Eat, Drink And Throw Axes: New Businesses That Opened In Saint John In 2019

Axe throwing lanes at Woodchucks. Image: Cherise Letson/Huddle Today

The Port City saw popular new businesses opening in all parts of the city in 2019. As the year comes to a close, we take a look back as just some of them.

The Offline Board Game Cafe

Outside Offline Board Game Cafe. (Image: Cherise Letson/ Huddle Today)

After not having a permanent home for over a year, in 2019 the Offline Board Game Café settled into its new digs in uptown Saint John. 

Located at 98 Prince William Street, Offline Board Game Cafe offers a space for people to play a variety of board games with friends while enjoying drinks and a bite to eat. The cafe also hosts parties, board game rentals, and board game sales. Since opening in at the end of July, it’s been a go-to spot for a fun night with friends. 

Catapult Cafe & Studio 

Image: Cherise Letson/Huddle Today

The Catapult Cafe & Studio is a social enterprise managed by Outflow Ministry. The café trains and employs low-income artists to create artwork that’s for sale at the cafe, as well as work at the café.  

“We work with different programs like the Youth Employment Fund and the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work,” says Jayme Hall, co-director of Outflow, in an interview with Huddle back in January.

“They help subsidize the wages for folks. So, you can come on board for a 10-week program and everyone knows upfront that you’ll be doing this for 10 weeks, and we’re hoping in that time frame that they can move to other things or move on into other jobs.” 

Shamrock Barber Shop  

Harry Gorman, Joshua Flooks and Dustin Hurry of Shamrock Barbershop. (Image: Cherise Letson/Huddle Today)

On 105 Princess Street, the Shamrock Barber Shop revels in the city’s history, embracing a more traditional Irish style.  

The shop is run by friends Harry Gorman and Josh Flooks and boasts green walls and green leather barber chairs.  

“We’re one of the oldest Irish cities in Canada, so I basically thought, ‘let’s just use that theme for our shop. Compared to most generic shops around that are kind of modern or a little hip-hop,” Gorman told Huddle. “I thought we’d bring something back and have it a little vogue and traditional and I feel like that would be really good for the upscale clients and for what we’re trying to do.” 

Bella’s Traditional Ice Cream 

Derek Billingsley and Naomi van Roosmalen. (Image: Cherise Letson/ Huddle Today)

Bella’s traditional Ice Cream offers homemade ice cream and pastries on 87 Germain Street. The ice cream is always made in small batches and because of this they are always testing new flavours 

“We’re just really excited about adding to the community. We just want to build up the connection between people,” said Naomi van Roosmalen, co-owner of Bella’s, in an interview with Huddle. “This is a place to come together. It’s just a place to come and relax and be happy and make friends and just increase the sense of community that we have here.” 

Boutique Zekara 

Kelly Lawson, owner of Ella The Shop and Donna Williamson, owner of Boutique Zekara (Image: Sumbitted, Kelly Lawson Photography)

Boutique Zekara is a fashion boutique that specializes in women’s fashion and cosmetics and has a focus on products that are Canadian-made and ethically based brands.  

It originally opened in Rothesay 15 years ago and has now opened a new location in Saint John to fill the hole left when Ella’s, another women’s clothing store, closed.  

Woodchucks Axe Throwing  

Axe throwing lanes at Woodchucks. Image: Cherise Letson/Huddle Today

Woodchucks Axe Throwing is a bar with a twist. Friends can get together, hang out, and maybe throw some axes at targets for fun.  

Owned by Andrew Beale and Jordan Delaney, the concept came from a similar lounge Delaney visited on a trip to Halifax.

“We went axe-throwing and as soon as I came back, I told the Beale that this is something Saint John could use and we just kind of went with it,” Delaney told Huddle back in November. “Literally the next morning we started making a business plan and everything kind of came together after that.”

Women’s Zone 

Heba Mohamed and Lamis Hijazi. Image: Cherise Letson/Huddle

Woman’s Zone was founded by Hebatalla Mohamed and Lamis Hijazi who both immigrated to Canada. Together they decided to create a business that is both a shop and a safe space where women can socialize.  

Woman’s Zone sells headscarves, long dresses, and other articles of clothing typically worn by Muslim or Middle Eastern women that can’t find these clothes anywhere else in Saint John.  

Mohamed and Hijazi wished to create a place where women can socialize just like in communities back home.  

The Tipsy Tomato 

Steve Walton (l) and Peter MacKinnon (r), proud Tipsy Tomato owners (Credit: Steve Walton)

Realizing Millidgeville was without its own pub, Steve Walton took it upon himself to find a place where those in the community can go to get pizza and a drink.  

It has been well received by the community and the owner hopes to have famous hockey players come in once and a while for meet-and-greets and autograph signings. 

Naan-Ya Bussiness

Tabraze and Robin Sheikh. Image: Mark Leger/Huddle.

Tabraze and Robin Sheikh brought their love of fusion Pakistani, Mexican and Canadian street foods into Naan-ya Business, a new stall that opened in the Saint John City Market this year.

The centrepiece of their kitchen is the tandoor oven, which produces tandoori-style food.

“You can buy the spices in the store but it’s not the same as having it cooked in the tandoor oven. That oven reaches close to 900 degrees Fahrenheit. Food cooks so rapidly in there,” Tarbraze told Huddle back in May.

“If you cook meat it’ll form a nice crust but inside will remain juicy. Bread cooks almost instantly because of the heat of the oven, so imagine getting food within a minute or two of ordering. It’s that fast.”