Posts Tagged ‘richmond’

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
www.pizzafactoryrichmond.ca

Steveston: Small Business Community Thinks Big

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

Steveston Village SceneYou may have heard people talking about the SMA and BIA, but what are they and what is the difference between them?

The Steveston Merchants Association (SMA) was formed in 2010 by a group of business owners whose goal was to promote local businesses and drive more customers to their services, shops and restaurants through seasonal events, small scale advertising, a website and social media. With an elective paid membership the SMA does not encompass the entire business district, resulting in a smaller funding pool although events and promotions benefit the entire village.

An elected volunteer board is responsible for organizing popular events such as Christmas in Steveston Village, Girls’ Night Out, the Scarecrow Crawl and Trick or Treat in Steveston Village and has been a voice for many important area concerns.

While the work the SMA accomplishes is outstanding, the merchants’ association model is antiquated.

BIA stands for Business Improvement Areas and what this model offers is far reaching for both merchants and the entire community. Examples of what can be achieved for Steveston include a year round focus for promotional programs and activities, collective advertising and special events designed to drive more visitors to the area. Issues such as pedestrian scale lighting and parking improvements are also a focus of many BIAs.

Steveston’s business community is losing ground as business districts in virtually every surrounding region of Metro Vancouver and throughout B.C. have embraced BIAs. In comparison, Steveston is at a disadvantage without a BIA.

Business districts can dream big with input from a full membership’s participation at the board and committee level.

A simple way to explain a BIA is to imagine a shopping mall management system. All malls have systems in place to drive customers to the mall to benefit business tenants. Steveston without a BIA is like an outdoor mall with no big picture promotional direction. It just isn’t competitive nor does it come close to realized improved potential.

BIAs are able to plan further into the future to successfully promote areas. A BIA is approved by a vote and all businesses within a BIA’s boundaries automatically become members, creating a larger collective voice working for the betterment of businesses and the community.

A BIA is uniquely created for an area, no two are identical, and therefore Steveston could capitalize on its distinct locale where farmland meets the ocean and a historic fishing village.

Jim_vandertas_BlueCanoe_Steveston Village Palla MediaJim van der Tas, owner of the Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant (and president of the SMA) believes the sky’s the limit. He envisions everything from an Oktoberfest celebration spread over a number of days to celebrating a new Steveston heritage festival and transforming the entire village into a Christmas wonderland for the month of December to draw people to town.

Getting a BIA off the ground takes a lot of work and commitment from volunteers who believe that focusing on a bigger picture can produce some very effective results.

A new committee called the Steveston Business Development Association (SBDA) has formed under the SMA’s umbrella to partner cooperatively with other local non-profits that see the value a BIA brings to an entire community.

A municipality can’t force a BIA into a business community and generally shouldn’t stop a BIA start up group from asking them to initiate the voting procedure if the group has done positive outreach. After well over a decade of discussion Steveston merchants, land owners and key stakeholders have not gone before City council to ask for the BIA voting procedure but expect to this calendar year.

Peter Tong Pharmasave Steveston Village Palla MediaPeter Tong, owner of Steveston Pharmasave, comments,“ I think a BIA is very important for Steveston.”

“Looking at this unique location and the sensitivity businesses have in trying to protect the history, integrity and feel of the community; there are a lot of political and business challenges that are hard for each business to face alone,” Tong says.

He adds, “Promoting the village, rather than one single business, attracts more people and creates an atmosphere within the village that can only benefit Steveston. I think there are certainly frustrations amongst some business owners who have seen what other BIAs have done and strongly believe one is needed to start promoting the village. The sooner we get this done the better.

Carol_LittleMexico_Steveston Village Palla MediaCarol Janeczko, owner of Little Mexico Cantina, believes, “The opportunity to revitalize Steveston through the formation of a BIA is an exciting prospect. Looking at other similar business districts such as Fort Langley and Cloverdale and seeing what they have accomplished for their communities through elaborate events, marketing and beautification projects is inspiring. It would be amazing to see Steveston advance to that level.”

Jens Hertha DOriginal_Sausage_Steveston Village Palla MediaJens Hertha, owner of D’Original Sausage Haus, agrees. “I am excited about the possibility of having a BIA in Steveston. It would make Steveston stronger. For a business like mine the cost would be less than $200 per year. I strongly believe that a BIA is an investment and everybody benefits from a strong, vibrant business district.”Hertha believes, “This BIA initiative is a significant opportunity and every business and commercial property should plan to learn about it firsthand. This is too important an opportunity to be making a decision about a BIA based on nonfactual information or hearsay from third parties. Make an appointment with the organizers to talk about it.”

To learn more email:
weareopenforbusiness@gmail.com

Doors Open Richmond 2016

Friday, May 6th, 2016

The Best of Steveston’s Heritage, Art and Culture

By Charles Takaesu and Gabrielle Sharp

Steveston_Visitor_Ctr_Palla_MediaDiscover Steveston’s heritage, arts and culture during the free Doors Open Richmond 2016 city-wide event, on Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5 between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. Twelve Doors Open sites are based in Steveston and showcase the area’s past and present.

Steveston Village is a great starting point for your weekend activities, with many sites clustered within walking distance of local restaurants and shops. Experience delicious dining, unique shopping and fabulous culture all in a single weekend!

Steveston_Gulf_of_Georgia_Cannery_Palla_MediaAt the west end of Steveston Village, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery (12138 Fourth Avenue) is offering “Under the Rafters” tours, a rare behind-the-scenes experience exploring areas of the cannery typically closed to the public. This tour is not wheelchair accessible. Please pre-register by calling 604-664-9009, as space is limited. There are two tours each day, at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. Although the “Under the Rafters” tour is free, normal admission rates apply for guests who wish to visit the regular exhibits.

Watch a silversmithing class in action at Juvelisto Design and School of Metal Arts (120-3500 Moncton Street) and chat with owner Sasha Shkolnik. Juvelisto Design specializes in beautiful one-of-a-kind jewellery made by Sasha and other gifted artists.

Tour the Steveston Museum and Visitor Centre (3811 Moncton Street) in the heart of Steveston Village. Experience the diversity of Steveston’s history through the newly landscaped, Japanese-inspired Town Square Park and the Japanese Fishermen’s Benevolent Society Building that was opened a year ago. The first 200 people on each day will receive a mini-plant pot and children can enjoy trying the Japanese art of origami.

Steveston_Tram_Palla_MediaAlthough access to the tramcar may be limited due to restoration, stop by the Steveston Interurban Tram Building (4011 Moncton Street) for an Open House including children’s crafts.

Painter and teacher Adrienne Moore is opening her Home Studio (3171 Chatham Street) to the public during Doors Open. Adrienne employs a wide variety of styles and subjects, from local landscapes to mixed media and abstract expressionism. Visit Adrienne’s studio, filled to the brim with her vibrant work, and meet the artist to learn about her painting techniques.

Steveston_JapaneseBldg_Palla_MediaThe Steveston Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (4255 Moncton Street) is bustling with activity during the event weekend. Visitors can choose from displays, demonstrations, presentations and interactive activities on the culture, history and traditions of Steveston’s Japanese Canadian community.

A short walk northeast of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, the Steveston Buddhist Temple (4360 Garry Street) is the oldest standing Buddhist Temple in the lower mainland. Tours are available throughout Doors Open, and Introduction to Buddhism sessions are offered each day at 1:00 pm. On Saturday, enjoy a Japanese cooking demonstration and Seiza Meditation. Sunday features the morning service (opened to the public) and a cultural presentation in the late afternoon.

Steveston_Fire_Station_Palla_MediaAt the “gateway to Steveston”, visit the Steveston Fire Station (11011 No.2 Road) to meet fire fighters and Blaze the Dalmatian mascot. Tour the state-of-the-art fire hall and learn how to keep your family safe from house fires in the educational fire trailer.

Steveston_Branscombe_House_Palla_MediaRhonda Weppler, inaugural Artist-in-Residence at Branscombe House (4900 Steveston Highway) invites visitors of all ages to participate in the International Picnic Project, a still-life mural featuring Richmond’s international foods. Guests can contribute a drawing, painting, or collage of their favourite (locally available) international food in exchange for a candy gift inspired by Rhonda’s favourite ethnic food. Rhonda is also exhibiting a series of tiny marzipan food sculptures, created by local art students, representing Richmond’s culinary diversity.

Steveston_London_Heritage_Farm_Palla_MediaA must-visit for afternoon tea lovers, London Heritage Farm (6511 Dyke Road) features period themed rooms in a restored farmhouse, herb and perennial gardens and a Hand Tool Museum. Stop in for London Lady Tea and tasty treats in the Tea Room between 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm.

Steveston_Britannia_Shipyard_Palla_MediaBritannia Shipyards (5180 Westwater Drive) is hosting a veritable bounty of activities during Doors Open. The Dragon Zone Paddling Club offers a unique opportunity to get out on the water and try the exciting sport of dragon boating. There are four 30 minute sessions each day, at 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, and 3:00 pm, with a limit of one session per person. Pre-register by calling 604-718-8050 to reserve your spot. Visit a series of new exhibits at the Seine Net Loft and learn Morse code with radio historian Tom Brent at the Murakami Boatworks. Saturday activities at the Richmond Boat Builders include a Shipwright talk and Drop-In Boat Building, while Sunday offers Children’s Boat Building and Decorative Knot Tying.

Steveston_Steves_Farmhouse_Palla_MediaRevisit Steveston’s roots with a trip to the Steves Family Farmhouse (2871 Steveston Highway). Steveston is named after Martha and Manoah Steves, whose family founded the farm in 1877. The farm is still active today under the direction of their great grandson, Councillor Harold Steves. Tour parts of the farmhouse and peruse a large collection of artwork and historical objects. Heirloom seed gardens and antique farm equipment are also on display throughout Doors Open weekend.

Steveston_River_Queen_Boat_Palla_MediaFinally, hop aboard the River Queen Water Shuttle for a fully narrated nature and history tour of Steveston’s waterfront. This year, the River Queen will travel between Fisherman’s Wharf on the 2nd Avenue float, and the Britannia Shipyards dock. One way tickets between destinations are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, $4 for children aged 4 to 12, while children under 4 ride free.

Join us for our Doors Open Richmond 2016 Opening Kickoff at Minoru Chapel and Pierrefonds Gardens (6540 Gilbert Road) on Friday June 3rd, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This year’s kickoff event features free live music, crafts, light refreshments and vibrant displays.

Remember, these are only 12 of the 42 sites offered throughout Richmond on June 4 and 5. To find out more about Doors Open Richmond 2016, pick up a map brochure now available at City of Richmond facilities or visit www.richmond.ca/doorsopen.

Business Updates for Steveston Insider

Monday, April 11th, 2016

FOOD
Cannery Cafe building was sold and the cafe has recently reopened under new ownership. Catch Kitchen & Bar is now open. It is a new upscale casual restaurant located where Charthouse used to be above Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant. The sports bar faces Bayview Street and the restaurant overlooks the water. Cimona Cafe has recently been sold to local owners who are excited to carry on the tradition of offering all day breakfasts.

menchiesMenchie’s is now open on No. 1 Rd near Starbucks. They have self-serve frozen yogurt and a wide selection of flavours and toppings. Pizza Factory on First Avenue has new owners and promises exciting new food additions and longer hours. Watch for the grand opening party.

Tapenade Bistro is under new ownership but is the same great restaurant including happy hour and weekend barbecues. Urban Jamaica Restaurant is scheduled to open mid-April in the former space of Living Café. The owner also has Xyclo Vietnamese Cuisine on Moncton Street.

AUTOMOTIVE
Xu Performance Motoring opened at 12320 Trites Road and is an automotive repair and maintenance facility special-izing in high performance and luxury applications.

BEAUTY, HAIR, SPA
Angel’s Secret Permanent Makeup opened on Chatham Street (formerly Eidsvik & Associates location). Browcasso recently opened on First Ave (formerly Nurse Next Door location) and specializes in semi-permanent eyebrow micropigmentation and eyelash extensions. Raintree Wellness Spa welcomes Lisa McFadden who purchased the spa from its original owner, Barbara Bell at the end of December.
DENTAL
Bayview Dental moved a few doors up to the corner (where McDonald’s previously resided). Dr. Jamieson joined the office of Steveston Smiles on the third floor with Dr. Michele Nielsen, Dr. Doug Nielsen and Dr. Selena Chow.

wayland 1FITNESS
Cartwheels has now officially changed their name to Wayland Sports. Russel Sean Fitness is undergoing a major expansion and will be adding many exciting classes in the months to come. True Conditioning has moved to London Landing. They have a grand opening party planned for April 9. Apparently a kitchen shop is moving into their former space on First Avenue.

PHOTO STUDIOS
RF Studios moved in above Bell’s Bake Shop and offers wedding photography and videography. Sooters Photography is located upstairs in the Hepworth Building.

REDEVELOPMENT of MINATO VILLAGE
Mardon Insurance moved to 12011 Third Ave (the old courthouse where Penta Builders was) while Minato Village is being redeveloped. Caesars Bar & Grill is looking for a new location. After redevelopment, only one restaurant is permitted and it will be Dairy Queen. Dairy Queen is closing due to redevelopment but will reopen in the same location in 2017.

THE PIER AT LONDON LANDING
Diplomat Bakery will be moving across the street in June. World of Music & Arts already moved in to their beautiful new space at The Pier.

MARKET ON THE MOVE
Steveston Farmers & Artisans Market is moving from the Gulf of Georgia Cannery to the Steveston Community Centre parking lot. The first market is May 8.

Note: The information contained in this story have been sourced but cannot be guaranteed for accuracy. If you have an update relating to a business in Steveston, please send us an email: info@pallamedia.com

Robel Income Tax Service

Monday, April 11th, 2016

A Worry-Free Approach to a Taxing Task

Robel Income Tax Steveston InsiderElly Fenton is the warm and amiable owner of Robel Income Tax Service. We sat down to talk on the first day the Robel office resumed regular hours of operation to begin processing 2015 personal tax forms. While many people would appear under pressure with volumes of work looming, she was relaxed and ready to face the work with gusto.

She began her career as a nurse in Australia and specialized in infant care. When she moved to Vancouver in 1974 she shifted to working at daycare centres and also focussed her attention on raising her two daughters.

Her soft Australian accent has been diluted by her years spent in Canada but Fenton’s Aussie humour shines through.

When her husband passed away she took an H&R Block taxation preparation course. Subsequently, she worked with Richmond Savings Credit Union (known today as Coast Capital Savings).

Fenton became a tax practitioner in 1993 and started Robel Income Tax Service. In February 2013 she moved her home-based business to its present Chatham Street storefront. She says this was a very wise decision as her business has benefited greatly from being in the heart of Steveston village.

From mid-February through to early May the small office is kept hopping. Fenton and her four staff members (two preparers, one checker and receptionist) can be found working long days as they process an impressive number of returns that require filing by the April 30 deadline. Last year Robel completed 1,752 income tax returns with similar numbers expected this year.

Fenton gives accolades to her hard working staff. She says, “It’s a team effort to get through it all from beginning to end.”

The secret to a successful business is a loyal and established client base. She is proud to report that Robel serves over 1,500 clients and 148 of those individuals have been with her since she began the business. While many of her clients are locals, she also serves a number of long standing customers from Surrey, Harrison, Courtenay and Comox via email, fax and mail.

While the whirlwind of Robel’s tax preparation activity is seasonal, Fenton works year round as some people file their taxes late and there are reassessments to be managed. The office is open by appointment during these months.

If you are having your taxes prepared by the pros at Robel there are a few things to be aware of. The fee structure for basic returns is based on the number of slips and benefits that require filing. Electronic filing is included in the price and promises you a faster refund. Robel is also able to set up direct deposit for clients, now mandatory with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Even if you have little or no income, you should file your income tax and benefit return, as you may be eligible for credits and benefits. Filing a return is the key to getting your BC and GST tax credits and the Canada child tax benefit, among others.

Tip: Wait until you have received all of your slips (T3, T4, investments etc.) before dropping documents off at Robel’s office.

When the CRA introduced online filing Fenton thought she would lose business but that did not transpire. She points out some people get frustrated or simply prefer not to do the job and leave it to a tax practitioner. In addition, if you are going it alone you need to purchase your own tax software and some clients prefer to save themselves this expense.

Robel Income Tax Steveston Insider extFenton finds taxation time very exciting, as she is always happy to see familiar faces and catch up with people. She is extremely fond of Steveston and enjoys shopping locally and getting to know other business owners.

In addition to her work, she volunteers once a week at SOS Children’s Village thrift shop on Moncton Street. Assisting this charity is close to her heart as Fenton was a foster parent for eight years. She also makes patchwork quilts for the society to sell.

She is an avid traveller and enjoys setting off for new destinations. This year she is looking forward to exploring China.

Fenton has realized her dream and celebrates her extremely satisfying career. At the end of the day she says, “It’s all about doing a good job for our clients.”

Robel Income Tax Service
105-3631 Chatham St
Richmond BC V7E 3A5
Telephone 604-241-7595
www.robeltax.com

New Mural Installed in Fisherman’s Park Steveston

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Steveston artOver the past year a group of non-profit organizations in Steveston have come together to produce a fishing mural on the building in Fisherman’s Park. The inspiration for the project came from the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society and the Steveston Historical Society as an effort to beautify the western end of Steveston and highlight the village’s fishing history.

Rebecca Clarke, Executive Director for the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society says, “We are excited to have a significant piece of public art installed at the west end of the village. With new commercial buildings at the corner of Bayview and 3rd Ave, I think we’ll see a significant increase in pedestrian traffic and it’s good to show we are more than an industrial area.”

Working with the Steveston Harbour Authority who owns the building and park, these two heritage groups formed a committee with representatives from each of the three non-profits as well as the Richmond Arts Coalition. The committee created a plan for depicting Steveston’s fishing past on three sides of the building.

With support from the City of Richmond, the Steveston Harbour Authority, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society and Benjamin Moore paints, the group hired experienced mural artist Victoria Oginski to begin the work for the south facing wall of the building. Basing her work on images from the Gulf of Georgia Cannery’s collection and photographer Joel Baziuk, Victoria has beautifully captured the essence of today’s fishing industry in Steveston.

According to Sarah Glen, Director on the Steveston Historical Society board, “The Historical Society is excited to share Steveston’s history with the public in a new way. We plan to include the mural in future walking tours of the village to help visitors understand the importance of fishing in our history.”

The group is currently seeking funding to add mural panels on the remaining two sides of the building. These panels will complete the history of fishing in Steveston, from First Nations village to thriving fishing harbour.

Public are invited to the official unveiling of the mural on Sunday, December 6 at noon in Fisherman’s Park at the west end of Moncton Street in Steveston.
For more information:

Rebecca Clarke, Executive Director Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society
12138 Fourth Ave
Richmond, BC V7E 3J1
t: 604.664.9192
http://gulfofgeorgiacannery.org/

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
www.outpostminidonutco.com

Steveston Village

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

The Place to be This Fall

Now that summer is a sun-filled memory it is time to turn our attention to one of the loveliest times of the year, autumn, and all of the fabulous fun-filled events Steveston Village offers.

The Steveston Merchants Association (SMA) is a key player in organizing many of the community’s eagerly anticipated celebrations. The SMA’s signature events (Steveston Scarecrow Crawl, Trick-or-Treat in Steveston Village, Girls’ Night Out and Christmas in Steveston Village) are designed to get local residents out strolling the streets and exploring local businesses.

blue canoe scarecrowSteveston Scarecrow Crawl

Now in its sixth year, the Steveston Scarecrow Crawl has become one of the community’s well-loved attractions. During the month of October cleverly themed scarecrows lurk in doorways and peek out of store windows. These delightful handcrafted guardians often reflect the personality of the shop to which they belong.

Many of them are not garden variety scarecrows – in fact, you never know quite what you will spot – whether it is a giant slug, a couture ‘crow, nautical or fairy tale characters (we are after all “Storybrooke”). Bring your camera, pose with your new friends, and step inside the businesses to visit the talented merchants responsible for creating these mascots.

Halloween Costume ContestSteveston Insider Costume Contest

Back by popular demand! Steveston Insider is excited to once again sponsor a Halloween Costume Contest. Photos will be taken by Sandra Steier at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery between 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 31. All photos will be posted on Steveston Insider’s website and the lucky winners will be notified. Get creative and good luck! At 3:00 p.m. head out to trick-or-treat at participating businesses.

Trick-or-Treat in Steveston VillageSteveston_Insider_Halloween
Trick-or-Treat in Steveston Village is always a seasonal highlight for little pirates, mermaids, princesses and dragons. It is a real “treat” to see imaginatively costumed children in the daylight hours receiving a Halloween goody from participating merchants. Taking place on Saturday, October 31 between 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., this is the perfect warm up act for the big night! Maps of participating businesses will be available and treats will be handed out while supplies last.

Halloween_Cannery_Steveston_Palla_MediaHalloween at the Cannery
Halloween is a busy time in Steveston Village. The Gulf of Georgia Cannery invites you to solve the Case of the Cannery Curse! Meet their ghostly victim, and other ghoulish characters, on a self-guided mystery tour of the historic cannery. Drop in on October 23, 24, 25 and 31 any time between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., for this family-fun event. Tickets are available at the door, or in advance. Contact the Cannery for tickets and further information (604-664-9009).

Cannery Farmers’ Market
Gulf of Georgia Cannery, Steveston BCBack for its second year, The Cannery Farmers’ Market 2015-16 season starts on Sunday, October 4. Stock up on local produce and crafts on the following Sundays: October 4 and 18, November 1, 15, 29, December 6 and 20, January 17 and 31, February 7 and 21, March 6 and 20, April 3 and 17. Steveston Insider is proud to play a role as a Cannery Farmers’ Market sponsor.

Steveston Girls Night OutGirls’ Night Out
Girls’ Night Out takes place on Thursday November 26. This SMA event has become legendary and “girls” come in droves to be part of this special night out on the town. Women of all ages take to the streets of Steveston to power shop at SMA businesses, which offer exciting specials and incentives. This is the perfect opportunity to do some Christmas shopping. SMA restaurants will be offering pre and post shopping drinks and dining.

Follow “Steveston Girls Night Out” Facebook page to ensure you are in the loop; learn when tickets go on sale for the after party – tickets sell out almost instantly!

Festival of Trees_Steveston_Palla_MediaFestival of Trees
During the month of December enjoy a walk through an indoor forest of decorated Christmas trees when the Steveston Merchants Association partners with the Gulf of Georgia Cannery for the Festival of Trees. Steveston businesses personalize their trees with festive flair.

Steveston Village Christmas Horse CarriageChristmas in Steveston Village
To cap off the year, Christmas in Steveston Village puts holiday shoppers in the Christmas spirit. New this year, this special event has been split over two days, Sunday November 29 and December 6.

Car_Cruise_Steveston_Palla_MediaOn November 29 enjoy the charm of riding aboard an old-fashioned horse drawn carriage with festive music playing as the majestic team of horses clip clop along and loop the village. Visit local shops and do some Christmas shopping – it’s never too early to start. You will find unique gifts and as an added fringe benefit, you will feel good about having shopped locally and directly supported the community.

The 2nd annual Christmas Classic Car Show will parade through the village on December 6 at 12:15 p.m. then be on display until 3:00 p.m.

Santa_Steveston_Palla_MediaEvery year crowds of adoring fans line Fisherman’s Wharf for a glimpse of Santa as he arrives on December 6 on board a Vancouver Whale Watch boat with his entourage of elves. Free Santa hats are handed out (courtesy of the Steveston Merchants Association) while supplies last. It is a sight to see the village filled with red hats!

Follow Santa to the Cannery and take a photo of your child sitting on Santa’s lap.Then admire the Festival of Trees and shop at The Cannery Farmers’ Market. There may even be a little extra Christmas magic – stay tuned for details!

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
www.orasushi.com

Pending Redevelopment Proposals

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

The Cat is out of the Bag!
Pending Redevelopment Proposals Will Reshape Steveston Village
Story by Sean Lawson. Photos by Sandra Steier.

Rods_Steveston_Insider_Palla_MediaIt’s now official: there is a pending redevelopment process underway for the Rod’s Building Supply site, located at the corner of Moncton Street and Third Avenue. The proposal envisions a mixed-use development with retail on the ground floor and residential above, consistent with the City’s Steveston Area Plan.

The retail includes plans for a “name brand” full service grocery store. The developer, Kyle Shury of Platform Properties, is a “born and raised Richmond lad” and a long-time Steveston resident. After working with Townline Homes for thirteen years, Shury ventured out on his own six years ago and Platform Properties now has projects scattered throughout the Lower Mainland and B.C.

Buck_Ear_Steveston_Insider_Palla_MediaPlatform Properties’ vision, along with the planned extensive renovation of the Steveston Hotel (now under new ownership and management) and the new construction on the old G&F Financial site, will kick start the revitalization of the northwest section of Steveston Village’s core.

Steveston_Hardware_Steveston_Insider_Palla_MediaOn the heels of these developments is the Steveston Marine & Hardware site on Moncton Street, which currently has a pending deal in play. These developments will help round out the shopping experience while keeping the Village core intact.

These big moves are not the only plans in the works for our Village; there are currently talks going on at City Hall, spearheaded by Councillor Harold Steves’ stated desire to expedite and make a reality of a much needed pleasure craft marina in Steveston Harbour. The current Mixed Maritime Use (MMU) zoning on Onni’s Bayview site directly in front of this marina will also be in demand when these marina plans are solidified. Steveston Marine & Hardware is already interested in leasing up to 6,000 square feet of the Bayview site, and other maritime related businesses are sure to follow. Yet for the past two years Onni has been embroiled in a proposed zoning change asking for 100 percent retail use for the site which would see these great opportunities dashed.

Onni_Steveston_Insider_Palla_MediaThe Steveston Merchants Association (SMA) had put forward a measured proposal that called for approximately one-third office space, one-third MMU and one-third retail use for the empty Bayview site.

As discussed in my last opinion piece for Steveston Insider, such a zoning mix would allow for the traditional shopping experience of Steveston Village to remain in place (without dragging retail uses eastward away from the Village core and into a residential area), as well as satisfy Onni’s desire to obtain a higher valued use for its land. Despite what I believe to have been both public and City support for the SMA proposal, Onni did not accept these ideas and again pushed forward for 100 percent retail use of the Bayview site.

Two years have passed and the facts have changed; with the aforementioned significant redevelopment of the northwest Village (including a grocery anchor and more retail space underway), the possibility of a pleasure craft marina and the eventual need to relocate Steveston Marine & Hardware, the demand and appropriateness of the Maritime Mixed Use zoning on the Bayview site needs to be acknowledged. The marina and development sites discussed in this article will go through extensive planning and public process prior to any concrete being poured. All residents and business owners will have plenty of opportunity to have input and there will be well-advertised public information meetings coming soon.

I feel the recommendation from the SMA with respect to the amount of MMU space at the Bayview site needs to be revisited. There is now a strong case to be made for retaining even more MMU space than previously recommended.

It should be noted too that there are uses other than retail that should be considered for any change from MMU at the Bayview site. A public library, a cultural museum, a fitness facility (public or private), a senior’s centre or daycare are just a few that would be welcome additions to the community by residents and businesses alike. Further, any “voluntary contributions” or “cash payments” made by Onni to the City with respect to any rezoning of the Bayview site should be earmarked for use in Steveston only. These funds could be used to help provide additional parking, renovate or rebuild our community centre, help fund our fledgling Business Improvement Area association, etc.

It is Steveston residents and businesses that must live with the consequences of this late-in-the-game zoning change Onni is after. I believe it’s a slippery slope to let a developer build out their project, let it sit vacant while demanding the highest valued use, and then grant their wishes after such practices.