Welcome to Business Beat, a new monthly Revelstoke Times Review column written by myself, Aaron Orlando.
Business Beat will focus on the personalities driving business in Revelstoke, bringing you ‘good news’ stories highlighting the dynamic people that keep Revelstoke’s business scene ticking. Each month I hope to highlight the recent successes of several businesses.
My vision is for a self-sustaining column that relies almost exclusively on tips from the business community and from our readers. If you’re looking to promote the good work that you and your team does, please let me know. I’m interested in all sorts of business news, such as employee promotions, new team members, new business ventures, expansions, renovations, new business ownership, revamped business plans and any stories of renewal, growth and success.
I am planning to run the column for six months and I really hope we can generate enough momentum and buy-in from the business community and our readers to keep it going after that.
If you’re interested and want to share your story, simply call Aaron Orlando at 250-837-4667 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We want to represent everyone in the business community. Many of our stories this month are retail-focused, but we’d really like to include stories from all sectors of the business community in Revelstoke.
Without further adieu, here we go…
Chalet Bakery & Delicatessen gets a makeover
Restaurant makeover artist Sarren Wolfe takes inspiration from TV restaurant rehab chefs like Gordon Ramsay. Wolfe has been head chef at Chalet for a couple of months, and on Mar. 1 launched a revised menu, in addition to changes to decor and staff procedures.
The Chalet now features new entrees such as lasagna, turkey cannelloni, cottage pie and more. He’s introduced a new hot breakfast service as well as enhanced food labelling, including, for example, new diabetic dining options. The interior paint has been redone in bakery tones: mocha, chocolate and caramel.
Wolfe has worked alongside front end manager Brenda Strutt to tighten up the kitchen and front end staff, introducing new uniforms, kitchen procedures and bringing four new staff members on board. “It’s all about the customer service,” Wolfe says.
The overhaul isn’t done yet; Wolfe is branching out to partner with other local businesses to offer cross-promotions and discounts. He’s also introduced in-house promotions such as draws and other customer loyalty programs. The Chalet is also continuing on with ongoing community involvement, such as food donations that benefit local charities. When I dropped by, a volunteer was picking up a big donation of leftover baking to help with a community cause.
Infinite Martial Arts relocates downtown
When I dropped by Infinite’s new location on in the alley off of Orton Ave. between 2nd and 3rd Streets, owner and coach Vance Shaw was leading about 10 young boys through a martial arts self-defence class. The youngsters were practising sparring, and were equal parts fun and laughing between their one-on-one matches.
Infinite moved into their new location about two weeks ago. They were located in the industrial park for a few years prior to that. The club offers a range of classes, including contact and non-contact kickboxing (both men’s and women’s) and MMA. They offer Ju Jitsu classes through 3rd degree blackbelt Anderson Goncalvez.
Shaw hopes the new, central location will attract new members to Infinite. “It’s more like a club really,” Shaw says of Infinite. “It’s a passion of mine, so we do it.”
Currently, the club has more female than male members. “It’s really just good all around fitness is what it is for most people,” he says. “It’s not like a bunch of tough guys trying to be bullies — it’s exactly the opposite,” he says. Find Infinite Martial Arts on Facebook.
Jacobson Ford has best month ever
New Jacobson Ford general manager Cory Herle says the Victoria Road dealership had its best sales month ever in March, starting a new trend for the business soon after he took over. Herle has worked at dealerships for 15 years, coming to Revelstoke from Salmon Arm. Prior to that, Herle spent three years with the Armed Forces, serving in communications with the Navy. “I think it’s customer service,” Herle says when asked to sum up the successful month. He adds there have been lots of changes, including a tripling of stock and lots of work on developing their used car market. The team works to help customers find the right fit for them by finding vehicles online and through auctions.
The changes are a family effort. Cory’s wife Arlana Herle is the new business manager at Jacobson. “We love Revelstoke — the people have been great,” Cory says. Their kids have got a warm reception at school, including a mention in the school newsletter. “The schools make them feel really welcome,” he said.
New ownership at Grizzly Auto Repair Ltd.
Tom and Lisa Patry are another new husband and wife team taking over the reins at a Victoria Road auto business. They are the new owners of Grizzly Auto as of April 1. Tom works as head mechanic while Lisa works on the books.
The Patrys relocated from Calgary a few years back to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle here. Patry worked a season as a mechanic for Mustang Powder, then worked under the previous owners at Grizzly Auto before buying the business. It’s not his first time as a business owner; he owned his own truck repair business outside of Calgary before relocating here.
Patry says the focus of the business will be renewed customer service to build up local customers. He wants to make Grizzly Auto about “quality service and quality friendship,” he says. ‘It’s about [customers] feeling comfortable to come into the shop to deal with any auto issues.” To get new customers in the door, they are offering free tire rotation or seasonal tire change for tires on rims with the purchase of an oil change. They’ve also got other promotions in the works.
The family has been involved in the community since they arrived. Lisa helps out with youth soccer, while Patry helps out the Nordic Ski Club with grooming and keeping their groomer running.
Revelstoke loses 598.2 pounds — so far
Trans-Canada Fitness exercise therapist Neil Jones reports participants in the fitness club’s Ultimate Loser promotion have lost 598.2 pounds since it started on February 15. There are 44 participants currently, which averages out to just over 13.5 pounds each. The current leader, says Jones, has lost a stunning 11.99 per cent of her body weight.
Jones says the real benefit of the program is learning the lifestyle, diet and health skills to make the changes permanent. “Like anything in life, it’s just sticking with it and applying it,” he said.
Check back to the Times Review for an update when the program wraps up in mid-May.
CIBC spruces up Mackenzie Avenue location
The Revelstoke CIBC has just finished interior and exterior redecorating, putting up new awnings outside, and repainting and redecorating inside. Katie Breden is the new branch manager. The renovations were done to refresh the bank and “give it a new look and make it a little bit more fitting,” she said.
Breden was previously located in Banff (she’s a skier) where she was assistant branch manager before getting the promotion to Revelstoke in October of 2010. Also new at CIBC Revelstoke are financial service representatives Gloria Bergman, who relocated from Invermere in October and Mike Johnstone, who came from Castlegar in February.
Breden says her experience with the community, the customers and her staff has been great. “It feels great. The town has been wonderful so far,” she says.
Drop by the CIBC for their annual BC Children’s Hospital Easter egg basket promotion and see if you can guess the number of eggs in the jar.
Contact Aaron Orlando at 250-837-4667 with your Business Beat story ideas.