniques which she has now brought back to Ottawa, including the “BB Glow”, a Korean microneedling practice that replaces a years’ worth of make-up in just a few sessions. At her studio at 431 Richmond Rd., Krystell can provide these treatments (and others such as eyelash extensions) or teach them to up to two students at a time.
Crowsnest Barbershop is a men’s grooming brand that has been making its name in Toronto and Vancouver. Its newest location is at 990 Wellington St. W., and it is run by Jason Cousineau, who has been involved with the organization’s other locations. “It’s a loud environment,” Jason says, explaining that they want the shop to feel like a vibrant communal space. Although there are already a few established barbershops around, Jason adds that the neighbourhood has been “really friendly” and welcoming to them.
When all the outdoor spaces are iced over for winter, it can be difficult to find a gathering space for families to hang out. Local mother Paige Watts will remedy this with Wild Child Coffee Project, which is coming soon to Westboro. Paige explains that the front half of the store will have a “sophisticated” feel for the adults to socialize and sip on Sudbury, ON’s Old Rock Coffee, while the back half will have play structures, toys, and even a “mattress area” for kids to go crazy. Paige is aiming for an April opening at her 314 Richmond Rd. location.
Nostalgia Warehouse is an example not of a new business, but a transformed one. Over the last several months, the managers have taken what used to be a mainly antiques-geared store at 233 Armstrong St. and rebranded it to include a wider variety of products, including pop culture memorabilia. They have also begun a robust online auctioning service.
On January 21, SoulSpeak Yoga opened its doors at 1226 Wellington St. W., offering various yoga and meditation classes — including a “Soul Sunday Detox” for all levels.
On the corner of Wellington and Sherbrooke, the location of the old Hintonburger, the neighbourhood will soon be welcoming a Domino’s Pizza location.
The Wellington West location of terra20 is moving to 1140 Wellington St. W. in Hintonburg. Grand opening festivities on February 23 will include refreshments, prizes, samples, and a gift card draw.
Amongst all these new businesses is the very not-new Fresh Air Experience. The bike and ski shop marks its fiftieth anniversary this year — stay tuned for details about a special celebration coming this spring. Jon Digney (owner for six of the 50 years) says it’s “an honour” to be such a consistent presence in the community for so long.
Kitchissippi also said goodbye to a few businesses in recent months: Agave Grill closed its doors, as did Pocketz/Robz Bistro (no plans for a move or new location have yet been announced).
One of the biggest changes in Westboro’s business atmosphere over the next few weeks will be the loss of the strip mall on Richmond and Cleary. As part of the Phase 2 LRT construction, the city will use that property as the site of an underground train station to open in a few years. Two businesses from the mall, Warsaw Polish Deli and Nokham Thai Restaurant, have closed permanently. Others are relocating: Treasures Anew moved to 1390 Clyde Ave., and Infinity Nails relocated to 320 Richmond Rd. The House of Pizza will stay at the mall until the end of February and will be re-opening in a location with a patio at 160 Richmond Rd., sometime in April. Still others have shifted to an online presence only: Acco Kitchen and Bath are booking home consultations (accokitchenandbath.com) and Mother Earth Natural Health Store is transitioning into an online-only retail store (motherearthstore.ca).
Such a major change in the local business landscape might be seen as a negative, but for Mother Earth’s Dawn Bartsch, moving on to a new adventure is a positive thing. “I like change, and I like opportunity,” Dawn says. “I see it as a gift to push me to a transition.”