Cooking Up Five Star Customer Service

Caplan’s Appliances, on Weston Road, south of Eglinton Avenue, is a family-founded appliance store that first opened its doors in the 1940’s.  Their recently renovated store has a wide selection of brands to choose from, including:  Maytag, Whirlpool, Bosch, Sub-Zero, and Wolf, to name a few.  In addition to the long list of brands which they represent, a few years ago they opened up a separate Miele showroom right across the street from the main store.

The owner of Caplan’s, Bob Caplan, is an old friend of mine, and I have been doing business with Bob and his family for many years.  Since I know he treats everyone like he treats me…he probably treats others much better :-)…I’ve always been recommending him to my family and colleagues who have been in need of appliances.

I’ve visited Bob’s store many times before, and I felt that it was time I give his store a shout out, based on my most recent experience there.  Back a couple of months ago, I was in the market for a new stove for my aunt.  My aunt is 93, living on fixed income, and Bob was aware of this. Instead of selling us a high-end appliance, Bob had given the salesperson a heads up and they were able to find us a good quality stove at a reasonable price.

In addition, Caplan’s will offer to deliver the new appliance and take away the old one.  In my aunt’s case, we needed added assistance because the stove was a gas range, and it’s not something you can just easily unplug from the wall.  As a result, you need a gas fitter to disconnect the old one and install the new appliance.  As it turns out, the salesperson was kind enough to find me a gas fitter, and coordinated the timing so we were able to remove the old stove at the same time as they brought the new one in. The fact that they were willing to go the extra mile to help out my aunt for what amounted to a small purchase, just shows how much they care about their business and their customers.

Aside from the gas fitter, Caplan’s has partnerships with other people in the trades, including interior designers, builders, and construction companies. Bob is truly a one-stop solution for all of your appliance needs.

Caplan’s has been around for a long time, and they understand the value of having a customer for life.  Whether you’re looking for a starter or base type of appliance, upgrading to new model, looking to redo your kitchen and get high-end appliances, Bob and his team are there for you.

Caplan’s Appliances
416-767-1655
https://www.caplans.ca/

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Introducing Minus H2O

As some of you may know, my business partner and I are currently involved in a company completely unrelated to SQM, known as Minus H2O. Minus H2O is an ever expanding line of super-concentrated household cleaning products.

Presently, we offer three products: a multi-purpose cleaner, a toilet bowl cleaner, and a window and glass cleaner, with more to come in the future. The company was founded with the purpose of addressing significant environmental issues relating to carbon emissions and plastic pollution in consumer packaged goods. When it comes down to it, most consumers don’t realize that when you buy a bottle of cleaner at the store (or many household products), you’re basically paying for water!

In fact, in many cases, up to 98 percent of what’s in the bottle is simply just water. By taking the water out of our product, it becomes 133 times more concentrated than what you’d normally buy in stores. In addition to significant reductions in carbon emissions and the use of much less plastic, consumers also pay a heck of a lot less.

Here’s the math behind our theory….since one capful of Minus H2O makes up an entire litre of cleaning product, each of our bottles will yield in many more litres of cleaning product, as compared to our competition, for a fraction of the cost.

If your average bottle costs $4.00, our 60ml bottle, which makes 8L of cleaning product, will save you $30.00…enough money for you to take a friend to the movies. Our 250 ml bottle makes 33L of cleaning solution, and is calculated to save the average consumer over $125.00…enough money for dinner out. And our 1L bottle makes 133L of cleaning solution, and is calculated to save the companies $500.00….enough for a staff appreciation event!

While I might be somewhat biased, just about everybody who tries the product says that in addition to the above noted benefits, it smells great and works extremely well.

Presently the product is available in Canada, online at Staples, and in the United States on Amazon.

Whether you care about the environment, want to save a helluva lot of money, or a combination of both, I highly encourage you give Minus H2O a try.

As always, thanks in advance for your support and consideration.

Minus H2O
416-847-1029
https://www.minush2o.com/

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Things To Do During The Victoria Day Long Weekend

BBQ: Now that the weather’s warming up slightly, it’s always nice to throw a BBQ with family and friends. Vicentina Meats is a great place to satisfy all of your meat needs, and if you’re in need of a new BBQ, you could always visit Dickson’s Home Hardware on Avenue road.

Bike Rides: It’s the perfect time of the year to get in some extra exercise! At Toronto Island, hop on a bike for a leisurely ride. It’s $9 per hour for a single bike, or $16 per hour if you want to double up.

Toronto Blue Jays: The Jays are in town, up against the Red Sox on Monday May 20th—grab a pair of tickets if you’re around for the game.

Road Trip: If you’re up to it, take a road trip to the Niagara Falls for some wine touring. For the kids, there’s Bird Kingdom, mini golf, and the Niagara Skywheel.

Museums: Visit and support your local museum on the weekend. Victoria Day Weekend at The Royal Ontario Museum includes Animal Explorers scavenger hunts for children 12 and under, and #FNLROM, featuring live music, food, dancing, and DJs.

Patio: Hit up a patio for some good grub and a good time. I particularly like Taylors Landing at Don Mills, because the service and food is excellent. Lavelle is perched on a huge rooftop complex with an excellent view of the CN Tower, and El Catrin is one of the best Mexican restaurants in Toronto.

Canada’s Wonderland: If you’re not afraid of heights, try out the new Yukon Striker aka the tallest dive roller coaster in the world! Be sure to stick around for the evening fireworks show.

Potluck Picnic: Spend this Victoria day weekend with all your friends! Sugar Beach Park is a great place along the Harbor Front to meet up and enjoy a delicious fun-filled afternoon.

Whatever your plans may be, I sincerely hope you and your family have a safe and restful long weekend!

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The Buzz About Great Customer Service

For many years, whenever I was driving along Wilson Avenue, to the west of my neighbourhood, I noticed a small restaurant in a strip mall, called Buzz Buzz Pizza Family Restaurant.  Despite driving by the location numerous times I never had the opportunity to stop by until a few weeks ago when, ironically, after going to a restaurant in the area for dinner we found ourselves still hungry.

A few of us decided to stop off at Buzz Buzz for a quick bite, and to check the place out.  It’s a small restaurant, with seven to eight tables, the prices are reasonable, and is known for their Italian food, Greek food, and most of all…their pizzas.  Other popular items are their veal parmesan, veal sandwiches, meatball sandwiches, souvlakis, and salads.

Since the pizza on the first visit was absolutely delicious, about a week later, we decided to order the veal parmesan dinner, for delivery.  When it arrived we were surprised to see it included a big piece of veal, tons of pasta, garlic bread, salad, and a can of pop for $12.99.  The food arrived hot and fresh, however, I was told that depending on how busy they are, sometimes it takes about an hour for delivery.  Nonetheless, you can’t beat the price of their items!

Buzz Buzz is a family run restaurant, operated and owned by a Greek gentleman by the name of Tony.  He runs the restaurant with his wife, daughter, and a few other people.  Although they are also well-known for their delivery and take-out, they do have regulars in the area that stop by and eat while watching TV. The place also has a liquor license, so if you wanted to, you could grab a beer or glass of wine with your meal.  Perhaps the most telling sign about the business, is that every time I’ve been to the restaurant, it’s been consistently busy.

Tony and his daughter are a pleasure to deal with—they are amazingly friendly and are willing to bend over backwards for special requests.

In a day and age when the pizza business is dominated by big chains, it’s nice to find a local, friendly business that provides good food at a reasonable price.

Buzz Buzz Pizza Family Restaurant
416-630-7777
http://www.buzzbuzzpizza.com/

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Prioritize the Customer….Not the Size of the Project

A couple of years ago, my wife and I were travelling and went to the Grand Ole Opry, in Nashville.  While we were there, we bought a poster that displayed the musicians that were playing that night, but was done in a style that had probably been used since the early days of this venue.

Given that the Grand Ole Opry is a country music establishment, I thought it would be interesting to frame this piece of art in a different way, than simply using a frame.  In particular, I thought it would be cool to mount it on barn wood—wood from a barn—to play with the country theme.  After doing a bit of research I discovered barnboardstore.com: a store known for selling barn board and what is generally known as reclaimed wood.  In addition to barn board, they are also known for selling wood with live edges—in other words, wood with bark still on it.  Both types of wood are high-quality, and can be used for furniture, floors, and walls.  For me, I only needed a small piece of wood because I had a relatively small poster.

When I went to barnboardstore.com, they were very accommodating.  Even though this was a small project for them they let me pick out a piece of wood with the nice colouring I was looking for.  They also spend a few minutes helping me size and cut it, so all I had to do was glue everything together and put the poster on.

Because they took such good care of me I kept them in mind for other projects. My wife and I are currently in the process of creating some built-in bookshelves, and we wanted the counter of the bookcase to be barn wood.  Just like my first experience the staff were extremely helpful, and came up with ideas that made more sense and were more cost-effective.  All the staff are a pleasure to deal with, and this was something exceptionally notable because in a day and age where many companies are just looking for the “big sale” and spend as little time as possible with customers with smaller projects, it’s nice to see a company that puts the customer first.

If you have a project involving wood, and are looking for something a bit different, I definitely suggest checking them out.

Barnboardstore.com
416-471-9452
http://barnboardstore.com/

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Hungry for Hungarian Food?

A few weeks ago, I visited a popular, Toronto restaurant, that has been around for many years….Country Style Hungarian Restaurant. It’s a cozy Hungarian restaurant located at 450 Bloor Street West, and should not to be confused with the larger donut chain, Country Style.

Country Style Hungarian Restaurant has been around for over 50 years as a family-run business. It’s an old-school restaurant with classic red and white checkered tablecloths and wooden chairs and tables. They’re famous for their schnitzel, but some of their other go-to dishes include cabbage rolls and perogies. They of course, also have goulash soup and cucumber salad, and their wiener schnitzel is absolutely to-die for.

Aside from ordering a la carte, they also have a delicious platter prepared for two or four, which comes with a variety of meats, sausages, and potatoes. For those who are less hungry, there are shnitzel and chicken sandwiches. If you’ve saved a little room, they have great desserts including palacsinta…a Hungarian-style crepe with chestnut puree, as well as apple and cherry strudel. All of their desserts are tasty and most are homemade. Lastly, one of my favourite items on the menu is their raspberry soda…..a cold drink that is somewhat different from most pops.

Their food always comes out hot, fresh, and very quickly, and in addition, the service is great. All of the waiters are friendly and helpful, and if you ask for sauce on the side or other dietary requests, they are very accommodating.

I find the restaurant is busy at any time, especially on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, but you usually do not have to wait too long to be seated. After dinner, if you want to listen to live music, there’s are some bars in the area, as well as live theatres, all of which are accessible via public transit.

If you’re looking to experience a different, homey kind of restaurant, head on over to Country Style Hungarian Restaurant…you will not be disappointed.

Country Style Hungarian Restaurant

416-536-5966

http://countrystylehungarian.com/

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Why you should visit the St. Lawrence Market

As is the case in many cities, there are always one or two popular markets where people go to get fresh fruit, vegetables, baked goods, high quality meats, and specialty foods. Toronto is no different, and for many years the go-to location has been the St. Lawrence Market.

The market, run by the City of Toronto, is located on 93 Front Street East, and is currently comprised of three main buildings: The South Market, the North Market, and St. Lawrence Hall. It’s a combination of vendors where you can buy anything from fresh meat and pastries to seafood, olives and cheese. You can also get breakfast and lunch, as well as coffee and juice.

My understanding is that the lake used to come right up to the back of the market and vendors were able to bring their fish right up from the water, but the shoreline has since receded.

The market always exhibits a fun, bustling atmosphere. The vendors are always kind, and it’s great to support small, community businesses.

There’s also a number of places where you can buy meals….for example, Carousel Bakery at the market is known for their superb peameal bacon sandwiches. Buster’s Sea Cove has amazing fish and chips and Uno Mustachio is known for their large veal sandwiches.

What people often go down on a Friday or Saturday morning and get their groceries for the week. Since the market is closed on Sundays and Mondays, a couple of hours before closing on Saturday afternoon some of the vendors will put their products on sale or mark down the prices. Regardless, you can always kick it old school and try negotiating a deal.

Whether it’s to stroll around, grab a bite, or do your grocery shopping, I highly recommend visiting St. Lawrence Market.

St. Lawrence Market
416-392-7219
http://www.stlawrencemarket.com/

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