Steveston’s New Grocery Store at The Roderick Revealed

May 25th, 2017

The Roderick Steveston logoStevestonites have been abuzz with speculation about which grocery store will be coming to the village since local company Plat:form Properties made the announcement that they had purchased the former Rod’s Lumber block and planned to develop it for combined commercial and residential use. The development has been named The Roderick in homage of Rod’s Lumber, which played an important role in Steveston for 60 years.

Kyle Shury, Principal of Plat:form Properties, is a proud long term Richmond resident and has lived here since he was a child. He and his family have called Steveston home since 2004 and he felt a vested interest in helping to shape the community that he loves so much. He is aware that the village’s grocery options are limited which means locals leave the community to shop.

A village scale Save-On-Foods will open in Steveston in 2019.

Save-on-foods-logo whiteWith a Save-On-Foods in Steveston, people will be able to combine errands and shop in the village at the same time, keeping more business local and helping to support our dedicated merchants. Kyle laughs when he reports that he can’t go anywhere without being asked the burning question so it is a relief to finally reveal the news.

Julie Dickson Olmstead, Save-On-Food’s Director of Public Affairs and Corporate Services mentions, “We are excited to be opening a store in Steveston. This will be a unique Save-On-Foods – there are few like it. Our goal, as with every new market we enter, is to become a truly integrated part of the community.”

Being a 100 per cent locally owned company distinguishes Save-On-Foods from other grocery stores. Since it’s early beginnings in New Westminster in 1915 the company has taken pride in partnering with local producers and suppliers. Julie mentions this store will be tailor-made for the village – in addition to a unique and industry-leading local product offering – each store’s décor reflects the community through the use of photography and imagery. In addition, giving back to communities is a large part of Save-On-Food’s mandate; the company was recently a generous sponsor of the Ships to Shore event.

Kyle describes the great effort that has gone into the thoughtful design and integration of The Roderick into the heart of the village.

The Roderick development rendering June2017 Steveston designstorIt is an elegant building which combines modern with historical tie ins, such as the single storey Moncton Street frontage. The building will rise to three storeys on Chatham Street. Three retail spaces will be for lease; a nice nod to historical Steveston is the corner unit on Third Avenue and Moncton Street featuring a chamfered corner entrance. Save-On-Foods will face Chatham Street and have convenient access to parking both from Third Avenue and the lane between Second and Third Avenue.

The Roderick offers a rare opportunity to purchase a home right in the village.

The 32 large homes will range in size from 1,300 to 2,600 square feet. Twenty-five of the homes will be single storey flats while seven will be two level town homes. Kyle reports, “The roof decks are a unique offering and the views will be outstanding.”

He imagines many of the purchasers will be Richmondites wishing to downsize. These spacious homes will be ideal for buyers looking to make the shift from a single family home, and best of all, continue living in the community. There will be outdoor living space and the homes will feature plenty of light from two directions. Ideally ground will be broken this summer, with construction beginning in the autumn. Interest has been strong and the sales centre will be opening in June.

Kyle concludes, “We are very excited to be developing The Roderick in the village.”

Indeed, now that the exciting news is out, the community is going to be over the moon!

Doors Open Richmond 2017

April 1st, 2017

Steveston_Gulf_of_Georgia_Cannery_Palla_MediaOn Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4 from 10:00am to 4:00pm, you will have an opportunity to explore over 30 heritage, arts and cultural sites across Richmond for free — and many of these are found in and around Steveston Village.

2017 is Canada’s 150th Anniversary and it also marks the 10th instalment of Doors Open Richmond. Why not use these anniversaries as an excuse to come and explore some of Canada’s most beautiful and diverse cultural and heritage sites right here in Steveston at the beginning of summer?

Steveston_Steves_Farmhouse_Palla_Media
At the west end of Steveston Village, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site (12138 Fourth Avenue) will be offering “Under the Rafters” tours, a rare behind-the-scenes experience exploring areas of the Cannery typically closed to the public. Built in 1894, the Cannery was the largest building of its kind and the leading producer of canned salmon in B.C. The tours will be offered twice a day at 10:00am and 2:00pm. Places are limited. Call 604-664-9009 from May 1 to reserve your spot. Also don’t forget, for all of 2017 there is free admission to the Cannery.

Here’s a fun fact: Steveston is named for the Steves family, who established a farm in 1877 and built the Steves Family Farmhouse (2871 Steveston Highway) in 1913. This farmhouse is an essential piece of Steveston’s history. It will be open for tours and to showcase the Steves’ collections of artwork and historical objects. New this year is the partial re-creation of a World War Two era canteen in the basement.

Steveston_Visitor_Ctr_Palla_MediaThe Steveston Museum and Visitor Centre (3811 Moncton Street) was built in 1905 and was the area’s first bank. On Saturday, June 3 at 1:00pm, 12 lucky people will get to go on the very first Walking Tour Vignettes – Canada 150 Project. A narrator will lead participants around the Village to five locations where costumed interpreters will perform short plays. Spaces can be reserved from May 1 by calling the Tourism Richmond Visitor Centre on 604-271-8280. Don’t worry if you miss out, these tours will be offered on Fridays and Saturdays during June and July for a small fee. In the meantime, enjoy the Japanese-themed activities in the museum’s park throughout the weekend.

Just around the corner on 3171 Chatham Street, local artist Adrienne Moore will be showcasing her vibrant mixed media work. Explore her lovely home studio and talk with Adrienne about the inspiration behind her beautiful artwork. She will also be giving demonstrations.

Steveston_Tram_Palla_MediaVisitors to the Steveston Interurban Tram building (4011 Moncton Street) will be given a rare behind-the-scenes sneak peek as the 105-year-old Tram Car 1220 is being restored. Come take a look at the largest artifact in the City of Richmond’s museum collection, talk with volunteers assisting with restoration, and enjoy a variety of fun family activities.

Since 1992, the Steveston Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (4255 Moncton Street) has been dedicated to the local Japanese Canadian Community who endured injustices during and after World War Two. Explore aspects of the vibrant Japanese Canadian culture still thriving in Steveston today by joining in their interactive activities, demonstrations and presentations.

A lovely stroll northeast of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre will take you to the Steveston Buddhist Temple (4360 Garry Street). The temple itself was built in 1963, while the Buddhist community has been a part of Steveston’s history for over 80 years. The temple is offering a wide range of fascinating workshops and demonstrations.

Buddhist TempleOn Saturday, June 3, participate in:
10:00am-11:00am: Japanese Pastry Making demonstrations; 11:00am-11:30am: Introduction to Buddhism workshop; 11:30am-12:00pm: Buddhist Flower Arranging presentation; 1:00pm-1:30pm: Seiza Meditation workshop; 10:00am-4:00pm: Temple Tours.

On Sunday, June 4 enjoy:
10:30am: Morning Service open to the public; 1:00pm: Mindful Bead Making workshop; 1:00pm-1:30pm: Introduction to Buddhism; 2:00pm-4:00pm: Temple Tours

At Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site (5180 Westwater Drive), visitors will be able to learn about the once thriving community and cultural diversity of Richmond’s maritime past. There will be numerous engaging activities offered in the heritage buildings dotted about the large site.

Steveston_London_Heritage_Farm_Palla_MediaCalling all tea lovers! London Heritage Farm (6511 Dyke Road) is the place for you! The restored 1890s farmhouse built by the London Family will take you back to yesteryear with period themed rooms depicting pioneer life. Enjoy a stroll around the stunning grounds, including the herb and perennial gardens. Don’t forget to buy some London Lady Tea and enjoy sweet treats in the Tea Room between 12:00pm to 5:00pm.

Steveston_Branscombe_House_Palla_MediaLast but certainly not least, visit the historic Branscombe House (4900 Steveston Highway) where visitors of all ages can find out more about works created by the new Artist-in-Residence, Barbara Meneley. Barbara is known for her work with installation pieces, multimedia and performance art. Her pieces are collaborative works with the community and this is a fantastic opportunity to speak to the artist as well as to see her creative process. You may even get to contribute to her latest work!

Remember, this is only a small smattering of the variety of sites that will be participating across Richmond. For more information, pick up a Doors Open Richmond 2017 map brochure available from early May at City of Richmond facilities or visit the website:
www.richmond.ca/doorsopen.

Raintree Wellness Spa

April 1st, 2017

Raintree Wellness Spa reception Steveston Insider

Relax, Rejuvenate, Restore

Are you guilty of not setting aside time for yourself? So many of us lead crazy busy lives as we juggle work and families and don’t take time to slow down for a little self-care. A visit to the spa is an excellent way to recharge your batteries and leave with a spring in your step.

It has been a little over a year since Lisa McFadden became the new owner of Steveston’s well loved Raintree Wellness Spa. She had been looking for an opportunity to purchase a spa in Richmond and serendipitously, former Raintree owner Barbara Bell had been looking for the right fit to pass on the spa she opened in 2004. The women met and connected. Barbara worked with Lisa for a smooth transition and introduced her to the spa’s many loyal guests.

It is an honour for Lisa to carry on the tradition of meeting the high standards Raintree’s customers have come to expect, while building her own relationships with the staff and clients, and bringing some fresh ideas to the business.

Relaxation begins the moment you enter Raintree Wellness Spa where guests are offered a chocolate, served a cup of Raintree’s own tea and provided with a warm neck wrap.

Raintree Wellness Spa Lisa McFadden Steveston InsiderLisa spent most of her career in corporate environments, including acting as manager of a multi-unit medical spa. She says, “It was during this time that I really hit my stride and confirmed what I had long suspected, that I really wanted to manage my own business.” Lisa’s parents were a source of inspiration; when she was young they owned and operated their own businesses, including a couple of delicatessens. She remembers spending a lot of time sitting on a stool in the kitchen watching them work.

Her management skills are a natural fit for her new business. Lisa mentions, “I love the planning, marketing and business functions of the business. I really enjoy meeting our guests and hearing how much they love coming to Raintree.”

“It is the team that makes Raintree special. They are the heart of the spa.” Lisa McFadden

Collectively the staff has decades of esthetics and bodywork experience. They regularly refresh their skills and knowledge through training opportunities. “I have been so impressed with the connection our team makes with each of our guests, and how rewarding that is for both the staff and guests,” Lisa says.

Lisa points out how fortunate she is to have the experienced leadership of Raintree’s esthetics manager, Laurie Watt. Laurie has been working at the spa for five years.

“We love making people feel good and seeing the transformation from when they walk in to when they leave.” Laurie Watt

Lisa’s husband Derek Sopha has his own full-time career in cosmetics manufacturing but he is always ready to lend his handyman skills to the spa. Lisa lovingly refers to Derek as Raintree’s “facilities engineer” as he is always there when she needs him.

Raintree Wellness Spa Vichy shower Steveston InsiderClients come from across the Lower Mainland to take advantage of Raintree’s top-notch treatments and attentive care. “The spa’s mission is to deliver an authentic, genuine connection to each guest with a commitment to the highest standards of excellence allowing guests to relax, rejuvenate and restore their mind, body and spirit,“ Lisa says.

One of the most popular services is the Vichy shower treatment, which is not offered at many spas. On its own or in conjunction with one of Raintree’s body treatments, hydrotherapy helps increase the blood circulation, hydrates the skin and delivers a soothing waterfall massage to relax the body and relieve tension.

Raintree Wellness Spa facial Steveston InsiderDuring a Vichy shower treatment, you lie on a padded table, with the shower jets above you. Always draped with towels for your comfort and modesty, the warm showerheads deliver a full body experience. Warm water cascades over the entire length of your body and falls onto the tiled floor where it drains away, leaving only relaxation and rejuvenation in its wake.

Raintree has its fair share of male clients. Lisa smiles when she mentions, “It’s not too girly here.” Services designed for gents include a pure performance facial, a back buff, men’s manicure, power pedicure, and the “manscaping” treatment to remove unwanted chest, back, shoulder or brow hair, in addition to the wide range of massage and body treatments that are available to all guests.

Raintree Wellness Spa pedicure Steveston InsiderSandal season is almost upon us and pedicures are another client favourite. Raintree can accommodate up to three clients at a time, which is a fun activity to share with friends. Mother’s Day is approaching and a gift certificate for a spa treatment is a perfect way to say thanks for all you do, mum.

Lisa moved to Richmond as a teenager and had always wanted to live in Steveston. Her dream came true in 2007 when she and Derek moved to Steveston village. They adore the relaxed small town charm. Lisa says, “I would rather shop locally than get in my car to drive elsewhere. I received a vintage bike for my birthday and I can’t wait to ride it around Steveston with a basket to hold my local shopping!”

Raintree Wellness Spa No 2 Rd Steveston InsiderThe satisfaction of operating her dream spa in her favourite community is exceptionally rewarding for this new business owner. Lisa concludes, “It feels like a home, not just a business. It is very empowering to work with a group of engaged, professional women and to offer our guests an opportunity to feel completely relaxed and restored.”

Raintree Wellness Spa
125-13020 No. 2 Road
Richmond BC V7E 6S3
Telephone 604-274-4426
www.raintreespa.com

Steveston Rotary Club

April 1st, 2017

Steveston-Rotary-Club by Steveston Insider

“Service Above Self” is Their Motto.

Every Tuesday morning at 7:00 for the last 16 years the Steveston Hotel has generously opened their doors as an informal meeting space for the Steveston Rotary Club. This is where approximately 30 dedicated volunteers gather to work together for the betterment of our community. Through a variety of fundraising initiatives, these Rotarians lend their support to make a positive difference around the world and in our own back yard.

Rotary clubs are comprised of local residents and business professionals who meet regularly, get to know each other and work hard to get things accomplished. Each club is unique, based on its membership and the community in which it is situated. Rotary International (out of Chicago) provides the governance framework that all clubs must follow.

This nonpartisan service organization is open to all people. There are 35,000 member clubs worldwide with 1.2 million members. Rotary’s motto is “Service Above Self.”

Robert Madsen is one of Steveston Rotary Club’s founding charter members and has been involved since its inception in 2001. He serves as the club’s marketing chairperson and has held many other roles including president and secretary in his 16-year relationship with the club.

Steveston Rotary Duck RaceAlmost all of Steveston’s Rotary members live in the area and are community minded people. A lot is accomplished during the productive one-hour weekly meetings; members hear presentations from groups looking for financial assistance and they plan ongoing and upcoming projects.

“Members love their involvement with Steveston Rotary. It is a very positive organization where we accomplish amazing things.” Robert Madsen

Steveston’s Rotary throws their support behind a variety of local projects. Robert mentions one of the earliest ventures was a fishing boat festival to give children the opportunity to board working vessels. As well, they cofounded the original Maritime Festival with Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site and ran it for five years until the City of Richmond took over the management of this extremely popular festival.

Some projects are “one offs” while others are annual events. Steveston Rotary takes pride in helping local people in need, like the time they assisted a Steveston resident struggling to make ends meet, so they purchased and repaired a used vehicle for her.

Steveston Rotary cheque fundraisingTheir biggest single fundraiser of all time was the Walk For Japan to assist in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Robert says, “That was the most successful single event where we raised $150,000.” Based on this success, they staged a second walk in 2012 to aid children of Onagawa who had been orphaned after the natural disaster.

Robert estimates the Steveston Rotary Club has raised well over a million dollars for various projects since 2001.

Currently the Steveston Rotary Club is involved in lending financial support to The Write to Read Project to increase literary in First Nations communities and The Dental Mission Project, a non-profit society that supports regions in desperate need of oral health care and education both at home and abroad.

Locally, the club is hard at work staging events like the Steveston Rotary Rubber Duck Race. This popular event is now in its fifth year. The duck race is timed during the Maritime Festival in August. The public purchase tickets and their assigned ducks bob along the Steveston Harbour course with a maximum of 4,000 opponents in a race to cross the finish line. The stakes are high to see who will win the grand prize one-week vacation to Maui amongst other prizes.

Steveston Rotary Grapes Hops Bites CannerySteveston Rotary is a dedicated supporter of Richmond Community Hospice Foundation. Their fundraising efforts helped to landscape the Salvation Army’s Rotary Hospice House’s garden. In addition, in 2015 Robert Madsen was invited to participate in Richmond Hospice Association’s fundraising event, Dancing With the Richmond Stars, and this year Steveston Rotary members Dr. Sean Graham and Pat Kasprow took to the ballroom floor.

Giving back to Steveston’s senior population is very important to Steveston Rotary. In the summer they hold a free barbecue at Steveston Community Centre with burgers and entertainment, and at Christmas they host a holiday luncheon with all the trimmings and round out the celebration with carols and a visit from Santa. Seniors embrace these opportunities; the turnout can be as high as 180 people.
Another successful event is the upcoming annual Grapes, Hops and Bites Festival on Friday, May 26. Now in its sixteenth year, this is a celebration of local wineries, breweries and food. Multi-regional tasting stations are set up to provide comparisons between a long list of amazing wines and beers.

The Grapes, Hops and Bites Festival is held at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery. As you socialize amongst many familiar people from our community and enjoy your sips and bites, you will feel good knowing 100 per cent of the proceeds go directly back into the community and programs managed by Steveston Rotary Club. This ticketed event is open to the public and tickets are now on sale.

Robert concludes, “We want to break the stereotype that Rotary is for elitist old guys. Anyone can come to a meeting to see what it’s about.”

The selfless efforts of the many kind-hearted Rotarians who volunteer their time is reminder of our good fortune to live in a community where so many people are working tirelessly to make a difference. These dedicated Rotarians are to be applauded for their invaluable contributions to Steveston.

www.stevestonrotary.org

Pierside Deli

April 1st, 2017

Pierside Deli wharf Steveston InsiderAt Home on Steveston’s Pier

Pierside Deli is the epitome of a mom and pop business. This small, independent restaurant is owned and operated by Janice Sieg with the support of family members and even friends who pitch in to assist when she takes an occasional well earned vacation.Pierside Deli Janice Sieg Steveston InsiderThis long-time Stevestonite did not set out to be a restaurant owner, but circumstances and determination drove her to open Pierside Deli, which is now celebrating its tenth anniversary.Ten years ago Janice was having an ice cream cone on Steveston’s pier with her husband Rainer. The high school sweethearts are sentimentally attached to this spot where they went on their first ice cream date 25 years ago. On this particular day they were feeling troubled – Rainer had been forced to change careers while Janice was a stay at home mother caring for their three children. Janice recalls noticing a for lease sign in the window of what is now Pierside Deli, and she made a spontaneous decision to apply for a bank loan and open her own business. She was determined to be self-employed so they would be in control of their financial destiny.

Pierside Deli opened its door Easter weekend 2007. Janice is proud to report that other than Timothy’s Frozen Yogurt she is now the longest standing small business on the pier (excluding the larger restaurants). She intends to celebrate Pierside’s anniversary this Easter with a large cake to thank her customers.

Janice studied accounting in college, which has come in useful with the administrative end of her business. She admits that although she did not have professional culinary experience she likes to cook and found the idea of running a sandwich shop appealing.

The small restaurant has become a hub for fishermen, locals and tourists alike to enjoy breakfast, lunch and goodies.

Janice says, “All of the food at Pierside Deli is homemade but simple. I don’t like doing crazy things because my customers don’t want that.” Instead she keeps her menu familiar and it is designed largely around customer requests.

If you are looking for all-day breakfast Pierside offers a number of choices to satisfy a hearty appetite including the Fisherman’s Breakfast (two eggs, two bacon strips, two sausages, two slices of toast and hash browns) the Pierside omelette, French toast, and a number of breakfast bagels. Several menu items are named after customers (Joe’s Breakfast, Spencer’s Breakfast Bagel and Jack’s Shrimp Panini Melt) because her regulars are the heartbeat of the business.

Paninis, sandwiches, wraps and baked goods satisfy the afternoon crowd. Diners can warm up during the winter months with comforting bowls of soup and chilli. Janice is proud to report that other than the Seafood Club which costs a modest $8.25, all of her sandwiches fall under $7.00. She has made a great effort to barely raise prices in ten years.

Pierside Deli propeller fries Steveston InsiderA top selling item is Pierside’s propeller fries, which can be spotted all over Steveston on busy summer days as people eat them off a skewer while browsing the village. Last year on Canada Day Janice smiles when she mentions they sold so many they could hardly keep up.

Over 13,000 propeller fries have been sold since Janice started making them.

Pierside Deli has an exclusive partnership to provide packed lunches for both of Steveston’s whale watching companies’ lunch charters (Vancouver Whale Watch and Steveston Seabreeze Adventures). Janice recalls the relationship began with Vancouver Whale Watch when her oldest son Alex was a boy (he is now a commercial fisherman). He would hang out at the dock and ended up volunteering with Vancouver Whale Watch.
Over time a lunch tie in was worked out which has been going strong for eight years. Owner Cedric Towers and his staff have been extremely supportive of Pierside Deli. Janice says, “It takes a village to raise a child – and a business!”

Rainer comes in most mornings to open the restaurant before he heads off to his job as a subcontracting painter with the City of Surrey. Janice says, “He makes coffee and hashes it out with the guys until I arrive.”

Everything at Pierside Deli has evolved naturally, from a shelf designated to hold regular patron’s coffee mugs (they bring them in for their own use, a trend that evolved when Rainer began bringing in his cup) to the “Captain’s Galley,” a wall of photos customers have shared — it’s very informal and down to earth, which is reflective of Janice. If you are a regular customer you likely won’t have to place your order as she has a keen memory and will create your favourite menu item.

“It’s like our home and when customers come to Pierside it’s their place too.” Janice Sieg

Pierside Deli photo wall Steveston InsiderShe says, “I love what I’m doing. I love people. Everyone knows everything about me.” Janice is a very forthright person and enjoys sharing stories. What goes around comes around and her customers care about her too; Janice was touched to receive get well soon cards when she was in the hospital.

Janice is extremely thankful for her family’s help. Her daughter Kaitlyn works with her throughout the summer and her niece and Alex’s girlfriend Jayden also work shifts. With gratitude she says, “I don’t want this to be a stressful place for them. I want it to be fun.”

What does she enjoy most about her business? Hands down it is the people, from the tourists who patronize her business (she has a fun time trying to guess their accents) to the fishermen and other locals who come in every day to dine, drink coffee and hang out.

Pierside Deli is open every day of the year including Christmas. She mentions that it has become a tradition for people to drop in for a Christmas bagel. On sunny warm evenings she will stay open later if people are milling about.

Janice appreciates Rainer’s advice to stick it out during the tough early days when she was getting established. Janice says it has paid off, and she is happy to be doing what she loves in such a beautiful location.

Pierside Deli
115-3800 Bayview Street
Richmond BC V7E 6K7
Telephone 604-448-0071

Wood Carving Show 2017

February 12th, 2017

May 27 and 28 from 10am – 4pm at Steveston Community Centre.

Steveston_Richmond_Woodcarving-ShowRichmond Carvers was founded in 1988. This year is the 28th Annual Wood Carving Show. The show attracts a high standard of carvers from as far as Saskatchewan, Vancouver Island and Washington State. There are typically several hundred carvings to be judged at the show.

This year the show is part of the Canada 150 celebrations with special categories including prize money of over $3,500. Admission is free.

This show is the largest one of the year, but watch for regular demonstrations at Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site, and at the Maritime Festival in August.

New members are always welcome, both young and old, who wish to embark on a most satisfying hobby. Club members are always ready to teach and encourage carvers of all skill levels.

The Richmond Carvers Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of wood carving as a hobby and an art form. Started in 1988 the Society has grown to over 74 members with skill levels ranging from beginner to internationally acclaimed expert. Members meet for carving sessions every Wednesday from mid-September to mid-June at Hugh McRoberts School, 8980 Williams Road, Richmond during school term from 6:30pm to 9:00pm. Please feel free to drop in at any time.

www.richmondcarvers.com

 

Balloon Place

February 6th, 2017

It’s Time to Celebrate!

Balloon Place Steveston mickey mouse themeTammy Still and I arranged to meet at a Steveston coffee shop in December. Not having met, she told me I would easily recognize her – she would be carrying balloons. She arrived with a large Christmas arrangement designed with a festive foil bear as the centrepiece, and offered this gift to the excited staff to add a festive touch to the restaurant.

Both generous and marketing savvy, her balloon arrangement became a calling card to direct people to her new Steveston business, Balloon Place, on First Avenue in the former home of Bell’s Bake Shop.

Balloon Place opened last June on the third floor of the same building where it is now located. It was not convenient for passers-by and Tammy was keen to find a more visible location. When the street level storefront became available she was thrilled.

Balloon Place Steveston Tammy StillHow did she reach the decision to establish her business in Steveston? She says, “There is no other store of its kind in Richmond.” Tammy felt there was a demand for colourful, cheerful balloons, which captivate people of all ages with their celebratory ‘it’s party time’ energy.

Tammy mentions in the 1980s she wanted to throw elaborate parties for her nephews when but it was not in her budget so she learnt balloon art. While the business concept did not take off until much later the seed had been planted; she loved the artistry of balloon arrangement.

Balloon Place is open seven days a week to ensure customers can access over 1,000 balloons.

Tammy jokes with a warm smile, “I am a workaholic who forgot to have kids.” In fact, she may be the biggest kid of all, and owning a business that makes people happy is her driving force.

Tammy worked as a realtor in her native Los Angeles until she eventually chose to leave the United States, largely because of the American medical system. She relocated to Calgary and continued to work in real estate until the market slumped and then she headed to the Lower Mainland to work in strata management. She realized this job was not for her and the time had arrived to follow her passion; she shifted gears and began working with Vancouver based business JC Balloon Studio.

Balloon Place Steveston 12211 First Ave interiorTammy moved to Steveston in 2007 where she lives with her husband and business partner Steve Olson. She loves the community and decided last year to venture out and set up an old-fashioned mum and pop store. She mentions, “I am ecstatic to be here. I have always wanted to be part of a small community. I love the mix of cultures; there is something very special about Steveston.”

She appreciates the small town feeling where events like the Steveston Merchants Association’s Scarecrow Crawl, Girls’ Night Out and Christmas in Steveston Village bring the streets to life and benefit local businesses. She hopes that her unique business will continue to draw more shoppers to the area.

There is something magical about balloons that put a smile on people’s faces.

Tammy says, “If you can imagine it, we can make it.” Orders of any size are possible, from a single special balloon to a bouquet that can fill a room for a special event.

Whether you are celebrating the birth of a baby, a birthday, sweet sixteen, graduation, marriage or retirement, balloons add the crowning touch. Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s Day and Canada Day are made more special with the addition of colourful balloons.

Tammy points out, “Variety is key. If you have a dream balloon, Balloon Place is likely to have it.” Some clients know exactly what they want (Pinterest has sparked many design requests) but if you are stumped for an idea Tammy is happy to use her artistry to create an arrangement. She mentions a wishing well she constructed from balloons for a wedding. The guests tossed wishes in for the bride and groom and it was a huge hit.

If by chance Balloon Place doesn’t carry the balloon you have in mind they will hunt it down with enough notice. Some customers have been known to bring in their own balloons for filling. In addition, Balloon Place rents helium tanks if you prefer to cut down on costs to fill balloons for your event. Tammy’s goal is to keep prices affordable.

“The best part of my business is the happiness it brings.” Tammy Still

Balloon Place Steveston 12211 First AveCorporate and charity events are a large part of their business. It is not uncommon to receive an order for as many as 5,000 balloons to create an arch, column or canopy to fill a convention centre. Balloon walls and sculptures are other popular options. The film industry also utilizes their service. Balloon Place works with JC Balloon Studio to fill large orders. Tammy says they have a wonderful relationship with owner Carlos Gonzalez and will always continue to help each other.

If a special occasion is calling out for the finishing touch, pop in to meet Tammy and Steve at Balloon Place. You can’t miss the happy helium balloon bouquets floating in the storefront window, enticing customers to come inside.

Balloon Place
110-12211 First Avenue
Richmond BC V7E 3M3
Telephone 604-284-2565
www.balloonplace.ca

Britannia Steveston Local Craft Beer and Food

February 6th, 2017

Britannia Steveston Trystam, Lloyd, Kyle

A Hip New Vibe for the Village

Anchors aweigh! One of Steveston’s newest restaurants, Britannia Steveston Local Craft Beer and Food, has now been open for six months. Housed in a beautiful nautically influenced space designed to complement Steveston’s waterfront location, this restaurant offers a menu built around local food and craft beer from their own brewery.

Back in 2014 Steveston residents and friends Kyle Brailean, Trystam Hayden and Lloyd Kinney joined forces to start a craft beer brewery, which they named Britannia Brewing Company.

The enterprising partners joke and say the brewery is on the small size. The pint-sized 1,200 square foot space is packed with brewing equipment and to date has brewed 20,000 litres of craft beer. Kyle, Trystam and Lloyd are all actively involved and acknowledge the fine work of their full-time head brewer Mike Nicholson.

Britannia Steveston eat drinkTheir long-term vision was to open up a restaurant to serve as a tasting room for their brewery. In an ideal world the two establishments would have been housed under one roof but due to Steveston’s zoning regulations, which have subsequently changed, they set up in Ironwood. In August 2016 the restaurant opened at the corner of Bayview Street and Second Avenue.

“Steveston has the charm and friendly vibe that I grew up with. What better place to showcase our beer.” Kyle Brailean

The south facing restaurant is filled with light. Wood sided walls painted white, classic white subway tiles behind the bar, woven seat barstools, industrial style pendant and hanging lantern lighting and a gorgeous family size table the trio constructed from reclaimed wood are all part of the space’s inviting atmosphere.

Britannia Steveston Kyle Brailean Lloyd KinneyKyle, Trystam and Lloyd have pooled their talents and are burning the midnight oil as they juggle family life (they all have wives and young children), the brewery, the restaurant, and in the case of Kyle and Lloyd, two careers. Kyle is a welder with B.C. Ferries. He comes from a family of brewers and says, “For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a brewer like my grandfather.”

Britannia Steveston Trystam HaydenTrystam works full-time at the restaurant and also assists at the brewery. He has an extensive background in restaurant management; his family owns Sydney’s Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel, Australia’s oldest brew pub. He met his Richmond-born wife while she was visiting Australia and they moved to Canada in 2014.

Lloyd comes from the business side. Lloyd’s construction team from his company MLK Properties worked alongside Lloyd, Kyle and Trystam to gut and rebuild the restaurant’s interior. Lloyd’s wife Adrienne Kinney is a designer and was thrilled to have a rare opportunity to design a restaurant from a shell.

“We’re excited about growing our business locally the craft way. We’re confident we will build a successful and scalable brand for our brewery and Steveston restaurant.” Lloyd Kinney

Currently, Britannia Brewery Company primarily brews for the restaurant. They also sell kegs to O’Hare’s GastroPub and canned beer to select B.C. Liquor Stores (Ironwood, Seafair and a few independents). At this point they are producing at one third of their potential capacity and intend to expand their canned beer production. Their vision is slow and steady wins the race. Their top priorities are to produce the best quality craft beer and to grow the local market first.

Craft beer is defined as made by hand in small batches with an emphasis on distinctive full-bodied tastes and aromas achieved by using local ingredients. As examples, in some of their batches Britannia Brewing Company uses tea from Steveston businesses Adorabelle Tea Room and chocolate from Sinfully the Best.

“Britannia Brewing Company aims to brew with British tradition and West Coast ingenuity using the best seasonal ingredients we can get.” Trystam Hayden

The restaurant offers six distinct craft beers on tap to choose from: Adrift Hop Blonde Ale (inspired by the surrounding ocean and mountains), Ashore Rye Porter (a twist on the traditional brown style porter), Wave Crusader XPA (falling somewhere between a British pale ale and American IPA), Rye India Pale Ale (with big resiny grapefruit and tropical fruit aromas), Chai Saison (refreshing and effervescent farmhouse ale using a chai tea blend) and Biere De Garde (a strong pale ale brewed with a Belgium farmhouse yeast, toffee malt and aromas of dried fruits).

Beer can be purchased in glasses or select a tasting flight of four 6 ounce glasses to compare and contrast tastes. If you are looking to have a full craft beer experience, inquire about the upcoming ticketed beer dinner, a four-course paired meal.

Coming soon, the trio hopes their application to sell growlers at the Ironwood brewery will meet final approval. They will also be offering cask nights biweekly and restaurant guests will have the chance to try one-off beers. They could be winners, or not, it is all about experimenting as interesting ingredients such as blueberries, jalapeno or chocolate may be added to a cask.

Mirroring the pride they take in their craft beer, Kyle, Trystam and Lloyd strive to feature as many local products as possible. They shine the spotlight on quality and don’t cut corners.

The restaurant’s menu rotates six times a year. A sampling of share plate selections include charcuterie featuring locally cured meat by Steveston’s own D Original Sausage Haus, stuffed Yorkies (roasted beef, horseradish aioli, au jus) and a salmon board (pate, house gravlax, smoked salmon, local sourdough, citrus aioli). Select main dishes include crab and chili spaghettini (shell pasta, farmhouse cheddar, reggiano and parsley), Britannia beer battered fish and chips (Ocean Wise cod), Nepalese chicken curry and their signature grass fed burger (local beef from Pemberton, B.C.’s Two Rivers Specialty Meats), along with other tempting offerings in the share plate, soup and salad and main dish/handheld categories.Britannia Steveston Bayview StIf you are looking for a spot to have weekend brunch, stop by the restaurant on Saturdays and Sundays between 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to enjoy tasty Two Rivers’ bacon, sausages from D Original Sausage Haus and free-range eggs.

Kyle, Trystam and Lloyd are eager to introduce people to the community they love. Through their niche business they are seeing craft beer enthusiasts who have never been to Steveston making the trip because they’ve caught wind of something exciting going on.

Kudos to Britannia Steveston Local Craft Beer and Food and Britannia Brewing Company for their role in helping put our fishing village on the map.

Britannia Steveston Local Craft Beer & Food
250-12240 Second Ave
Richmond, BC V7E 3L8
Telephone 604-270-9252
www.britanniasteveston.ca

Richmond Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop

February 6th, 2017

Richmond Hospital Aux Thrift Shop StevestonA Labour of Love.

Most Stevestonites are familiar with the stucco building on the corner of Chatham Street and Second Avenue with its red front and side doors. It was originally home to Steveston Methodist Church, which was constructed in 1894 with a subsequent addition to the back in 1925. In 1975 it relocated around the corner to Broadway Street and became Steveston United Church.

Over the years the structure served many purposes including retail space for a bicycle store. In 2007 the building became the Richmond Hospital Auxiliary (RHA) Thrift Shop’s new home when its former location on Moncton Street and First Avenue met the wrecking ball.

Richmond Hospital Aux Thrift Shop volunteers StevestonBehind the scenes, the RHA Thrift Shop is a beehive of activity. The “red coat ladies,” as they are fondly known (along with a handful of “red coat guys” who are highly valued for their muscle power), busily toil to get donations sorted, priced and out onto the floor. The turn over is huge; the busy cash desk commonly processes 500 transactions a day.

In total RHA Thrift Shop has a roster of approximately 100 volunteers. Every penny raised directly benefits Richmond Hospital to purchase much needed equipment.

Richmond Hospital presents the RHA Thrift Stores’ board of directors with a wish list to purchase major pieces of equipment for the Hospital and fund music and therapy programs at Minoru Residence and Lions Manor. Funds raised have also purchased and help maintain two small buses for each residence and support a mobile dental clinic for Minoru Residence.

Richmond Hospital Aux Thrift Shop volunteers red coats StevestonThe Richmond Hospital/Healthcare Auxiliary was established in 1961. In addition to the Steveston thrift shop volunteers, another 340 Auxiliary volunteers donate countless hours of their time to assist at the hospital’s gift shop, lottery booth, information desk, marketplace located in the hospital’s main entrance, act as hospital navigators and help at Minoru Residence and Lions Manor.

Since the Richmond Hospital/Healthcare Auxiliary’s inception in 1961 it has contributed eight million dollars to benefit the hospital. The thrift store is by far the most lucrative of the Auxiliary’s involvements. It goes without saying Richmond Hospital’s staff is deeply appreciative of the Auxiliary’s dedicated and warm-hearted volunteers.

RHA Thrift Shop coordinator Ursula van Duin and day supervisor Barbara Dirnfield both put in unpaid full time hours. If they don’t happen to know the answer to a question one of the other red coat volunteers is happy to fill in the blank. The day I visited it was a bit like working on a jigsaw puzzle as a cluster of women happily stopped their work for a moment to contribute their historical knowledge. A number of helpers have been with the RHA Thrift Shop for many years. Volunteers range in age from 16 to 90 years old and are predominantly women.

The social aspect is a very important reason why people choose to volunteer. A fringe benefit is forming lifelong friendships.

Ursula points out, “A certain type of person volunteers.” She could easily be speaking about herself. This dynamo has a long history of contributing her time. She lived in the small community of Elliot Lake in Northern Ontario until she moved to Steveston to be close to her Richmond based daughter. In Ontario she was actively involved with the local hospital auxiliary and knew she wanted to carry on with community work in Steveston. In five short years she has become the shop’s coordinator and vice president of the board.

Barbara is the youngest of a family of four siblings. She can proudly say three generations of her family have been involved with the Richmond Hospital Auxiliary. Her mother, Joan McInnes, was one of original Auxiliary volunteers. Barbara recalls in the 1960s Auxiliary volunteers frequently visited their family home. She has been assisting at the thrift shop for two years alongside her sisters Laurie and Cathie. In addition, Cathie’s daughter Megan and her grandson Ethan help out, making this a true family affair with four generations having contributed their time.

Barbara shares, “Being around this group of volunteers is an eye opener. They’ve been through so much.”

Maria De Olazaval has been donating her services as public relations and social media coordinator to raise the shop’s profile. An updated website is in the works and a social media presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is raising awareness of what’s going on behind the red doors.

All sorts of wonderful items can be found at RHA Thrift Shop. Children’s clothing is kept to a modest $1 per item. Here you will find gently used clothing (some designer labels) for women, men and children, shoes and household goods. You will also find beautiful used modern and antique furniture, lamps, home décor, jewellery, watches, books, toys, magazines, dishes, hardware, small electronics, sporting goods, craft supplies and many other treasures.

Every so often a surprise enters the mix. Ursula and Barbara recall a Rolex watch arriving amongst the donations. Sensing an error, they contacted a jeweller who discovered the watch had been stolen and reunited it with the owner.

Richmond Hospital Aux Thrift Shop Chatham StevestonThe dedicated Red Coat team always goes the extra mile. They take some of the designer clothing home to launder and they polish the finer jewellery donations that they know will sell for a fair price if properly showcased.

Curio sales take place every second month and attract many collectors. Mark your calendar and follow RHA Thrift Shop’s social media – the next sale takes place on Saturday February 25 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

If you are looking for a fulfilling opportunity to lend a hand and you look good in red (wink) the Richmond Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop is always looking for more volunteers. There is no greater reward than forming new friendships and knowing that your donation of time assists such a great cause. Thank you red coat ladies and gentlemen for the extraordinary service you offer to benefit our community.

Richmond Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop
3731 Chatham Street
Richmond BC V7E 2Z4
Telephone 604-271-1551
www.richmondhospitalhealthcareauxiliary.ca

Diplomat Bakery

December 23rd, 2016

diplomat-bakery-steveston-insider-1Sweet Masterpieces Aplenty.

The baked goods look so tantalizing it is hard to know where to begin when you peek inside Diplomat Bakery’s glass display case laden with cakes and treats.

Do you choose a cinnamon bun, croissant, square or a slice of cake? Maybe you have a friend along to share tastes with, or perhaps you should select a cake to take home?

Whatever you decide, you know it’s going to be a guaranteed winner as no corners are cut or expense is spared on ingredients; real cream, butter and Belgian chocolate are all used to create these European style temptations.Mark Stenson Gerald StensonDiplomat Bakery is very much a family affair. Gerald Stenson, his wife Elizabeth and their son Mark are all actively involved in running the business. Their daughter Adele is a nurse and is a keen supporter of the family enterprise. She has played a key role in customer service and now helps contribute to product research and development.

Gerald is the pastry chef and Elizabeth is the bookkeeper. She holds a degree in food service administration and has financial accounting experience. Gerald adds fondly, “She’s a very integral behind-the-scenes part of the business.”

Mark has been helping out at the bakery since he was so small that he needed a box to stand on at the cash register. Now, with a diploma in accounting and a BBA degree in marketing under his belt, he assists with operations and marketing and is playing an active role in taking the business to the next level. He is very interested in product development and is proud of the success of introducing a seven-inch variation of their traditional nine-inch cake. He says, “Customers have responded well to this addition.”

The well-loved bakery recently reopened at their beautiful new location at London Station.

Situated across the street from their former London Road site, the new space is much more visible as the storefront is set closer to the street. In a smart business move, the Stensons purchased the space. It is slightly smaller than their previous location and conjures up memories of their original Steveston village shop on Moncton Street, which was in operation from 1994 to 2007.

diplomat-bakery-steveston-insider-2Their goal was to create a storefront as classy as the cakes for which they are known. They credit designer Lorraine Ilich for her assistance. Along the front window they have incorporated a twenty-foot counter made of stone with seating for customers to enjoy their coffee and treats and do a little people watching. A rolling garage door on the east side of the bakery will open during the summer months and there is plenty of space for outdoor patio seating.

“We were able to design the space from scratch and dress it up.” Mark Stenson

Aware that Diplomat Bakery is the only place to purchase coffee in the London Station area, they have stepped up their coffee service with a new espresso machine and have introduced locally roasted coffee by Oughtred Roasting Works. Their staff has been trained to make coffee to satisfy connoisseurs. Speciality drinks such as London Fog and chai lattes share the menu with favourite coffee standards.

Customers stop in to shop for their baked goods, and others pass by for a coffee and a treat en route to or from a walk or bike ride along the south dyke.

Gerald has been creating sweet masterpieces for Diplomat Bakery since it first opened in 1994.

Originally from Ireland, he has a lilt of an Irish accent that has morphed from time spent working as a pastry chef for Sheraton and Hilton hotels in Africa, Australia, Malaysia and the Middle East. He also worked in Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Twenty-five years ago he moved to Canada with his wife Elizabeth and their two small children.

When Gerald arrived in Vancouver he discovered he was overqualified and had a hard time finding work. He worked in airline catering and then tried his hand at going into business wholesaling baked goods. He began by giving out samples of his delicious pastries and cakes to restaurants and he was on his way – they were hooked.

At one point, before Costco had their own in house bakery, Diplomat Bakery supplied three Costco locations as well as G.M. Place arena (they supplied the Canucks and Grizzlies teams and some special events). Gerald recalls creating a special rose dessert for Bette Midler in honour of her popular song.

After wholesaling got to be a bit much he decided to branch into retail. The business name came from a hotel Gerald and Elizabeth visited while they were working in Bahrain. Gerald explains, “We always felt Diplomat would be a nice name for a company. Also, we really enjoyed our time there and the staff were very kind.”

“I wake up in the morning and love going to work.” Gerald Stenson

diplomat-bakery-steveston-insider-3Diplomat Bakery has earned a reputation for its excellent cakes. Gerald lists the Diplomat, Red Velvet, Tiramisu and Triple Chocolate cakes as perennial favourites. Mark points out, “The tastes are true to their origin.” He remembers a customer saying, “This is what a Black Forest cake should taste like.”

They have regular customers who come for their chocolate fix. Some travel in from North Vancouver and Tsawwassen to visit their favourite bakery. Gerald recalls customers ordering cakes to take to Vancouver Island, across the border and even as far away as Hong Kong. He says, “We are very flattered people want to do that.”

Christmas is always a special time at Diplomat Bakery as seasonal goodies make their debut. Inside the display case you will find their popular three-inch mince pies, four varieties of tarts (almond, butter, coconut and pecan), stollen, shortbread (boxed makes a nice gift), gingerbread men (for kids of every size) and Yule logs.

This holiday season consider taking some of the pressure off and leave some of the baking to the experts at Diplomat Bakery.

Diplomat Bakery
6168 London Road
Richmond, BC V7E 3S3
Telephone: 604-241-9134
www.diplomatbakery.com