Tag Archives: Brand Standards

A Special Thank You

 

Many years ago, SQM did a project for a gentleman by the name of Wassim, who works for a Canadian company called The Travelway Group. The company is a distributor of various travel related products: suitcases, gym bags, and travel accessories. One of the products which they have the licensing rights to are for various cartoon and superhero lunch bags, overnight bags, and knapsacks, such as Dora the Explorer, Frozen, and the Avengers.

Although it’s been several years since we last did any work for the company, I’ve kept in touch with Wassim. From time to time I’ve asked Wassim for a favour, related to some of the charity initiatives that SQM is involved with. In particular, when I’m working on any children’s related initiatives, I’ve called up to see if it’s possible to get some old or extra items that may be sitting around the warehouse, to pass along to the various organizations we are working with.

While I try not to take advantage of his generosity, whenever I’ve asked for something, without hesitation he takes down the delivery information and within days I’ll have a box full of items at my front door.

During my time in business, I’ve always made an effort to support those companies that actively support charitable causes…and especially the ones that myself and SQM are involved with. As a result, I wanted to do a shout out for the team at the Travelway Group for being a great partner and a great supporter of myself, and SQM. Thank you very much!

The Travelway Group

http://www.travelwaygroup.com

 

 

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7 Numbers Restaurant is Number One in Customer Service

 

For many years, there has been a restaurant in Toronto known as 7 Numbers. It’s a quaint and casual Italian restaurant, with food that could be best described as homemade meals and cooking.

The original restaurant is on Eglinton Avenue between Bathurst and Avenue Road and the second one is down on the Danforth. The owner of the restaurant, Rosa, is often standing right in the kitchen and is an absolutely lovely woman.

You have a couple different options to choose from when you come in: appetizers, primi / first courses, and your secondi / main entrees. In addition, there is the options of ordering a prix fixe family style meal, that includes a sampling of appetizers and several pastas, along with your choice of a main course.

While there are some staples on the menu, they do change it up from time to time, so there’s always something new or different. While all of the food is quite tasty, my absolute favourites are the calamari, the fig and goat cheese salad, and the veal lasagna. As for mains? My go to dishes are the duck leg, the lamb shank, and one of the other popular choices….the veal meatballs. You get two huge meatballs with a tasty cheesy treat inside. In terms of drinks, there are several options for non-alcoholic and alcoholic, with wine served by the glass or the bottle.

The seats and decor are very casual, with brown paper-covered tables, chalkboard menus, and colourful lighting. The kitchen is right at the front of the restaurant, so whether you’re looking inside or standing out, you can see exactly what is going and how your food is being prepared.

It’s an awesome family business, with Rosa running the uptown restaurant while her son runs the downtown location, and both provide great service. Between the atmosphere, the service, and the amount of food you get, it’s a guaranteed fabulous meal for a reasonable and fair price.

A number of my friends and colleagues have made 7 Numbers their go-to place and it’s become a place where regulars hang out all the time.

If you’re looking for some authentic, homemade Italian food, 7 Numbers is always a top choice. Buon Appetito!

 

7 Numbers

www.sevennumbers.com

 

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Top Ten Things to Do This Holiday Season

via GIPHY

There are plenty of fun and festive things to do this holiday season. Here is my Top 10 places to check out:

  1. Toronto Christmas Market – Experience the magic of the holidays with carols, hot food, and plenty of handcrafted goods to choose from! Treat your kids to a storytelling session or pictures with Santa himself. You can explore the Distillery Christmas Market until December 23rd. Admission is charged on weekends only, beginning at 5 PM on Fridays.
  2. Skating at City Hall, Harbourfront, or The Bentway Skate Trail – Sharpen your skates and head on over to the shoreline of Lake Ontario, Nathan Phillips Square, or underneath the Gardiner Expressway. If you don’t have your own pair of skates, you can rent them for a small fee. Show off your skating (and dancing) skills at the Harbourfront Centre on their DJ Skate Nights!
  3. Christmas Lights Across Canada 2018 in Ottawa – It’s obligatory to include at least one light festival in every holiday list. Take a trip to Canada’s capital to be dazzled by festive lights across the city and the Magical Winter Lightscapes show projected on the Parliament Buildings.
  4. Day Trips to Niagara  The Falls are always stunning in the winter. There are plenty of casinos, restaurants, and museums in the entertainment district.
  5. Rochester, NY  For a quick overnight trip, visit Rochester, New York. The holiday spirit is very much alive with Christmas Markets and plays such as “The Nutcracker”. I also highly recommend the Minnesota Children’s Museum, as it has great exhibits that emphasize education mixed with fun.
  6. Ripley’s Aquarium  To see amazing creatures from under the sea, there’s always Ripley’s Aquarium. For the holidays they have special events such as breakfast with Santa! The aquarium is open daily from 9 AM to 11 PM.
  7. Eat Out – It’s never a bad time to take your family out to a nice dinner or lunch for some quality bonding time. Of course, nothing beats a home-cooked meal but sometimes it’s nice not to do the dishes. For those lazy mornings, go out for a nice brunch!
  8. Afternoon Tea – Feeling fancy? Head over to Fairmont Royal York for holiday tea and sandwiches at the Library Bar every Saturday and Sunday. A special new year’s day tea is also available on January 1st.
  9. Skiing and Snow Tubing – If you don’t mind heading up a bit north of Toronto, the ski hills are open at Snow Valley and Blue Mountain! For something a bit different, try out snow tubing—it’s easy and fun for the entire family.
  10. Great Wolf Lodge – The Lodge transforms into Snowland for the holiday season. Not only do they have a life-sized Gingerbread house, but they also have daily holiday events. You can also enroll the kids in North Pole University

Whatever you choose to do over the winter break, all of us at SQM hope you have a safe and enjoyable holidays!

 

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‘Tis The Season for Giving

I hope everyone’s holiday season is off to a fun and festive start!

One of the things I like to do all year long, but especially around the holidays, is support my community and those around me.  One particular group that I am involved with is Toronto-based Ve’ahavta. As some of you may know from my previous posts, one of the group’s main activities is to provide the homeless with meals and clothing.  During my involvement with this group, I’ve learned that they are always in need of fresh socks and underwear…articles of clothing that people often overlook. I myself never thought of this, and usually donated warm hats, mitts, gloves, and sleeping bags, however, when you think of it, clean, warm, dry socks and underwear is a necessity.

As we’ve done in the past, SQM is launching our annual, Holiday Sock / Underwear Drive.  I encourage all of my friends, colleagues, those on the SQM Team, and in fact…..anyone to send:  new socks, new underwear, or gift cards from either Walmart of Costco to the SQM office. We will deliver the items to Ve’ahavta, who will distribute them to those in need this holiday season and throughout the cold winter months.

We know that this is a busy time of the year and that everyone has their own charities and causes they like to support, but if you have the time or resources, please consider supporting SQM’s Holiday Sock and Underwear Drive.

Lastly, I’d like to thank everyone at SQM, including all of our office staff and field force, for all of your hard work and diligence. I would also like to thank all of our clients for their continued support and business.

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday season and all the best for 2019!

SQM

156 Duncan Mill Road, Unit 19

Toronto, ON  M3B 3N2

416-444-4491

www.sqm.ca

 

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A Shout-Out for a Dear Friend

This week’s blog post is a little different, as I wanted to share some information about a close friend who has just taken the next step in his career and business.

Back when I was in high school, I met someone who I became very good friends with: Salim Bardai. Salim has just opened up a Freshii franchise in Barrie north, specifically at 347 Cundles Road East, Unit M2.

Salim and I had bonded in the food service business when we both worked as teenagers at McDonald’s and we have managed to stay in touch over the last 35 years, despite Salim moving up in Barrie several years ago (that said he’s always made an effort to come back to the city to hang out with friends!).

For many years, Salim worked as a store manager for McDonald’s up in Barrie before leaving the restaurant to continue his career in retail. This brings us to 2018, when Salim decided he wanted to strike out on his own. After doing some research, he decided he was interested in becoming the latest franchisee for Freshii.

For those of you who may not know, Freshii is a casual restaurant that serves healthy food options, such as salads, soups, wraps and burritos.

Salim has always been great as a friend and one of the most dedicated people I’ve come to know. Whether it was during his time at McDonald’s, starting other businesses, his willingness to coach others, or his involvement with charitable and community causes, Salim always gives 100%. As a manager and business owner he always tries to build a close-knit, solid team and when it comes to customers, he understands that employee satisfaction equals customer satisfaction.

Salim has always had a dream of running his own franchise and between Freshii having great products and Salim’s dedication to his staff, customers, and the community, I think he’s got a great recipe for success going forward.

For those of you in the Barrie area or passing through, please consider stopping by Salim’s location and supporting a great friend, as well as a wonderful company!

 

Freshii

705-986-0556

https://www.freshii.com/ca/en- 

 

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Doorway to Great Customer Service

Last week, I highlighted the company that installed my garage door and garage opener; however, I also recently had a very positive experience with the manufacturer of the garage door opener.  As mentioned in my last blog, I installed a garage door and opener about four years ago; however, over the last few weeks I started having an issue with the garage door opening at random times, whether it be day or night.

I called up Chamberlain to see if they could advise me on what the problem may be, and was immediately impressed with their customer service.  Whenever I’ve called their troubleshooting number, they’ve consistently picked up very quickly, and their staff are very friendly, extremely knowledgeable about their products, willing to help, and patient as they walk you through potential fixes and solutions.  They also always send me a follow-up email after the call, so I’d always have a record of the information and know what to do next.

In my case, during my first call the technician asked me for some information that I didn’t have available, so he waited as I climbed up a ladder to get the model number.  While there, he walked me through the process of clearing the memory and resetting the code in hopes of fixing my problem.  He also offered, and sent, the instructions to me, via email, after our call was completed so that I had directions in the event that I had to do everything again. Unfortunately, resetting everything didn’t work and so I had to call them back for more assistance on next steps.

The second time I called, I had an equally pleasant experience with the person on the phone, who also did their utmost to try and help me. I told them that I’d rather just replace the logic board (the brains of the operation) in my garage door because I was concerned about my garage opening in the middle of the night or while I’m not around.  While the technician I talked to was willing to replace the logic board, he told me he was 99 per cent sure that an intermediary step would fix the problem, and advised me to do this first.

Because I was so confident in this individual and the company behind them, I took a leap of faith and it turns out he was 100 per cent correct. It turned out the problem was not with the logic board, but another part.  Once I confirmed this, I called again, and without hesitation Chamberlain sent me the part with no fee and no cost despite my garage door opener being well out of the warranty period. The part arrived quicker than expected…less then a week…and ever since I’ve installed it I’ve had absolutely no problem.

First, I want to highlight that in a day and age where customers are constantly being placed on hold for long periods of time, this company clearly understands the value of people’s time, and even though they are a large organization my calls were still answered quickly.  Second, the customer support employees / technicians are able to understand something as specialized as garage doors, and easily walk the customer through fixes in a quick and easy manner.   To have multiple associates that are both pleasant and knowledgeable about the product is a unique quality in a company, so  Chamberlain must have top-notch systems and training programs in place.  Last, this company stands behind their product, which isn’t always the case in today’s manufacturing world.  Very few companies would send you a replacement part without hesitation or cost, but that’s exactly what Chamberlain did for me.

There is a reason Chamberlain is as big and successful as they are. My applause go out to Chamberlain and their entire team.  Well done and keep up the great service!

Chamberlain
800-528-5880
http://www.chamberlaingroup.com

 

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Opening Doors to Great Customer Service

It was around five years ago when I was in the market for a new garage door that I met Steve Minakakis. Steve is an extremely talented one-man company, who owns and operates Maple Leaf Garage Doors. He happened to be living in my neighbourhood at the time and immediately came over, brought some brochures, and suggested a few different options. In addition his prices seemed to be on par, if not better, than several other companies. Steve had said he could do the job fairly quickly and so we chose him to install our garage door. He proved himself to be extremely responsive, available, and easy to work with.

Steve was also in charge of installing my garage door opener and in a unique demonstration of kindness, he offered to let me purchase the item myself and save a few dollars, as opposed to having him purchase it and charging me more for his services. Steve made several recommendations and told me where to buy the exact model, so I had no problem finding what I needed.

On the day he came to install everything he arrived promptly and on time, conducted his business efficiently and quickly, and within a few hours he was completely done. Not only did he get the job done, he set it up in such a way that it fit my needs. It looked good, had excellent safety and security measures in place, had a battery backup and a keypad, and it came with a remote.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I started having trouble with the opener. There seemed to be a ghost inside of it and as a result, my garage door had been opening on its own in the middle of the night or at different times of the day.

I ended up first calling the garage door opening company, Chamberlain, and they did some troubleshooting with me. With their help we finally narrowed down the problem. Even though the opener was out of warranty, Chamberlain sent me a replacement part free of charge. Since there was some wiring involved, rather than do it myself, I called up Steve for his expertise.

I asked Steve if he could come over at his earliest convenience. He had told me it might be a week or so, but I was pleased to discover that Steve had been able to swing by the very next day. I stepped into the garage after a long day’s work, and he had clearly been there because all of the parts had been replaced and the old parts were taken out and neatly put aside.

I immediately called up Steve and asked him how much I owed him, and he assured me that it had only taken a few minutes of his time. He said that I could help him out by leaving a review on HomeStars, so I did as well as highlight him and his services on the SQM Picks blog.

Steve has the right recipe to a happy customer: a good quality product, reasonable pricing, fast and efficient work, great customer service, and he doesn’t nickel and dime his customers. Steve looks at the bigger picture of growing his business by taking care of the little items that matter to the customer. I highly suggest Steve and his wonderful work ethic for any of your garage door needs.

Maple Leaf Garage Doors
416-856-8452
http://www.mapleleafgaragedoors.com/

 

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