Posts Tagged ‘Moncton’


Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Treasure Hidden Inside a Pod

Juvelisto Steveston Insider 1One of the questions people often ask business owner Sasha Shkolnik is where she came up with the name Juvelisto for her jewellery boutique. She explains the word stems from a universal language created in 1887 called Esperanto, and in this language the word for jeweller is juvelisto.

Sasha trained as an artist in her native Ukraine where she worked in the disciplines of oil paints and ceramics and she designed theatre props. During this time she also discovered jewellery making and began to create with clay and porcelain; this led to her dream of pursuing metal arts.

In 1995 she and her husband Leon Shkolnik and their young son decided to leave their homeland for a better life. Sasha mentions, “There was no economy for art during the recession in Ukraine and we saw no future for our family.”

Juvelisto Steveston Insider Sasha ShkolnikWhile they had no previous connection to Canada they felt fortunate to have the opportunity to immigrate here. They arrived in the country with nothing, and like many immigrants worked their way from the ground up. Sasha enrolled in the respected Jewellery Art and Design program at Vancouver Community College while Leon worked at assorted jobs to support them. When Sasha completed her diploma it was Leon’s turn to attend school to train in computer studies.

Upon graduating Sasha approached Karl Stittgen in South Granville with examples of her work and she was instantly hired. Her career as a goldsmith continued to blossom during the 12 years she spent at Costen Catbalue in Kitsilano and finally at Bill Chow Jewellers in Kerrisdale until she decided it was time to consider opening her own business.

“I needed to find my own path. There was a lot to lose but also a lot to gain by going out on my own.” Sasha Shkolnik

Sasha and her family (their daughter was born here) have lived in Richmond since moving to Canada. On a weekend walk in Steveston in 2011 they spotted a for lease sign on a vacant Moncton Street storefront. Sasha dialed the number immediately and promptly signed an agreement.

Her concept was to create a European style boutique where customers could observe the creative process and communicate with the jeweller. Sasha’s bench was literally centre stage, located in the middle of the floor plan until the shop was renovated last year.

What will you find at Juvelisto? In addition to Sasha’s exquisite work she represents artists from Canada, Germany, Israel, Italy, Russia, Turkey and the United States.

Sasha’s creations are breathtaking. She draws inspiration from organic textures, shapes and nature. Her gorgeous nuts and pods collection is inspired by objects found in nature, such as pea pods and peanuts, which are cast in silver or bronze and set with different beads, pearls and gemstones. She describes this collection as “treasure hidden inside a pod.”

Juvelisto Steveston Insider 3The primary focus of her business is custom work. This gifted artist has the talent to recycle and redesign sentimental pieces of jewellery into masterpieces. She loves hearing the stories that frequently accompany custom orders. She says with a smile, “The stories I hear and the people I meet are so diverse.”

She presents clients with beautifully rendered sketches (which are also works of art) depicting numerous ways new life can be breathed into a treasured possession. Metals can be recycled or reclaimed and gemstones can be used in new designs. Sasha’s creative mind conceives so many original possibilities it must be hard for clients to narrow them down to the final choice. Many of the orders involve a significant life event such as a birthday, wedding or anniversary. Sometimes clients have an idea of what they would like and other times Sasha is given free rein.

“I love my job. I am in the best profession in the world because I make people happy.” Sasha Shkolnik

Juvelisto Steveston Insider 7Last year Leon left his career as an information technology manager to join the business. Sasha is appreciative of all his hard work and notes he is responsible for all of Juvelisto’s impressive professional photography. This is the first time they have worked together and they are enjoying the partnership.

Leon is also fully responsible for Juvelisto’s stunning renovation that took place in April 2015; he transformed the vacant retail space next door (formerly an ice cream shop) into Juvelisto’s School of Metal Arts. The two spaces are joined together with a spectacular sliding barn door constructed of steel and wrought iron created by local artist Miran Elbakian. Sasha mentions that much of the functional decor found at Juvelisto, including the door, is for sale.

Customers had always expressed an interest in jewellery making lessons; Sasha kept a list of names and over time saw there was a demand.

One year ago the school opened. This is a very unique concept, incorporating a school with a jewellery shop. The workspace is visible from the front windows. Sasha laughs when she mentions, “We have to clean the nose marks from curious passers by daily.”

Eight students can be accommodated in the attractively renovated space, seated around a striking custom-made bench constructed from reclaimed wood. Each workspace is equipped with its own tools. Classes and workshops are offered year round and benches are also rented to artists when classes are not in session. Leanne Guthrie is one of the instructors along with invited guest teachers including Andrea Roberts from Circle Craft and enamel artist Peggy Logan.

Depending on the project, participants can leave with their own creation the same day. Other classes take place weekly over a five to eight week period. All classes are project based and are designed to stimulate the imagination. It is entirely possible to create a piece from scratch without previous experience. Ideas for new classes are constantly germinating and Sasha is currently excited about the idea of offering a class for couples to design their own wedding bands.

Juvelisto Steveston Insider 3500 MonctonJuvelisto has earned a devoted following of repeat customers. They are attracted to Sasha’s magnificent work and her genuine warmth and loving attention to each design she is entrusted with.

Sasha concludes with a smile, “I love Steveston. There is a real sense of community with people supporting and helping each other. From day one people supported me and entrusted me by leaving their precious pieces with me.”

120-3500 Moncton Street
Richmond BC V7E 3A2
Telephone: 604-241-7376


Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

The Arrival of a New Clothing Store Has Steveston Buzzing

Hunni's Steveston Insider interiorEarlier this summer social media was abuzz when Hunni’s made the announcement a new location was set to open in Steveston village. Fans of the trendy women’s clothing boutique, and there are many of them, with an impressive 41,000 on Facebook alone, were chatting about when this exciting development was going to take place.

Judging by the reaction, the second Hunni’s is destined to become as popular as the original Langley shop, founded in 2004 by entrepreneur twin sisters Christi Hunniford and Danielle (Hunniford) Stratuliak. Steveston residents and husband and wife duo, Chris and Jenelle Marshall, are the owners of the first Hunni’s franchise.

Hunni's Steveston Insider Jenelle MarshallOriginally from Kelowna, the Marshalls relocated to Vancouver in 2009 when Chris’ place of employment, Crown Packaging, shut down. The company offered him an attractive transfer to join their Richmond manufacturing plant. Jenelle was a social worker and Vancouver offered her many job opportunities. At the time the couple had no children and jumped at the opportunity.

“Life takes you where you’re supposed to go.” Chris Marshall

Chris says, “We spent four years living in a downtown Vancouver condo and enjoyed music, wine and good food. In 2012 we had our daughter Presley, and in 2013 we found our home in Steveston.” Jenelle chimes in, “We fell in love with Steveston right away. When we were in Kelowna people told us to check out the village. We got an immediate sense of community.”

How did the opportunity to own and operate Steveston’s Hunni’s come about? Chris worked with Curtis Stratuliak (husband of Danielle (Hunniford) Stratuliak) at Richmond’s Crown Packaging. They had discussed the possibility of future business opportunities; Curtis approached the Marshalls in March 2015, hoping they would be interested in opening a Hunni’s. Jenelle was pregnant at the time with their son Rex (who is now one-year-old) and they delayed the invitation for a year.

Chris explains, “Our intent was never to franchise per se, but to open a shop we could call our own, and working with Hunni’s allowed us to do so with some heavy duty support on the back-end. It’s a unique opportunity and we are very excited.”

“We wanted to live, work and play in the village.” Jenelle Marshall

Hunni's Steveston Insider interior3They were aware there was a fashion shortfall for their particular demographic in south Richmond. Combining Chris’ talent for marketing and accounting with Jenelle’s passion for clothing (she confesses that her sister, her mother and herself have always been professional shoppers) and her ability to work in a busy, public environment was a natural fit.

Later this summer Jenelle will work in the shop full-time alongside Hunni’s staff who all happen to be Stevestonites. Each have their areas of expertise and Jenelle and Chris have been very impressed by their assorted talents. Chris is continuing his career with Crown Packaging, in addition to providing behind the scenes support for their new business.

Jenelle says, “We are confident that Hunni’s will be a positive influence on the neighbourhood where we plan to raise our children. We see this as an opportunity to further immerse ourselves in our community.”

Big advocates of shopping locally, they hope to attract customers not only to Hunni’s but also to explore other businesses in the village.

Hunni's Steveston Insider interior2The store opened on June 15 and has received glowing feedback. People are very happy Hunni’s has arrived. They are enjoying more clothing options in the village and appreciate the shop’s aesthetics. The Marshalls had expected primarily 20 to 45 year old clients but have been pleasantly surprised to discover a diverse age range of customers happily shopping at the store.

Hunni’s is known for carrying a large number of unique and affordable labels not found at the mall. Up to seventy per cent of the lines are created by boutique designers from Langley, Squamish, Vancouver and Los Angeles. Other popular brands such as Billabong, Element and Hurley are also carried. Jenelle points out, “West Coast inspired fashion reflects what’s going on here. It is very seasonal and functional wear.”

This summer flirty festival fashion has been all the rage. What can you expect to find at Hunni’s for fall? Think cozy and retro, as 1970s inspired flare jeans will be making a comeback paired with warm layers of knit sweaters, plaid flannel shirts and topped with a vest or leather jacket. Hunni’s also sells a selection of footwear. Jenelle points out, “Ankle booties are likely here to stay and have already proven to be a hit in the village.”

Chris says, “We’re both excited about the 70s throwback that seems to be popular now. That tends to be the generation we identify with in the arts and music.”

September is synonymous with back to school and students need head no further than Hunni’s to find backpacks. Vancouver based company Herschel Supply Co. makes backpacks with a heritage vibe that have proven to be a hit with the high school crowd. Herschel backpacks come in many styles and fabrics; some are reminiscent of vintage Boy Scout bags made of canvas with leather straps. Ipad cases will also be available.

Hunni's Steveston Insider 3900 MonctonIn their free time the couple can be found out with their children and their pug named Jude (as in “Hey Jude”). They point out their daughter is a social butterfly and knows many of the merchants at their favourite Steveston shops. They enjoy the local music scene and take advantage of all that is offered.

Smitten with Steveston, they share one car and feel there is very little need to leave the area. Jenelle says, “We can often be found close to home at the playground or library.” For the young couple it all comes down to community involvement and they feel very fortunate to be living, working and playing in a village they love very much.

105-3900 Moncton St
Richmond BC V7E 3A6
Telephone 604-272-0214

Ora Sushi Japanese Grill

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Quality Sushi Made With Love

Ora_Sushi_June2_Steveston_Palla_MediaOra is the Korean word for “come again, or welcome” and it is the perfect name for this new Moncton Street restaurant. Ora Sushi owner June Shim personifies the business name with her welcoming and gracious manner.

After an extensive floor to ceiling renovation Ora Sushi opened in early August and the response has been tremendous.

Shim is no stranger to restaurant ownership. Customers who were familiar with her former business, Kimchi Nara Korean BBQ, are delighted to discover she has embarked on a new venture. She operated Kimchi Nara Korean BBQ in downtown Richmond for 10 years. Subsequently, she worked as a manager of a local sushi restaurant for three years and then decided it was time to return to her favourite place, the kitchen, and run her own business.

Past clients are delighted that she has opened a new restaurant. Ora Sushi has also established a new and enthusiastic clientele who are discovering why her cooking has earned such an excellent reputation.

Her passion for food and her culinary talent stems from having grown up in the food industry. She reveals her mother is also an amazing cook and her parents owned a restaurant in Korea. Shim loves to garden and grows many different kinds of Korean herbs and vegetables in her backyard.

She feels extremely happy when she cooks and derives joy from meeting customers. Regarding owning her business she says, “It is a much more satisfying personal stake.”

Locals and visitors alike are discovering Ora Sushi’s tasty and artfully presented dishes.

This new enterprise is a detour from her former Korean BBQ as sushi takes the spotlight on the menu. All of the sauces are made in house. Quality is of utmost importance to her. She insists on using only wild caught Pacific salmon and red tuna and she begins each day by visiting local vegetable markets to select produce.

Ora_Sushi_Roll1_Steveston_Palla_MediaThe Nori (seaweed) is premium quality without the use of coatings or artificial preservatives. Ora Sushi uses premium Japanese sushi rice, low sodium soya sauce, and natural ginger. Some gluten free dishes are offered. In addition to a focus on health conscious food, Ora Sushi strives to provide a friendly, welcoming, personal dining experience.

She says, “I am always thinking about cooking and the presentation of food.”

Presentation is most certainly a huge part of the Ora Sushi experience. All selections are artfully arranged on Villeroy and Boch German porcelain and on unique Japanese serving plates.

Ora_Sushi_Roll2_Steveston_Palla_MediaFun names for some of the signature special rolls include the Crazy Roll, Mr. Big Roll, Monster Bite and 911. Speaking of the Crazy Roll, it is crazy good. I have not been able to stop thinking about this delicious, crispy, warm signature California roll with its three sauces.

Another highly recommended specialty, the Golden Roll, is cooked in a cast iron pan and is comprised of avocado, cucumber, imitation crab, baked salmon and tobiko with cheese on top.

If you are a sushi novice the Caterpillar Roll as a good place to begin. It contains asparagus, imitation crab, avocado, and cucumber with sliced avocado.
The extensive menu offers a large selection of appetizers such as Chicken Yakatori, Grilled Mussels, “Monkey Brain” (deep fried avocado with crab meat), Oyster Motoyaki (grilled oysters with veggies, mayo and cheese) and Ebi Gyoza.

Ora_Sushi_Roll3_Steveston_Palla_MediaThe menu features a few favourites from her past business such as Bibimbap, Kalbi BBQ beef and Udon. Maki sushi, sashimi, nigiri sushi and noodle dishes round out the extensive menu. Bento boxes and set lunches and dinners are also featured.

Shim and her husband, local RE/MAX realtor Kevin McDowell, met in Korea in 1992 and have lived in Richmond since 1997. They have two grown children, one is finishing high school, and the other is attending university. Both their son and daughter work at the business part-time.

Although fully immersed in her new business she still finds time to be actively involved with the two churches her family attends. The family belongs to the Korean Jireh Presbyterian Church in Vancouver and also Trinity Lutheran Church in Richmond. She regularly donates her time to the Korean fellowship committee that provides hot lunches on a weekly basis. She says, “Food is a part of my life and I like making people happy.”

The response from local merchants has been tremendous; neighbouring business owners regularly pop in to order lunch to go.

Ora_Sushi_street_sign_StevestonThe holiday season will soon be here. If you are entertaining at home consider impressing your guests with an Ora Sushi party tray. Open six days a week for lunch and dinner (consult the website for hours), this Steveston newcomer deserves a big welcome – and an even bigger thank you for choosing the village to set up shop!

Ora Sushi Japanese Grill
120-3651 Moncton St
Richmond BC V7E 3A5
Telephone: 604-284-3880

Village Bikes

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Pedalling into Steveston’s Future

Village_Bikes_Steveston_Insider_Palla_MediaIt is unlikely that any Steveston business owner other than Brett Martyniuk can claim to be a fourth generation Steveston merchant.

The Martyniuk family planted roots in this community in the late 1930s when Brett’s great-grandfather Peter Martyniuk founded Steveston Barbers. He operated his shop in the same location that Village Bikes now calls home. Brett points out his great-grandfather cut hair in the front of the store and lived in the back of the building.

His grandparents, Gabe and Marg Martyniuk, owned Island Cleaners for approximately forty years. It was situated in the space that now masquerades as the storefront “Any Given Sundae” on the television show Once Upon A Time.

Brett’s parents Ray and Elaine Martyniuk founded and ran Cannery Row Cafe in the mid-1980s, and today his father is the owner and operator of Steveston Water Taxi.

It seems Brett was destined to follow his family’s entrepreneurial path. In May 2007, after sensing there was a demand for a local bicycle shop, he opened Village Bikes.

The bike shop started off selling used bikes and providing repair services and after a short time introduced new bicycles. Norco, Giant and Linus are the primary brands carried, with a focus on families and urban cyclists. Brett points out if a customer is seeking a specific bike model he is more than happy to order it.

Village_Bikes_Interiior_Steveston_Insider_Palla_MediaAmongst the selection of children’s bikes the balance bike is a popular pick for toddlers. It helps pave the way for their first big kid bike, while eliminating the need to progress to training wheels. Brett says, “Once balance is mastered, learning to pedal is a breeze.”

The front section of the store stocks a variety of accessories to keep every cycling enthusiast happy. Stylish Linus wicker baskets are the perfect finishing touch to add to a cruiser and will help carry your farmers’ market goodies, or a beach towel and a picnic to your destination. Locks, lights and bells all help to personalize your bike.

Nutcase is a fun and popular helmet out of Portland, Oregon. These “brain protectors” comes in a number of styles. Brett indicates the watermelon model is one of their bestsellers.

The American made front mounted iBert Safe-T Seat perches little riders (ages 4 and younger) at the front of their parents’ bike. This allows children to take in the scenery around them rather than a rear-mounted seat where they view mum or dad’s back, and allows for easier communication.

Another way to enjoy the experience of “a bicycle built for two” is by adding a tow bar between the child’s and parent’s bike, and presto, it becomes similar to a tandem, with the parent controlling the steering.

In the back of the store Pierre Bertin competently manages the bike shop’s service department. Annual tune-ups are encouraged to ensure your vehicle is in good working order. Flat tire? With a quick fix and a minimal charge of $10, you will be back in the saddle again.

Steveston is a perfect place to cycle. Not only is it flat, but it also offers bike trails galore from kilometres of dike paths to the Railway Avenue corridor that has been embraced by cyclists and pedestrians alike. If you prefer riding on the road there are bike lanes integrated into Richmond’s streets to encourage this environmentally friendly mode of commuting.
Brett sees a steady stream of couples and families inquiring about his bike rental service. For $10 an hour (or $30 for a full day) a bike is at your disposal to discover the area. Armed with a free map, customers venture off to explore the dike trails, parks and historic sites.

Brett is a proud local ambassador and encourages visitors to loop back to Steveston village for lunch where they will find some of the best restaurants in Richmond.

“When I was growing up it seemed Steveston was a bit of a secret, not a lot of people from outside of Richmond knew where it was. That’s definitely changed with more people moving to Steveston, Lower Mainlanders coming out for day trips and an increase in tourism.”

Village_Bikes_exterior_Steveston_Insider_Palla_MediaWhen asked what he loves most about running his business Brett replies, “I enjoy building relationships within an awesome community.” Although he has taken a break from Steveston to live in Vancouver he does not dismiss the likelihood of returning to his stomping grounds, as he knows it is a great place to raise a family.

This summer Brett and Village Bikes shop manager Graeme Burns are first time participants in the Ride to Conquer Cancer, which benefits the B.C. Cancer Foundation. The epic two-day 200-kilometre journey to Seattle takes place on August 29-30, 2015.

The Ride to Conquer Cancer is an annual charity fundraiser held in various locations across Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. This event is particularly close to Brett’s heart as he lost his mother to cancer in 2013.

“I’m looking forward to doing the ride with thousands of other people who’ve been affected by cancer in so many different ways.”

The Village Bike team hopes to raise $5,000 through a combined effort of online fundraising ( and by donating a percentage of their spring bike tune-up revenue to the event.

As for Brett’s personal training, his commute to Steveston from Vancouver by bike, combined with rides up Burnaby Mountain and through the University Endowment Lands is preparing him for the monumental journey ahead. And in true Steveston-style, his hometown will inevitably be cheering him on!

Village Bikes
3891 Moncton St
Richmond BC V7E 3A7
Telephone 604-274-3865

Murder Mystery and the Paranormal at the Cannery

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Murder at the CanneryThis Halloween at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, a ‘murder’ will take place – and audience choices will determine the victim! Our first choose-your-own-adventure style Halloween tour is set amid pre-Cold War tensions and even colder temperatures. All we know for sure is that trouble is brewing at the Cannery… On Saturday, October 25 and Sunday, October 26, 2014 join us to search for clues throughout the massive Cannery to help solve the mystery!

Tours will start daily at 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 4:30 pm, and 5:30 pm, with advance booking required.

Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $7.50 for seniors, $5 for youth, and may be purchased in person at the Cannery, or by phone 604-664-9009. Online tickets are also available at:

Also to get you in the Halloween mood:
Is it just chilly in the Cannery, or are those chills down your spine? Staff are often asked if the Cannery is haunted, but we don’t know for sure. Now there’s a chance for you to find out!

This summer, Northern Paranormal Investigations conducted two overnight investigations at the Cannery. Join us for a presentation as their discoveries are revealed!

The Paranormal Presentations will take place at the Cannery at 7pm on Friday, October 24 and Thursday, October 30, 2014. Ticket prices are $10, and may be purchased in person at the Cannery, or by phone 604-664-9009. Online tickets are also available at:

The Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site of Canada is operated by the non-profit Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society, on behalf of Parks Canada. Location: 12138 Fourth Avenue at Moncton, Richmond (Steveston Village). www.gulfofgeorgiacannery.comGulf Of Georgia Cannery in Steveston

Budget Appliances – Your One Stop Appliance Shop

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

Have you ever dreamed of a self-cleaning oven that does not use high heat, or force you to throw open all of the windows in mid-winter due to the fumes? Would you like a high efficiency washer that helps keep your clothes smelling fresh and wrinkle-free even if you forget to empty the machine? Have you longed for a refrigerator with fashionable French doors that will fit into your condo’s kitchen? These are three examples of advancements in technology that Andrew Floreano, general manager of Budget Appliances Ltd., indicates are new and exciting in the appliance industry.

Andrew Floreano’s father Gino Floreano has a long history in the appliance business. He established his first Budget Appliances store in Surrey in 1977, and it is still going strong. When the opportunity presented itself last year to open a second location in Steveston (not to be confused with the former Budget Appliance Centre) the Floreanos jumped at the opportunity. 

Budget Appliances is very much a family owned and operated business. Both of Andrew Floreano’s parents, along with his wife and his sister are also actively involved in different capacities that include sales, bookkeeping and accounting. Andrew Floreano grew up knowing that one day he would work with the family business. After high school he attended BCIT where he studied small business management, and began working at the Surrey location in 1996.

The Floreano family is very excited to be part of the community and is quickly planting roots. The business immediately joined the Steveston Merchants Association. They did a major renovation of the interior of the shop and have left it looking spic and span. One of the interior posts has been decorated in nautical rope with more plans ahead for seaside artwork to adorn the walls. Andrew Floreano is highly aware that Stevestonites are loyal to the village and many of us choose to shop locally. He is eager to develop relationships with customers and fellow merchants. He believes that owning a business in a small community holds his shop accountable to provide quality products and excellent customer service. He and his staff are committed to working closely with customers to determine what appliance features best suit their needs. If you are in the market for a new appliance it is worth considering Budget Appliances. With two store fronts they have considerable buying power and are able to offer competitive prices.

Fridges, freezers, ranges and range hoods, washers, dryers, dishwashers are all available at Budget Appliances, and the Floreanos pride themselves on being a one stop appliance shop. The primary brands sold include Whirlpool, Maytag and KitchenAid, in addition to some Frigidaire and General Electric appliances. They carry both new and rebuilt products; they sell parts and provide repair service all under one roof.  New scratch and dent units are also available at a reduced price with a full warranty.

There are two factory trained technicians that are capable of servicing appliances, whether or not you purchased them from Budget Appliances. Delivery and set up is part of the service offered in conjunction with the removal of the appliance(s) being replaced.







As for the dream appliances listed above, Whirlpool makes the new Aqualift Self-Clean Technology range, available both in gas and electric models, which does not emit fumes. It uses a combination of water and low heat to release baked on food from the oven. Whirlpool is also responsible for the FanFresh feature on the Duet front loading washing machine which intermittently tumbles clothes in the wash drum after the cycle ends for up to 16 hours, with a quiet fan drawing out moisture to keep clothes smelling fresh.  Maytag’s 30″ French door refrigerators complement small spaces, pre-existing kitchen fixtures, and condo living so you too can enjoy one of the most popular styles of fridges on the market.

Besides the great selection and competitive prices, what is most attractive about this new Steveston business? There is no commission sales staff hovering around pressuring you to buy. As Floreano says, Budget Appliances is accountable to shoppers in our community, and he and his staff are here to best meet the needs of their customers. It is a simple and old-fashioned approach to sales which deserves a round of applause.
3831 Moncton Street

Pieces: A Special Place to find the Perfect Gift

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

“I love this shop” is one of the most rewarding compliments Pieces receives and it consistently makes David and Sarah Gordon smile.   Before they purchased the business, Sarah Gordon would bring her friends into the shop and utter those very words. 

An undeniable part of Pieces’ charm is its location.  The magic is housed inside the venerable red brick Hepworth Block, which has stood on Moncton Street for almost 100 years (2013 marks its centenary).  This landmark building survived the great fire of 1918 when most of Steveston burnt to the ground.  You can see a physical reminder of the fire on a scorched pillar inside the shop. 

Customers have used words such as exquisite, tasteful and whimsical to describe Pieces, and some fondly refer to it as their “go to” store.  Pieces takes pride in an “Especially Canadian” focus.  When the Gordons go on buying trips they are often asked what they sell.  Laughing, they explain what the store is not, a gift shop with beavers waving Canadian flags, but rather a tasteful collection of many Canadian made and designed products, often created by local artists. The overall look of the shop is largely thanks to the beautiful cottage style furniture created by Langley artist Jill Hall.

One customer concocted a recipe to describe Pieces. “Stir in a pinch of princess, a dash of nautical and a healthy dose of hostess-with-the-mostest, and you’ve got Pieces!”

It is amazing what can fit inside a small shop: Trollbeads, jewellery by local artists, home décor, Matt & Nat handbags, Lug bags, U.S.E.D. bags made from recycled seatbelts, stationery and cards, soaps, lotions (Barefoot Venus’ Hunny Mango is the fragrance showcased at Blue Canoe Restaurant), hostess gifts, umbrellas, wall art, and a children’s corner filled with goodies.

Pieces is the exclusive Richmond dealer of Sid Dickens Memory Blocks.  Sid Dickens came into the shop last February and was very impressed by the large collection and display of his art work. He hand signed all of the blocks (they sold out very quickly), and was even more  impressed to learn that instead of increasing the price of the signed blocks, David Gordon invited customers to make a donation to Variety – The Children’s Charity.

David and Sarah Gordon feel incredibly fortunate to have artist Jill Hall as an integral member of ‘team Pieces’. Hall’s creative talent and imagination is boundless.  She is constantly reinventing herself and proudly marches to her own drumbeat.   While she is very modest, Hall’s company, Castaways, has been featured in national magazines including Canadian House & Home and Style at Home. 

Hall taught herself to use power tools (after all, why shouldn’t a woman wield a table saw?) and began making custom furniture.  With the exception of the display cases, all of the furniture in Pieces is for sale.  Hall is happy to take special orders, with the understanding that she needs some artistic leeway.  Whatever you request, it is bound to elicit compliments and give your home style and character.

While the store is always changing, you will notice the most dramatic transformation takes place during the holiday season when the shop becomes a Christmas destination.

The Christmas window display has become a tradition, and with a nod to classic department store displays of yesteryear, it tells a story of its own. Past windows have featured everything from a seafaring shipload of saucy pirate sock monkeys and ballerinas, to an intricate spinning ship’s wheel with an accompanying nautical scene. Last year passers-by were captivated by a ‘Twas the Night before Christmas scene with toys tucked into miniature beds beside a fireplace. This year’s charming woodland scene has created a buzz as Jill Hall’s large cut out Christmas trees have become a coveted item.

Isabelle Henderson, Shawn Mercer and Heidi Wiesendahl are the indispensable staff members who the Gordons refer to as their Pieces family.  The Gordons are also deeply appreciative of their loyal customers’ support and commitment to shopping local.

A combination of music, conversation and laughter creates an energy which both customers and the staff enjoy. People describe Pieces as a ‘feel good shop’. Sometimes customers will pop in for a ‘spin and sniff’ and report that even a short visit is an instant mood lifter.  This holiday season, with the scent of cranberry candles in the air, Pieces is a perfect destination to find something unique for everyone on your gift list.

100- 3580 Moncton Street

Trollbeads Trunk Show at Pieces

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 from 4-8pm at Pieces in Steveston.

Added special:  Unique Limited Edition Group Two Glass Beads $45 each.  Buy two get one free.  Large assortment. Universal compatible fit with other brands.








100-3580 Moncton St, Steveston Village

Richmond BC


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