Saturday, July 24, 2010

attica celebrates 15th anniversary

15 years ago two art college graduates, Christopher Joyce and Suzanne Saul, didn't have any money but they had an idea about bringing good design, in all price points, to the good people of Halifax and beyond. They found a really large studio space on the second floor of a building Gottingen Street. The space was over 3000 sq. ft., and it had hardwood floors and track lighting. Chris only needed about 1000 sq. ft. for his furniture workshop, so Suzanne said, "Let's go in with a big idea - let's start a store in the other part of the space."

Chris made accessories and furniture in his workshop (stone, steel and wood end table by Chris is shown above), and the new Attica showroom was filled with work by local craftspeople and artists. It was difficult to get customers to visit this second storey location, and if eight people came over an eight hour period, then that was considered a good day. It was Chris's custom work that paid the bills, and after struggling for two years, Suzanne and Chris realized that if Attica was to survive they would have to move.
In 1997, they took a leap of faith and secured a location in Halifax's downtown core on Granville Street. While the street was quiet, it was street level. With a $5,000 line of credit to buy inventory and renovate the space, combined with a whole lot of sweat equity, Attica opened again to the public. Slowly, as funds would allow, in addition to the handmade items, Attica expanded into contemporary production furniture and accessories.

Attica continued to grow, and be the first to introduce many products, such as the Michael Graves Bird Whistle Kettle, or the Tolomeo Desk Lamp, in addition to featuring the latest in Canadian contemporary design. The store received press locally, nationally, and internationally. In 2000 Attica expanded to Newfoundland and opened the province's first contemporary furniture boutique.

Today, Attica has grown to a four-storey location in a beautiful historic building on Barrington Street for the flagship Halifax store, and a hip boutique location on Freshwater Road in St. John's, Newfoundland. Attica continues to set the trends for home design in Atlantic Canada.