Author: David Lipton

About David Lipton

David Lipton is President and co-founder of Toronto based Sensors Quality Management Inc. (SQM). SQM is a Toronto based company which assists organizations in improving their customer and employee experiences, by providing the truth. SQM offers its world-wide clientele a variety of programs and services, including: Mystery Shopping, Quality / Service Assurance, Market Research, Field Merchandising, Online Feedback, and Internal Audit Software. David can be reached at 416-444-4491 or

Making Happy Customers with “Grate” Service from Microplane

Microplane Product Review

About a year ago, my wife purchased two relatively expensive, high-quality, cheese graters from Microplane…a manufacturer that sells a wide variety of kitchen tools. Shortly after purchase, the box grater broke. More recently, the hand grater broke, much to her dismay.

Understandably so, my wife was a little bit upset. Given the cost of the product, she expected it to last much longer then a year or so. After licking her wounds, she went onto the company website and reached out to them via email.

Her email simply asked if there was anything that could be done about her broken cheese grater, and despite sending the message right around the holidays, she was surprised when they responded almost immediately. The employee indicated that they were out of the office for the holidays, but wanted to get back to her quickly. The employee asked if my wife could send a photo of the broken items, so that she makes sure she is replacing the correct product, and that she would take care of it upon her return from vacation.

By the end of the first week in January, my wife had replacements for both graters. Not only, did they send brand new replacements, but the box grater was upgraded to their newest model!

Based on this experience, it is clear that Microplane stands behind their products. They truly value their customers and provide fast, friendly customer service. Finally, they certainly exceeded my wife’s expectations, both in terms of getting back to her over the holiday season and by sending more than just the replacement product.

If you’re ever in the need for quality kitchenware backed by a great company, consider Microplane and “Make your cheese GRATE again!”



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Unforgettable Ways To Spend Time with the Family…On Family Day!

Family Day Activities

With the upcoming Family Day weekend, many people in Ontario are looking for something fun to do on one or more of the days of the long weekend.

Whether you’re in the Toronto area, outside of the GTA, or looking to travel elsewhere, there are a ton of places to go and things to do:

Great Wolf Lodge – Although some find it expensive, I know a lot of people like going to the Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls. What better way to spend the weekend than right down at the falls, enjoying the view and making a splash? It’s perfect for people of all ages…after all, who doesn’t enjoy a good waterpark? Alternatively, there’s the Fallsview waterpark in Niagara Falls! Whichever you choose, book early! There is a good chance are that both of these options will be busy on weekends… especially the long weekend.

Rochester, New York – I absolutely love visiting Rochester. They have an amazing outlet mall, and depending on what time of year you go they have a fantastic hockey team or Triple A baseball team. There’s a great waterpark, lots of restaurants, an amazing children’s museum (Strong Museum of Play) and the George Eastman Museum dedicated to photography and film. I like staying at the Hyatt because there’s an indoor pool, and if it’s a weekend, generally the rate is a bit lower.

Deerhurst Resort – You could always escape to a northern resort like Deerhurst in Muskoka, where they have skating, fat biking, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. They also accommodate kids, of course. To truly enjoy the winter wonderland that is northern Ontario, I suggest you and your family head up to Muskoka!

Snow Valley – I’ve written about this place before, after visiting it for an afternoon of snow tubing. While I personally had a great time tubing, you can also try your hand at skiing, snowboarding, or snow shoeing. There’s smaller hills for kids and those who are just starting out, as well as lessons for first-timers. Snow Valley has a small chalet where you can warm yourselves up by the fire and grab something to eat before hitting the slopes.

Skating Rinks – There are many skating rinks across the province…both indoor and outdoor. Here in Toronto, there’s a new outdoor skating trail which runs under the Gardner Expressway around June Callwood Park to the east of the Fort York Visitor’s Centre. Unlike your typical skating rink, this is a trail, where skaters can skate between the pillars that hold up the highway, so it’s a little different than skating in circles. They also have regular entertainment throughout the week, if you want to take a break from the blades.

Indoor Activities – If you don’t want to be outside, there’s lots of indoor swimming pools that are heated! In addition, if indoor activities are more your forte, go to an art gallery or museum. Have your tried trampolining? Hit up your nearest SkyZone and watch the kids have a blast, while you get in a great workout! I would also suggest Ripley’s Aquarium, where you can explore the deep sea while staying dry at the same time. That said, be forewarned that there’s usually long lines at the aquarium during the weekend or on holidays.

Whatever you choose to do, have a safe and enjoyable Family Day weekend!


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Imagining a Great Movie Going Experience!

Photo of the interior of an Imagine Cinema

As always, the holiday week between Christmas and New Years was filled with lots and lots of family activities, eating, going out, and just generally having fun. One activity that I always look forward to is catching up on the long list of movies that I never seem to get around to. This includes older movies that I never managed to see and of course, hitting the theatre and seeing the new releases.

As part of this year’s movie going activities, I checked out a new theatre that I learned about, from of all people…my daughter.

For many years, there’s been a move theatre at the Promenade mall…known as Rainbow Theatres. The facility has recently been re-branded as Imagine Cinemas, and renovated….for the better!

All the seats are now very wide recliners, lazy boy style, which allow you to lean back, with the front popping up so that you can put your feet up, as well. The seats also have cup holders for your drinks and plenty of space for you to lounge in. All the old seats have been replaced with these new ones, so each theatre now only has about 40 seats. You get way more privacy, space and to top it off, it’s super comfortable to watch a movie.

In addition to the comfy seats, the tickets there are also less expensive than other theatres, with children costing $8.00 and adult tickets costing $11.00. The concession snacks are also a little less expensive than other theatres.

Finally, I found the employees to all be super friendly, polite, and professional. During my visit, they were always cleaning, restocking, and hustling around.

Overall, my first visit was an excellent experience, and the movie (Coco – if you haven’t seen it, run to your nearest Imagine Cinemas!) was great as well.

I highly recommend checking out the theatre for a reasonably priced outing and a comfy movie experience!

Imagine Cinemas
Promenade Mall


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The Running Room: A Company Running with Great Customer Service!

People Cheering for the Running Room at an event

Over the last few weeks, I’ve written about some of the challenges facing the retail industry, and highlighted some retailers that are changing the way they do business. Recently, I’ve come across another company that really seems to capture the essence of customer service, as it clearly comes from the top down.

As anyone who knows me well can tell you, I really have a difficult time finding shoes that fit me. While I’ve frequently gone to The Running Room for my daughter’s shoes, I never seem to find anything that works for me, so an employee suggested I go online for a wider variety of their shoes. They told me that there are no shipping fees or returns fees involved.

I thought I’d take a shot at it and (of course) immediately ran into an obstacle when the one pair of shoes I really liked were not available in my size. They had every other size except mine! Throwing up my hands in frustration, I decided to put The Running Room to the test and I contacted their head office. Their head office phone number is answered by a recorded greeting of their founder, John Stanton, and includes an option of hitting a button to speak directly to John. I wasn’t expecting to speak to someone, but to my surprise, he immediately answered.

I had a lovely chat with John, told him my problem, and without hesitation he offered to find someone to help me and said I would get a call back in just a few minutes. Not fifteen minutes later, one of John’s colleagues called me up, asked me some questions about my needs, did some research, and found me some options for shoes that would work for me.

While I was given the option of picking the shoes up from the store, it was easier to have them delivered to my house and within a few days, I had a pair of shoes that fit and easily returned the others that I chose not to keep.

It’s rare to find a company that goes above and beyond to keep customers happy, and it’s even more rare to have a President who is as accessible as John is (answering his own phone). Clearly, The Running Room gets it. Thanks to John and his team, I now have a pair of running shoes that fit my needs….and my feet!

The Running Room


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Awards to the Awards People at North York Trophies:

Some Trophies available for purchase from North York Trophies

In all the time I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve neglected to mention a supplier to SQM, and one of my favourite companies to deal with.

For many years, long-serving employees at SQM achieve a special acknowledgement when they hit milestone anniversaries, such as the five and ten year mark. To celebrate these occasion, the employees not only receive a special gift, but we’ve also awarded them a plaque for being with us for five years, and an engraved crystal for ten years of service.

SQM has been in business for 24 years and since the beginning, I’ve looked no further than North York Trophies for all of my awards needs. In fact, my relationship with them precedes SQM, when I was involved in several sports leagues where athletes would periodically receive awards.

I still remember one of my first visits, when the employee took down the information, asked me about the player, and called me when it was ready. At the time, I had someone else go and pick it up for me, but then a few days later, it dawned on me that I never actually paid for it. When I called the store, the employee told me he had no way of contacting me, but was confident that I’d call back to settle up.

Putting aside the quality of their merchandise, the trust factor that they extended was the beginning of a great relationship! I’ve always enjoyed working with companies who put the customer’s needs first, instead of focusing on getting a deposit or being paid up front. Since that first visit, they’ve always been more concerned with meeting my needs and dealing with the payment after.

Though a few people have changed over the years, thankfully, most things at the business have remained the same. I’m not sure the name does them justice, as they have a lot of variety when it comes to products, their prices are competitive, and the workmanship is of a high quality.

And the winner for outstanding trophies and awards goes to………..North York Trophies!

North York Trophies


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Happy Holidays from SQM!

Happy Holidays from the Team at SQM.

With the upcoming holidays, this will be my last blog of the year, before returning in early January.

After another busy and hectic year at SQM, I want to thank all of our office staff and field force for a job well done. In addition, I also would like to also thank the many suppliers to SQM, for their role in our company’s success. Finally, I would like to extend my appreciation and thanks to all of our clients for their business and support.

Although personally and through SQM I support a number of charitable causes on an ongoing basis, it seems as if more people tend to think about those in need around the holiday season. On that note, I’d like to mention one particular cause that could always use more support and donations.

Toronto based, Ve’ahavta, offers a number of programs, but one in particular involves providing the homeless with meals, clothing, and other necessities. While many people frequently donate warm winter clothes, to help people in need, I’ve recently learned that there are certain items that are often overlooked, such as new pairs of socks and new (unopened) underwear.

People need clean socks and underwear on a daily basis, so should you ever find yourself wanting to help the less fortunate, wherever you are around the world, please keep these items in mind. It only takes a few minutes and a few dollars to make a real, tangible difference.

Alternatively, as in past years, if you would like to send any new items or gift cards to the SQM office, we would be happy to collect / purchase the items and deliver them to the organization.

On behalf of myself, my family, and the SQM team, I’d like to wish you and your loved ones a safe and enjoyable holiday season and my best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018!


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What’s Hip and Happening around the Holidays

December is always a cheery time of year! With the holidays just around the corner, more and more holiday-themed activities seem to be popping up around town. Many stores are taking part in holiday festivities, and with no shortage of holiday cheer going around, it’s always nice to engage in one or more activities. Some of the more popular activities, which I enjoy, include:

Toronto Christmas Market – Down in the Distillery District, the iconic Christmas market is on until December 23rd! Enjoy Christmas music, magical lighting, singing, dancing, visits with Santa, and everything to get you into the holiday spirit. Though the experience is purely magical, it’s $6.00 to get in on weekends and lineups can be lengthy.

Starbucks Holiday Cups – I always enjoy the little things that add bits of holiday spirit. Starbucks offers some cool and interesting holiday drinks with a fun design on them. It’s a great pick-me-up, and a great way to warm yourself up. This year’s design encourages customers to colour and draw on the white background of the cups.

Skating at the Harbourfront Centre – Want to do something active, fun, and festive? Skating is the perfect way to engage in holiday cheer while burning some calories at the same time. Visit your local skating rink and rent a pair of skates – or bring your own. The Harbourfront Centre has a beautiful, scenic outdoor skating rink and best of all – admission is free!

Holiday Fair in Nathan Phillips Square – At the heart of downtown Toronto, celebrate winter by shopping in the market, skating, or simply enjoying the view at their annual holiday fair. Until December 23rd, experience different foods, find that perfect gift, and listen to some live Christmas music!

The Nutcracker – Experience the magic firsthand when you see The Nutcracker live in theatre! As an all-time classic, and world-renowned play, the National Ballet of Canada has been performing every year since 2005. It’s an amazing and entertaining family activity, and suitable for all ages. Catch it now until December 30th.

Get Involved with A Charity – Whether it’s helping out at your local food bank, preparing meals for the homeless, running a toy drive, or collecting clothes and personal care products for those in need, getting involved with charities is something that should not be overlooked during this busy and hectic time of year.

Whatever you choose to do, and wherever you choose to go…from all of us at SQM, have a safe and enjoyable holiday season, and a happy and healthy new year!


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