POINT­ING TO THEIR ROOTS

P.E.I. busi­nesses in Halifax help pro­mote home prov­ince to cus­tomers

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY MITCH MAC­DON­ALD Mitch.mac­don­ald@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/Mitch_PEI

P.E.I. busi­nesses in Halifax help pro­mote home prov­ince to cus­tomers

Boom Burger man­ager Vic­to­ria Comeau loves when cus­tomers ask about the restau­rant’s his­tory.

The es­tab­lish­ment shows off its P.E.I. roots with pride.

Posters hang through­out the Bed­ford lo­ca­tion pro­mot­ing its Is­land prod­ucts, whether it’s rasp­berry cor­dial, Cows cheese and but­ter or the P.E.I. pota­toes that are cut into fries freshly on the site.

So it’s no sur­prise when cus­tomers in­quire more about the restau­rant’s ori­gins.

“Peo­ple ask about the his­tory all the time, it’s won­der­ful and peo­ple re­ally love that (it’s from P.E.I.)” said Comeau. “Ev­ery­body is cu­ri­ous around here, and Halifax re­ally likes to pro­mote lo­cal (beef and pro­duce).”

As­sis­tant man­ager Dale Why­nacht agreed there seems to be an ap­peal of Mar­itime-owned busi­nesses in the re­gion.

“It’s a pleas­ant sur­prise to a lot of peo­ple when they find out it’s a Mar­itime restau­rant that started in P.E.I. and has re­ally stayed in the Mar­itimes,” said Why­nacht, adding that the com­pany’s model of pro­mot­ing lo­cal also fits nicely with its com­mit­ment of only serv­ing the fresh­est food.

In fact, the lo­ca­tion doesn’t even have a freezer.

“That’s the whole thing that’s pro­moted with BOOMburger, it’s fresh, it’s lo­cal and it’s sim­ple,” said Why­nacht, who started with the restau­rant when it first opened on the North River cause­way in 2011.

Af­ter leav­ing to work out West for sev­eral years, Why­nacht later came back and re­ceived an of­fer to help start the Bed­ford store when it opened three years ago.

He hasn’t looked back. “It’s been great. I’ve seen this place grow, and we’ve had a re­ally good year,” he said. “Ev­ery­thing has just been smooth and re­ally won­der­ful.”

How Bazaar is an­other P.E.I.-based store pro­mot­ing its home prov­ince at its new­est store on Halifax’s Bar­ring­ton Street.

“We let ev­ery­one know that we’re orig­i­nally from Prince Ed­ward Is­land,” said man­ager Avery Hill­strom, who pre­vi­ously looked af­ter the store’s Cavendish lo­ca­tion. “It took us 17 years to cross the bridge, but here we are. And we’re happy to be here.”

With six lo­ca­tions al­ready in P.E.I., the unique store, which is mod­elled af­ter world mar­kets, opened its new lo­ca­tion in late May.

While the busi­ness has re­ceived nu­mer­ous re­quests over the years to set up lo­ca­tions ev­ery­where from New­found­land to Western Canada, Halifax seemed to be a nat­u­ral fit with Hill­strom mov­ing to the city ear­lier this year.

Since then, she’s seen the store at­tract a mix of cus­tomers fa­mil­iar with the P.E.I. re­tailer as well as new cus­tomers happy to dis­cover the store’s unique vibe.

“Love it, it’s au­then­tic. It’s def­i­nitely dif­fer­ent,” said U.S. res­i­dent Kai Wes, while brows­ing through the store.

The vi­brant store­front led to Wes and friend Sa­man­tha MacCal­lum mak­ing the lo­ca­tion one of their first stops in Canada.

“And I’m go­ing to spend all my money here,” said MacCal­lum. “I don’t even know how to ex­plain it, but it’s very cul­tural and it’s re­ally nice.”

While the store keeps the feel of its P.E.I. lo­ca­tions, Avery noted that many items are orig­i­nal with each store hav­ing its own vari­a­tion.

The store may also tempt some Halifax cus­tomers to come to P.E.I. to see what else the store has to of­fer and then per­haps tour the rest of the prov­ince.

“If any­one tells me they’re go­ing to P.E.I. I have a long list of things for them to do,” said Hill­strom. “I love the Is­land and can’t say enough good things about it.”

“It’s a pleas­ant sur­prise to a lot of peo­ple when they find out it’s a Mar­itime restau­rant that started in P.E.I. and has re­ally stayed in the Mar­itimes,” said Why­nacht, As­sis­tant man­ager Dale Why­nacht of Boom Burger

MITCH MAC­DON­ALD/THE GUARDIAN

How Bazaar Halifax man­ager Avery Hill­strom stands out­side the new Bar­ring­ton Street lo­ca­tion with the store’s mas­cot “Troy.” Hill­strom said the store has seen lots of traf­fic since open­ing ear­lier this spring.

MITCH MAC­DON­ALD/THE GUARDIAN

Bed­ford Boom Burger man­ager Vic­to­ria Comeau, right, and as­sis­tant man­ager Dale Why­nacht stand with pride out­side the es­tab­lish­ment. The unique restau­rant show­cases its P.E.I. roots, with posters in­side pro­mot­ing Is­land pota­toes, rasp­berry cor­dial and Cows prod­ucts.

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