Posts Tagged ‘first’

Pizza Factory

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

Warm Smiles and Great Tasting Pizza

Pizza_Factory_Richmond_2_Steveston_Palla_MediaIf you haven’t stopped by Pizza Factory recently it may be time to stroll in and meet the new owners who purchased the business three months ago. Kulvir Aujla and her husband Sukhi are quickly earning a reputation not only for their great tasting pizza but also for their warm and friendly service.

The business is truly a family affair. Kulvir is the primary owner and Sukhi assists her in the kitchen along with marketing the business and making deliveries. Their niece Alyssa McGahey is also actively involved on the front end. In addition, Sukhi’s father and the couple’s son and daughter come in to assist and volunteer their time.

Pizza_Factory_Richmond_sukhi_Steveston_Palla_MediaAnother behind the scenes promoter is Sukhi’s mother. Kulvir says, “She is an ambassador and promotes Pizza Factory to seniors. Our kids have also been actively promoting the business to their friends and sports teams.”

Sometimes when an opportunity crosses your path you have to jump at it. Kulvir was working in management at Walmart when she heard through the grapevine that Pizza Factory in Steveston was for sale. With an extensive background in the restaurant industry she felt the time was ripe to make the leap and run her own business.

They gave the restaurant a fresh makeover with olive green paint, new seating, a new countertop and wall signage to showcase the full menu.

A fun new seaside logo features a friendly orca named “Pep” (short for pepperoni). In the future Pep will become a costumed mascot. They are grateful to Yeti Works in Steveston village for designing their fun logo and website. Sukhi and Kulvir point out that they are eager to support local businesses.

What are the couple finding most rewarding in the early days of running the business?

They say working together for the first time is a pleasure. They are also feeling empowered being self-employed which allows them the freedom to make decisions for their business. They thoroughly enjoy getting to know their customers as they drop in and become regulars. Sukhi says, “Our intention is it run it like the TV show Cheers.”

“We’re having a good time. That’s what we want to do.” Sukhi Aujla

Pizza_Factory_Richmond_samosa_Steveston_Palla_MediaThe Aujlas live in Richmond’s Hamilton neighbourhood, but have always had an affinity for Steveston. They believe the two areas share a similar spirit. They are excited to be a part of Steveston’s business community and are demonstrating their philanthropic nature by supporting local events.

Recently they donated 15 pizzas to a group of McMath Secondary School students who participated in Convenant House’s Sleep Out to Support Homeless Youth. Pizza Factory has also become the official pizza supplier for the Islanders 04 softball team. Kulvir says, “We are actively looking to support local sports teams in Richmond.”

Over the Easter weekend Pizza Factory staged a three day customer appreciation blitz. A team of 30 volunteers (aka friends and family) helped to conduct this marketing campaign by wearing matching “Ask me how to get a free slice” t-shirts as they handed out coupons throughout Steveston. People lined up around the block to take advantage of this tempting offer and over the course of three days 1,300 slices were served. In the process they discovered ninety per cent of the people who dropped by the business didn’t know they existed.

To introduce more clients to their business they suggest swinging by on July 1 to see what fun things they will be doing to celebrate Canada Day.

Pizza_Factory_Richmond_1_Steveston_Palla_MediaNew to Pizza Factory are loyalty cards and pizza by the slice. High school students in particular appreciate being able to drop by at lunchtime with the new earlier business hours (open at 11 a.m.). For Kulvir and Sukhi it is all about forging a symbiotic relationship with their customers. Their intention is to always keep the question “what can we do for you?” in the foreground of conducting business. The direct result of a customer’s request, Pizza Factory now offers 15% off take out pizzas.

“Our customers appreciate us as much as we appreciate them.”  Kulvir Aujla

While Pizza Factory is a franchise each location is given freedom to customize their business to best fit the community. They are not restricted to abide by a set menu and can introduce special items such as chicken and veggie samosas, Punjabi-style pizza and butter chicken may soon be introduced. Some of the top sellers include Hawaiian, house special, taco, bacon burger, barbecue chicken, spinach and of course, kid pleasing favourites, cheese and pepperoni pizzas. Gluten-free is available for medium size pizzas and whole-wheat crust is available upon request. All of the dough is made fresh each morning.

“If we’re blessed by the pizza gods we make dough more than once a day.” Sukhi Aujla

Every business has good stories and one unfolded during our interview. A Power Rangers film production member came in with a request for 42 pizzas for the crew, which were needed the following day. He had heard the buzz that Pizza Factory was the place to go for exceptionally friendly service.

It couldn’t happen to nicer people.

Pizza Factory
120-12020 First Avenue
Richmond BC V7E 3L9
Telephone: 604-233-7777

Outpost Mini Donut Company

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Outpost_Mini_Donut_Steveston_Insider_5430Bet You Can’t Have Just One!

Walking through the door of Outpost Mini Donut Company feels like stumbling upon a cozy cabin in the woods offering up warmth in the form of freshly made mini donuts. The aroma of these little morsels is the businesses’ secret weapon; it is very hard to resist their siren-like lure to taste each and every one of them.

Outpost is a joint venture between Christian Desierto, his wife Margie and her parents, Sam and Christine Sidsworth, with Christian Desierto as the managing partner.

Like many Steveston merchants, the Desiertos became smitten with the area when Sam and Christine Sidsworth retired to the waterfront village. Following the birth of their first child the Desiertos moved from Vancouver to Steveston.

They had been regular Outpost customers and seized the opportunity to purchase the business after seeing a for sale sign in the window. They were charmed by Outpost’s ambience with its fireplace and comfy living room seating area staged with ice skates, snowshoes, books, antlers and other rustic props. More importantly, they were firm believers in the product.

Outpost_Mini_Donut_Steveston_Insider_5434Christian Desierto holds a full time job as a commercial property manager with flexible hours, which allows him to be actively involved in managing the shop’s operations. Sam Sidsworth oversees the maintenance of the equipment to ensure the production line runs smoothly, Christine Sidsworth assists the staff whenever they need a hand and Margie Desierto makes all of the marshmallows that are sold in the store and popped into cups of hot chocolate.

Outpost is the only brick and mortar gourmet mini donut shop that Christian Desierto is aware of in the Lower Mainland.

Many people associate these bite size treats with the PNE and some food trucks are also selling them. But if you need a year round fix Outpost is the place to go.

On any given day you will find 10 varieties of donuts. Five classics stay on the menu year round (cinnamon sugar, chocolate, maple, powdered sugar and vanilla) while five seasonal donuts also join in on rotation. In the summer fruits such as blueberry and lemon appear. This fall apple caramel was introduced and was a huge hit. The winter sees festive flavours such as maple bacon (with bacon bits from Steveston’s Heringers Meats) and gingerbread.

Outpost_Mini_Donut_Steveston_Insider_5437What sets these donuts apart from their competitors? Outpost’s creations are concocted from a cake-based mix rather than yeast. This makes them fluffy, soft and moist with a crisp exterior and yields an excellent shelf life if you have enough will power to take them home. Donuts are replenished daily at the little shop. On busy days the fryer produces as many as 1,200 donuts. The largest order to date was 170 dozen for a corporate event.

Desierto laughs when he recalls pausing to calculate 170 dozen would be an order of 2,040 donuts. The fryer worked double time that day; it took six hours to make them.

In addition to in-store sales, Outpost also provides catering. Weddings are always popular and donuts can be themed by colour. Outpost delivers the order and clients are responsible for their own displays. Companies also like to order boxed donuts as gifts.

The company’s short-term goal is to promote the product and increase their customer base within the Greater Vancouver Area and a long-term goal is add a portable fryer for mobile events.

Outpost_Mini_Donut_Steveston_Insider_5441Some people are still discovering the business, which is located along Second Avenue’s treat row (it is sandwiched between two ice cream shops). Tourists and locals like to pop by at all hours, including an after dinner crowd that crave a small treat to fuel them the rest of the way home. Outpost has received added exposure at events like O’Hare’s GastroPub’s Steveston Beer Fest and Wine Fest where they offer donut samples.

Sold by the half dozen or by the baker’s dozen (lucky thirteen, a bonus donut comes your way), you can take the little yummies away in a paper cone or in a box.

For Desierto the most rewarding part about owning Outpost Mini Donut Company is the direct involvement he and his family have within the community they have chosen to call home.

He concludes, “Adults can turn into kids when they see there is more than one flavour. This is always a happy place with donuts involved.”

Outpost_Mini_Donut_Steveston_Insider_5425Outpost Mini Donut Company
110-12240 Second Ave
Richmond BC V7E 3L8
Telephone: 604-448-0005