Convenience stores

Some Halifax convenience stores may have to close sooner

At Michael Habib’s Jubilee Junction Convenience Store in Halifax, he likes to emphasize the word “convenience”.

“We are open from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.,” Habib said. “On weekends, it goes on until about 2:30 a.m.”

University students come in large numbers to the intersection of Jubilee Road and Preston Street on weekend evenings.

At the AAA convenience store across the street, owner John Amyoony sells a lot of pizza on weekends between midnight and 3 a.m.

“I say around 800,” Amyoony said.

Dakota McCormick is a regular AAA customer.

“I come here late, like 11 or 12 at night,” McCormick said. “It’s one of the few open places within walking distance.”

However, this convenience could change.

Halifax Regional Council recently approved first reading of a new bylaw that would require some convenience stores to close at 11 p.m.

According to advice. Waye Mason, it’s in response to growing late-night crowds at the intersection, especially during a recent unofficial back-to-college celebration.

“More and more students, instead of going to Pizza Corner downtown, are migrating to this intersection in this residential neighborhood,” Mason said.

Mason said convenience stores were never supposed to be allowed to serve hot food and be open late.

Habib called the settlement unfair.

“It’s not democratic in any way,” said Habib, who also pointed out that the students are only there for about seven months.

“We serve the community for 12 months out of the year and as it gets colder the students disappear and they haven’t been out,” Habib said. “So we are punished 365 days.”

Neighborhood resident Sophia Horwitz would like to see the city pursue an option that doesn’t punish business owners.

“I feel like there has to be a better solution other than closing small businesses,” Horwitz said.

Both Halifax stores have launched petitions against the settlement, with hundreds of signatures.

Mason said the board will debate the settlement further later in the fall.

“Because people clearly want more information and we’re going to do that process,” Mason said.

If passed, Habib fears the new regulations will destroy his business.

“They’re actually killing my future,” Habib said.

And that could potentially overwrite Amyoony’s results.

“More than half,” Amyoony said. “My sales will drop by half.”

Business owners say the change could threaten the overall viability of their business.