Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Wong’s Greenhouse & Nursery

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Wongs Nursery flowering StevestonRooted in Richmond Since 1966.

I have always admired the gorgeous hanging baskets on the lampposts and seasonal flowers that beautify a number of major boulevards in Richmond’s city centre. Until recently I had no idea where these plants originated from, however I was enlightened when I met the grower, Paul Wong, who is the charming and affable owner of Wong’s Greenhouse & Nursery.

Paul is the son of Yuen Wong, who founded Wong’s Greenhouse & Nursery in 1966. Over the years Wong’s Greenhouse & Nursery moved two times. The nursery was located on Cambie Road for 38 years. In 2008 it relocated to the impressive site on No. 2 Road. Sadly, Yuen passed away the same year. Paul is grateful his father had an opportunity to see the company in its magnificent new home. His vivacious mother Dorothy has retired but she loves to come assist during the busy spring months.

Wongs Nursery family StevestonPaul grew up in Richmond and graduated from Richmond High. He recalls assisting at the greenhouse after school before starting his homework. In the early 1990s his father approached him to join the company with the intention that Paul would eventually take over the family business. The father and son team worked together for many years – over time as retail and sale contracts grew they phased out wholesaling to stores such as Safeway, Sears and Woolco.

After an unseasonably cold and snowy winter followed by a rain-filled spring I suspect many gardeners are doing a jig as we welcome summer and have a taste of what the majority of Canadians experience each year. This will likely make us appreciate and maximize our time in our gardens more than ever. Paul says, “The nursery’s plants were almost two weeks behind this year.”

Wong’s Greenhouse & Nursery sells Richmond’s largest selection of hanging baskets, geraniums, bedding and container plants.

The front retail space is just the tip of the iceberg, walk through and you will discover there are eight additional greenhouses totalling 25,000 square feet. This is where the plants are grown.

Eight seasonal staff are brought in at the beginning of March; the greenhouses are a beehive of activity where staff can be seen plant hanging baskets for clients including the City of Richmond, which has been purchasing from Wong’s for over 20 years.

Ninety per cent of Wong’s plants are grown on site from pre-started seedlings or rooted cuttings.

Paul says, “Hanging baskets are our forte. Customers return because of the quality. We grow the best products and our prices are very good. Customers will also be able to find two or more identical basket here.”

Wongs Nursery No. 2 Rd StevestonWong’s Greenhouse & Nursery is open from the beginning of April through mid-July for the spring and summer season. It reopens in late September through early November and at this time you will find fall and winter plants in addition to spring bulbs such as daffodils and tulips.

Although the garden centre is seasonal, Paul is kept busy year round. He points out, “All year there is something growing here so I am always checking in and overseeing the business.” During the spring and summer he goes into overdrive working every day for three months. He manages the staff and attentively assists customers.

The weather dictates sales and sunny days are always the busiest. Paul has seen a surge in customers from local condo owners looking for patio plants for planters and he is pleased to report Wong’s Greenhouse & Nursery offers a very good selection.

Paul shares a helpful gardening tip to file away for next season: “It is safe to plant annual plants outdoors when the evening temperature has consistently reached double digits.”

As a long term Richmond resident Paul is extremely appreciative of this community. Although the city has experienced many physical changes he feels the community spirit is as strong as the Richmond he remembers growing up.

What does Paul find most rewarding about running his own business? He says, “I enjoy being able to grow a great product for our customers and have them return year after year. I am also grateful to the community for supporting local merchants.”

Indeed, the beautiful, quality plants Wong’s Greenhouse & Nursery sells certainly keep customers returning, but it is also the home-grown personal, friendly and knowledgeable service that makes this family business such a success.

Wong’s Greenhouse & Nursery
11140 No 2 Road
Richmond, BC V7E 2E7
Telephone 604-278-1028

Sweet Paws Dog Grooming Services

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

Sweet Paws Dog Grooming Noriko Ikuta StevestonHelping Dogs Look Their Best.

Furry clients out for a walk like to stop in and say hello to their human friends at Sweet Paws Dog Grooming Services. Sweet Paws owner Noriko Ikuta says with a smile, “I know the dogs by name.”

Noriko and her husband, Reverend Grant Ikuta (Steveston Buddhist Temple), moved to Toronto from their native Japan in 1992. During their 16 years in eastern Canada they had four children. They also had a golden retriever named Rusty who Noriko learned to groom. Realizing she had a hidden talent, she was inspired to attend Toronto’s Pet Grooming Studio Academy where she turned her hobby into a career. After graduating she was hired by the Academy. It was a natural fit; Noriko has always loved animals and as a child dreamed of becoming a veterinarian.

The Ikuta family moved to Steveston in 2008. Reverend Ikuta has relatives here and the couple were excited to find a strong Japanese community. Noriko says it is lovely to hear Japanese being spoken on the street which was not prevalent in Toronto. “I quickly discovered Steveston is a special close-knit community where people support each other,” she says.

Sweet Paws Dog Grooming Ola StevestonIn June 2015 Noriko decided it was time to open her own business. She chose to locate Sweet Paws close to home. She appreciates the beautiful location, the village’s history and as a dog owner (the family now has a Coton de Tulear named Lucky who occasionally pops in to visit Noriko at work), she was aware a grooming service was needed.

Her clean and neat as a pin grooming studio is located on Third Avenue, across the street from the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site. Noriko mentions that some customers take advantage of two free hours to go to their own spa appointment or shop or dine in the village. Her client base is growing steadily in dog friendly Steveston village where it is a common sight to see dog owners stopping to chat.

Much like a human spa, Sweet Paws strives to offer a soothing atmosphere where dogs are pampered.

Owners can be nervous when they say goodbye to their pets. Noriko mentions if an owner is not calm their dog will pick up that energy; she says it is helpful to exercise the pet before it comes in to relax and tire it out. Some dogs react better than others to the idea of being groomed. Being parted from their owner is the most difficult part and barking nervously is common.

All sizes and breeds pass through the door, from pint size Yorkies to large Labradoodles.

Sweet Paws Dog Grooming Bayview Third StevestonLong-haired dogs and those with busy, active lifestyles will need to be groomed more frequently than shorter-haired dogs or those with inactive lifestyles. Waiting too long between grooming appointments can cause matting, which may result in a shorter cut. Tip: Brush and comb your dog at home between grooming sessions.

Summer and Christmas are the busiest times of the year and Noriko advises booking two weeks in advance. How often your dog needs grooming depends on how quickly her/his fur grows, however, Noriko mentions six to seven weeks is standard. Gentle organic shampoos are used. Noriko can easily assess skin types and for canines with extremely sensitive skin she uses hypoallergenic products.

When asked what she finds most rewarding about operating her business Noriko replies, “I feel very calm working around dogs all day. It is very healing.”

She says, “At our studio, we provide a calm atmosphere to lessen the stress felt by the dog. Our staff is trained to treat each dog with care, being mindful of the stress it may be feeling. To ensure the best treatment, we do not overbook our appointments. Every session is by reservation only and we contact the owners as soon as the appointment is finished so their pet does not have to wait for prolonged periods. Our reward is to see the happy faces of both the dogs and their owners when they come to pick up their loving pets.”

Canines were likely very grateful for their warm fur coats during the chilly winter we experienced, but now that summer’s here it’s time to book a grooming appointment. Check out Sweet Paws’ Facebook page for some adorable before and after shots to get an idea of how Noriko and her staff can make your dog look and feel his or her best.

Sweet Paws Dog Grooming Services
105-3531 Bayview Street
Richmond BC V7E 5W3
Telephone 604-285-7425
www.sweetpawsdog.ca

Catch Kitchen + Bar

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

Catch Kitchen patio view StevestonLocally Inspired Dishes and a Magnificent View.

A magnificent setting is always a plus when dining out and Catch Kitchen + Bar delivers with its picturesque location on Fisherman’s Wharf. The restaurant offers a spectacular vista of Steveston harbour, the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island. Patio diners take in views of the Fraser River inlet and snow capped Mount Baker while bar patrons enjoy views of the gorgeous North Shore mountains.Catch Kitchen Jon Yacoub Steveston

Finding this prime spot (the former home of the Charthouse restaurant) was the opportunity of a lifetime for brothers Jon and Marc Yacoub and their cousin, chef Daniel Bachara. It was their dream to open a restaurant together and securing this spacious scenic gem was icing on the cake.

Jon, Marc and Daniel all come from restaurateur backgrounds; both of their families owned restaurants in England, which is where they were all born. The Yacoub family moved to Steveston when Jon and Marc were young. “My dad ran the Granville Island Hotel for many years until he bought his own restaurant,” Jon says. He and Marc attended Lord Byng Elementary and both graduated from Steveston High.

Daniel gained his culinary experience at his father’s restaurant in the U.K. and moved to Canada in his late teens. Jon has devoted his entire career to restaurant management.

He got his start bussing tables at The Manor restaurant in Tsawwassen. He also worked as a server at the Charthouse in his early 20s and went on to manage The Boathouse in White Rock and Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant.

“We wanted to let the view in.” Jon Yacoub

Catch Kitchen + Bar opened in March 2016 after extensive renovations. Marc is a contractor and brought his team on board to modernize the space. It took four and a half months to create the desired effect, with the three partners lending a hand. Jon mentions they are thankful for their friends who pitched in to help.

Wood, metal and cement are used to bring the outdoors inside. The result is aesthetically pleasing, creating a modern and industrial seaside atmosphere. Large black and white nautical photographs adorn the wood panelled walls, corrugated metal is used to create pony walls and industrial pendant lights set the mood. Other decorative touches include propellers mounted to the entry wall alongside an illuminated metal sign that spells out the word Catch. Large banks of windows let in an abundance of light and of course look out to the million-dollar view.

“Our concept was to create a Coal Harbour or Granville Island experience in Steveston.” Jon Yacoub

Jon explains, “We are extremely proud of our Steveston roots. We felt this is what the community needed, to be able to enjoy an upscale casual dining experience without having to leave the neighbourhood.”

There is something on the menu for everyone’s taste including local seafood favourites alongside Mediterranean and bistro-style dishes. Menu changes take place seasonally to highlight ingredients from as many local suppliers as possible.

Catch Kitchen craft beer StevestonJon mentions that some of the popular dishes include the warm seafood salad, lemon caper halibut, roast beef dip and grilled chicken burger. The in-house prepared crab cakes and peppercorn New York steak are also crowd pleasers. Gluten-free diners can order with ease from a separate and extensive menu. Following your meal, succumb to temptation and order dessert made from scratch by Catch’s pastry chef.

Catch’s bar features seven flat-screen televisions, making this the perfect spot to watch sporting events including hockey, soccer and football. Many local craft beers are on tap to quench your thirst as you cheer for your favourite team. Both the restaurant and bar offer happy hours and children are welcome in both sections.

A nostalgic nod to former Steveston High (which was demolished two years ago) is a wall for alumni to sign and include their year of graduation.

Catch Kitchen 3866 Bayview StevestonThere is no shortage of seating in this establishment that accommodates up to 155 people in the restaurant (inside and on the patio) with another 65 seats in the bar. Catch Kitchen + Bar is a perfect spot year round to host a large gathering or a company dinner or an intimate dinner for two. Jon mentions they are excited to be hosting their first wedding reception.

This summer head to the patio or pull up a chair indoors to escape the heat and ‘catch’ a beautiful sunset – all the while knowing that if you are a local you won’t have to deal with a long drive home, and if you happen to be an out of towner, you will experience what Stevestonites get to enjoy in our own backyard – lucky us!

Catch Kitchen + Bar
200-3866 Bayview Street
Richmond, BC V7E 4R7
Telephone 604-284-1222
www.catchkitchen.com

Raintree Wellness Spa

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

Raintree Wellness Spa reception Steveston Insider

Relax, Rejuvenate, Restore

Are you guilty of not setting aside time for yourself? So many of us lead crazy busy lives as we juggle work and families and don’t take time to slow down for a little self-care. A visit to the spa is an excellent way to recharge your batteries and leave with a spring in your step.

It has been a little over a year since Lisa McFadden became the new owner of Steveston’s well loved Raintree Wellness Spa. She had been looking for an opportunity to purchase a spa in Richmond and serendipitously, former Raintree owner Barbara Bell had been looking for the right fit to pass on the spa she opened in 2004. The women met and connected. Barbara worked with Lisa for a smooth transition and introduced her to the spa’s many loyal guests.

It is an honour for Lisa to carry on the tradition of meeting the high standards Raintree’s customers have come to expect, while building her own relationships with the staff and clients, and bringing some fresh ideas to the business.

Relaxation begins the moment you enter Raintree Wellness Spa where guests are offered a chocolate, served a cup of Raintree’s own tea and provided with a warm neck wrap.

Raintree Wellness Spa Lisa McFadden Steveston InsiderLisa spent most of her career in corporate environments, including acting as manager of a multi-unit medical spa. She says, “It was during this time that I really hit my stride and confirmed what I had long suspected, that I really wanted to manage my own business.” Lisa’s parents were a source of inspiration; when she was young they owned and operated their own businesses, including a couple of delicatessens. She remembers spending a lot of time sitting on a stool in the kitchen watching them work.

Her management skills are a natural fit for her new business. Lisa mentions, “I love the planning, marketing and business functions of the business. I really enjoy meeting our guests and hearing how much they love coming to Raintree.”

“It is the team that makes Raintree special. They are the heart of the spa.” Lisa McFadden

Collectively the staff has decades of esthetics and bodywork experience. They regularly refresh their skills and knowledge through training opportunities. “I have been so impressed with the connection our team makes with each of our guests, and how rewarding that is for both the staff and guests,” Lisa says.

Lisa points out how fortunate she is to have the experienced leadership of Raintree’s esthetics manager, Laurie Watt. Laurie has been working at the spa for five years.

“We love making people feel good and seeing the transformation from when they walk in to when they leave.” Laurie Watt

Lisa’s husband Derek Sopha has his own full-time career in cosmetics manufacturing but he is always ready to lend his handyman skills to the spa. Lisa lovingly refers to Derek as Raintree’s “facilities engineer” as he is always there when she needs him.

Raintree Wellness Spa Vichy shower Steveston InsiderClients come from across the Lower Mainland to take advantage of Raintree’s top-notch treatments and attentive care. “The spa’s mission is to deliver an authentic, genuine connection to each guest with a commitment to the highest standards of excellence allowing guests to relax, rejuvenate and restore their mind, body and spirit,“ Lisa says.

One of the most popular services is the Vichy shower treatment, which is not offered at many spas. On its own or in conjunction with one of Raintree’s body treatments, hydrotherapy helps increase the blood circulation, hydrates the skin and delivers a soothing waterfall massage to relax the body and relieve tension.

Raintree Wellness Spa facial Steveston InsiderDuring a Vichy shower treatment, you lie on a padded table, with the shower jets above you. Always draped with towels for your comfort and modesty, the warm showerheads deliver a full body experience. Warm water cascades over the entire length of your body and falls onto the tiled floor where it drains away, leaving only relaxation and rejuvenation in its wake.

Raintree has its fair share of male clients. Lisa smiles when she mentions, “It’s not too girly here.” Services designed for gents include a pure performance facial, a back buff, men’s manicure, power pedicure, and the “manscaping” treatment to remove unwanted chest, back, shoulder or brow hair, in addition to the wide range of massage and body treatments that are available to all guests.

Raintree Wellness Spa pedicure Steveston InsiderSandal season is almost upon us and pedicures are another client favourite. Raintree can accommodate up to three clients at a time, which is a fun activity to share with friends. Mother’s Day is approaching and a gift certificate for a spa treatment is a perfect way to say thanks for all you do, mum.

Lisa moved to Richmond as a teenager and had always wanted to live in Steveston. Her dream came true in 2007 when she and Derek moved to Steveston village. They adore the relaxed small town charm. Lisa says, “I would rather shop locally than get in my car to drive elsewhere. I received a vintage bike for my birthday and I can’t wait to ride it around Steveston with a basket to hold my local shopping!”

Raintree Wellness Spa No 2 Rd Steveston InsiderThe satisfaction of operating her dream spa in her favourite community is exceptionally rewarding for this new business owner. Lisa concludes, “It feels like a home, not just a business. It is very empowering to work with a group of engaged, professional women and to offer our guests an opportunity to feel completely relaxed and restored.”

Raintree Wellness Spa
125-13020 No. 2 Road
Richmond BC V7E 6S3
Telephone 604-274-4426
www.raintreespa.com

Pierside Deli

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

Pierside Deli wharf Steveston InsiderAt Home on Steveston’s Pier

Pierside Deli is the epitome of a mom and pop business. This small, independent restaurant is owned and operated by Janice Sieg with the support of family members and even friends who pitch in to assist when she takes an occasional well earned vacation.Pierside Deli Janice Sieg Steveston InsiderThis long-time Stevestonite did not set out to be a restaurant owner, but circumstances and determination drove her to open Pierside Deli, which is now celebrating its tenth anniversary.Ten years ago Janice was having an ice cream cone on Steveston’s pier with her husband Rainer. The high school sweethearts are sentimentally attached to this spot where they went on their first ice cream date 25 years ago. On this particular day they were feeling troubled – Rainer had been forced to change careers while Janice was a stay at home mother caring for their three children. Janice recalls noticing a for lease sign in the window of what is now Pierside Deli, and she made a spontaneous decision to apply for a bank loan and open her own business. She was determined to be self-employed so they would be in control of their financial destiny.

Pierside Deli opened its door Easter weekend 2007. Janice is proud to report that other than Timothy’s Frozen Yogurt she is now the longest standing small business on the pier (excluding the larger restaurants). She intends to celebrate Pierside’s anniversary this Easter with a large cake to thank her customers.

Janice studied accounting in college, which has come in useful with the administrative end of her business. She admits that although she did not have professional culinary experience she likes to cook and found the idea of running a sandwich shop appealing.

The small restaurant has become a hub for fishermen, locals and tourists alike to enjoy breakfast, lunch and goodies.

Janice says, “All of the food at Pierside Deli is homemade but simple. I don’t like doing crazy things because my customers don’t want that.” Instead she keeps her menu familiar and it is designed largely around customer requests.

If you are looking for all-day breakfast Pierside offers a number of choices to satisfy a hearty appetite including the Fisherman’s Breakfast (two eggs, two bacon strips, two sausages, two slices of toast and hash browns) the Pierside omelette, French toast, and a number of breakfast bagels. Several menu items are named after customers (Joe’s Breakfast, Spencer’s Breakfast Bagel and Jack’s Shrimp Panini Melt) because her regulars are the heartbeat of the business.

Paninis, sandwiches, wraps and baked goods satisfy the afternoon crowd. Diners can warm up during the winter months with comforting bowls of soup and chilli. Janice is proud to report that other than the Seafood Club which costs a modest $8.25, all of her sandwiches fall under $7.00. She has made a great effort to barely raise prices in ten years.

Pierside Deli propeller fries Steveston InsiderA top selling item is Pierside’s propeller fries, which can be spotted all over Steveston on busy summer days as people eat them off a skewer while browsing the village. Last year on Canada Day Janice smiles when she mentions they sold so many they could hardly keep up.

Over 13,000 propeller fries have been sold since Janice started making them.

Pierside Deli has an exclusive partnership to provide packed lunches for both of Steveston’s whale watching companies’ lunch charters (Vancouver Whale Watch and Steveston Seabreeze Adventures). Janice recalls the relationship began with Vancouver Whale Watch when her oldest son Alex was a boy (he is now a commercial fisherman). He would hang out at the dock and ended up volunteering with Vancouver Whale Watch.
Over time a lunch tie in was worked out which has been going strong for eight years. Owner Cedric Towers and his staff have been extremely supportive of Pierside Deli. Janice says, “It takes a village to raise a child – and a business!”

Rainer comes in most mornings to open the restaurant before he heads off to his job as a subcontracting painter with the City of Surrey. Janice says, “He makes coffee and hashes it out with the guys until I arrive.”

Everything at Pierside Deli has evolved naturally, from a shelf designated to hold regular patron’s coffee mugs (they bring them in for their own use, a trend that evolved when Rainer began bringing in his cup) to the “Captain’s Galley,” a wall of photos customers have shared — it’s very informal and down to earth, which is reflective of Janice. If you are a regular customer you likely won’t have to place your order as she has a keen memory and will create your favourite menu item.

“It’s like our home and when customers come to Pierside it’s their place too.” Janice Sieg

Pierside Deli photo wall Steveston InsiderShe says, “I love what I’m doing. I love people. Everyone knows everything about me.” Janice is a very forthright person and enjoys sharing stories. What goes around comes around and her customers care about her too; Janice was touched to receive get well soon cards when she was in the hospital.

Janice is extremely thankful for her family’s help. Her daughter Kaitlyn works with her throughout the summer and her niece and Alex’s girlfriend Jayden also work shifts. With gratitude she says, “I don’t want this to be a stressful place for them. I want it to be fun.”

What does she enjoy most about her business? Hands down it is the people, from the tourists who patronize her business (she has a fun time trying to guess their accents) to the fishermen and other locals who come in every day to dine, drink coffee and hang out.

Pierside Deli is open every day of the year including Christmas. She mentions that it has become a tradition for people to drop in for a Christmas bagel. On sunny warm evenings she will stay open later if people are milling about.

Janice appreciates Rainer’s advice to stick it out during the tough early days when she was getting established. Janice says it has paid off, and she is happy to be doing what she loves in such a beautiful location.

Pierside Deli
115-3800 Bayview Street
Richmond BC V7E 6K7
Telephone 604-448-0071

Balloon Place

Monday, February 6th, 2017

It’s Time to Celebrate!

Balloon Place Steveston mickey mouse themeTammy Still and I arranged to meet at a Steveston coffee shop in December. Not having met, she told me I would easily recognize her – she would be carrying balloons. She arrived with a large Christmas arrangement designed with a festive foil bear as the centrepiece, and offered this gift to the excited staff to add a festive touch to the restaurant.

Both generous and marketing savvy, her balloon arrangement became a calling card to direct people to her new Steveston business, Balloon Place, on First Avenue in the former home of Bell’s Bake Shop.

Balloon Place opened last June on the third floor of the same building where it is now located. It was not convenient for passers-by and Tammy was keen to find a more visible location. When the street level storefront became available she was thrilled.

Balloon Place Steveston Tammy StillHow did she reach the decision to establish her business in Steveston? She says, “There is no other store of its kind in Richmond.” Tammy felt there was a demand for colourful, cheerful balloons, which captivate people of all ages with their celebratory ‘it’s party time’ energy.

Tammy mentions in the 1980s she wanted to throw elaborate parties for her nephews when but it was not in her budget so she learnt balloon art. While the business concept did not take off until much later the seed had been planted; she loved the artistry of balloon arrangement.

Balloon Place is open seven days a week to ensure customers can access over 1,000 balloons.

Tammy jokes with a warm smile, “I am a workaholic who forgot to have kids.” In fact, she may be the biggest kid of all, and owning a business that makes people happy is her driving force.

Tammy worked as a realtor in her native Los Angeles until she eventually chose to leave the United States, largely because of the American medical system. She relocated to Calgary and continued to work in real estate until the market slumped and then she headed to the Lower Mainland to work in strata management. She realized this job was not for her and the time had arrived to follow her passion; she shifted gears and began working with Vancouver based business JC Balloon Studio.

Balloon Place Steveston 12211 First Ave interiorTammy moved to Steveston in 2007 where she lives with her husband and business partner Steve Olson. She loves the community and decided last year to venture out and set up an old-fashioned mum and pop store. She mentions, “I am ecstatic to be here. I have always wanted to be part of a small community. I love the mix of cultures; there is something very special about Steveston.”

She appreciates the small town feeling where events like the Steveston Merchants Association’s Scarecrow Crawl, Girls’ Night Out and Christmas in Steveston Village bring the streets to life and benefit local businesses. She hopes that her unique business will continue to draw more shoppers to the area.

There is something magical about balloons that put a smile on people’s faces.

Tammy says, “If you can imagine it, we can make it.” Orders of any size are possible, from a single special balloon to a bouquet that can fill a room for a special event.

Whether you are celebrating the birth of a baby, a birthday, sweet sixteen, graduation, marriage or retirement, balloons add the crowning touch. Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s Day and Canada Day are made more special with the addition of colourful balloons.

Tammy points out, “Variety is key. If you have a dream balloon, Balloon Place is likely to have it.” Some clients know exactly what they want (Pinterest has sparked many design requests) but if you are stumped for an idea Tammy is happy to use her artistry to create an arrangement. She mentions a wishing well she constructed from balloons for a wedding. The guests tossed wishes in for the bride and groom and it was a huge hit.

If by chance Balloon Place doesn’t carry the balloon you have in mind they will hunt it down with enough notice. Some customers have been known to bring in their own balloons for filling. In addition, Balloon Place rents helium tanks if you prefer to cut down on costs to fill balloons for your event. Tammy’s goal is to keep prices affordable.

“The best part of my business is the happiness it brings.” Tammy Still

Balloon Place Steveston 12211 First AveCorporate and charity events are a large part of their business. It is not uncommon to receive an order for as many as 5,000 balloons to create an arch, column or canopy to fill a convention centre. Balloon walls and sculptures are other popular options. The film industry also utilizes their service. Balloon Place works with JC Balloon Studio to fill large orders. Tammy says they have a wonderful relationship with owner Carlos Gonzalez and will always continue to help each other.

If a special occasion is calling out for the finishing touch, pop in to meet Tammy and Steve at Balloon Place. You can’t miss the happy helium balloon bouquets floating in the storefront window, enticing customers to come inside.

Balloon Place
110-12211 First Avenue
Richmond BC V7E 3M3
Telephone 604-284-2565
www.balloonplace.ca

Britannia Steveston Local Craft Beer and Food

Monday, February 6th, 2017

Britannia Steveston Trystam, Lloyd, Kyle

A Hip New Vibe for the Village

Anchors aweigh! One of Steveston’s newest restaurants, Britannia Steveston Local Craft Beer and Food, has now been open for six months. Housed in a beautiful nautically influenced space designed to complement Steveston’s waterfront location, this restaurant offers a menu built around local food and craft beer from their own brewery.

Back in 2014 Steveston residents and friends Kyle Brailean, Trystam Hayden and Lloyd Kinney joined forces to start a craft beer brewery, which they named Britannia Brewing Company.

The enterprising partners joke and say the brewery is on the small size. The pint-sized 1,200 square foot space is packed with brewing equipment and to date has brewed 20,000 litres of craft beer. Kyle, Trystam and Lloyd are all actively involved and acknowledge the fine work of their full-time head brewer Mike Nicholson.

Britannia Steveston eat drinkTheir long-term vision was to open up a restaurant to serve as a tasting room for their brewery. In an ideal world the two establishments would have been housed under one roof but due to Steveston’s zoning regulations, which have subsequently changed, they set up in Ironwood. In August 2016 the restaurant opened at the corner of Bayview Street and Second Avenue.

“Steveston has the charm and friendly vibe that I grew up with. What better place to showcase our beer.” Kyle Brailean

The south facing restaurant is filled with light. Wood sided walls painted white, classic white subway tiles behind the bar, woven seat barstools, industrial style pendant and hanging lantern lighting and a gorgeous family size table the trio constructed from reclaimed wood are all part of the space’s inviting atmosphere.

Britannia Steveston Kyle Brailean Lloyd KinneyKyle, Trystam and Lloyd have pooled their talents and are burning the midnight oil as they juggle family life (they all have wives and young children), the brewery, the restaurant, and in the case of Kyle and Lloyd, two careers. Kyle is a welder with B.C. Ferries. He comes from a family of brewers and says, “For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a brewer like my grandfather.”

Britannia Steveston Trystam HaydenTrystam works full-time at the restaurant and also assists at the brewery. He has an extensive background in restaurant management; his family owns Sydney’s Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel, Australia’s oldest brew pub. He met his Richmond-born wife while she was visiting Australia and they moved to Canada in 2014.

Lloyd comes from the business side. Lloyd’s construction team from his company MLK Properties worked alongside Lloyd, Kyle and Trystam to gut and rebuild the restaurant’s interior. Lloyd’s wife Adrienne Kinney is a designer and was thrilled to have a rare opportunity to design a restaurant from a shell.

“We’re excited about growing our business locally the craft way. We’re confident we will build a successful and scalable brand for our brewery and Steveston restaurant.” Lloyd Kinney

Currently, Britannia Brewery Company primarily brews for the restaurant. They also sell kegs to O’Hare’s GastroPub and canned beer to select B.C. Liquor Stores (Ironwood, Seafair and a few independents). At this point they are producing at one third of their potential capacity and intend to expand their canned beer production. Their vision is slow and steady wins the race. Their top priorities are to produce the best quality craft beer and to grow the local market first.

Craft beer is defined as made by hand in small batches with an emphasis on distinctive full-bodied tastes and aromas achieved by using local ingredients. As examples, in some of their batches Britannia Brewing Company uses tea from Steveston businesses Adorabelle Tea Room and chocolate from Sinfully the Best.

“Britannia Brewing Company aims to brew with British tradition and West Coast ingenuity using the best seasonal ingredients we can get.” Trystam Hayden

The restaurant offers six distinct craft beers on tap to choose from: Adrift Hop Blonde Ale (inspired by the surrounding ocean and mountains), Ashore Rye Porter (a twist on the traditional brown style porter), Wave Crusader XPA (falling somewhere between a British pale ale and American IPA), Rye India Pale Ale (with big resiny grapefruit and tropical fruit aromas), Chai Saison (refreshing and effervescent farmhouse ale using a chai tea blend) and Biere De Garde (a strong pale ale brewed with a Belgium farmhouse yeast, toffee malt and aromas of dried fruits).

Beer can be purchased in glasses or select a tasting flight of four 6 ounce glasses to compare and contrast tastes. If you are looking to have a full craft beer experience, inquire about the upcoming ticketed beer dinner, a four-course paired meal.

Coming soon, the trio hopes their application to sell growlers at the Ironwood brewery will meet final approval. They will also be offering cask nights biweekly and restaurant guests will have the chance to try one-off beers. They could be winners, or not, it is all about experimenting as interesting ingredients such as blueberries, jalapeno or chocolate may be added to a cask.

Mirroring the pride they take in their craft beer, Kyle, Trystam and Lloyd strive to feature as many local products as possible. They shine the spotlight on quality and don’t cut corners.

The restaurant’s menu rotates six times a year. A sampling of share plate selections include charcuterie featuring locally cured meat by Steveston’s own D Original Sausage Haus, stuffed Yorkies (roasted beef, horseradish aioli, au jus) and a salmon board (pate, house gravlax, smoked salmon, local sourdough, citrus aioli). Select main dishes include crab and chili spaghettini (shell pasta, farmhouse cheddar, reggiano and parsley), Britannia beer battered fish and chips (Ocean Wise cod), Nepalese chicken curry and their signature grass fed burger (local beef from Pemberton, B.C.’s Two Rivers Specialty Meats), along with other tempting offerings in the share plate, soup and salad and main dish/handheld categories.Britannia Steveston Bayview StIf you are looking for a spot to have weekend brunch, stop by the restaurant on Saturdays and Sundays between 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to enjoy tasty Two Rivers’ bacon, sausages from D Original Sausage Haus and free-range eggs.

Kyle, Trystam and Lloyd are eager to introduce people to the community they love. Through their niche business they are seeing craft beer enthusiasts who have never been to Steveston making the trip because they’ve caught wind of something exciting going on.

Kudos to Britannia Steveston Local Craft Beer and Food and Britannia Brewing Company for their role in helping put our fishing village on the map.

Britannia Steveston Local Craft Beer & Food
250-12240 Second Ave
Richmond, BC V7E 3L8
Telephone 604-270-9252
www.britanniasteveston.ca

Diplomat Bakery

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

diplomat-bakery-steveston-insider-1Sweet Masterpieces Aplenty.

The baked goods look so tantalizing it is hard to know where to begin when you peek inside Diplomat Bakery’s glass display case laden with cakes and treats.

Do you choose a cinnamon bun, croissant, square or a slice of cake? Maybe you have a friend along to share tastes with, or perhaps you should select a cake to take home?

Whatever you decide, you know it’s going to be a guaranteed winner as no corners are cut or expense is spared on ingredients; real cream, butter and Belgian chocolate are all used to create these European style temptations.Mark Stenson Gerald StensonDiplomat Bakery is very much a family affair. Gerald Stenson, his wife Elizabeth and their son Mark are all actively involved in running the business. Their daughter Adele is a nurse and is a keen supporter of the family enterprise. She has played a key role in customer service and now helps contribute to product research and development.

Gerald is the pastry chef and Elizabeth is the bookkeeper. She holds a degree in food service administration and has financial accounting experience. Gerald adds fondly, “She’s a very integral behind-the-scenes part of the business.”

Mark has been helping out at the bakery since he was so small that he needed a box to stand on at the cash register. Now, with a diploma in accounting and a BBA degree in marketing under his belt, he assists with operations and marketing and is playing an active role in taking the business to the next level. He is very interested in product development and is proud of the success of introducing a seven-inch variation of their traditional nine-inch cake. He says, “Customers have responded well to this addition.”

The well-loved bakery recently reopened at their beautiful new location at London Station.

Situated across the street from their former London Road site, the new space is much more visible as the storefront is set closer to the street. In a smart business move, the Stensons purchased the space. It is slightly smaller than their previous location and conjures up memories of their original Steveston village shop on Moncton Street, which was in operation from 1994 to 2007.

diplomat-bakery-steveston-insider-2Their goal was to create a storefront as classy as the cakes for which they are known. They credit designer Lorraine Ilich for her assistance. Along the front window they have incorporated a twenty-foot counter made of stone with seating for customers to enjoy their coffee and treats and do a little people watching. A rolling garage door on the east side of the bakery will open during the summer months and there is plenty of space for outdoor patio seating.

“We were able to design the space from scratch and dress it up.” Mark Stenson

Aware that Diplomat Bakery is the only place to purchase coffee in the London Station area, they have stepped up their coffee service with a new espresso machine and have introduced locally roasted coffee by Oughtred Roasting Works. Their staff has been trained to make coffee to satisfy connoisseurs. Speciality drinks such as London Fog and chai lattes share the menu with favourite coffee standards.

Customers stop in to shop for their baked goods, and others pass by for a coffee and a treat en route to or from a walk or bike ride along the south dyke.

Gerald has been creating sweet masterpieces for Diplomat Bakery since it first opened in 1994.

Originally from Ireland, he has a lilt of an Irish accent that has morphed from time spent working as a pastry chef for Sheraton and Hilton hotels in Africa, Australia, Malaysia and the Middle East. He also worked in Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Twenty-five years ago he moved to Canada with his wife Elizabeth and their two small children.

When Gerald arrived in Vancouver he discovered he was overqualified and had a hard time finding work. He worked in airline catering and then tried his hand at going into business wholesaling baked goods. He began by giving out samples of his delicious pastries and cakes to restaurants and he was on his way – they were hooked.

At one point, before Costco had their own in house bakery, Diplomat Bakery supplied three Costco locations as well as G.M. Place arena (they supplied the Canucks and Grizzlies teams and some special events). Gerald recalls creating a special rose dessert for Bette Midler in honour of her popular song.

After wholesaling got to be a bit much he decided to branch into retail. The business name came from a hotel Gerald and Elizabeth visited while they were working in Bahrain. Gerald explains, “We always felt Diplomat would be a nice name for a company. Also, we really enjoyed our time there and the staff were very kind.”

“I wake up in the morning and love going to work.” Gerald Stenson

diplomat-bakery-steveston-insider-3Diplomat Bakery has earned a reputation for its excellent cakes. Gerald lists the Diplomat, Red Velvet, Tiramisu and Triple Chocolate cakes as perennial favourites. Mark points out, “The tastes are true to their origin.” He remembers a customer saying, “This is what a Black Forest cake should taste like.”

They have regular customers who come for their chocolate fix. Some travel in from North Vancouver and Tsawwassen to visit their favourite bakery. Gerald recalls customers ordering cakes to take to Vancouver Island, across the border and even as far away as Hong Kong. He says, “We are very flattered people want to do that.”

Christmas is always a special time at Diplomat Bakery as seasonal goodies make their debut. Inside the display case you will find their popular three-inch mince pies, four varieties of tarts (almond, butter, coconut and pecan), stollen, shortbread (boxed makes a nice gift), gingerbread men (for kids of every size) and Yule logs.

This holiday season consider taking some of the pressure off and leave some of the baking to the experts at Diplomat Bakery.

Diplomat Bakery
6168 London Road
Richmond, BC V7E 3S3
Telephone: 604-241-9134
www.diplomatbakery.com

Pretty Things Florist & Designer Gifts

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

pretty-things-florist-steveston-insider-6 The Lovelier Things in Life. 

Janeil Mackay has always had an appreciation for pretty things. Wanting to share her passion for the lovelier things in life with her community, she recently opened a full service florist and gift store in Steveston.

Janeil’s diverse career has centred on retail and she has held some impressive positions in retail management with Helly Hansen and Nygard. Most recently she spent eight years as the Canucks Sports & Entertainment retail director.

She laughs when she mentions, “I wanted to move away from jerseys and hoodies and was inspired to open Pretty Things.”

Janeil_Mackay_Pretty_Things_Florist_StevestonPretty Things opened in 2015 at Oakridge Centre. When the shop’s short-term lease ended she chose to move the business to Steveston, where she lives with her husband and two children.

She discovered the gorgeous new retail space waiting to be leased on the corner of Bayview Street and Third Avenue (situated across from scenic Steveston Harbour) and knew it was the perfect home for Pretty Things. Bleached white flooring, large windows facing east, west and south flood the store with light, a 12 foot high ceiling that creates an airy feeling, three oversized white pendant lights (that resemble allium flowers) and a white brick wall all add to the charm.

An additional perk is the shop’s south facing patio. During the warmer months customers can sit in the sun and appreciate the waterfront backdrop while enjoying a cup of coffee or tea from the shop’s full service coffee bar.

“Retail is becoming all about the experience.” Janeil Mackay

Chai tea, lavender latte and red tea latte are some of the signature drinks on the menu. Customers enjoy this unique service, which enables them to either shop with a drink in hand, or simply sit down in the pretty atmosphere and relax with a coffee (there is also indoor seating). Janeil has noticed that a Sunday coffee crowd is developing.

A consultation room is set up at the back of shop to meet with brides and grooms to plan wedding flowers. In the short time the new location has been open (October 2016) she has already seen an increase in wedding consultations. In addition to wedding flowers, Pretty Things also offers floral installation services to an impressive list of corporate clients, realtors and developers who use the shop’s floral service to stage homes and send to clients as thank you gifts.

“It’s a beautiful space and the plants are thriving in the natural light.” Janeil Mackay

Pretty Things is known for its quality pre-made bouquets and arrangements. Customers also have the option of creating a custom bouquet by selecting flowers directly from the large cooler at the back of the shop.

Plants ranging from small succulents (perfect for offices or kitchen counters and bathrooms) to mid-sized houseplants and gorgeous orchids all have a home at Pretty Things. Janeil says indoor plants are seeing a surge in popularity not only for their aesthetics but also because they act as natural air purifiers.

Would you or someone you know love to receive fresh flowers on a regular basis? Pretty Things’ Flower Club may be just what you are looking for. Every week you can arrange for a bouquet of seasonal flowers to be delivered – you can also create your own schedule and budget. Send flowers to a sick friend or to a relative in a care home. Husbands and boyfriends, this is a wonderful way to woo your partner with floral displays of love.

Janeil says, “Customers love it. We help make their life simpler. We take care of all the details and they don’t have to think about it.”

If you are looking to hone your flower arranging skills, Pretty Things offers workshops throughout the year. Next up is a holiday wreath-making workshop on December 5. With the guidance of a florist participants will learn how to design a holiday floral wreath or door swag, which you will get to take home. To add to the merriment, hot toddies will be served.
Look no further than Pretty Things this holiday season for table arrangements, bouquets and Christmas centerpieces. Some of the seasonal flowers making an appearance include winter peonies, garden roses, holly, and seasonal elements such as frosted tips, which make an arrangement cry out “Happy Holidays!”

Janeil believes flowers and gifts are a natural pairing. Year round gifts and décor can be found at Pretty Things, however, with Christmas on the horizon, ideas for presents and stocking stuffers are at the top of everyone’s list.

Some of the designer brands carried include Kate Spade frames, notebooks, candles, Panier de Sens soaps, hand cream, body lotion and body wash, Linnea Lights candles and diffusers and Ted Baker travel bags and notebooks.

Other great gift items include The Cottage Greenhouse body soap, creams and sprays (this line made Oprah’s favourite things list for 2016), and for the bride to be, Wedgewood bridal books and notepads. Don’t forget yourself on the shopping list – buy a travel mug and Pretty Things will fill it with a free coffee.

pretty-things-florist-steveston-insider-3As a new member of Steveston’s merchant community Janeil recently became a Steveston Merchants Association board member. She has enjoyed assisting with Christmas in Steveston Village and has taken an active role in seeking sponsors. She believes in investing in Steveston and says, “If other merchants are successful, my business will also be successful. It’s important merchants work together.”

After operating a shop in the mall and abiding by strict hours of operation, Janeil is happy to have the freedom to pick her own hours (the store is open 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. excluding Mondays when it is closed). She says her customers are supportive and lovely and she is thrilled to be operating a business in a small community where people introduce themselves and become loyal clients.

This holiday season make a point of adding Pretty Things to your list of local businesses to visit and discover for yourself how this pretty shop earned its name.

Pretty Things Florist & Designer Gifts
110-3531 Bayview Street
Richmond, BC V7E 5W3
Telephone: 604-285-9120
www.prettythingsvancouver.ca

OSUM! Kitchen + Lab

Saturday, December 10th, 2016

Lucy Wang recently opened a new restaurant in Steveston Village on Bayview Street.

osum-logoIt is a fusion restaurant that specializes in making one-of-a-kind, 100% handcrafted (dough to final product) foods, namely BAO-GER (bao-burger), OSUM! specialty fusion noodles, and their very own “Monoodle” (single over 1-m long handmade broad kale / egg noodles that fits in a bowl).osum-interior

BAOGER, a.k.a. Bao burger/ Asian-style burger, is their latest signature creation of the handcrafted hybrid food series at OSUM! Kitchen + Lab. It has the look of an fluffy Asian steamed bao bun but is unexpectedly filled with endless savoury fillings like a hamburger, filled with all-natural tender braised pork belly, beef brisket, and grilled cheesy chicken for the patty, fresh veggies, intercontinental condiments, premium pine nuts, and their OSUM! secret sauce.

They also make OSUM! specialty noodles from scratch every morning. That’s also why they only make limited orders of baos and noodles each day. Just like the baogers, they make sure you have a one-of-a-kind experience tasting the ‘world’ in every single OSUM noodle bowls. OSUM! noodle are sauce-based artisanal noodles embellished with a vast array of crisp veggies, exotic herbs & spices, essentially the gastronomic essence of various cultures. There is no doubt that every customer at OSUM! will be able to taste a little bit of Tokyo, LA, Seoul, Thai, Singapore,…. inside one soul-warming bowl.

OSUM! Kitchen + Lab
125-3531 Bayview Street, Richmond, BC V7E 5W3
Telephone: 604-272-2538
www.liveosum.com

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