We're already stoked for our 14th annual Sunrise Summer Kickoff, coming up Saturday, July 11. This amazing summer event features all day street hockey for kids K–Gr.9, live performances, face-painting, games, pony rides, and more. To register for street hockey click here. See you there!
When you walk along the west corridor of the East Village, few businesses have been standing longer than Lee’s Transmissions. Opened in 1967 by Lee Cartwright, the humble shop at 1350 East Hastings Street has become a fixture in the area, servicing happy customers for nearly five decades.
Walt started working in 1980 as a junior employee at Lee’s, and has now owned the place for over twenty years. “I had a feeling one day would own an auto shop but didn’t think it would be this one,” he tells us with a smile. “It all just fell into place. My boss Rodger retired in 1995. That’s when I took over, and have been the owner ever since.”
When it comes to his day-to-day routine, Walt handles pretty much everything at the shop. “I do everything from answering telephones, dealing with customer concerns and road testing with customers. I also look after the overall management of the business. I just love meeting and talking to all the different people.”
Some of Walt’s favorite places to shop in the area are Red Wagon, Sorrento Barbers, TD Bank, and Gourmet Warehouse, who has been his neighbor for over 17 years. Having worked in the community for so long, Walt tells us it’s refreshing for him to see positive changes that are happening. “[The East Village] has become established over the years and there is really a community spirit,” he explains. “Programs like the Business Improvement Associations also help solidify this relationship.”
Arguably more than any industry, Walt’s is one that depends heavily on word of mouth, and he says he is proud of the long-standing reputation which Lee’s Transmissions has maintained over the years. “I still get people who come in and say ‘I remember coming in with my dad!’ and now they come in as adults. I have customers who also knew Lee Cartwright.” Positive online sentiment has been an important marketing tool for Walt, and he’s savvy when it comes to today’s consumer needs, keeping current with social media.
A member of the BBB and the ATRA (Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association), Lee’s does much more than transmission repairs. The qualified team can help with everything from brake repair, exhaust, tire rotations, pumps, tune-ups or a basic oil change. Visit their website, and get social through Facebook and Twitter.
Join us for two community clean ups on Saturday, April 25th and Sunday, May 10th!
Graffiti removal, litter pickup and free bike engraving will be from 10:00am - 1:00pm. Participants will also receive a free hot dog lunch!
Located at 1350 East Hastings Street, beside No Frills.
We hope to see you there!
Looking for a taste of Thailand? Look no further than Thailicious, now open at 2404 East Hastings Street. Opened just last month, the new restaurant invites customers to experience the delicious flavors of “real” authentic Thai culture, right here at home.
“I am proud to cook Thai food and showcase what Thai people eat,” says Khwan, owner of Thailicious. “I really enjoy when people say our food is “real” Thai food. We receive compliments that our food takes people back to Thailand. Working and eating here keeps me connected to Thailand, and its culture.”
What began as a humble catering company housed out of a commissary kitchen has become a full-scale operation for Khwan, but she tells us she loves to keep busy. “I will often forward the business number to my cellphone, so I can still take catering orders at night.” She’s not kidding! “Sometimes people will phone at like 11:30 at night, and I still answer the call.”
Most of Khwan’s existing business was already in East Vancouver, so it made perfect sense to open shop in the East Village area. “There is a lot of culture here, and everyone is appreciative of it,” she says. “Everyone knows everyone. I enjoy having the usual customers that I have learned to recognize. Many of the businesses also know each other, and are kind to one another.”
If you’re a fan of Pad Thai, then you’ve got to try Chef Alec’s shrimp Pad Thai, the most popular dish to date. It’s such a hit with customers that they’ve begun jarring the sauce for sale, too. With plenty of vegan and gluten-free options of the menu here, it’s a great place for anyone. Thailicious also carry premium organic Doi Chang Coffee and freshly baked pastries, making it an ideal spot to check in for a morning bite. This summer Khwan plans to roll out cold beverages like Frappuccino’s and Iced Tea. Oh, did we mention their authentic Thai iced coffee? A must-try for any coffee connoisseur.
Thailicious is open Monday through Friday from 8am-10pm; Weekends from 10:30am-10:00pm, with home delivery available. Check out their website for more information, and get social on their Facebook page.
Quest Nutrition opened at 2140 East Hastings in May of 2014, but recently changed hands in November. Originally the store was specifically for sports nutrition, but has since shifted to stock more natural versions of these products as well as a wide variety of supplements and superfoods for general health. A variety of organic raw food snacks and medicinal mushrooms are also available, as well as hard to find specialty items like blue green algae and raw vegan Paleo protein.
We recently caught up with Quest’s Store Manager and Nutritionist Shawna Barker BSc., RHN, who graduated from UBC's Nutrition Program and the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Shawna has been working at Quest Nutrition since January.
When we ask Shawna what she likes about the East Village area, she says it’s the diversity and growth that stands out the most. “You have quite a mix of people, families and businesses here,” she says. “Everything and everybody is very friendly.”
For Shawna, keeping customers informed is one of her favorite aspects of her job. “I like providing people with information to empower themselves to be healthy,” she tells us. “I like helping people realize that eating healthy does not need to be boring.”
Shawna is also a raw foods chef, and will soon be hosting a Nutrition Seminar each month at Quest Nutrition to teach people about a variety of health topics and sample simple recipes. She also offers one-on-one nutrition consultations that can be booked through the store, offering help with specific health issues or questions.
Di Oliva Tasting Bar opened a few short months ago at 2632 East Hastings Street, satisfying neighborhood foodies with over fifty different gourmet olive oils and balsamic vinegars to choose from.
Di Oliva, which means olive in Italian, is owned and operated by Lisa, who has grown up in the area and says the neighborhood feels like home. Lisa tells us she truly enjoys the community element of the East Village, and wants her customers to feel that same warmth when they visit in her shop. “If people feel welcome enough to come into my store and say hi, then I know I've done my job,” she beams.
Lisa has always had a love for olive oils and vinegars, and explained to us she really liked the concept of allowing the customer to taste before they buy. The olive oils at Di Oliva are imported from across the world, and the balsamic vinegars are from Italy. Newest shipments include offerings from Spain and Portugal.
Lisa offers over fifty different infused olive oils and vinegars to taste at Di Oliva, with flavors like blueberry, lemon, rosemary, even peach. All Di Oliva’s products are natural, preservative free, and non-gmo certified. All of the oils and vinegars are stored in stainless steel drums called a fusti. The fusti keep out air, light and heat and your bottle is filled straight from the tap. “It’s like peoples appreciation for a fine wine,” Lisa says with a smile. We’d tend to agree!
Also available at Di Oliva are an array of gourmet foods, sampler sets, gift baskets, salts, spices, rubs, Olive Oil Skin Care and more.