Parrywinkle August 18, 2016

Just a couple of months after the news broke - and first reported here in Your Local Journal - that Michel Poirier had sold both his IGA stores in Hudson and St. Lazare to Sobeys Inc. pending acquisition by a new franchisee, I learned this past week of other changes in Hudson's 'downtown' business-retailing core. And no, it does not involve that rumour that Giant Tiger has acquired Thompson Park with a view to razing the soccer pitches there and building a mega store and warehouse complex overlooking the Lake of Two Mountains.

Never heard that one? Me neither to be perfectly honest. In fact, I just made it up. But at least I got you attention! So where to begin?

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THE VERITABLE VIVIRY - Let's start with the Hudson landmark family restaurant, The Viviry, first opened 37 years almost to the very month by Christos Maziofis and Frank Pappas and still in the very same location at the corner of Main and Selkirk.

If you recall, Christos sold the 'Viv' back in 2012 with a view to retiring from the business and enjoying some quality time in other pursuits. For various reasons, it didn't work out as planned with the new owners and it wasn't long before Christos was back at what he calls his home away from home. Albeit part time just a few days a week.

Well, learned this week that, together with Frank, he is now back full time. With plans to recreate The Viviry of yesteryear with a menu, specials, and prices reminiscent of what he describes as the good old days.

“I'm really excited to be back full time,” he told me over early-morning coffee this week while welcoming - in his inimitable style - breakfast regulars for whom his restaurant is literally a daily tradition. Not only for breakfast, but also lunch and dinner.

“I'm now spending more time here than I do at home,” he laughingly added. “And you know what, James? I wouldn't have it any other way!” Nor would we Christos. Yamas. And welcome back!

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A CLEAN SWEEP - Meanwhile, retailing changes are also underway at Place Shaar at the corner of Main and Cameron. After 20 years in the very same spot, André Caron is vacating his Hudson Dry Cleaner premises at the end of this month moving to a new bigger location to be named Dry Cleaner Aidan - after his five-year-old grandson - on Harwood near Valois. And, as he told me this week while picking up some shirts and pants, he is doing so with very mixed feelings.

“I have been very happy in Hudson,” said André. “And I would like people to know that the decision to move was not of my making. But, for various reasons, life sometimes throws things at us and we have to think positive and carry on. At 60, I'm too young to retire and, together with my son Patrick who will be joining me in my new venture, I want Dry Cleaner Aidan to become a real family business that I will pass on to him and, perhaps one day, Aidan.”

A business, he told me, that will see him concentrating on actually processing dry cleaning in a location not open to the general public as has been the case to date. And this is where changes at Hudson Variety, owned by Robert Dubois in the same complex, come into play.

Beginning at the end of August, all cleaning can dropped off at Hudson Variety with André making daily pickups and deliveries there.

Says André, “I would like to assure my clients, many of whom have become personal friends over time, that I'm not disappearing from Hudson. Just moving to a new location a little further out of town. And I would like to thank them all most sincerely for the support and confidence they have shown me over the years.” Way to go André!

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BYTE ME! - And here's the last - for this week at least - business change coming to the village centre. Moving in, once André has moved out, is Stuart LeBaron who will be vacating his LeBaron Bytes catering company opposite the Hudson Fire Station with plans to officially open the first week of October following major renovations to the existing space. Triple that of his current 400 sq. ft. on Main.

Says Stuart, who has been in the restaurant business for 37 years and who first opened his catering business - synonymous with 'dinatoire' dining - here in Hudson four years ago, “I'm really looking forward to the move. Thanks to the support of the local community and clients elsewhere in the region, my company has grown to the point where I really need additional space. And I am so pleased to have found it just a few blocks away!”

Oof! And that's it for this week folks on the business beat. Now let's head over to the cultural and social scene.

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PRIVATE LIVES & PUCCINI - Purportedly penned in just four days in a hotel room and first performed in London, England, in the early 30s, Noel Coward's timeless comedy of manners - although times have certainly changed and this time around with its first ever gender-bender twist courtesy of anything-but-cowardly artistic director Matthew Tiffin - is packing them in at Hudson Village Theatre through August 27. And with good reason. Exceptional acting. Flawless timing. A particularly brilliant set. And, because of the fact that men are playing women, and women men, a worldwide first. Bravo to all!

Still at HVT, and coming up on Monday, September 12 at 7.30 p.m. as a gift from Clint Ward and all at the Hudson Film Society, a free screening of Puccini In The Night. Spotlighting the composer of some of the most memorable operatic melodies and greatest compositions filmed in concert.

HVT seats 140, I do believe. At press time, not sure how many left. But tickets can be picked up at the Theatre Box Office at 28 Wharf Road or directly online at www.villagetheatre.ca/events/puccini. Sure is international music to my ears. And hopefully yours!

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIR - And still on the international scene, as it were, it sure was a truly international affair at the recent wedding at the home of John and Inga Lawson of their daughter, Alanna, to Dan Madularu when guests from Romania, Trinidad and Tobago, the U.K., and the U.S. arrived to join the Lawson clan and local friends to celebrate the happy event.

Dan's Mom, Anna Maria, had just flown in from Germany with her very recently acquired Landed Immigrant papers, while his father, Nicolae, made his first trip overseas from Romania. The bride and groom asked John to be the officiant which, he told me, was the greatest of honours. Mother Nature provided splendid weather and, following the service overlooking the Lake of Two Mountains, all 150 family members and guests headed over to Whitlock Golf and Country Club for a fabulous reception.

The newly-married couple, incidentally, live in Ottawa where Alanna is a practicing lawyer while Dan completes his post-doctoral fellowship in neuroscience at McGill’s Douglas Hospital.

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GOING GARAGE SALEING - In closing, let's turn to one of Hudson's greatest socializing traditions - year in year out - in our little hamlet by the lake. Namely Saturday morning garage sales! Where you never know who you are going to meet - except for the diehard regulars of course and we all know who we are - and little 'treasures' that are immediately snapped up at unbeatable prices. Whether one really needs them or not!

Why am I mentioning this? Because this Saturday, August 20 - and after years of prolonged procrastination - forgive this unabashed plug but from 8 a.m. on, my beautiful Sunshine and I are hosting our very own at 82 Elm. Replete with collectibles, plants and garden accessories, and all kinds of stuff that we have bought over the years but simply no longer have room, or rooms, for.

Do drop by and say hello even if you don't buy. And as for advice for potential early birds? Ah, in the words of Tony Soprano, fuhgeddaboudit. They never listen anyway!

And that's a wrap!

E-mail: creation@videotron.ca

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