Archive for July, 2012

Candy Dish: Steveston’s Sweet Shoppe

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Children’s rituals really haven’t changed much over the years.  When I sat down to talk with Shirley Hartwell, owner of Candy Dish, she told me that children still bring in their allowance to buy candy.  She remembers doing the same thing when she was growing up. I also remember heading off with my brother to Welch’s Candy Shop (formerly located at Broadway and Granville) with our pocket money to buy bulk Smarties.

Hartwell believes every child dreams of owning a candy store. It appears that she — along with her husband, Ed Whitby, who co-owns the business — was destined to live her dream. Growing up in the tiny town of Alymer, Ontario, she worked as a young teenager in the bulk candy section at the local Metropolitan store. Her favourite shop in town was Sugar Bowl, which was where she spent her allowance. 

 Thirty years ago Hartwell moved to Steveston where she met her husband. Whitby works full time as a manager for a small manufacturer, and also works on Saturdays as the captain of the River Queen, which offers short river tours along Steveston’s waterfront. On Sundays you can find him manning Candy Dish.   Whitby is known for testing children’s math as they pay for their candy, and he rewards them with a treat if they are correct with their accounting skills. 

With a background in tourism (Hartwell owned and operated a tour guide agency for twelve years), she checked out candy stores everywhere she travelled. After having worked at Candy Bouquet (now Candy Dish) on a part-time basis, she knew this business was exactly what she was looking for, an old fashioned candy store in a village reminiscent of her home town in Ontario.  Two years ago this Halloween eve at the witching hour, she and Whitby became the new owners. 

Hartwell describes Candy Dish as a “happy store” which triggers memories for adults and puts smiles on children’s faces.  She says that if customers are not happy when they come in, they are happy when they leave. Like a bartender, Hartwell knows many of her customers’ orders, as well as their names.  She describes the shop’s location as being part of the “fun triangle.”  Candy Dish is on the circuit which also includes Steveston Park and McDonald’s as destinations for children on their way home from school and for grandparents out on the town with their grandchildren.

Candy Dish carries a wide selection of nostalgic confectionary. Behind the counter are 65 jars of candy which will take customers on a trip down memory lane. An assortment of licorice, Thrills gum, Cherry Blossoms, old fashioned toffee, Tootsie Rolls, and saltwater taffy are some of the candies which will help you rediscover your inner child.  A large selection of homemade fudge is made on site including seasonal flavours such as key lime in the summer, pumpkin pie and cranberry in the autumn, with candy cane and eggnog to tempt the taste buds at Christmas time.  Their popular $2 candy bags are often what children will purchase with their allowance. Always receptive to customers’ requests, Candy Dish offers organic chocolate, sugar-free chocolate, organic suckers, peanut-free, gluten-free and kosher products.

October is breast cancer awareness month and it is a time that is particularly close to Hartwell’s heart. In memory of her dear friend Tracy, who lost her battle with breast cancer, Hartwell creates “Tracy’s pink fudge” with proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Society to help find the cure.

Hartwell brims with promotional ideas. She enjoyed gum as a child and is considering holding a bubble blowing contest.  In the past she has held guess the number of jelly beans in the jar contests.  Last Christmas, in conjunction with Bell’s Bake Shop, she hosted a candy house building workshop. They sell loot bags for birthdays, and they also create candy arrangements for parties as well as candy buffets for weddings. You choose the candy and they will arrange it in popcorn boxes, sundae glasses or even your own containers. 

Hartwell and Whitby are huge fans of everything to do with Steveston. They live close by and enjoy cycling and walking.  They enjoy the fine selection of restaurants in the village, and shop at Heringers and The Sweet Spot.  Jokingly, Hartwell says “we have it all in Steveston…the butcher, the baker, and the candy maker.”

Working in a candy shop six days a week begs the question, what is Hartwell’s favourite treat?  Being around candy all day long, she does not over indulge, however she does treat herself to a Charlie’s Chocolate Factory chocolate cranberry cluster – after all, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants. Sweet dreams are made of this!

Candy Dish
#120 – 3911 Moncton Street

Meow + Bark Avenue: Steveston’s Eco Friendly Pet Supply Store

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

One is a little shy; the other is outgoing and has daily words of wisdom which he offers on a chalkboard outside Meow + Bark Avenue’s storefront.  These canines are Rupert and Farley, and they belong to shop owner, Brenda Boychuk and her husband Stan. Meow + Bark Avenue is the dogs’ home away from home, they come to work every day and enjoy having friends drop by for visits and a treat.

Brenda Boychuk is deeply appreciative of her local customers who are the bread and butter of this business which she purchased in April 2008.  In a short time Meow + Bark Avenue made three moves from Second Avenue, to First Avenue and finally settled on Moncton Street at the end of 2009.

Originally a gift and accessory sales representative, Brenda Boychuk had connections with the pet industry.  She has always had a passion for animals and is a horse whisperer.  Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, she moved to Winnipeg where she met Stan Boychuk.  They married in 1985 and the pet loving Boychuks moved to B.C. in 2001.  Upon arrival, they were drawn to the waterfront locations of White Rock and Steveston. They chose the best of both worlds and made their home in White Rock and Brenda Boychuk opened her business here. Stan Boychuk is a watchmaker and works as a manager with a watch and jewellery business.  

Meow + Bark Avenue offers a large selection of Canadian made food and accessories. In fact, it is their policy to choose Canadian products whenever possible, and several of the manufacturers they stock are located in Richmond. In 2007 the pet food industry was shaken when a number of brand name pet foods were recalled after many animals suffered renal failure.  Brenda Boychuk does not sell major brand names which you will find in supermarkets, and has chosen to educate customers to read labels and make healthier foods choices for their pets.

Plenty of tender loving care is poured into this business.  For dogs wishing to make a stylish statement, Brenda Boychuk sews and sells themed bandanas all year long.  Pull out the birthday hats and invitations! If Fido’s big day is on the way, locally made Billie Cakes will have canine party guests licking their chops. Made from fresh liver and pumpkin, these cakes even come with their own candle.
Meow + Bark Avenue primarily sell toys that are made in Canada and the United States. More companies are now turning to recycled plastic and rubber material, including Kong, West Paw and RC Pets.

Brenda Boychuk’s pet peeve is pet waste.  She is happy to report that World’s Best Poop Bags, which are both biodegradable and flushable, are the store’s top selling item.  What about our feline friends?  It turns out the store sells a biodegradable flushable cat litter.  

Holidays are a special time at Meow + Bark Avenue with photo opportunities galore thanks to Pet Talk Photography. Bring in your cat, dog, bird, rabbit or ferret and pose with the Easter bunny.  For Valentine’s Day animals dress up in boas and bandanas. Has your dog ever attended a Halloween party?  At Meow + Bark Avenue they play games and have their photos taken.  The grand finale of the year is pet photos with Santa.  Proceeds benefit local animal shelters including the SPCA and Richmond Animal Protection Society (RAPS).
Animal shelters are high on the list of causes that Brenda Boychuk likes to support. Both Farley and Rupert are rescue dogs. Rupert, a Maltese poodle, came from B.C. Poodle Rescue.  Farley came from the SPCA, and was lucky to find a home with the Boychuks.  Brenda Boychuk had gone to the SPCA looking for a store cat for Meow + Bark Avenue. There were no cats that day however, as she was leaving a truck pulled up with Farley onboard. It was love at first sight for both of them and Farley became the first shop dog.

Steveston’s marine environment is highly appealing to Brenda Boychuk. The architecture reminds her of an old western town. She enjoys the community spirit, and feels at home in Steveston village where so many people know each other and stop to say hello. Amongst her loyal customers she has witnessed the circle of life as loved pets have passed away and new animals have been welcome into their lives.

If you are not already a regular customer at Meow + Bark Avenue, it is worth having a peek inside.  If you are out for a walk with Rover, pop in for a dog treat and say hello to Farley and Rupert, they are always eager to make new friends. You likely won’t leave empty handed either, for who can resist buying something for man’s best friend, be it a cat or dog?

Meow + Bark Avenue
3820 Moncton Street

Phoenix Art Workshop

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

by Sarah Gordon.

Mark Glavina and I met for coffee, and were accompanied by his extremely loveable two-year-old chocolate Labrador, Charlie. Our conversation meandered from Glavina’s considerable contribution to the arts in Steveston, to his fascinating international painting excursions (yes, you can go too!).

Glavina is the owner of Phoenix Art Workshop which opened in 1997. Amongst Glavina’s arsenal of talents he is an artist, art instructor, successful business owner, special event organizer, art tour operator, and there is one more item that he jokingly adds to this list; he is essentially a juggler by profession. After all, he says, “This is what small business comes down to, let’s try it all.”

Following high school he studied Graphic Design and Illustration at Capilano College. After graduating he worked simultaneously as an illustrator and in the restaurant business where for 17 years, in his true juggler style, he dabbled in all areas including serving, cooking and managing.

Glavina was born in Ottawa and moved to B.C. as a child in 1973. He and his Trinidad born wife, Roxanne, met in the restaurant business and married in 1990. Roxanne Glavina left Trinidad to attend St. Mary’s University in Halifax where she earned an Economics degree. She is currently a consultant with Rising Media. They have two daughters, Niki (17) and Arianne (22). Glavina is a very proud father. After the birth of his daughters there came a day when he realized he had enough of the culinary world. Glavina wanted to set an example and do something that he loved as a profession and he no longer loved the restaurant business. Many people would be thrown into a tail spin at that point, but not Glavina, who simply threw his trusted juggling balls up in the air and decided to draw exclusively on his innate artistic talent.

The Glavinas moved to central Richmond in 1990, and in 1996 settled in Steveston. It was at this time that Glavina opened his first retail location, Phoenix Coastal Arts on Moncton Street. His home studio had been overflowing with framing supplies and he wanted to start painting again, and although this space was initially for his own use, with Glavina’s penchant for reinventing himself, it evolved into much more. In 2001 he expanded the business and opened Phoenix Art Workshop on Chatham Street and closed the Moncton Street space soon afterwards. At Phoenix Art Workshop he was able to offer art classes, custom framing and art supplies, that is, until he outgrew that space.

The Chatham Street location was such a success that Glavina was once again pinched for room, and was now back to running two spaces again. Classes are held at the studio which is located above Bell’s Bake Shop on First Avenue. Art classes for young people and adults are largely centred on the mediums of painting and drawing. Emphasis is placed on visual literacy, design, and individual creativity. Phoenix Art Workshop is also committed to working with the community on public art projects.

There is a saying, if you want something done, give it to a busy person. Such is the case with Glavina; in addition to running the shop and the art classes (he teaches along with other instructors), he also organizes two major annual undertakings.

Steveston’s Grand Prix of Art is a celebration of art in a race format. The concept of the Grand Prix is to promote local arts in a fun and interactive manner. Artists from around the province are invited to participate in a day of “plein air” (open air) painting in the village. They have three hours to complete a work of art and then submit their painting at Britannia Heritage Shipyards Chinese Bunkhouse for display and adjudication. The 3rd Annual Grand Prix of Art takes place on Saturday, September 22nd, with works on display for viewing on Sunday, September 23.

For the past ten years Glavina has been organizing annual painting trips for small groups of approximately twenty participants ranging from ages 16 – 86. These excursions are designed to provide drawing, painting and photographic opportunities in culturally rich locations. Learning about local arts and culture is a key element in planning these tours where travelers have plenty of opportunities to explore their individual interests. In late August Glavina is setting off on an 18 day tour of Italy with a group to visit Florence and the Italian countryside. They will visit galleries and historical sites, attend cooking classes, dine and do plenty of plein air painting.

Previous art tours have included Vietnam, Cambodia, Cuba, China, Spain and Glavina’s personal favourite, Guatemala. As we finished our coffee, he painted a verbal portrait of a land rich with culture, of beautiful and earthy faces that are an artist’s dream, along with architecture and geography that are stunning to behold. To travel with one of these groups would be the trip of a lifetime.

Plain and simple, Glavina loves Steveston because it is an authentic community. He is encouraged to see that the village is much more arts oriented than when he first arrived in 1996, and I believe this is largely due to his contribution to our community. As for his dog Charlie, as long as he can have a swim every day he couldn’t be happier.

Phoenix Art Workshop
8-3891 Chatham Street

Steveston Bicycle & Kayak Shoppe

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

There is a new and exciting waterfront paddle sport facility on Imperial Landing Pier in the middle of Steveston Harbour!  Tony Dales, the owner of Steveston Bicycle & Kayak Shoppe, recently closed his kayak business in Ladner and has permission from the City of Richmond to try out his new location at London Landing. 

As the new home base for the Steveston Paddling Club, Dales offers guided kayak tours, kayak training, courses, clinics and youth programs. 

Dales store is located at 105-6111 London Road in Steveston (end of No. 2 Rd) and is a full service bike and kayak shop.  If you don’t have the room to store a bike in your condo or garage, the Steveston Bicycle Club is the answer.  Try out the new Street Strider bike. 

I spent the afternoon on the pier with Tony on July 11th when he welcomed Kristy Wright of Stand Up Paddle Vancouver (  to try out the waters.  It was a perfect sunny day and so great to see them out on their boards.

Steveston Bicycle & Kayak Shoppe

105-6111 London Road, Richmond BC V7E 3S3