Archive for June, 2016

Clayton Ablett

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Clayton Ablett Vancity Dunbar LifeChampion of Dunbar Village

It’s all in a day’s work for busy Vancity branch manager Clayton Ablett. He and his staff may start off the day cleaning up Dunbar Street as part of their volunteer commitment to the Dunbar Village Business Association’s Clean Team, or he may find himself organizing a financial literacy program.

Ablett has been Dunbar’s Vancity branch manager for a little more than a year. During this time he has worked hard to create strong reciprocal relationships with the neigh-bourhood to ensure the credit union fulfills its mandate of investing in the community. Vancity gives back an impressive thirty per cent its net profits back through its Shared Success program.

Drawing on his experience at the two most recent branches where he worked Ablett was eager to implement an enhanced member experience in Dunbar village.

He explains, “Being a community branch manager means that I have the ability to support our members and community beyond just their financial needs. It is an all-encompassing role, which combines financial services with community advocacy, so it really is the best of both worlds. As a social activist and a branch leader, I am able to combine my skills with my passion for helping others. This combination is not only fulfilling but it is also extremely rewarding.”

“For me, often satisfaction comes from just doing the right thing.” Clayton Ablett

When he was a child his father worked in the mining industry, which meant living in
Smithers, Squamish and Thunder Bay. When Ablett was a teenager his family settled in Richmond where he continues to reside with his wife and three small children under the age of six.

He started his career as an automotive mechanic. Five years later he diverted to the world of banking and began working at Vancity. Initially he was hired as a teller and began taking financial courses at BCIT and quickly progressed to management level. Within five years he had worked his way up to assistant branch manager. In April 2015 he was promoted to branch manager when he moved to Dunbar’s Vancity.

How does Vancity’s model different from other financial institutions? Ablett says, “Our goal is to create positive member and community impact through all our operations—from how we make money to how we spend and invest it. We’re committed to finding new and better ways to use all our resources, people and capital to create large-scale positive impacts. This way of doing business differentiates us from traditional financial institutions. By redefining wealth, we are measuring our success in terms of the health and vitality of the community as a whole.”

Vancity lends its support in a number of ways, from grants to financial literacy programs such as “Each One Teach One,” educating people about banking basics, offering financial fraud seminars for seniors, getting actively involved in a number of local events such as Salmonberry Days, Chinese New Year celebrations at Dunbar Community Centre and participating in Dunbar Village Business Association events. Vancity also recently donated five cherry trees to the neighbourhood.

Another initiative of Ablett’s was approaching Dunbar Apartments to lend assistance. The financial institution gets directly involved in a variety of ways including offering financial services and workshops, inviting residents to showcase their crafts for sale at the bank and offering inclusive displays of kindness such as saying hello and offering up a wave of recognition on the street.

“Beyond financial wealth it’s the community’s wealth as well. Not everything we do translates into dollars. It’s about what is the best interest of the community.” Clayton Ablett

Dunbar’s small business owners are deeply valued. Vancity’s merchant members have the opportunity to promote their business in house on digital signage for increased exposure.

He believes, “When we eat, shop, and play locally we help to grow and strengthen our community. This is especially important when trying to promote sustainability and social responsibility.”

Ablett takes pride in having established many of these connections. He believes that building sustainable relationships is of utmost importance for the staff to nurture and build on over time.

What makes this neighbourhood unique? Ablett believes, “The people make it special. They are kind. It is a very close knit community and people care.” Reflecting on his role as branch manager he concludes, “It’s a lot of fun and very rewarding. It’s redefining the way we work.”

Save-On-Foods Dunbar

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Save-on-foods-dunbar-checkout-palla-mediaA flurry of activity took place for six weeks to prepare for the May 14 grand opening of Save-On-Foods new location on West 41 Avenue. Two days prior to the big day, store manager Randy Nerling took time to discuss the impressive renovations and what the neighbourhood can expect from the new grocery store.

The transformation of the former IGA began at the end of March. At the same time Overwaitea Food Group, owned by Jim Pattison, purchased two other Vancouver IGAs on the east side, which have also been converted to Save-On-Food stores.

“There’s a buzz in the neighbourhood. I believe this store will be well received.” Randy Nerling

Save-on-foods-dunbar-Randy-Nerling-palla-mediaContractors, Save-On-Food’s head office support team and regional specialists worked around the clock to reach the mid-May opening goal. In that time the shop received an exterior and interior facelift consisting of painting, lighting, flooring, fixtures and refurbishing refrigeration equipment.

Nerling laughs when he reports, “It was looking so good three days prior to opening that one customer entered the store and was trying to shop until he realized he was surrounded by people in construction hats.”

In addition to the physical changes a key part of the time was used to transition the former IGA staff who were automatically transferred over if they wished to stay. New systems, programs and cash registers needed to be learnt. The majority of former employees and management joined Save-On-Foods and additional new staff were recruited to round out the team.

Nerling comments, “They possess an abundance of experience and knowledge which they offer the company.”

Save-on-foods-dunbar-1-palla-mediaThe opening is exciting for Save-On-Foods fans as the only other location in the area is at UBC. What can customers expect to find at this new store? While the square footage is smaller than a regular Save-On-Foods, the design team managed to accommodate an extra aisle to ensure that some of the best-loved products would find their way to the shelves. The house label, Western Family is showcased alongside popular brand name favourites, offering added value while keeping exceptional quality to its name. Darrell’s Deals are hand picked weekly by Save-On-Foods’ president and offer impressive savings on popular products.

A new feature called “six mix” specialty soda pop allows customers to mix and match a customized six-pack.

A premium floral section features high quality fresh cut bouquets and single stem flowers for custom-made designs. A deli and meat counter along with seafood selections are showcased with a butcher on hand to assist in choosing what you would like for dinner that night. With plans to expand its offering, phase two of the renovation includes a bakery and a restaurant style section featuring hot foods.

Save-on-foods-dunbar-fresh-palla-mediaBeing a 100 per cent locally owned company distinguishes Save-On-Foods from other grocery stores. Since its early beginnings in 1915 the company has taken pride in partnering with local producers including Alberta beef farmers and produce farmers as close by as Delta. When in season Save-On-Foods features and promotes these producers through signage and campaigns. ‘In store everyday’ is the shop local display that features products from all over our province.

The Dunbar store offers a unique service called Click and Connect. This online shopping program allows shoppers to pay from the comfort of their smart phone or computer. Pull up in the parking lot and the purchase will be delivered directly to your car at an arranged time.

Giving back to the community is a large part of Save-On-Foods mandate. Schools, sports teams, community events, clubs and the biggest benefactor, B.C. Children’s Hospital, are all generously assisted by the company.
Fundraising to assist those affected by the Fort McMurray wildfires has been high on the list of priorities. Nerling says, “Trailer upon trailer has been sent, loaded with food hampers.”

“The heartbeat of the company is to give back. It’s what we do.” Randy Nerling

Giving back also resonates for Nerling on a personal level. He has recently been nominated to sit on the Dunbar Village Business Association’s board of directors and is excited to attend their Annual General Meeting on June 15.

Nerling was hand picked as the new store manager. With 25 years’ experience there is no question that he was the person to oversee the renovation and transition the former IGA staff into their new roles as Save-On-Foods employees.

He shares a story akin to president Darrell Jones who worked his way up the ladder from bagging groceries as a part-time job in high school. Nerling got his start as a high school student stocking shelves in Nanaimo.

Save-on-foods-dunbar-store-palla-mediaExtremely supportive of its employees, Save-On-Foods recognizes the talented and committed people working for the company by offering management courses, university credited leadership courses and even scholar-ships for team members and their families. He says, “Our people are home grown and have been with the company for a long time.”

Nerling is excited to have made the move from Richmond’s Price Smart (also an Overwaitea affiliate) to Dunbar, which he describes as “a nice little community.”

Welcome to the neighbourhood, Save-On-Foods.

3535 W 41st Avenue
Vancouver BC V6N 3B8
Telephone 604-261-2423

UBC Botanical Garden’s 100th Anniversary Celebration

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Celebrate UBC Botanical Garden’s 100th anniversary at National Garden Days Family Weekend! UBC Botanical Garden is Canada’s oldest university botanic garden established in 1916 under the directorship of John Davidson, British Columbia’s first provincial botanist. The Garden has since become a favourite destination for families, tourists and garden-lovers alike, as well as a leader in the fields of conservation, education, sustainability, research and community outreach.

UBC Botanical Garden signTo commemorate UBC Botanical Garden’s centennial birthday, the Garden has partnered with Garden Days, a national event hosted by the Canadian Garden Council. The three-day celebration is an opportunity for Canadians to enjoy their own garden, get inspired at their local garden centre or visit their favourite garden attraction. At UBC Botanical Garden, families are invited to tour the Garden, enjoy a biodiversity nature hunt and have a birthday cupcake. Join the birds, bees and butterflies to celebrate nature and the great outdoors!

• Biodiversity Nature Hunt: explore the garden and look for special plants, flowers and more
• Bring a lunch and enjoy a family picnic on the Contemporary Lawn
• 2-for-1 admission all weekend long*
• Free drop-in tours at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm
• Cupcakes served at 12:00 pm
• Learn about birds, bees and butterflies from our experts! Take part in crafts and fun activities from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
* Free admission applies to the equal or lesser value admission. Not to be used in conjunction with any other coupon or special offer.

Details for event listings:
National Garden Days: 100th Anniversary Family Weekend Friday June 17, 2016 through to Sunday June 19, 2016
A fun family event featuring drop-in tours, nature hunt and cupcakes. Visitors are invited to bring a lunch and celebrate with a picnic on the Contemporary Lawn.
Come enjoy nature with your family along with the birds, bees and butterflies. Activity schedule varies. Please check our website for details.

UBC Botanical Garden, 6804 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4
Traffic Advisory: Please note there will be partial closures of SW Marine Drive on Saturday, June 18. There will be access to the Garden via the northbound lanes of SW Marine Drive. Traffic coming southbound from NW Marine Drive will be rerouted.

UBC BOTANICAL GARDEN is Canada’s oldest university botanic garden, established in 1916 under the directorship of John Davidson, British Columbia’s first Provincial botanist. The original mission of the garden was research into the native flora of British Columbia. Over the past nine decades, the mission of UBC Botanical Garden has broadened to include research, conservation, teaching and public display of temperate plants from around the world. The UBC Centre for Plant Research is the research arm of the UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research. World- class research in topics including plant adaptation, evolution, genomics, plant physiology and biotic interactions, phytochemistry, plant biotechnology and plant breeding contribute to the University of British Columbia’s reputation as one of the leading research institutions in North America

JD’s Barbershop

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

There’s a New Kid in Town

JDs_Barbershop_Judah_Down_Dunbar LifeJudah Down is the man behind the initials JD’s. Down has been a provider of top-notch haircuts, beard trims, hot shaves and superior service for over twenty years.

Dunbar is now part of his growing empire of barbershops that includes two other Vancouver JD’s locations in Gastown and an exclusive members only two-chair shop at The Vancouver Club. An additional shop is in the works for Los Angeles’ L.A. Athletic Club.

Down is easy going, youthful and genuinely charming. Mere days after opening the Dunbar barbershop he was available to take time to sit in the sun on the wooden bench out front of his shop to discuss his excitement about the new location.

JD’s officially opened on May 1, 2016 in the former showroom for The Ivy on Dunbar development currently under construction in the 4200 block of Dunbar Street.

When a friend learned of the newly available and nicely renovated storefront he suggested expanding to Dunbar. With nearby high schools to draw from, in addition to numerous professionals in the area, combined with a fondness for the community where he has lived several times, Down says, “The decision was a no brainer as the neighbourhood is an ideal fit.”
He believes young men are going to be thrilled to discover a barbershop catering to their needs.

JDs_Barbershop_exterior_Dunbar LifeBig plate glass windows sport a JD’s logo. A red and white striped awning is a nod to the traditional barbershop pole. The shop’s interior is very clean and minimalistic. Four chairs are in place with the option to add two more. A striking five by 10 foot commissioned graffiti-style art installation by Sunshine Coast artist Ben Tour complements the space.

Originally from Niagara Falls, when Down was in his early 20s he went on an extended road trip with a group of friends. One of the women needed her hair bleached and he volunteered to give it a whirl. It turned out he had a knack for colouring and a career was born.

JDs_Barbershop_haircut_Dunbar LifeDown trained at Vidal Sassoon in Los Angeles. His talent evolved into a very successful career first as a hair stylist (his first shop was the popular House of Envy in downtown Vancouver) and then as a master barber when he opened his first JD’s Barbershop in Gastown in 2002 followed by an invitation to open JD’s at The Vancouver Club in 2006.

JD’s has earned a reputation for great stylists and terrific haircuts.

Although colour and hair washing services will not be available at the Dunbar shop the stylists will happily cut both men’s and women’s hair of all lengths, in addition to beard trims and shaves.

Down says, “There are no one trick pony haircuts here.” JD’s stylists will do all cuts. JD’s has an in house apprenticeship program to ensure stylists receive the proper training.

Down promises, “A relaxed environment where guys and gals can feel comfortable letting us help them look their best.”

JDs_Barbershop_Interior_Dunbar LifeWhat cut is all the rage? Boys are drawn to the fade. This cut is tapered on the sides and back and is typically done with clippers. The hair is clipped in such a way that it appears to fade into the skin.

JD’s has recently branched into its own product line which includes body wash, shave cream, after-shave, grooming cream and matte pomade. They are made by a chemist in East Vancouver. Quality ingredients are locally sourced as much as possible and feature essential oils and vitamin E.

With three businesses to oversee Down does not cut as many clients’ hair as he once did, as he is busy hopping back and forth between the three shops. In his free time he likes snowboarding, travelling (his most recent getaway was to Panama) and during the summer power boating calls his name.

When asked how people have reacted to JD’s Barbershop opening in Dunbar he replies, “People have come by telling us they love the idea of a new shop.” JD’s has already seen father and son duos popping in for haircuts.

As for reaching his clients, Down is not only a master barber, he is also a master of social media and knows how to effectively get the word out that he has opened a hip downtown-style barbershop in Dunbar Village.

JD’s Barbershop
4345 Dunbar Street
Vancouver BC V6S 2G2
Telephone 778-379-1829

Chloe and Skylar Sinow

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Dunbar’s Dynamic Duo

Skylar and ChloeIf you haven’t heard of Chloe and Skylar Sinow you are likely to very soon. These Dunbar residents’ friendly faces appear on their Kids Can Cook Gourmet organic pasta sauces that are taking B.C. grocery stores by storm.

To date this sister and brother team have three varieties of pasta sauce placed in 150 B.C. and Alberta shops. Chloe is 12 and Skylar is 13 years old, and they have been going full speed ahead as a marketing and chef team for two years.

The adventure for these go-getters began in November 2014 when they sold homemade pasta sauces, dried pasta, caramel popcorn and cookies at Dunbar Community Centre’s Christmas craft fair as part of a fundraising initiative for Cook for the Cure. The pasta sauces were a surefire winner and reorders came in quickly.

Chloe admits she was a picky eater when she was younger and their homemade pasta sauce was always something she would eat. When the sauces received glowing feedback from customers they knew they had created a product both parents and children were seeking.

“We are big fans of promoting sustainable farming and cooking with fresh local ingredients.” Skylar Sinow

Skylar has always loved to cook. He recalls getting into the kitchen at an early age to watch and assist. Chloe confesses her interest in marketing is partially thanks to her business savvy parents, Andrea and Harald Sinow, who ran their own company.

In 2013 the Sinow family went on the trip of a lifetime. Andrea and Harald sold their company and the foursome packed their bags, accompanied by their Labradoodle named Moka, and set off on a yearlong trip to Europe. Visiting UNESCO sites was a large part of their agenda. Their father mentions, “We lived a nomadic life and followed the weather south.”

The family purchased a motorhome and bicycles and over the 12 months visited 17 countries. Chloe and Skylar were home-schooled during their time away. Skylar fulfilled his writing requirements by drafting a cookbook.

When they returned home to Canada the ball really got rolling. 2015 was a monumental year with two auditions for the national television shows Chopped Canada and Dragons’ Den.

Last February Skylar auditioned for the Food Network’s teen edition of Chopped Canada and was accepted. The show broadcast last December and he was honoured to have placed runner up.

Skylar and Chloe Kids Can Cook pasta sauce Dunbar LifeSkylar and Chloe were encouraged to audition for Dragons’ Den by one of their many mentors, chef Vikram Vij (who was a past ‘dragon’). They earned a spot on the show, which broadcast last November, and made their impressive pitch. They left with two dragons backing them for a deal of $25,000 for ten per cent equity.

When asked how they handled the pressure they mention the incredible support of their friends and family who listened and critiqued their presentation many times before the big day.

They are very grateful to the community of Dunbar that they refer to as their extended family.

Pasta sauce production is a family affair; even their parents get involved. The sauce is made in a government-regulated facility in Burnaby and is overseen by two regulated staff. The family orders the produce, which they clean, chop, process, label and box. Skylar has his Food Safe certification and smiles when he reports, “It is fun to be able to tell my parents what to do.”

Running a business takes dedication and commitment and the pair have an abundance of both qualities. Skylar pops home from Lord Byng Secondary School at lunchtime to make business calls while Chloe manages their social media presence. With her keen eye for design she also helped create their website.

They admit dedicating time to their business is their primary focus outside of school although they also take time to pursue their favourite hobbies. Chloe’s fashion company is her other passion. She just completed her first fashion line as part of the Vancouver School Board mentorship program. The skilled seamstress sewed the apron that she wore on Dragons’ Den and sells them through the Kids Can Cook Gourmet website. She attends Lord Kitchener Elementary and likes hanging out with her friends. Chloe says, “The reward of working hard is playing hard.”

Skylar and Chloe Sinow Kids Can Cook Dunbar LifeSkylar enjoys cycling, gardening and everything food related, from making his own bread and cheese to developing recipes. He has also assisted chef mentors with catering events and even catered his teacher’s wedding reception with his friend Quinton.

Offering kids healthy food choices and educating them about where their food comes from is of utmost importance. They have big dreams ahead for their company and plan to introduce new products such as soup and possibly gardening packages for kids. Skylar says, “Grandparents would go crazy for that.” Chloe concludes with wisdom beyond her years, “We want to be the leaders of our futures.”