Posts Tagged ‘westside’

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

New District

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

new-district-wine-farrell-kearney-hampson-thorpe-dunbar-life-palla-mediaFrom Vineyard to Table

The south end of Dunbar has recently gained a bit of a Main Street feel with New District wine shop having moved into the neighbourhood.

New District opened in May 2016 and is a full service liquor store with a difference – 98% of the wines they sell are not available in government liquor stores. Their goal is to shine the spotlight on small and medium sized wineries that may otherwise not be carried in larger stores due to the volume they would need to produce.

If you have gone on an Okanagan wine tour and returned home hoping to find that gem you tasted and fell in love with, you may very well find it at New District, and if you don’t, they will try their best to special order it (by the case is best!). The shop also carries wines from around the world that you won’t commonly find elsewhere.

“Every wine has a story behind it, and we are great storytellers at New District.” Isaac Hampson-Thorpe

Here you will also find beer – both larger brand names and craft beer – and craft spirits. New District carries products from 20 different B.C. distilleries such as G&W Distilling, Long Table, Odd Society, Shelter Point and Victoria Spirits.

The interior of the store is beautiful and takes advantage of the shop’s high ceilings. Wine and spirits are displayed on tall custom shelves, industrial glass pendant lights hang from the ceiling, and rich coloured wood flooring conjures thoughts of wine barrels.

Tables are elegantly displayed with specials and themed selections to help make your search for the perfect bottle even easier, however you will never feel at a loss as New District is staffed with wine experts who are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about wine. All of the staff are certified wine educators, but also have other talents: one is a pastry chef, another is certified sommelier, two are bartenders, and a number are former wine store managers; they can help direct you to the perfect bottle.

new-district-wine-1-dunbar-life-palla-mediaStore manager Isaac Hampson-Thorpe got an early start in the business. Family ties in B.C.’s wine country (Naramata) allowed him to spend time in the region and once he started working in a winery he never turned back. He has worked on both the retail side and as an agent and is currently enrolled at Sonoma State University, perfecting his industry acumen in the Wine Business Management program.

Like all of New District’s staff, Hampson-Thorpe is passionate about wine. He says, “New District is big on educating people, and simplifying the enjoyment of wine.”

One of the company’s secret weapons is DJ Kearney, New District’s director of wine. Multi-talented, she is a certified sommelier, wine educator, wine writer, judge, presenter and classically trained chef.

Kearney comments, “We are a strong team at New District. Isaac and I collaborate on the wine buying and merchandising. Our sales team are vastly experienced and dedicated to providing supreme customer service and a great shopping experience.“

“We are much more than the physical store however, with an online e-commerce store so customers can opt to shop from home or work.” DJ Kearney

Their beautiful website offers curated wine selections, giving customers a mix of B.C.’s best, compiled by Kearney. New District does the legwork for you, to expertly hone in on the world of wine. A weekly email newsletter keeps customers informed of what’s new in store.

new-district-wine-2-dunbar-life-palla-mediaNot only can you order online, New District will also deliver to your home year round (including the holiday season – and that strikes one errand off your busy to-do list). Orders of $200 or more qualify for free delivery.

Having experienced a busy Thanksgiving, the New District staff is excited about the upcoming festive season. For the wine connoisseur on your gift-giving list, or to stock up for a busy month of entertaining and parties, New District’s advent calendar showcases 25 different wines and will be available in November.

The word is quickly spreading that New District is the new wine store in Dunbar. Hampson-Thorpe mentions, “Many locals are connecting with the store. Others are coming from across the city.”

The official grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, November 19 and promises to be a fun-filled event with wine tastings and an opportunity to meet the New District team. If you miss the opening you can always drop by for weekly beer tastings (Fridays) and wine tastings (Sundays), hosted by Assistant Manager Martin Farrell.

Hampson-Thorpe concludes, “Dunbar is a community that enjoys wine and spirits. It’s an exciting time for us. It’s a great neighbourhood and we are really happy to be here.”

New District
5650 Dunbar Street
Vancouver, BC V6N 1W7

Pure Integrative Pharmacy

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016


“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

Elements Academy of Martial Arts

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016


“Champion of Dunbar Village”

Giving back to the community comes effortlessly to Elements Academy of Martial Arts business partners Mysha Dewar-McClelland and Emma Hamilton. They share the common value that Elements is much more than a neighbourhood business.

Dunbar reminds Dewar-McClelland of Lindsay, Ontario, the close-knit rural town where she grew up. She feels fortunate to work in this special neighbourhood; therefore it is part and parcel to invest in the community where Elements’ members live and attend school.

“We encourage our students to not only build community within our studio but to embrace and give back to our larger Dunbar community.”

Mysha Dewar-McClelland

For a number of years Dewar-McClelland volunteered and subsequently was employed at Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW). She attributes the personal satisfaction she derives from volunteering to the time she spent assisting the rape crisis centre. WAVAW is one of many organizations that benefits from the excellent fundraising work Elements regularly undertakes.

Dewar-McClelland had no experience with martial arts until she was 27 years old. That was when she was introduced to Hamilton who persuaded her to attend a class. She trained with Hamilton and has been working as an instructor and the studio’s administrator since Elements opened in 2009.

She wishes she had discovered martial arts when she was a teenager. The girls’ programs have special meaning to her. “I see myself in them. It is inspiring to see young women taking pride in their physical ability,” she says.

Hamilton is the only female owner of an independent martial arts studio in Vancouver.

As role models for girls of all ages, she and Dewar-McClelland like to offer the gift of empowerment through self-defence and kickboxing training whenever possible.

A few years ago Hamilton connected with KidSafe Project Society and volunteered to train Grade 6 and 7 inner city girls. Subsequently, she discovered KidSafe’s GEMS (Girls Exploring Motion and Self) program, which assists girls at Florence Night-ingale Elementary on Vancouver’s eastside.

Elements_Academy_Dunbar_Life_Harvest_FestivalElements held a fundraising Kick-A-Thon at the studio to benefit GEMS. Elements’ members of every age (kids, youth and adults) collected pledges and participated in different categories to demonstrate their ability and technique and to see how many timed kicks they could accomplish. They were ecstatic to raise over ten thousand dollars for GEMS, far surpassing their goal; the extraordinary accomplishment provided the girls’ program with funding for a year.

Other Elements fundraisers have benefited WAVAW and Big Sisters. This year the martial arts academy (in partnership with Vancity Buzz) offered four free self-defence workshops for women, including one held at Musqueam. Over the years Elements has run numerous community programs at the Musqueam Community Centre.

Dunbar Apartments recently invited Dewar-McClelland to talk to residents about self-defence and safety in the community. It was so well received that she plans to return to offer a self-defence workshop.

Elements can also be found participating in Dunbar Village Business Association’s (DVBA) events such as the Harvest Festival and Salmonberry Days. Another way Dewar-McClelland gives back is through volunteer work as a DVBA board member.

After two terms as Dunbar Village Business Association’s secretary to the board, Dewar-McClelland has recently been appointed as vice president.

elements_academy_dunbar_life_exteriorShe says, “Since taking my place on the DVBA board I have become even more integrated into the Dunbar community. It is a source of pride knowing my business neighbours and being able to say hello to many familiar faces when I walk up and down Dunbar. I love it. It’s a stepping stone that connects me to the community.”

McClelland believes the assorted ways Elements contributes to Dunbar nurtures the community. Relationships develop both inside the studio and out and ultimately connect people from all walks of life.

Hats off to Elements Academy of Martial Arts, this champion of Dunbar, for leading by example and showing how a small business can accomplish great things.

Elements Academy of Martial Arts, 4465 Dunbar St, Vancouver BC   Telephone 604-568-3441

Sarah Jagger

Monday, September 12th, 2016

sarah_jagger_domestic_objects_dunbar_life_palla_mediaCut From Entrepreneurial Cloth

Sometimes the best business ideas grow from the imaginative seeds one unintentionally sows. In Sarah Jagger’s case her thriving business, Domestic Objects, was born from a lifelong passion for sewing.

An advocate of imaginative play for children, and knowing how much her kids like to hide in and play under things, in 2014 Sarah Jagger started looking for an indoor teepee play tent but was unable to find one that appealed to her. This did not deter her; she set to work and created one. Pleased with the results, she posted a photo on Facebook. Her friends and family loved it; they encouraged her to make more so she created an online business through Etsy and sales instantly took off.

Domestic Objects Tent Dunbar LifeAt the time her business was born she and her husband Stephen Jagger and their two young children were on a four year overseas work adventure involving Stephen’s business. During that time they lived in Manila followed by time spent in Singapore. Sarah Jagger had enjoyed a fulfilling career in cardiology information systems with Vancouver Coastal Health, and looking for something to do while away from home, threw her creative energy into her new enterprise. She quickly realized this was something she could do anywhere in the world they travelled.

She reflects, “Looking outside of comfort zones opportunities can arise. I had the idea and jumped in.”

Domestic_Objects_striped_tent_dunbar_lifeThe fabrics she has collected from her travels range from 100% cotton to poplin and natural, unbleached canvas. Sarah Jagger is drawn to classic patterns such as the grey and white striped fabric seen on her Etsy site, which happens to be her top selling tent. She chooses attractive timeless fabrics prints to complement a home’s interior and reckons children don’t mind what the tent looks like on the outside; it’s the good times they create inside that count.

The frames (which are not visible) are constructed from PVC pipes, a flexible and safe material so children won’t hurt themselves if they bump into the tent. The lightweight design is also beneficial for shipping. Etsy customers from all over the world have been ordering from her.

To date the tents have shipped to 25 countries, although the primary market is Canada and the United States. Orders have been placed from as far away as the Maldives, Norway and Pakistan.

Since the company’s inception she has sold thousands of tents. In addition to online sales, Domestic Objects wholesales to businesses and customers can also purchase directly from Sarah Jagger.

Domestic Objects began as a one-woman show, however, with the company’s incredible success Sarah Jagger could not keep up with the demand and hired five families in Manila to assist with production. She mentions that her employees were formerly factory workers and now they sew from their homes. They are extremely well paid and have become the envy of their community. She also continues to create tents at home in Vancouver.

In addition to the teepees, Domestic Objects has introduced accessories including throw pillows for the interior and an adorable Happy Camper felt/plush campfire comprised of realistic looking stuffed granite rocks, stuffed felt fire logs, jumbo marshmallows and felt covered roasting sticks.

“I test all of my new products out on my kids first to see if they like them, and if they do, I make more.” Sarah Jagger

Domestic_Objects_canvas_tent_dunbar_lifeTwo years after the initial play tent was created her kids still play in them. Stuart (6) likes to read inside his teepee and other times his imagination transforms it into an elevator or spaceship. Meanwhile Tamsen (4) can often be found hosting tea parties for her dolls. Sarah Jagger is delighted to see the cloth structures constantly being used in different ways. “Every day it’s something different. The tents inspire their imaginations,” she says.

While the family was away from Vancouver they chose to not own a television set. In extreme circumstances, such as a long flight, they would offer the kids a tablet to play on. It is her belief that some parents rely too heavily on technology and her intention is to stimulate imaginative play and communication. She feels there is beginning to be a push back against technology as parents are seeing the loss of communication skills.

The family returned to their Dunbar home in June and is happy to be back. Sarah Jagger missed the clean air, familiar foods and her running routes. She also missed her family’s favourite Dunbar hang outs such as Chaldecott Park, Jethro’s Fine Grub and Kokopelli Café.

Book_cover_play_tent_dunbar_lifeWhere does she see Domestic Objects headed? Sarah remarks, “I would like to continue expanding the product line. I would like to see the tents in more stores.”

Released this summer, Sarah Jagger has authored a book titled “The Play Tent of Imagination” about two siblings and where their creative minds wander off to as they play in their tent. She mentions the illustrations by Lenny Wen are beautiful. The book will be sold on Etsy and she imagines parents will cuddle up in the tent and read to their children.

Based on the success of her company, which began with a needle pulling thread to create a single tent, imagination can indeed take you to wonderful and unexpected places.

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

The Cheshire Cheese Inn

Friday, May 20th, 2016

CheshireCheeseInn_Alan_Cassidy_DunbarLife_PallaMediaPurveyor of British Pub Fare

The Cheshire Cheese Inn, fondly known as “The Cheese,” has been a Dunbar fixture for 37 years. The name pays homage to London’s Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, which was built in 1666 and has been operating as a pub for 350 years.

Derek Cassidy founded the Dunbar business in 1979. Aware that a large number of fellow British expatriates lived in the district, his dream was to create a cozy pub with a historical feel, complete with low-beamed ceilings, dark wood paneling, a large bar and a combination of booths and tables to gather with friends to raise a glass and enjoy a pub meal.

His son, Alan Cassidy, has been the sole proprietor for 14 years. In addition to his father and himself, four generations of the Cassidy family have been actively involved with the business including Alan Cassidy’s two sons, his brother and his grandfather who worked as a bookkeeper.

CheshireCheeseInn_beer_DunbarLife_PallaMediaAlan Cassidy hails from Liverpool and he is as charming as his Liverpudlian accent. The secret recipe for this restaurant’s longevity is the menu and the cozy atmosphere. Another key ingredient is the warm hospitality offered by the charismatic owner and his staff who he fondly refers to as “a friendly and cheeky bunch.”

“We have wonderful staff.” Cassidy explains, “We put a lot of time into their training and have high expectations of them.”

It appears Cupid is a Cheshire Cheese Inn patron. Cassidy reports that he met his wife and a few of the Cheese staff also met their future spouses while working at the restaurant. In addition to love connections a very loyal customer base has formed. He says, “Some people we serve are the grandchildren of customers my father served 30 years ago.”

CheshireCheeseInn_bar_DunbarLife_PallaMediaCassidy says, “We try to keep to the roots of the old school restaurants.” He explains, “Some of the recipes from the first days are still used today. I think that is why we have stayed around so long.”

“We are proud of the food we put out.” Alan Cassidy

Meals are created from scratch using many local ingredients including line caught seafood and farm fresh veggies. Cassidy says,” If you order chicken pie you know you are getting quality chicken.”

Gluten free options are available and a monthly feature sheet introduces some new selections to tempt the taste buds.

CheshireCheeseInn_pie_DunbarLife_PallaMediaClassic British pub fare includes toad in the hole (pork bangers baked in a Yorkshire pudding served with mashed potatoes and Guinness gravy), fish and chips, Cornish pasties, lamb stew and savoury pies.

Other selections include handcrafted burgers, hand cut fries, sandwiches, salads and pasta dishes. A wide selection of appetizers (chicken wings, calamari, nachos, bruschetta, fish tacos) is offered to whet the appetite or to enjoy with a pint of beer.

Cassidy mentions that micro and import beers are offered on tap and of course Guinness is a staple.

If you are looking for a local brunch spot try The Cheese. Cassidy says, “Brunch is done on a grand scale in Britain.”

CheshireCheeseInn_breakfast_DunbarLife_PallaMediaCassidy recommends coming with a hearty appetite. ‘The Full Monty’ features three eggs, streaky bacon, two pork bangers, ham, baked beans, griddled tomato, mushrooms, crispy hash browns and toast. Pancakes, Cheshire benedicts, French toast and omelettes round out the menu.

It is always exciting for kids to visit a restaurant that exudes a pub-like feel without the rowdy atmosphere. The Cheese offers a kids’ menu and all ages can be found happily dining together. This is a place to gather and celebrate. Sports teams of all ages enjoy getting together for a meal and watching live sport broadcasts.

A rousing game of trivia takes place each Tuesday night. General knowledge questions posed to diners can range from Disney to politics, history and geography. Correct answers are rewarded with a piece of cheese to drop inside a draw bucket for a chance to win gift certificates and prizes. The maximum size team is four players. Cassidy explains,”Trivia Tuesday is lots of fun. This is very popular in Britain. It makes us feel smart when we get one right.”

CheshireCheeseInn_exterior_DunbarLife_PallaMediaMany memories have been created at the restaurant. Cassidy points out, “The Cheese sees happy and sad times from wedding receptions to wakes.”

Some clients say The Cheese hasn’t changed over the years and Cassidy takes this as a compliment. He and his staff take pride in listening to what their customers say and offering up consistently good comfort food in a familiar setting.

Like the historical London pub The Cheshire Cheese Inn is modelled on, this long-term business is proof you don’t need to fix something that isn’t broken.

The Cheshire Cheese Inn
4585 Dunbar Street
Vancouver BC V6S 2G7
Telephone 604-224-2521

Dunbar Family Dental

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Dunbar Family Dental Dr David Hou Palla MediaDentist Returns to His Roots

From an early age Dr. David Hou knew he wanted to be a dentist. His experience with orthodontic work began in grade 6 when he made monthly visits over the course of three years to have his braces adjusted. His dentist always made the experience comfortable and fun.

“My career choice had a lot to do with how I was treated at the dentist’s office.”

Born in Vancouver, Dr. Hou grew up in Dunbar. During his teenage years he did some job shadowing and mentoring to get a feel for the profession. He was hooked. After graduating he followed his dream and set off for sunny California where he attended the University of California and completed his dental training at Loma Linda University Medical Centre. In 2006 Dr. Hou returned to Vancouver to continue practicing dentistry.

Dr. Hou has been a dentist in the Lower Mainland for the past 10 years. Two years ago he began practicing at Dunbar Family Dental.

His busy private practice includes himself, his certified assistant, his team of two hygienists and two receptionists. Three operatory rooms contain televisions on the ceiling for patients to relax and enjoy a show and headphones to listen to music.

Some of the newest technology includes a digital panoramic X-ray machine that provides a broad view of jaws and teeth. Digital X-rays provide a clearer image compared to film and expose patients to 90 per cent less radiation than a traditional X-ray. The results are instant and can be viewed on a computer monitor, making it an educational experience for patients.

Dunbar Family Dental David Hou Palla MediaHe also utilizes a VELscope machine to screen for oral cancer and abnormal tissue conditions.

Services includes everything from conventional braces for children to Invisalign for adults, check ups, fillings, crowns, root canals, implants and wisdom teeth removal. Oral sedation is available for those who need it or for certain procedures such as implants and wisdom teeth.

Dr. Hou says the overall oral health care has improved so much in the past 20 years that far fewer people are requiring dentures. Many patients are opting for more permanent and practical solutions such as dental implants.

Dr. Hou is committed to providing the best and most up to date care. He regularly attends continuing education courses and is a member of multiple dental study clubs in the Lower Mainland. This allows him to stay up to the date with the newest advances and techniques in the field.

He points out, “Variety in a day makes it fun for me too.”

It is apparent Dr. Hou is passionate about his profession and thoroughly enjoys work. He is extremely person-able and likes meeting new people. He says his entire staff tries their best to make a visit to the office a positive experience.

He encourages parents to bring their children in before two years of age. Feeling comfortable and making the experience fun is key. He says, “A large part of the visit is introducing them to the office and getting them used to coming.” Selecting a prize afterwards from the treasure chest is always a special treat.

Dr. Hou takes pride in offering family dentistry in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere and forming good relationships with his patients.

Dunbar residents are largely his patient base as they appreciate the convenience of having a dentist close to home. Dunbar Family Dentist’s youngest patient is age two and the oldest is 101. New patients are happily accepted. Dr. Hou speaks both English and Mandarin.

In addition to busy days at his practice, Dr. Hou holds a part-time academic position at UBC. He teaches clinical dentistry (which includes general procedures, fillings, crowns and dentures) to third and fourth year students one day a week and enjoys the experience.

Dunbar Family Dental Dunbar Life Palla MediaDr. Hou believes Dunbar hasn’t changed much since he was young. He finds it a charming place to live and own a business. He is very supportive of the good work accomplished by the Dunbar Residents’ Association and the Dunbar Village Business Association.

Reflecting back on Dunbar from his youth, he notes what remains unchanged is the strong sense of community and it is a safe place to grow up. Some of his fond memories include playing floor hockey and tennis at the Dunbar Community Centre and sipping milkshakes at the former Sodas Diner. Today he and his wife enjoy the walkable neighbourhood. They like to shop at Stong’s Market, dine out and take in a film at the Dunbar Theatre.

He says, “Dunbar is a close knit community. It is very fortunate that I am back and I am blessed to be here.”

Dunbar Family Dental
4210 Dunbar Street
Vancouver BC V6S 1N9
Telephone 604-733-1616