Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Vibes Fitness

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

Are you looking for a unique workout that can benefit you no matter what your present fitness level may be? Vibration exercise may be just what you’ve been searching for.

JR Justesen is the enthusiastic and multi-talented physiotherapist who not only owns Parkway Physiotherapy + Performance Centre in Victoria but also purchased Vibes Fitness earlier this year. He holds the title of physiotherapist and president of the company.

There are currently three franchised locations in Victoria in addition to the one right here in Dunbar, which is both a studio and serves as the company’s franchise sales centre.

JR comments, “I purchased Vibes Fitness because I believe in the ability of this technology to provide a platform for people to work hard to safely gain strength, flexibility, balance and mobility, no matter their age. As a physio for many years, it is clear that there are fewer options for seniors to stay healthy and fit with good balance, muscle mass, circulation and mobility. I wanted to keep helping people and had used vibration training in our clinic so was familiar with the science and the great benefits it can offer people of all ages and fitness levels.”

Dunbar was selected as the first Vancouver location based on similarities it shares with the Victoria studios; both areas have golf courses nearby (Vibes workouts are popular with golfers) and similar demographics.

“My vision for this company is to bring clinical science to the field and to nurture, train and support the franchise owners and trainers of the Vibes family.” JR Justesen

“They are transforming lives for the better each and every day,” he adds.

JR’s focus as company president is to bring his medical background to the franchisees and trainers so that they can offer the most effective training programs to their clients. JR is also a trainer and spends time with members doing assessments and workouts.

What exactly is a vibration workout and what does it entail?

Vibration exercise is simply performing exercise on a vibration platform. Since the platform moves up and down it increases gravity and stimulates muscle reflexes. These factors combine to increase muscle recruitment, strength, balance, mobility and circulation.

Workouts are quick; they generally take 15 to 20 minutes. It can take a yoga slant where the emphasis is on holding poses and range of motion or it can take a strength and conditioning slant where a client performs push-up, squats, lunges and planks on the vibration platform in a circuit type of workout.

Typically three or four people workout in the small studio at one time which allows for plenty of individual attention.

Clients receive ample personal care to ensure they have an enjoyable experience, exercise with correct form and their workouts progress in a safe manner to achieve their goals.

Who can benefit from working out at Vibes? JR says, “Anybody who can benefit from weight bearing strength exercise can benefit from vibration training. Younger athletes who do the same exercises on vibration or non-vibrating platforms see small gains in comparison whereas older adults typically see significantly greater gains. We do not know why this is but it appears to relate to the increase in growth hormone and testosterone.”

Vibes Fitness studio is clean, elegantly appointed and provides a spa like atmosphere.

Potential members receive a free one-week trial where they attend three times. A trainer will meet to discuss goals, injury history and your training background. Many people feel a difference after as few as three workouts.

Members typically attend one to three times per week. Those who come once per week are usually incorporating vibration training with other fitness activities such as tennis, golf, dance, Pilates and jogging. Those who attend three times per week usually have made Vibes their primary strength and circuit training studio.

JR and trainer Nancy Mann run the Dunbar studio. Regarding the Dunbar community JR remarks, “Dunbar still has the vibe of mom and pop stores which we love. People have been very kind to us and are very welcoming to me personally and also as a business person.”

JR is extremely grateful to be able to help improve and change people’s lives. He says, “This is true of being a physiotherapist and also of being a Vibes trainer. When one can make a living helping people it is a very fine thing indeed.”

Vibes Fitness
5628 Dunbar Street
Vancouver, BC V6N 1W7
Telephone 604-428-8423
www.vibesfitness.ca

Dunbar Dairy Queen & Orange Julius

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

Ten Years of Tempting Treats. The warm weather has finally arrived and it’s officially ice cream season! Simon and Jessica Tran’s Dunbar Dairy Queen/Orange Julius franchise is a year round destination, yet summer is by far their busiest season as hot Dunbarites come in looking for their favourite frozen treats and beverages.

The couple are thrilled to be celebrating their tenth year as DQ franchise owners. Simon admits that winter was challenging with multiple snowfalls followed by the wettest spring in many years, but they are grateful to their customers who continued to come in for DQ’s treats (Blizzards, soft ice cream, sundaes and legendary ice cream cakes), and Orange Julius’ drinks and hot dogs.

Prior to being a DQ franchise owner Simon worked as a crane operator. When he decided it was time for a career change, a friend who owns a DQ franchise suggested Simon explore this option. Simon was convinced – he believed in the product and signed up.

In 2008 the Dunbar DQ store was new to the area; DQ’s corporate office made the decision to put in a small-scale treat centre rather than a full service DQ grill.

Dunbar’s DQ has succeeded thanks to exceptional products and outstanding customer service.

Simon and Jessica work as a team – he makes the cakes and she decorates them. Customers can order from the extensive designs offered or they can request a custom cake.

He makes the ice cream cakes three times a week for optimum freshness. The store was originally equipped with three display cases but due to the popularity of the cakes he expanded to five cases. “My cakes have to be the freshest in town. I make them as I go. I don’t have the space to store them.” In addition, he also makes the DQ Sandwiches and Dilly Bars.

Dunbar DQ’s top seller is the Dunbar Special Blizzard. Simon laughs and says, “It is also known as the Simon Special.”

This popular Blizzard is created with Reese’s peanut butter, a cookie layer and a shot of liquid peanut butter sauce.

Simon is extremely warm and jovial and is instantly likeable. He and Jessica are originally from Vietnam and both were boat people. Jessica started her new life as a Canadian in Edmonton while Simon lived in Halifax. They met in Vancouver in 1989 and married soon afterward.

Simon bounced around between foster homes and group homes until he was adopted at age 12. He has only positive words to say about his Canadian parents. Regarding his tough early years Simon says, “It made me wiser and stronger. I didn’t have anything until my parents took me in and gave me unconditional love.” His optimistic attitude did not allow him to give up. Simon is very humble and wants to share his story to let others know that it is possible to turn your life around.

Like many small business people Simon works incredibly long hours. For many years he clocked 16-hour days and it caught up with him. He was missing spending time with his young son and he decided he couldn’t do that anymore; he has managed to shorten his days to a mere 12 hours. He smiles and says, “I am blessed and I am happy.”

He doesn’t know where he and Jessica would be without her parents who help with their 8-year-old son TJ. Simon is also extremely grateful for his older daughter Vanesa who is now in nursing school; she assisted her mother and father for many years at the shop. TJ also likes to lend a hand sweeping floors and cleaning windows. Simon believes in starting early to instill a strong work ethic.

“I feel so blessed that I am part of this wonderful community.” Simon Tran

Dunbar DQ believes in giving back to the community that actively supports them; one way they do this is through donations to schools. Simon mentions all of the school kids who come by for treats. He says, “May is my favourite month when students I have seen grow up come in to tell me where they are going to university in the fall. Some will return later to tell me how they are doing.”

Celebrating a 10-year anniversary is a milestone for any business. For Simon the most important message to communicate to Dunbar Life readers is his how thankful he is for their patronage. He says, “What I most appreciate about Dunbar is the people – the families and the kids who have supported me for the last 10 years. Please mention that, won’t you?” I remind Simon that what you give out is what you get back – he likes that.

Dunbar Dairy Queen/Orange Julius
3380 Dunbar Street, Vancouver BC V6S 2C1
Telephone 604-733-2884
www.dairyqueen.com

 

Stong’s Market

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

A Grand Return to Dunbar.

It was a perfect spring day – the sun was shining, music was playing and it felt like a big Dunbar block party when Stong’s Market officially re-opened on May 13.

John Roden, Stong’s marketing manager reports, “It was great to see the fun and excitement as kids were high-fiving Spiderman and people were spinning the prize wheel. We couldn’t have asked for a better grand re-opening celebration.”

There was a noticeable absence in the neighbourhood last May when the grocery store closed due to redevelopment of the 4500 block of Dunbar Street. Remarkably, Stong’s was only gone for seven months while the new location at West 27th Avenue and Dunbar Street was being completed.

This is the fourth time Stong’s has relocated on Dunbar Street in 62 years.

Stongs Market Cori Bonina Dunbar LifeThe original 1955 location was situated where BMO now resides. In 1960 Stong’s moved to 4326 Dunbar (now home to Shoppers Drug Mart). In 1980 it moved south to its former location across from Dunbar Theatre. The new Stong’s is in almost the same location as the original 1955 store.

Stong’s president and owner Cori Bonina holds the honour of being the fourth generation owner of this family business. Her great grandfather Carson Stong opened the first Stong’s Market in the early 1890s in Toronto with his brother Joe. With the onset of the Depression in 1931, Carson moved to Vancouver and set up two of the first open-air markets in Vancouver. His son Ralph opened the first Vancouver Stong’s Market in 1955.

Ralph’s son-in law Bill Rossum (Cori’s father) took over as general manager in 1971. Cori joined forces with her father and became general manager in 1997; she took over as president in 2001. Her son Carson is carrying on the family legacy; he is the manager of Stong’s new Northwood location in North Vancouver.

2016 was a monumental year for Stong’s. The Northwood location opened in May and in December the Dunbar village store had a soft re-opening.

Frank Rainey, director of store operations, mentions that designing Stong’s from the ground up was a wonderful opportunity. He says, “We are proud to have evolved into a 21st century grocery store where customers can expect an elevated shopping experience.”

Stongs Market butcher Dunbar LifeThe attractive Dunbar village store has increased in size by 6,000 square feet and features modern elements such as concrete floors, exposed ceilings and a West Coast feel through the use of wood panelled walls, but at the same time the past is still very much present. Champion, the beloved coin-operated horse, awaits eager young riders. John says, “Parents bring their children to ride on the horse they rode as a child.” Historical photos are also nicely integrated to celebrate the store’s rich past. Another nod to the past is a free cookie at the bakery for little ones.

Specialized departments surround the periphery of the shop. If you are looking for magnificent floral arrangements head to Stems, located at the store’s entrance. Five floral designers are on staff to create wow factor custom bouquets.

The introduction of a stone oven pizza is proving to be a big hit, as is Edibles, the expanded deli where customers can choose from a large selection of take home prepared foods including many offerings from Stong’s own brand, Cori’s Kitchen. Frank mentions that Stong’s roasted chicken continues to be one of the favorites with their customers.

In a rush and need to grab a meal on the go? Head to the panini counter or pick up some freshly made sushi. If baked goods are on your shopping list the in house bakery is sure to please. As a side note, the tantalizing aromas circulating from the various departments can lead you on a hunt to track down what’s cooking.

Tip: There is plenty of spacious free underground parking on site.

A wide selection of products from major national brands to an extensive selection of unique, gourmet, natural and organic products can be found. Stong’s takes pride in supporting local suppliers of all sizes; work is well under way to expand the selection of local produce as they have been reaching out to a lot of local farmers.

Stong’s also supports many local small suppliers looking to develop their product; it was the first store to offer Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crisp crackers, which are now sold throughout North America.

“Stong’s staff are passionate about their departments. They love what they do.” Frank Rainey

As anyone who shops at Stong’s knows, it is a community hub where you run into friends and neighbours in the aisles. With the introduction of Replenish café, customers can catch up over an impromptu coffee and light snack. On warm days roll up garage doors open with additional seating outdoors.

Stongs Market Cori Pizza Dunbar LifeNo time to go grocery shopping or perhaps you can’t make it out of your house? No worries, Stong’s Express is an online shopping service which offers next day delivery to most of the Lower Mainland with dedicated personal shoppers and trucks on the road seven days a week.

John aptly points out, “Stong’s is the heart of the community. There is an emotional connection to this store.” Without a doubt, Stong’s short-term closure reinforced Dunbar residents’ vested interest in their market. They love to shop locally and support independent businesses, and are extremely happy to have their favourite grocery store back.

Stong’s Market
4221 Dunbar Street
Vancouver, BC V6S 2G1
Telephone 604-266-1401
www.stongs.com

All Nations Stamp and Coin

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Brian Grant Duff, All Nations Stamp and Coin, Dunbar LifeKeeping the Hobby Alive.

Stamp and coin collecting has been Brian Grant Duff’s lifelong hobby. As a young boy he was hospitalized for a lengthy period and his grandmother would visit him regularly with gifts. When the novelty of comic books wore off she began bringing him stamps and coins, which were instant hits. Little did Brian realize the introduction of this hobby would lead to him becoming a stamp and coin dealer.

At age 14 he ran his first stamp approval business. This involved sending selections of stamps to other collectors on approval – they would purchase the ones they wanted and return the rest.

Following high school Brian began an arts degree in English and History but abandoned his studies to run and eventually own stamp and coin concessions at both Eaton’s and The Bay. Eaton’s also sent him to Toronto to run the stores and auctions in that city.

In 1998 an opportunity arose to purchase the well-established business All Nations Stamp and Coin shop which was originally located in downtown Vancouver. Brian simultaneously juggled his work at The Bay with ownership of All Nations for ten years.

In 2008 he moved the shop to Dunbar (where he resides with his family) to the former home of The Silver Shop. Brian says, “To this day people still drop in looking for the previous owner Murray James.”

He brought to the business his vast experience of buying, selling, and auctioning Canadian and worldwide stamps, collections and postal history.

“This is a labour of love. I want to keep the hobby going.” Brian Grant Duff

Stamp collecting has been around since shortly after the inception of postage stamps. The world’s first stamp was issued by Great Britain in 1840. As the originator of postage stamps, Great Britain did not put the country’s name on its stamps — the tradition continues to this day.
Like other retail storefronts, online shopping has impacted All Nations walk in business. Brian has cleverly adapted his business and holds a live weekly auction every Saturday at noon. He says this is now the largest part of his business. He curates and publishes a list on All Nations’ website of the postcards, stamps and coins up for auction.

“Collecting is a great tradition to carry on. Collectors of all ages come to see me for stamps; young collectors are looking for coins more than stamps at the moment. The market is looking for gold and silver,” he says. Only Canadian coins minted before 1968 are silver; coins minted after 1968 are composed of copper and nickel.

Some of Brian’s customers have been loyal to him since his Eaton’s days more than 30 years ago.

He explains, “It’s about building a clientele who trust you.” Collectors come from far and wide, from Bellingham to Yukon, and on auction days bids come from across the country.

All Nations Stamp and Coin DunbarChoosing the theme of a stamp collection is part of the fun – some collectors focus on stamps from their home country while others select a favourite topic such as ships, trains, birds or royalty. Brian mentions Mrs. Eaton enjoyed collecting frog stamps.

Are you thinking about selling your collection or perhaps just a few pieces? This can be the right move if you realize you’ve gone as far with your collection as you are likely to. Sharing your material with other collectors who have been searching at length for material you possess can be very gratifying.

Tip: Don’t clean coins if you are planning on selling them.

If you have a coin or stamp you are curious about Brian and his staff offer a free quick look over; if you are seeking a detailed appraisal the cost is $1 per minute.

As a history buff Brian is excited about Canada’s 150th birthday and mentions the opportunity for plenty of historical tie ins for his business. In the past he has sold some unusual items including a Gassy Jack Deighton letter and signature from 1875, the year the Gastown founder died. Brian mentions the document yielded a fair price at auction.

Only a couple of stores in Vancouver continue to still sell stamps and coins. Brian points out All Nations Stamp and Coin is a member of the Canadian Stamp Dealer’s Association. He says, “I am a stamp and coin resource. I can help people locate what they are looking for, and if I don’t have the answer I will refer them to someone who does.”

Brian concludes, “I always welcome people to join in our merry band of collecting. It is a way to relax and take control in a chaotic world.”

All Nations Stamp and Coin
5630 Dunbar Street
Vancouver, BC V6N 1W7
Telephone 604-684-4613
www.allnationsstampandcoin.com

All Nations Stamp and Coin, 5630 Dunbar

Third Eye Martial Arts Studio

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Empowerment Through Self-Defence

It was “a lightning bolt moment” the first time Mehdi Saadati saw his uncle Master Ebrahim Saadati compete in Taekwondo. Mehdi was seven years old at the time and was instantly hooked; he knew he wanted to get involved in martial arts.

Third Eye Martial Arts Dunbar Master Erahim SaadatiMaster Saadati also began Taekwondo when he was seven. He earned his black belt when he was 12 years old. In 1989, he became a member of the Iranian National A Team and won first place at the International Fajr tournament. He continued to compete at national and international championships and in 1992 won a gold medal at the World Military Championships. In 1994 he won a silver medal at the Asian Games. In 1998 he became the Canadian champion in the welterweight division in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Taekwondo is the second most popular sport in the world (soccer is number one). Taekwondo is well loved because it teaches discipline while building self-confidence and both physical and mental strength. Mehdi points out how empowered students feel when they learn self-defence skills.

Mehdi moved with his family from Tehran to Vancouver in 1993. Master Saadati immigrated two years later. He started teaching Taekwondo at Kerrisdale and Sunset Community Centres in 2000 after he retired from competing. In 2011 the pair joined forces to work together at Third Eye Martial Arts Studio.

Master Saadati is the owner and head master and Mehdi is the general manager and head instructor. He describes Dunbar as “the jewel of the city.” What stands out for him is the strong sense of community; he really enjoys running into students and their families on the street. Although he doesn’t live in Dunbar currently, he has his eye on a condominium that would lighten his commute to a matter of minutes.

The first Third Eye Martial Arts Studio opened at West 8th Avenue (near Hemlock Street) and the large 5,000 square foot space serves as company headquarters. The Dunbar studio opened in 2013.

IMG_6393The smaller Dunbar space is busy seven days a week with over 300 students registered. Youth classes can accommodate 20 students and are taught by three instructors. Adult classes take place weekday evenings and weekends. All classes are co-ed although the demographic is slanted slightly higher towards female students for both kids and adult classes.

“Taekwondo is beneficial for everybody. It is not age dependent. It is something everyone can try.” Mehdi Saadati

Students from ages 3 to 72 attend classes at the Dunbar location as they work their way up from white belt through the rainbow of colours (yellow, green, blue, red) to reach black belt status.

Third Eye Martial Arts Dunbar Mehdi SaadatiMehdi says it’s never too late to begin this sport. He shares the story of a 70-year-old student who earned her black belt; she began at age 66. With admiration in his voice and a big smile he says, “She is the most tenacious woman I have ever met.”

As general manager, Mehdi manages the studios and ensures classes run smoothly. He specializes in teaching kids with special needs and autism; private classes are offered for low functioning students.

“The magic that happens when you make a connection is the most gratifying thing in the world.” Mehdi Saadati

If your child is looking for a kicking good birthday party consider Third Eye’s West 8th location. This is a great chance to introduce a group of kids to martial arts and you don’t have to be a member. Mehdi says many Dunbar families take advantage of these fun parties.

Another popular service is Third Eye’s after school program (also held at the West 8th studio). Instead of leaving your child with a babysitter or staying home alone, he or she will be picked up from school in one of Third Eye’s van and transported to the studio for Taekwondo training, homework and snack time. Parents pick their kids up before dinner.

Bullying is a subject close to Mehdi’s heart. He experienced being bullied as a child and says it can happen to anyone. Master Saadati, Mehdi and the other instructors are committed to children’s safety and security. Third Eye hosts a bully prevention program twice annually for all ages.

When a child is bullied Mehdi says, “It can feel like a dead end road.”

Third Eye’s workshop can also help parents identify the signs that aren’t always apparent. There is a physical aspect to the program run by three to four instructors and Master Saadati. Follow Third Eye Martial Arts Studio on social media (Facebook and Instagram) or refer to their website for further details.

Third Eye Martial Arts 4256 Dunbar StIf Taekwondo sounds like the sport for you or your child, consider Third Eye Martial Arts Studio’s special winter offer. From now until mid-March receive a one-month trial class and a free uniform for $49.95. You never know, your child may become hooked just like Master Saadati and Mehdi!

Third Eye Martial Arts Studio
4256 Dunbar Street
Vancouver BC V6S 2E9
Telephone 604-428-4256
www.temartialarts.com

Crepe & Cafe

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Customers Come First for New Owner

Crepe Cafe Dunbar 3500 w41stDiljeet Taheem is the proud new owner of Crepe & Café located at the corner of West 41st Avenue and Collingwood Street. He took over the established business last June and is quickly winning over customers.

Originally from Delhi, Diljeet followed his brother to Vancouver in 1990. He holds a Masters degree in Economics in addition to a diploma in Microcomputer Business Applications. He worked at the Vancouver School Board for a number of years and currently owns a design, printing and sign making company called Jasonbel Creations Inc. in addition to operating Crepe & Café.

His passion for cooking began at an early age. Diljeet explains, “I liked to watch my mother preparing food.”

Crepe Cafe Dunbar Diljeet Parminder TaheemDiljeet had been looking to purchase a coffee shop for two years when he discovered Crepe & Café was for sale and felt it was a perfect fit. Diljeet wasn’t looking for a formal dining experience and knew a franchise would not suit him. He was determined to operate an independent business where he could apply his creativity and make the business his own.

Cleanliness is high on this owner’s list of priorities so he started by giving the restaurant a full makeover. All of the counters were replaced and the floor was refinished. Tiffany-style pendant lights hang over counter and a number of chandeliers are mounted throughout the dining area. A black industrial open ceiling is balanced with white walls and artwork. He also replaced all of the furniture. Diljeet smiles when he reports a little boy commented on the comfortable new chairs.

Not being French or having run a restaurant did not deter the new business owner. The former owners trained him. He says, “I learnt from them but I did not stop.” He mentions his chef friends also shared their knowledge. Diljeet took to the challenge in an academic fashion and threw himself into researching French cuisine. He makes frequent references to the importance of technique.

“Cooking techniques are the same around the world with minor variations.” Diljeet Taheem

When it comes to crepes, Diljeet drew from his experience with the dosa, a type of pancake commonly made in southern India, which share similarities.

Crepe Cafe Dunbar interiorHis wife Parminder works alongside him in the kitchen; she prepares the crepes while Diljeet brews coffee and bakes.

Diljeet hasn’t changed the menu but he has improved it. He has added an organic salad to the crepe plate without increasing the price. He says, “I want to make sure my customers receive quality and value.”

On the menu you will find savoury crepes known as galette made with buckwheat flour. A number of fillings are available including eggs with Black Forest ham and Swiss cheese, smoked salmon with organic spinach and Swiss cheese, and chicken with red onion, tomato and Swiss cheese.

Sweet crepes include lemon and sugar, Nutella and banana, sugar with butter and cinnamon, and an assortment of jam fillings. Gluten-free crepes are also offered. Grilled sandwiches and wraps are very popular with the lunchtime crowd, and the fresh baked goods (including almond cookies and croissants) are a perfect accompaniment to enjoy with a variety of organic coffees (latte, cappuccino, espresso, Americano), organic teas (Diljeet says he makes an excellent chai latte), and other hot comfort drinks (hot chocolate and steamed milk).

When Diljeet sets himself a goal he won’t stop until he masters it. For example, he wanted to improve the coffee sold at Crepe & Café. He says, “I used my research skills to learn everything there is to know about coffee.” From using quality beans to the art of grinding, pressing and percolation, he says, “I technically fixed the coffee brewing process and have passed this knowledge on to my staff. The quality has to be there for the price.”

Diljeet strives for a personal experience. He says, “I want it to be like a home.”

Honest opinions are of utmost importance to Diljeet; he makes a point of personally serving new customers and asking how they enjoyed their meal. “My goal is to have them respond with a wow,” Diljeet says. One of his proudest moments to date was when he asked for feedback from a French couple – they were so impressed with their experience they asked Diljeet if he has spent time in France (he hasn’t).

Treating his customers with respect and courtesy comes as second nature to Diljeet. He likes to pull back customer’s chairs and is always happy to assist senior customers by holding the door.

When asked what he is finding most satisfying about operating Crepe & Cafe, Diljeet replies without hesitating, “What I am learning and using in my business. Knowing the café is improving and that people like the changes is very satisfying to me.”

Crepé & Cafe
3500 W 41st Avenue
Vancouver BC V6N 3E6
Telephone 604-566-9787

Dunbar Painting

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Comes Through With Flying Colours.Dunbar-Painting-interior

Stroll through Dunbar and on most blocks you will notice beautifully painted heritage homes. Dunbar Painting is responsible for having lovingly and professionally painted many of these character houses in one of Vancouver’s most coveted neighbourhoods.

Coby Cohodas, the charismatic owner of Dunbar Painting, grew up in Dunbar and he and his wife continue to live in the neighbourhood. Back in 2009, while working towards his B.A. degree at UBC he took a summer painting job, which unintentionally led him on his career path. Coby says, “I have an all or nothing mentality and proceeded to launch my own business while still attending school.”

Dunbar Painting is growing by leaps and bounds.

Coby-Cohodas-Dunbar-PaintingThe business started off with Coby and one other painter. Fast-forward to 2017 and this driven entrepreneur is projecting $1.8 million in revenue. During the busiest months he employs as many as thirty painters. This year Coby plans to expand his team from one to three production managers as Dunbar Painting’s client base continues to grow throughout the Lower Mainland.

Dunbar Painting specializes in both interior and exterior residential house painting along with deck refinishing. Older homes are the company’s specialty. The business is also equipped to handle minor carpentry repairs such as shingle replacement, new trim and replacing rotting wood, which is sometimes encountered when painting older homes.

Including “Dunbar” in the company name has proved beneficial due to the prestige associated with this community. Coby explains, “Although I service surrounding neighborhoods, the company’s name has helped garner local recognition, especially when people see the care we take in painting their homes.”

Over the years Coby says, “Business got to a place where I handled sales and production yet I couldn’t see growth.” That is, until he hired Vancouver based business coaches, Breakthrough Academy. He laughs when he explains they approached him through a cold call in 2014. Breakthrough Academy provides online coaching specifically for trades and has helped Coby systemize the business. By implementing new strategies Coby says, “Our customers’ experience has been greatly enhanced.” He notes since he began working with the coaches his business has doubled in revenue.

“Dunbar Painting is focused on core values. We care about what we do.” Coby Cohodas

From the first consultation with a homeowner until the job is complete, Dunbar Painting’s goal is to deliver an outstanding experience that will have clients proudly referring the company to their friends.

Coby explains, “With every paint job, our goal is to create lifetime customers, so we take every step required to ensure you are happy throughout the painting process.” “We only use high end products from Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore,” he adds.

Coby’s business ethics are as strong as his commitment to offering a top-notch job and his clients attest to Dunbar Painting coming through with flying colours.

Glowing testimonials abound on the company’s website.

Dunbar-Painting-managersHomeowner Rebecca Rauscher (whose home is pictured in the photos accompanying this story) shares her positive experience with this local business. She says, “Your team was respectful, kind and a joy to have around. I also love that they cleaned up after themselves. You can hardly tell that they were
here (besides the transformation of my home!) I have nothing but positive things to say about Dunbar Painting.”

While some people feel comfortable selecting paint colours others feel out of their element. Clients can hire a Benjamin Moore colour consultant, or Dunbar Painting recommends hiring consultant Debra Thompson who digitally paints a photograph of your house to show you a number of possible looks.

People who own heritage homes really care about their houses.” Coby Cohodas

If your home happens to fall under the heritage register you may be eligible to apply for Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s “True Colours” program. Homeowners can receive up to a $1,000 cash grant and complimentary paint from Benjamin Moore to restore the exterior colours to those of the original heritage building. Dunbar Painting is on the True Colours approved paint contractor list.

Spring is just around the bend. If you are looking to freshen up the interior or exterior of your house contact the experts at Dunbar Painting. Mention this Dunbar Life story and Coby will offer a 10% discount on interior painting valid until April 2017.

Dunbar Painting
3891 Dunbar Street
Vancouver, BC V6S 2E1
Telephone: 604-788-3382
www.dunbarpainting.com

Mexicali

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

mexicali-burrito-dunbar-life-palla-mediaA Taste of Mexico on Dunbar

If you are craving Mexican food, Mexicali is the place to visit for a casual meal. Lee Quang’s customers fondly refer to him as Señor Lee, and he is Dunbar’s purveyor of Californian style Mexican food.

Mexicali has been located in Dunbar for 12 years. Prior to that it was situated on Arbutus Street for 12 years before being destroyed by a fire. Quang was determined to find another West Side location to keep his loyal customers happy and knew he had hit the jackpot when he found Mexicali’s current home.

mexicali-lee-quang-dunbar-life-palla-mediaQuang arrived in Canada from Vietnam in 1988. He learned the art of cooking Mexican food when he worked in the kitchen at Las Margaritas restaurant on West 4th Avenue. This style of cooking is far from his native Vietnamese cuisine but he learned on the job. He has words of praise for the original owners of Las Margaritas who not only trained him but also were extremely supportive when he ventured out on his own. He says, “They became like family and taught me a lot.”

The small restaurant’s décor spotlights Mexicali’s logo (a cartoon chili pepper donning a sombrero) painted on the back wall. In addition, a large mural wraps around the restaurant to create the atmosphere of being on a tropical beach at sunset with palm trees swaying in the warm breeze. Background music, Tejano style, plays over the sound system and gets toes tapping as you dine.

Mexicali is known for its large portions and very reasonable prices.

What is Quang’s secret? Customers order their meal at the counter, pay, and the food is delivered to the table. There are three kitchen staff, including Quang who must have a carbon copy of himself, because he is also out on the floor serving; it is almost as if he is a one-man show and he says this assists in keeping his costs down. Remarkably, he makes it look easy. He smiles and agrees but humbly adds that it is thanks to many of his regular customers who know the menu inside out, which simplifies his job.

He mentions that the community is very loyal, from families with young children to teenagers and adults; people are drawn to the tasty and filling meals. Like clockwork, after he mentions the support of students, a troop of St. George’s students files in to place their lunchtime order before heading back to class.

What do they keep coming back for? Diners are drawn to his quality ingredients and recipes, which are made as low fat as possible. While Mexican food can be spicy, Mexicali’s dishes are made to be on the mild side, although if you request spicy they are happy to turn up the heat!

A number of dietary requirements can be accommodated, from vegetarian to gluten free, nut free, low sodium and low fat. MSG is not found in any of the kitchen’s products and the cooks avoid preservatives to their greatest ability.

Freshness is the name of the game at Mexicali. Quang likes to shop locally and purchases much of his produce at Dunbar Produce. He points out the local merchants are his friends.

The menu includes quesadillas and other snacks (tacos, Redondo rollups) and appetizers (nachos, guacamole, chips and salsa, soups and salads). Entrees feature burritos, chile relleno, enchiladas, tamales, arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), chile con carne and vegetarian chili.

mexicali-4424-dunbar-life-palla-mediaMenu standouts are the lunchtime specials, which offer unbelievable value. Quang indicates the teenage crowd is drawn to these specials because they include Mexi fries and a beverage. A favourite is the beef Redondo rollup – a grilled tortilla filled with ground beef, spices, lettuce, cheese, salsa and sour cream. The other crowd-pleasing specials are the soft or crunchy (your choice) beef tacos and the enchilada with rice and a choice of refried or black beans.

Don’t forget to try the housemade salsa, Quang is extremely proud of it.

Mexicali is not a licensed restaurant therefore expect a virgin margarita made with pure fruits and juices. The “slighty slushy Mexican limonada” is another popular beverage.

This busy restaurant owner has a young family (two daughters), works seven days a week and rarely takes holidays, yet he keeps smiling. He loves what he does for a living and it shows.

mexicali-4424-dunbar-palla-mediaWhat is the most rewarding part of owning and operating his business? Quang is quick to point out it is his customers. He says, “They are very nice and supportive.” He mentions that his customers come from all over to dine at his establishment and while some have moved away from the area they return for a meal at Mexicali, which he appreciates.

Running a restaurant is not an easy job. The hours are long; the rising cost of food makes keeping menu prices affordable a challenge and competition can be fierce. Quang has obviously found the magic formula – he is still smiling and relaxed after 24 years of running his own business!

Bring in this Dunbar Life article between November 15 through January 15 (offer valid from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m.) and receive a 20% discount on dine in orders.

Mexicali
4424 Dunbar Street
Vancouver BC V6S 2G5
Telephone 604-731-6517
www.mexicali.ca

The Dos and Dont’s of Writing the Best University Admissions Essays

Monday, December 5th, 2016

By Bryan Ide, Education Directory KEY Admissions Strategy & Learning Enrichment

Before you submit your US university applications, ask yourself if you are truly happy with your essays. Do they capture the reader’s attention? Do they articulate your compelling and interesting story? And most importantly, do they make you stand out? To help you answer these questions, here are some important dos and don’ts to writing outstanding university admissions essays.

Do be genuine and passionate
The number one rule to writing a great personal statement is to be yourself. Think of the essay as a fun exercise where you get to write about what you are passionate and to show your real self. When you focus on something that is genuinely you, you’re much more likely to write a unique personal essay.

Don’t be opportunistic
Be careful if you write about the sick relative in the hospital or all the hardships you have faced in life in order to gain the sympathy of the reader. That doesn’t work. Also, if you talk about saving the environment you but your application doesn’t show that you even are involved with your school’s environmental club, you will look opportunistic. In other words, don’t write what you think will appeal to the reader. Rather, stay true to yourself.

Do connect with your reader quickly
As I’ve mentioned in one of my previous articles, one exercise that I do with my students I call the two-sentence rule where I read the first two sentences of their essays. If my students haven’t caught my attention, they need to rewrite their essays. Remember that admissions officers are going through your application so quickly that you need to be able to catch their attention as soon as possible. Also, the more effective essays use humour, wit, and self-deprecation to connect with the reader.

Don’t be clichéd
I noted in a previous article that one of the common themes I saw as an interviewer for Cornell University went something like this: the applicant moved to Canada from China a few years ago not knowing any English and not having any friends. Through perseverance and determination he overcame the language barrier and fully integrated himself into Canadian society. If your essays sound very similar, then I can guarantee you that many other applicants will have written the exact same essay. So, it’s important not to be clichéd and write something that many others will also have written.

Do show how you think differently
One effective way to stand out among the crowd is to show how you think differently. Take for example my own essay that I wrote when I applied to Cornell University. My topic was McDonald’s, yes McDonald’s fast food restaurant! For one week I went to McDonald’s every day and sat there watching people. I noticed certain things and particular patterns. For example, the average time it took for someone to enter, eat, and leave was about seven minutes. Also, do you know why the seats at McDonald’s are so hard and uncomfortable? It’s so that McDonald’s can cycle more customers through at a faster rate thereby increasing profits. Writing about my observations at McDonald’s showed how I think differently about something which most people wouldn’t even think or notice.

Don’t write fiction
A couple of years ago, I reviewed the essays from a couple of students from one of Vancouver’s top private schools. To my shock, the students had written fictional stories! I guess they thought that writing fiction was their way of being creative. However, admissions officers aren’t interested in reading about things that never happened. Rather, they want to get to know the real you, so how are they supposed to do that by reading a fictional story?

As you strive to write the best essay you can, remember these helpful hints. And always stay true to yourself. You’ll find that it’ll make writing your essay so much easier and so much more pleasant.

Pure Integrative Pharmacy

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

pure_pharmacy_dunbar_life_interior

“A Personal Approach to Wellness”

Entering Pure Integrative Pharmacy is like stepping back to a simpler time. The staff greet customers with a warm welcome when they enter the small pharmacy, which specializes in dispensing medication along with the sale of high quality vitamins and nutritional supplements.

Kal Rahimi, the charismatic owner, operator, and pharmacy manager of Dunbar’s Pure Pharmacy says, “The company’s vision is to provide traditional pharmacy services while offering alternative solutions to our clients.”

Pure Pharmacy focuses on a holistic approach to health and wellness by providing services and products of the highest quality.

In 1999, Pure Pharmacy’s CEO Bob Mehr and his pharmacist wife, Mahtab, established their first location in Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island. Today the business has expanded to eight locations in Metro Vancouver and continues to grow.

pure_pharmacy_kal_dunbar_life_palla_mediaRahimi graduated from UBC’s pharmacy program in 2011. He grew up in Burnaby and was not very familiar with the Dunbar neighbourhood until he lived in residence at UBC. Having had an opportunity to spend time here he realized it was a very special and unique area of town. He was also aware that Dunbar residents take an active interest in their health. He thought it would be the perfect area to establish a Pure Pharmacy and opened the store in 2013.

Rahimi believes community pharmacists are highly trained and well positioned primary health care providers who can ease the burden on our publicly funded health care system by playing a more proactive role in the health and wellness of their patients.

He uses the example of a hospital triage to explain the personal service his pharmacy provides. On a daily basis, dozens of patients visit Pure Pharmacy to seek treatment for minor illnesses or to simply get advice on their health and wellness related concerns.

“My goal is to not only recommend a remedy to alleviate the bothersome symptom, but also to work with my patients to address the underlying cause of that symptom.” Kal Rahimi

That is what sets Pure Pharmacy apart from other retail pharmacies. For cases that are not within their scope of practice, or a customer would benefit from another practitioner’s inter-vention, Pure’s pharmacists use a systematic approach to ensure a referral is made to the general practitioner or other health care providers such as naturopaths, chiropractors, or dietitians if necessary.

pure_pharmacy_dunbar_life_testingHe truly cares about his clients’ overall health profile and is happy to discuss the importance of exercise, diet and nutritional supplements. Rahimi explains that a symptom is a mental or physical feature felt by a patient and is a manifestation of an underlying condition or disease state. He adds, “In some cases medications simply alleviate, mask, or temporarily make a symptom go away without addressing the underlying cause.” He states that this is particularly true in the case of digestive disorders, autoimmune issues, chronic fatigue, sleep disorders, chronic pain, and mood disorders to name a few.

Rahimi provides an example of a patient experiencing recurrent and painful muscle spasms and the functional medicine approach he uses to devise a therapeutic plan. He acknowledges that while a prescription medication may be necessary in the short term, it does not address the underlying cause, which may stem from magnesium deficiency. In this case, Rahimi discusses whether the patient’s diet includes sufficient green vegetables and assesses the amount of coffee, alcohol, and carbonated beverages they consume as they can play a part in depleting magnesium. He also assesses the patient’s current medications. He mentions some prescription medications can cause micronutrient deficiencies and if we fail to supplement, these deficiencies may lead to certain symptoms.

In addition to filling prescriptions, the pharmacy also offers injections, blister packaging and lab tests for vitamin D and hormone levels.

There are only a handful of Vancouver pharmacies that offer compounding, which is the art and science of preparing customized medication for patients. Today, the vast majority of medications are mass-produced by pharmaceutical drug companies. A compounding pharmacist is trained to compose alternate dosages, which may come in other forms such as creams, caplets and suspensions, and to create specialized compounds for pediatric and veterinary patients. It is even possible to combine multiple medications into a single dose.

This service is particularly helpful when a medication is prescribed but the dosage is not commonly available. Instead of going through the headache of cutting up a tablet, Rahimi and his team of pharmacists can compound the exact dosage.

Rahimi is genuinely humble when he mentions people return on a daily basis to say thank you. He says, “It is a very satisfying part of my job. That’s what I feed off. It makes my day and keeps me going.”

pure_pharmacy_dunbar_life_exteriorThe sharing of knowledge is important to Rahimi. He has hosted weight loss presentations at the Dunbar Community Centre and blood pressure clinics at Dunbar Village Business Association events.

The busy pharmacist commutes from Coquitlam where he lives with his wife and one year old daughter. When not working, the couple can often be found discovering new hiking trails with their baby accompanying them in a back carrier.

Rahimi is excited to announce that the pharmacy will be relocating on September 30th. Have no fear as this popular pharmacy, with the well-liked Rahimi at the helm, will remain in the neighbourhood, conveniently situated next door to Preventum medical clinic at West 16th and Dunbar Street.

Pure Integrative Pharmacy
4198 Dunbar Street
New address effective September 30: 3228 Dunbar Street
Telephone 604-732-3010
www.purepharmacy.com