Local Restaurant Feature — Raisu Authentic Japanese Cuisine

Raisu Restaurant Interior

Mama Izumi and I went on a Foodie Adventure recently and had the pleasure of dining at Raisu Restaurant in the heart of Kitsilano, where all of our foodie desires were satiated with their authentic Japanese cuisine.

I have been eating sushi since I was I was a little girl and they have the freshest, most delicious sashimi I’ve ever had. We shared the Raisu Lunch Meal Special.

You can choose 2 out of these 4 items:

Chef’s choice of sashimi (3 kinds), deep fried dishes (2 kinds), today’s meat dish, and today’s grilled fish.

Their lunch special also includes rice, miso soup, small dish, homemade pickles and salad.

We also feasted on their Bluefin Tuna Deluxe Seafood Bowl. And although we were stuffed full of yuminess we ordered their Yuzu Parfiat and Souffle Cheesecake for dessert.

Mama and I highly recommend Raisu to fans of sushi, sashimi, and Japanese food!

Raisu Restaurant BLUEFIN TUNA DELUXE SEAFOOD BOWL
The Bluefin Tuna Deluxe Seafood Bowl is just as yummy as it looks!
Raisu's Desserts
Yuzu Parfait & Souffle Cheesecake

I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about the people behind Raisu. I had the opportunity to interview their Assistant Manager, Yumi Takeshita.

Exclusive Interview with Raisu’s Assistant Manager

M: When did Raisu first open for business? Who is the founder?

Y: Raisu opened on July 2, 2016 as a sister restaurant to Kingyo Izukaya, Suika Snackbar, and Rajio Public House. All 4 restaurants are under the Tamaru Shoten Marketing Corp umbrella.

Minoru Tamaru began Kingyo about 10 years ago because he wanted to introduce people in Vancouver to Izakaya culture and provide authentic Japanese meals.

Raisu Restaurant Japanese Cuisine
Raisu is located at 2340 W 4th in Kitsilano

Inspiration for Opening Raisu and Providing Authentic Japanese Cuisine

M: What was Minoru’s inspiration for Raisu?  Is he the sole owner or does he have business partners?

Y: Yes, he is doing this business by himself. Raisu’s concept is 80’s Japanese culture and Teishoku (balanced meal set).

Raisu Lunch Meal Special
Raisu Lunch Meal Special

M: Yumi, where are you originally from? If you moved to Vancouver, why did you move here?

Y: I am from Japan and I hoped to live abroad when I there. I had heard Vancouver is the best city to live and I was interested what the Japanese culture was like here too.

M: What did you do prior to working at Raisu?

Y: I worked for 8 years at Coca-Cola bottlers in Fukuoka prefecture, in Japan. I was sales person, sales office administrator and HR. When I came here in Vancouver, I worked at JAPADOG as a manager, and went to college, worked as an accountant at an agency for Japanese students who want to study in Canada.

Then now I am working at Raisu. I have been working here 3 years and I am assistant manager fortunately since April. All my job experiences are now with food.

M: If you were in a different industry, did you enjoy your former career?

Y: Yes, absolutely. I enjoyed working every occasion. There are a lot of good things to know and learn. If it does not relate between each industry, I can find relations and there is no waste time that I have experienced.

Is University Important for Future Business Owners?

M: Did you go to university?  If so, what did you study?  Which university did you attend?  Would you advise others to pursue a degree before opening their own business?

Y: Yes, I graduated Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka, Japan, and I earned a Bachelor of Law Degree.

I might recommend to pursue, but if they have clear future vision, that is no need to. However it is very worth time to pursue something and make friends before doing business. I think it is very important at that term.

M: Do you have any interest to own your own business?

Y: Yes I do, but I need to learn about business more, so I start working at Raisu.

Yumi’s Philosophy

M: Do you have a philosophy in life or famous quote you would like to share with everyone?

Y: Live everyday happily, that makes your future happy!

This is my philosophy to live but I am not sure there is similar quote in English.

MILESTONES

Raisu just celebrated it’s 5 Year Anniversary July 2nd 2021.

Go in to congratulate them in person at 2340 West 4th Street or learn more about Raisu visit their website. You also have the option to order online and follow them on Instagram.

A little About Mayumi — 10 Things You May Not Know About Me

MAYUMI IZUMI | Content Creator

If know me in person or you’re following me on Instagram, you may know quite a lot about me because I share A LOT about myself. It’s the way I’ve always been.

People are sometimes shocked at how much I reveal but why not? I enjoy connecting with others and bonding with them over our similarities.

But there are things you may not know or have not read on my social platforms. Here are 10 things you may not know about me:

1) My middle name is Rosanna. My Papa named me Mayumi Rosanna after a Japanese actress and an Italian singer. Thank you, Papa — I love my name!

2) I drive 6-speed and can’t imagine going back to driving automatic. One of my nicknames is Miss Andretti after the race car driver because I love to drive fast!

My car baby, The Boss, 6-speed VW Tiguan
My car baby, The Boss, 6-speed VW Tiguan

3) I grew up an only child and love to be the center of attention!

4) I am a highly sensitive person (scientific term coined by psychologist Elaine Aron), an empath and highly intuitive. What does all this mean? I process a lot of information (that most others miss) about people all at once, can pick up on others emotions & feel them as if they were my own, and a lot of times I know something is going to happen before it happens.

5) I am of Japanese heritage but was born in Vancouver, BC at a hospital on Oak Street that is now BC Women’s & Children’s Hospital. I am proud to be a Vancouverite and Canadian!

6) I studied Fashion Design in Toronto and Fashion Merchandising here at VCC. Fashion was my first love!

Max & Mia designed by MAYUMI IZUMI
Max & Mia designed by MAYUMI IZUMI (dress to be revealed SOON)

7) My first retail job was at Pegabo Shoes (sister store to Aldo) in Pacific Centre. I love shoes!

8) I was on the field hockey team in my final year at Carson Graham Secondary. I love playing but preferably floor hockey!

9) I took guitar lessons for about 1 or 2 years but stopped because the music school closed down and now I forget how to play. But I loved it and going to teach myself again SOON!

Mayumi Izumi playing guitar
Me, Mayumi playing my Yamaha guitar my Mama bought

10) I’m a big flirt! Always have been and still love to do it! It goes hand-in-hand with being center of attention… Hahaha!

If you haven’t checked out my Instagram profiles (I have 4), go to my Contact page or my main profile.

Local Business Feature — Eclipse Awards International is Celebrating 23 Years in Business

The Star Peak Award by Eclipse Awardsc

I first met Toby Barazzuol, Owner and Founder of Eclipse Awards at Tillicum Elementary school in East Vancouver. He was in grade 2 and I was in grade 1. We had a few mutual friends and played on the jungle gyms in our neighbourhood. He moved away and then I didn’t see him again until we were in high school in North Vancouver — We were reacquainted by mutual friends that attended Windsor Secondary with him.

And now he’s running a successful company that is celebrating its 23rd year in business!

M: When did you open Eclipse Awards?

T: We opened the doors for the very first time at Eclipse Awards on April 1, 1998.

M: Did you always want to own your own business?

T: Since I was a kid, I always dreamed of starting some kind of business that would help people. My parents were both teachers with no real interest in business, so I think they sometimes wondered where I came from.

M: Where are you from? If you moved to Vancouver, why did you move here?

T: I was born and raised in Vancouver! In fact, we used to live upstairs of the Stanley Park Teahouse when my parents first started their family (my grandparents ran the restaurant there for many years). At age 5, we moved to the rainforests of North Vancouver, which is where I grew up and currently live. I love it here!

Toby Barrazuol & his children
Toby Barazzuol & his children in North Vancouver, BC

M: What was your inspiration for Eclipse? 

T: I used to work at a small company and my boss had a side business making crystal awards and trophies. So I learned how to design awards, and sandblast them to bring them to life, and found that I really enjoyed using my hands to make things.

But after attending dozens of award ceremonies to watch our awards being presented, I began to notice that most award recipients were overcome with happiness, often crying tears of joy upon being recognized and appreciated. It was always such a positive, powerful and uplifting experience that I decided I wanted to help bring more of that into the world.

Customized Awards by Eclipse Awards Internationals
Eclipse Awards International create beautiful customized awards

M: What did you do prior to opening your business?

T: The small company I used to work for would build log homes and ship them to Japan.  They were almost like puzzles, with each log numbered and reassembled on site overseas.

M: If you were in a different industry, did you enjoy your former career?

T: I enjoyed that earlier role because it taught me the skills to run my own business, but I wasn’t passionate about exporting log homes.

M: What did you study in university?  Which university did you attend?  Would you advise others to pursue a degree before opening their own business?

T: I went to Sauder Business School at UBC and majored in marketing and sociology. If you’re interested in starting your own business, a college or university degree is certainly helpful, though I wouldn’t say it’s required.

In terms of running a business, I don’t think school prepares you with practical knowledge or skills. However, it does teach you how to solve problems, communicate, and work with others, which are all important skills for running a business. You might be successful in starting a business without a degree, but I think your chances improve a lot with some education.

You Are Awesome Award by Eclipse Awards International
You Are Awesome Award by Eclipse Awards

M; What would your advice to future owners with dreams of starting their own business be?

T: Start a business if it’s something you love and believe in, not because you think it will make you rich. You will need to draw on your passion to get you through the challenging times of the first 3-5 years. If you are passionate about your work, do the things you promise to do, and treat people well, then the money will start to flow.

But spoiler alert.. if you think that owning your own business is the path to more free time, it’s actually the opposite.

M: Do you have a philosophy in life or famous quote, you would like to share with everyone?

T: “Energy flows where your attention goes.”

“Recognize. Empower. Repeat.”

We Rise By Lifting Others Quote by Robert Ingersoll
“We Rise By Lifting Others” a quote by Robert Ingersoll that’s very fitting for Eclipse Awards, a business that “Recognizes. Empowers. [and] Repeats”.

MILESTONES

2012: Eclipse Awards is the 8th company in BC to become a Living Wage Employer.

2012/13: Eclipse Awards is recognized as BC’s Best Employer by Small Business BC

2014: Eclipse Awards is recognized as BC’s Best Green Business by Small Business BC

To learn more about Eclipse follow their Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, you can also visit their website, Eclipse Awards – Maker of Fine Awards, Plaques, and Trophies.

Local Business Feature — 3rd Time North Shore News Readers Choice Winner: Cahill CPA

Cahill CPA - Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC

Cahill CPA is a family owned and operated business with over 35 years public practice experience. They offer personal and corporate accounting services, bookkeeping and estate planning.

I first met Crystal Cahill in my Digital Content Marketing Strategy course at Capilano University in 2018. She is in charge of the Social Media for the well respected, North Vancouver accounting firm and married to Jordan Cahill, the eldest brother and partner at Cahill.

I recently had the pleasure to interview both Crystal and Jordan.

M: When was Cahill CPA opened?

C & J: January 1st, 2013.

M: Where is the Cahill family from?  How many members are there in the/your family?

C & J: Originally, Wayne Cahill’s family is from Ireland. Our family consists of four brothers! Jordan, Taylor, Braden and Quinn.

Cahill Family Coat of Arms
Cahill Family Coat of Arms, In Domino Confido — In God We Trust

M: What was the inspiration for their/your business?  How did they/you ALL become accountants … lol.

C & J: Wayne Cahill became a CGA (Certified General Accountant) in 1992, and worked in public practice for many years. Our oldest brother, Jordan Cahill, got his CPA (Chartered Public Accountant) designation in 2012. Wayne, Jordan and Taylor created Cahill CPA in 2013.

Our youngest brother Quinn recently completed university, and also works here at our family firm. They all have an interest in finance and business, and realized their skills in accounting, pursuing their post secondary education.

M: Did Mr. Cahill Sr. always want to open his own firm?

C & J: Wayne feels very proud to have started a family run accounting firm that now has six partners and 15 staff members. We strive to uphold the family values that we feel are important- with our staff and our clients.

Wayne Cahill - Partner Cahill CPA
Wayne Cahill – Partner Cahill CPA (Isaac Wray Photography)

M: Where did the Cahills study accounting?  Did they all attend the same university?

C & J: Wayne, Jordan and Quinn all attended Simon Fraser University. Wayne completed his CGA designation through the CGA association, and Jordan completed his CA (Chartered Accountant) designation through the CA Western School of Business. 

M: What would the Cahills’ advice to future accountants with dreams of owning their own firm be? 

C: Working in public practice, especially with a bigger firm, really gives you the experience of what it takes. Gaining the knowledge and experience in a variety of areas is important.

General business, financial expertise and understanding of tax is a huge asset to one day owning your own firm or practice.

Gaining experience in a wide variety of sectors is beneficial. Essentially, knowledge- combined with experience, practical application, and management skills- will all go a long way in being successful in your own practice. 

M: Do the Cahills have a philosophy in life or favourite quote(s) that they would like to share with everyone?

I think in business, it’s important to strive for balance. We love what we do, and we love serving our clients here on the North Shore.

We also love being part of this North Shore community and experiencing all that it has to offer.  Our partners and staff love spending time with family, mountain biking, skiing, hiking, exploring our local beaches, etc etc!

Having balance in our business and personal lives is so important in an industry that can be so busy and so high pressure.

So- our advice for those starting out in any business, is look for ways to seek balance in your life. 

Lonsdale Ave Launch Party
Jordan, Taylor & Crystal at Lonsdale Ave Launch Party (photo taken by Mayumi)

MILESTONES

North Shore News Readers Choice- Favourite Accountant- for three years in a row.

We are proud to have grown to the team we are today. From 3 family members in the beginning- to now a firm of 21.

We now have a partnership of 6. Janice Tai became a partner in 2015, and we also recently added two new partners to our firm- Matthew (who has worked with us since the beginning, in 2013) and Tony (who has been with us since 2018).

North Shore News Readers Choice Winner
North Shore News Readers Choice Winner 2021 – 3rd Year in a Row!

If you would like to learn more about the Cahill CPA family practice or need to contact them for your tax returns, estate planning, or bookkeeping, please visit their website and follow them on their Instagram.

Taylor Tietze’s Car Care Corner

Taylor Tietze's Car Care Corner

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first installment of my Car Care Corner! Spring is here now, so what better time to start a new car care routine? In this segment I’ll go over everyday maintenance, how to navigate life after a collision, and just about everything in between.

Cars are a big part of my life. My family owned a collision repair shop for 45 years, so I grew up around cars in a professional atmosphere. (See Mayumi’s January article on Coache Collision to learn the full backstory of the shop).

I’ve worked at Coache for 8 years as a full time Estimator, before that I spent time on-and-off working as their detailer, and helping with odd jobs around the shop. On-and-off work because having a family business meant jumping in and helping out when the need arose. In total, I’ve probably worked there for almost 14 years.

Being surrounded by body shop technicians, automotive painters, and countless other professionals in the automotive space, I picked up a thing or two in the time I’ve spent with them. And that knowledge is what I will try my best to convey to you through these articles, so look forward to many tips and tricks along the way.

Winter has packed it in for the year, the sun is coming out, and some nicer cars are starting to come out of winter hibernation. But what about the cars that were driven all winter long? Those are the ones we will talk about in today’s installment.

North Vancouver on February 14, 2021
This Valentine’s in North Vancouver we had a big snowfall ….

The first and most basic thing, if you haven’t done it in a while, is to simply wash your car. Road grime accumulated over winter has salt, one of your vehicles’ worst enemies.

The sand/salt mixture that gets spread on our highways gets thrown up from the tires of the car in front of you chipping your hood, bumper, fender, windshield, you name it.

These rock chips are often chipped deep enough through the protective layers of paint that the salt will start rusting your metal panels. Washing your vehicle with soapy water will get rid of any surface contaminants, and hopefully slow down this rust from coming.

Washing the car can be done by hand with soapy water and a brush/mitt, or you can take it through a car wash facility if you don’t have the means to do it yourself.

One thing I will always recommend to everyone if you’re using a car wash: use a touch-less facility, not the ones with the huge round brushes.

Those giant brushes pick up dirt and all sorts of things from other cars, and those little bits stay stuck in the brushes. When you take your car through those brushes, you are causing all manner of damage all over your car.

Scratches, dents, you name it. If you’re washing the car by hand, rinse out your brushes before using them, and run your hand along it to feel for anything rough that may cause damage.

Once your car is clean and shiny, it’s a good idea to walk around it and inspect the body for any damages that may have shown up during the winter months.

Mayumi's VW Tiguan
Mayumi’s VW Tiguan after being freshly washed

Take a good look at your hood and fenders for those rock chips. Most vehicles these days have plastic bumpers, so there’s no need to worry about rust issues there. Some trucks and SUV’s have metal bumpers though, use a magnet to check if you’re unsure.

Any small damage that you find can be covered with some touch up paint, which can be acquired through your dealer, some auto parts stores, or your favorite bodyshop.

The touch up will cover the affected area, sealing it from the elements and slowing down, if not stopping entirely, the rusting process. The next step up from touch up, is to repaint the panels, and that’s where you come see someone like me for a quote!

There’s a lot of products out there that you can use as an extra protective layer for your paint at this point of the process; available from your local automotive store, or most stores with an automotive section.

My go to is any carnauba based wax. These waxes protect your paint from excessive UV damage, along with helping to repel water, and road grime. Mothers, Meguiars, Turtle, are some of the big name brands you may recognize.

Instructions will be on the packaging, but generally you buff the wax on with an applicator pad that may or may not be included, and then buff off with a fresh microfiber towel. You’ve heard it before, “wax on, wax off”. These products will better the appearance of minute scratches in your paint as well, in most cases.

The waxing doesn’t have to be done after every wash, but it should be reapplied at least 2-3 times per year with a regular washing schedule. Depending on your driving frequency, and how particular you are about your vehicle, you could be washing your car every week, or at least once a month.

I don’t like to let my cars go for more than a month before washing, as it gives those surface contaminants too much time to affect your vehicle after that point. There you have the basic clean vehicle routine, rinse and repeat! (no pun intended).

Thanks for reading, my first Care Care Corner! I hope I was able to impart some of my knowledge to you. There are many more articles to come, and many more topics to cover. If you have any questions about the tips I’ve written, feel free to contact me anytime, my contact info will be at the bottom of these articles. Until next time, drive safe and subscribe so that you will be sure to catch my next installment!

Taylor Tietze, Estimator 604-987-2211  taylor@coachecollision.ca. Feel free to follow our Instagram, Facebook, and visit to our website.

Double Business Feature — S’Wich Cafe & BLVD Bistro: Both Celebrate North Shore News Readers Choice Awards!

Reader's Choice Winners

I discovered BLVD Bistro one morning last summer when my BFF and Big Sis, Mona had spent the night and we were craving brunch. I did a Google search and they were one of the first to pop up for North Vancouver.

They provided great customer service and yummy noms. And I found out the Chef and Owner of BLVD also is the man behind the business next door, S’wich Cafe.

I went to work straight away taking photos of our brunch, the decor and featured them on my Instagram page along with local hot sauce, Jumpin’ Johnny’s. And more recently I was able to visit S’Wich Cafe with my Foodie Cohort, Mama Izumi and ordered an El Cubano, Up Your Alley and their Vegan Chilli.

Winner of North Shore News Reader's Choice Awards - BLVD Bistro Brunch
Winner of North Shore News Readers Choice Awards – BLVD Bistro Favourite Weekend Brunch & Favourite Breakfast Restaurant

I had the privilege of interviewing Chef Erik Juarez and thoroughly enjoyed our Q & A session:

M: When did you open S’wich Cafe and Blvd Bistro?

C: S’wich Cafe was opened August 1, 2011 (OMG) and BLVD BISTRO opened April 20, 2016.

M: Did you plan from the beginning to open two businesses side by side?

C: I didn’t plan on it at all! I thought I was going to live simply. Sling coffees, a few sandwiches and not do anything more in the hospitality business ever again.

BLVD Bistro's Standard Issue Benedict
BLVD Bistro’s Standard Issue Benedict

M: Where are you from? If you moved to Vancouver, why did you move here?

C: I was born and raised in North Vancouver. It is my home and always will be. I’ve moved around a bunch in my youth, Mexico, Spain, Kelowna, and the Salmon Arm.

M: What was your inspiration for your businesses?

C: Truthfully, I never meant to open a business. I was a dedicated Chef that fell into the same trap as so many others before me.

Find a decent job and work your ass off for some owners that would probably replace you tomorrow if you dropped dead. That’s what happened. I was working 16 hour days with no days off in sight for people I feel, couldn’t care less about me.

I was stressed, sick, fat and unhappy. At that time my grandmother passed away and I inherited 33 thousand dollars from a life insurance policy. The shop you know as S’wich Cafe was originally a neighbourhood coffee shop that wasn’t doing so hot.

One day the owner asked me jokingly if I wanted to buy a cafe. I said, “Yes, I DO!” So with that inheritance and some help from my Mom I bought that business (paid too much) but now I have something that is mine. A little tiny piece of a hospitality business and a chance to do it differently.

M: Did you always know that you wanted to be a chef?

C: I did not know but I was about 16 when I found out. I worked at EARLS like a lot of North Vancouver men and women have. I worked my way through the ranks, learned to communicate, learned to flirt.

Most importantly, I learned that I had a deep love for cooking, the push, the lifestyle and the art. However, somewhere in my limited experience I knew there was more art and skill to uncover.

Chef Erik Juarez
Chef Erik Juarez & his dry cured Spanish Chorizo

M: Did you always know that you wanted to be a restaurant owner?

C: I think every aspiring Chef dreams of opening his or her own place. But Ownership was never really a specific goal I had in mind.

My career has just organically led me to these places. Basically, life presents doors and pathways and I hope that by now — I have the life experience and instinct to walk through the right doors and tread down the correct paths. Trust me when I say, I haven’t always.

M: Where did you study the art of culinary?

C: I had been working for a few years in fine dining kitchens by my early 20’s. I had some amazing mentors and some horrible ones.

I remember the day I told one of my chefs that I was going to go to culinary school. He said, “Erik, you can go to school, spend 10 thousand dollars on a fancy diploma and you can hang it on the bathroom wall. The only thing it will be good for is to wipe your ass when you run out of toilet paper.”

I will never forget that. He was kinda right. I staged and worked in every kitchen I could. Every place in town with the word “Le” before the name I worked there.

I read culinary text books like novels and tried the recipes that interested me. I found my resources and my style and have evolved it over 20 years of learning. I still use my online subscription to “ Cook’s Illustrated” daily and have been collecting those magazines for 20 years.

M: What would your advice to future chefs with dreams of owning their own restaurant be?

C: RUN! RUN away fast!!! Hahaha. Joking…

I have a ton of advice. Firstly, be equal to your concept and your staff. Put in the work and do what it takes to make it mesh. There a lot of very long difficult days ahead but I promise once you’re on the other side of it… It’s worth it.

Be there for your staff, know them and care about them.

S'Wich Cafe
S’Wich Cafe’s lovely Tina helped me order from the many yummy sandwich options

Back up your weaknesses, If cooking dope food is your thing but numbers aren’t, make sure you budget and be able to afford someone that has your bottom line in mind at all times.

DM me or Follow me for more advice. Hahahahaha…

Chef Erik Juarez’s IG

M: Do you have a philosophy in life or favourite quote(s) that you would like to share with everyone?

C: I also have a bunch of them.

‘How you do one thing is how you do everything’

‘Perfection is the little things done well. Everyone else sees the big things’

My new FAVOURITE:

BE THE BEST. WORK HARD- WORK FAST-WORK CLEANLY. EVERY INGREDIENT WE USE HAS TO BE THE BEST WE CAN AFFORD.

SEASONS HAVE TO RULE THE KITCHEN. ONLY ALLOW MINIMAL MANIPULATION OF INGREDIENTS WHEN NECESSARY. ELEVATE FLAVOURS THRU UNDERSTANDING.

COOK AS IF YOU ARE EATING. WASTE IS POOR WORKMANSHIP. EXTRACTION OF FLAVOUR IS OUR ROLE IN LIFE AS COOKS.

BALANCE OF MENU IS OUR OBLIGATION TO OUR GUESTS. HEALTH IS CRUCIAL IN MENU PLANNING.

SEASONING IS A TRUE SKILL. SO TASTE, TASTE AND TASTE AGAIN. OUR GOAL IS TO BE THE BEST. SO WE MUST ACT THE BEST.

Winner of North Shore News Reader's Choice Awards - S'Wich Cafe Favourite Caterer
Winner of North Shore News Reader’s Choice Awards – S’Wich Cafe Favourite Caterer

MILESTONES

The meaning of milestones has changed for me. I used to think it was winning awards and competitions. But I couldn’t be more wrong.

Milestones for me are when employees leave you to pursue their own life goals, when great things happen to the team, and when people tell you they love a component or multiple components of your business.

One of my greatest achievements is finding a way to pay a living wage to my staff and provide meaningful benefits to my whole team. Not having to hire and retrain constantly because people feel appreciated and included. It’s built into our company’s culture of genuineness and inclusivity.

Accolades are nice, Reader’s Choice Awards, Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, recognition from our peers. It all feels amazing but I’d have to say, surviving a pandemic, coming out stronger and better has been our greatest achievement to date. I will never forget the strength it took our team to weather the storm.

I am grateful to my staff that stayed with me and came back. We have never been better and that is my greatest achievement to date.

To learn more about BLVD Bistro please visit their website and follow their Instagram as well as S’Wich Cafe’s (right next door) website and IG Page.

Local Business Feature – Little Pink Door Boutique Celebrates 5 Year Anniversary

Little Pink Door Boutique

I discovered Little Pink Door Boutique (LPD) 3 years ago when I was on my lunch break at Northwoods Village, in North Vancouver, BC. I noticed their mannequins outside their store and they were having a sale.

I went in planning on just trying on a white off-the-shoulder blouse that I found on one of their mannequins but about 15 minutes later I walked out with the aforementioned blouse, white Joseph Ribkoff capris with pom-poms, sandals with bling AND a matching bracelet! I was preparing for the following year’s Le Diner en Blanc (i had just attended the exclusive event).

I met Deb that day and had a great time chatting with her. I thought she was the Owner of LPD but she said no, that would be her best friend, Colette Bennett.

M: When did you open Little PInk Door Boutique?

C: I opened Little Pink Door on March 1st, 2016!  So this month actually marks our 5th Year Anniversary!  Usually we do a big birthday celebration with an in-store event with live music, appys, and wine.

In the past, we have seen up to 90 women in attendance at our event.  This year with the pandemic we won’t be able to do that!  However it’s a big milestone for us as it is not only our 5th Birthday but also it’s the 5th year in a row that we have won Favourite Boutique on the North Shore with Reader’s Choice! 

We are planning a Facebook Live Event on Thursday, March 25th from 7-8pm.  We will do a fashion show, have tons of giveaways, announce our donation to Sage Transition.  Still working out the details but want to make this a fun, engaging and memorable event!

M: Did you always want to own a clothing boutique?

C: So, I’ve always LOVED clothes and the Fashion World!  I remember spending all my allowance on Fashion Magazines and would go through them page by page.  However, I really hated the experience of shopping: finding unique items, the service and the overall process. 

Back in 2011, I started to turn my dream into a reality and developed a business plan to open up a clothing boutique. I already knew I would name it Little Pink Door!  I’ve had the domain for more than a decade and back then used the website to showcase my photographs. I have a huge passion photographing doors. And of course, PINK is my favourite colour hence — Little Pink Door!

Colette Bennett Owner of Little Pink Door Boutique
Colette Bennett Owner of Little Pink Door Boutique

M: Where are you from? If you moved to Vancouver, why did you move here?

C: I was born and raised in North Vancouver and have lived here my entire life. I absolutely LOVE the North Shore and can’t think of a better place to live!

M: What was your inspiration for your business?

C: Well, my inspiration was to create a retail space that was completely unique to what was currently out there!  My vision is to be a leading go to boutique destination for women by providing them with the perfect blend of product, customer focused experience in an in store environment that fosters friendship, trust and loyalty!

The inspiration for the store design was to make it feel like a beautiful dream walk-in closet filled with so many wonderful and beautiful things!

M: A little bird told me that you used to be in marketing. Did you enjoy your former career?

Yes, I was. And I still am!  Marketing Little Pink Door is my passion! Back at LPD’s inception I developed the brand strategy, brand personality and  logo.  Today I look after all the marketing efforts including developing unique promotions, social media, and CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

M: What did you do prior to opening Little Pink Door?

C: Before opening Little Pink Door I worked in the Corporate world in Marketing for 25 years!  I worked for some fabulous companies and some not so fabulous.

The one fabulous company I worked for was Starbucks for 10 years and was their Marketing Manager for Western Canada.  It was at Starbucks where I learned and developed skills in brand marketing and understanding the importance of marketing an experience over simply a product or service. 

It was the best education I have ever had and I believe what I learned from Howard Schultz (former CEO, Chairman and Founder of Starbucks) has helped define Little Pink Door and the success we’ve had to date.

M: Where did you study marketing or was it a profession you fell into? If you studied it, which institution did you attend?

C: Once I left high school I went to Emily Carr and wanted to become a professional Fashion Photographer.  I finished the first year and got accepted into the photography program but couldn’t afford it! 

From there I accepted an entry level position at a large company.  They were willing to pay for my education part time so I decided that the most creative part of business was marketing so that’s what I decided to pursue.  I went to BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology) and did the Marketing Communications program all part time in the evening.  It took 5 years to complete!  A fabulous program and school!

Little Pink Door's Positive Affirmations
Little Pink Door’s Positive Affirmations on IG

M: What would your advice to future owners with dreams of owning their own boutique be?

C: From an emotional standpoint – don’t let anyone talk you out of your dream.  Surround yourself only with people that help feed your passion and are positive.  Stay the course.

From a business perspective – develop a robust business plan that includes all aspects of your dream business.  Include financial forecasts, SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis, competitive analysis, define your target market, and develop a marketing plan. 

The business plan for LPD took me 2 years to develop and it became the foundation of my business.  And I still do annual business plans that I share with my fabulous team of ladies who work with me so we are all aligned on where we are headed!

M: Do you have a philosophy in life or famous quote you would like to share with everyone?

“Dream more than others think practical. Expect more than others think possible. Care more than others think wise!” — Howard Schultz

MILESTONES

M: Are there any milestones for Little Pink Door that you would like me to mention in the Business Feature?

C: As mentioned earlier, we are celebrating our 5th Year Anniversary with a live Facebook Event on Thursday, March 25th from 7-8pm!  And we are also celebrating that we have won Reader’s Choice Awards for Favourite Local Boutique on the North Shore for the 5th year in a row!

If you would like to learn more about Little Pink Door Boutique visit their website, follow their Instagram, and their Facebook page to join the festivities for their 5th Year Anniversary.

Local Business Feature: Interview with Adam Swanson of QRZones

Adam Sanderson of QR Zones

I met Adam Swanson, Founder of QRZones via Instagram as it has now become the norm — networking business contacts and meeting new friends online. After exchanging several messages with Adam, I interviewed him on Zoom and was delighted with how much we had in common.

He was born and raised in North Vancouver, BC. Adam recently graduated from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science.

Last summer during the chaos of the pandemic and one of the BLM (Black Lives Matter) marches that he participated in, he was inspired to spread POSITIVITY, to uplift people and build a platform to give back to the community. This is when QRZones was born …

QR Zones Unique Advertising
QRZones Unique Advertising Opportunities

Adam is not motivated by money. He enjoys teaching others and sharing his knowledge of computers. He loved leading a workshop for kindergarten to grade 7 children and developing a curriculum of computer science and coding.

He wants to propel people to open their minds and drive home his message that technology doesn’t have to be hard to learn. Adam uses easy to understand language to make people more comfortable with computers and how they can help us — to show us, laymen that it is a matter of ‘learnability’.

Adam is full of exciting new ideas and opportunities for Small Businesses to grow by saving money and the environment with QR Codes. I have met a kindred spirit who demonstrates my Love of Local! During our meeting we discussed working together to promote and market Local Businesses. Our shared love of building community, spreading positivity, and bringing people up can ONLY grow stronger.

6 Ways QR Codes Can Help Grow Any Business
6 Ways QR Codes Can Help Grow Any Business

This is the core of Adam’s mission, “lifting others up because when we do, we lift ourselves with them.”

To learn more how Adam Swanson and his team at QRZones can expand your business, visit their website and follow their Instagram.

Fit Life Coaching: Where Do I Start? — Resident Nutrition Expert Kristin Ames

Kristin Ames - Nutrition Expert

Ahh, January, the month where we all decide to adopt a healthier lifestyle.  Maybe lose some weight?  Start a new fitness regime? Get better sleep? Meditate?

It can be overwhelming trying to decide where to focus our efforts.  We know we want to feel better, but there are so many different options out there it can quickly lead to analysis paralysis and we end up doing nothing because we don’t know where to start.

On the other hand, it is possible to take on too much at once.  Starting a fitness program, cooking all your meals at home and trying to get 2 more hours of sleep every night, when you previously weren’t doing any of these things consistently, probably isn’t the recipe for success that you’re hoping for.

Extreme or time-consuming changes to your daily routine may be overwhelming when piled on top of all your regular responsibilities and commitments, to the point that you’ll likely end up abandoning your new healthy habits before you have time to reap the benefits.

Kristin Ames of Fit Life Coaching
Kristin Ames of Fit Life Coaching surfing

So what are we to do? I recommend choosing one new habit or behavior that feels manageable right out of the gate.  On a scale of 1-10 where 1 is ‘never gonna happen’ and 10 is ‘I can do this all day long’ it should be at least an 8, otherwise you need to scale back. 

When we are successful at improving our habits and behaviors, we get motivated to make more changes.  I know if feels like radical change will be the most effective, but it rarely is.  Small, manageable changes will lead to lasting results. 

You’re also more likely to keep doing something you enjoy, rather than grinding through something you hate; even the most disciplined person in the world will crack eventually if they don’t enjoy what they’re doing. 

Let’s say you decide you’d like to get in better shape; going to the gym 5 days a week for an hour will surely get you results – right? Well maybe, but it will also probably get you injured and discouraged if you don’t really like going to the gym. 

What if instead you signed up for a fun weekly exercise class, or tennis lesson, or set up a standing date to meet a friend for a walk?  Seems like it wouldn’t be nearly as effective to get you to your goal as the gym option, but guess what? If you stop going to the gym after 2 weeks, you’re never going to reach your goal. 

But maybe, after doing the exercise class for a month, you find another one to add to your week, and then you meet some like-minded people in the class and decide to get together on the weekend to go for a hike…you see where I’m going with this.

Kristin Ames - Nutrition Coach
Kristin Ames selecting fresh fruit in Keremeos, BC

The same principle goes for your nutrition – if your eating habits need an overhaul, think about what small changes you could make easily.  Do you eat out too much?  Set a limit as to how many meals a week you’re going to eat out. 

Don’t eat enough vegetables?  Set a goal of trying 1 new vegetable a week or eating a certain number servings a day.  Don’t buy 10 new vegetables at the grocery store with the expectation that you’re suddenly going to be eating them all day every day, chances are at weeks end you’ll be staring at a fridge full of rotten produce.

If you’re still tempted to bite off more than you can chew, try to narrow down your priorities – what single behavior change or new habit would have the biggest overall impact on your health and lifestyle? 

If you’re struggling with injury or pain, working on your mobility would be a great place to start – if you’re not in pain, you’ll sleep better, feel more like exercising, and probably not be cranky all the time.  

Kristin Ames of Fit Life Coaching
Kristin Ames of Fit Life Coaching lifting weights

If you’re always low energy and tired, then improving your sleep would be beneficial – you’ll be less tired (obviously), keep your hunger in check, and have more energy to exercise more.  Lots of benefits from one doable change.  

So pick something you can start working on tomorrow, and make sure you’ll nail it. Define what you’re going to do, how often you’re going to do it, and how you’ll measure your success.

Once you reach this goal, then, and only then, will it be time to add another.  Maybe it’s something you can master in 2 weeks, or maybe 2 months, it doesn’t matter.  I’ve said it before, but it really bears repeating: small, incremental changes are so much more effective and sustainable over the long term than big radical ones.

They may not be as exciting (for sure no one else wants to hear about your goal to eat 6 servings of vegetables a day for the next 4 weeks) but who cares? What is exciting is that you’ve set yourself up to reach your goals and still enjoy life while getting there.

Kristin Ames is a certified Nutrition Coach, Personal Trainer and Health Coach living in North Vancouver.  Her company, Fit Life Coaching, helps people achieve their best body and health with personalized nutrition and fitness programs. If you would like to learn more about the programs she offers, contact her on her website or Instagram.

Local Business Feature: North Vancouver’s Luxury Automotive Body Shop Coache Collision — In Business for Over 45 Years

Coache Collision Luxury Automotive Repair Shop

I came to know the wonderful family behind Coache Collision in 2011 when I was the Assistant Branch Manager at Hertz Car Rental.  Because Hertz was ICBC’s (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) preferred rental company, most of our business was with the body shops in North Vancouver.  Out of the many shops that made reservations for their customers, they were one of my favourites.

The luxury automotive body shop specializes in Volkswagen and Audi vehicles with special certifications from both German brands. They have loyal customers that are three generations long just as the Tietze family business.

Coache Collsion was opened in 1975 by Norbert Sr. and Greti Tietze, a hard-working couple, that emigrated from Germany with a suitcase, $50, and a dream to better provide for their family by pursuing the opportunities that Canada offered.

Their longevity can be attributed to Opa and Omi Tietze’s work ethics. They didn’t cut any corners. They repaired their customer’s vehicles right from the beginning, provided German quality craftsmanship and excellent customer service. Omi worked in the office running the administrative, and front end of the shop. Opa had a Type-A personality, was a perfectionist and brought the vehicles back beautifully to pre-damaged condition. Before they opened Coache, he fixed anything with different parts that he could get his hands on.

2018 A5 BEFORE Coache Collision's repair
2018 A5 BEFORE Coache Collision’s repair

Growing up, Opa’s son, Norbert Tietze Jr, spent a lot of time at Coache and took over the shop around 2012 – 2013 with his wife, Chantal. They originally met in Williams Lake, BC when she worked as a waitress in a Chinese Restaurant and Norbert came in for lunch. Opa had a cabin there and he spent a lot of summers in his youth fishing and hunting.

Norbert continued Opa’s tradion of German quality and perfection during his 30 to 35 years in the industry and passed these along to one of his three sons, Taylor. The grandson of Opa Tietze is an estimator. He tells me with pride that, “We’ve had many family members working [here]: my grandparents, my mom and dad, my uncle… one of my brothers has been with us, and now I’m the last of the third generation left.”

2018 A5 AFTER Coache Collision's repair
2018 A5 AFTER Coache Collision’s repair

Just like his Papa before him, Taylor grew up in the body shop. One of the technicians held him as a baby shortly after he was born. He started working in 2006 as a detailer during the summers and in January 2013, he began his full-time career as an estimator. Most of what Taylor learned about estimating was on the job but he also attended courses at the Automotive Training Centre in Surrey, BC.

Sadly, on October 1st, 2019 there was a change of ownership. Norbert and Chantal Tietze sold their family business to the Raydar Collision Group, another family owned business. Opa’s grandson explains that, “My parents wouldn’t have handed over the shop to just anyone, they wanted to make sure all of Coache’s employees were taken care of after they were gone.” All of the staff remains the same as well as the name of the business, only the owners have changed.

Taylor elaborates that, Bill Davidson from the Raydar Group has shown an unmatched passion for the industry, as well … he values his employees. I’ve personally been to one of his other shops, and it’s clear that he takes every step to ensure that not only the business is successful, but the employees are successful within it. I can only see us becoming a more tight-knit team under his leadership.”

To learn more about the luxury automotive repair shop, Coache or book an appointment, visit their website and follow their Instagram. They are located at: 1172 W 3 St, North Vancouver, BC.