Tag Archives: Canadian Business

Ensuring You Use the Right Insurance Company

This week, I’d like to write a blog about Intact Insurance, however, I’m going to take a slightly different perspective on the subject.

Insurance is one of those industries that touches just about everyone, whether or not you own a house, rent an apartment, drive a car, or run a business. As one of my colleagues says, “you can never have enough insurance”. Most people deal with an insurance company or a broker on a somewhat regular basis, and while buying insurance typically comes down to the cost, I would think that it’s always better and easier to be dealing with an insurance company that has a good reputation in the industry.

Often times, I hear stories about insurance appraisers and adjusters that try to pay as little as possible for claims, or make it very difficult on one to resolve their claims or issues. That said, this story is meant to look at an insurance company from a different angle….

A couple of years ago, my 90 year old aunt tripped on a mat, fell, and broke her hip while shopping at a grocery store. As a result of this accident, a lawsuit was filed as my aunt was incurring a number of significant expenses associated with her injuries. As the lawsuit progressed, we began dealing with a lawyer for the insurance company that was representing the grocery store.

Although I often hear horror stories about dealing with lawyers in such cases, the lawyer representing my aunt was pleasantly surprised by the insurance company’s approach to handling the situation. While many insurance companies would have dragged the process out for as long as possible, given my aunt’s advanced age, all parties involved were looking for a reasonable solution so that my aunt could return to a normal life as soon as possible. While it’s difficult to put a price tag on such a terrible accident, and my aunt didn’t necessarily feel that she received as much money as she deserved, the willingness of the insurance company to move the process along was very much appreciated. It was truly a breath of fresh air to see both the lawyer and insurance company treat my aunt respectfully and professionally, while simultaneously looking out for their interests as well. After the case was settled, I took the time to call the President of Intact Insurance to acknowledge how their in-house lawyer handled this difficult matter in a professional and respectful way.

During the conversation, the President mentioned that Intact Insurance attempts to be a different type of insurance company, and treats people the way their employees would want to be treated themselves. While many companies in the industry say this, very few put their words into practice, however, I can tell you firsthand that Intact Insurance really does have this kind of culture and approach.

Again while I realize that purchasing insurance often boils down to price, I highly recommend that you at least look at Intact Insurance for your insurance needs. They are truly an excellent company to deal with.

Intact Insurance
www.intact.ca

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A Reye of Sunlight at the Gym

This week, I’d like to talk about a personal trainer who has gone above and beyond the call of a regular trainer.

For over 30 years, I have been a member of the Columbus Centre’s gym / fitness club. Over my time there I’ve gotten to know many of the staff and personal trainers. One of the trainers who I find myself chatting with about anything from sports, to business, to life in general, is a gentleman by the name of John Reyes.

John, works at the Columbus Centre part-time, a personal trainer, and has also recently become a registered kinesiologist. While the kinesiology work that he does is at a separate clinic and has nothing to do with the Columbus Centre, he often uses his knowledge, education, and experience in kinesiology when working with his clients as a personal trainer.

A number of weeks ago, I decided to pick his brain as I was having some difficulties loosening up, even though I stretch regularly. It just seemed that despite my ongoing efforts, I was extremely tight, which was impacting my ability to properly complete some of my exercise routine. John suggested a few stretches and within a short amount of time, these stretches seemed to be working, as I seemed to be improving.

A couple of weeks later, I came back to him again because I was still tight…I just couldn’t loosen up completely. Even though John was only there once a week, he would try and line up his times with mine, and take me to one of the fitness rooms where he would help me stretch. These kinds of stretches were challenging in that you need a second person to help do them properly.

We figured my loosening up would take a few weeks of stretching on my own, in addition to his assistance. True to his word, after some time I was once again making good progress, and returning to normal. While I’m sure other trainers could have assisted me with the stretches, I believe that John’s background in kinesiology very much helped get me moving in the right direction.

If anyone is looking for a personal trainer, or for someone to help them with their stretching and range of motion, I highly recommend John Reyes.

John Reyes
J-rey636@yahoo.ca

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Nothing’s Tougher Than a Burton

For transparency purposes, I will say right off the bat that the person I am writing about just so happens to be my next-door neighbour, however, this article is based on work that he has done for my family.

Back about three years ago, my 90-year-old aunt fell in a grocery store and broke her hip. Because we felt that the grocery store was responsible for her fall, we quickly decided to retain a lawyer who specialized in personal injury law. While there is certainly no shortage of advertisements for these types of lawyers on TV and in newspapers, I had the good fortune of knowing one who lives 20 feet away from me: Jonathan Burton, who works at Gluckstein Lawyers.

The fact that he was my neighbour and lived nearby was only one factor in deciding to use his services for my aunt. Jonathan has been practicing law for a number of years, and my research indicated that he was extremely experienced, well respected by his colleagues, and specializes in personal injury law. From the beginning, I could tell Jonathan knew how to handle the situation. Whether it was quickly drafting up a letter, scheduling meetings with my aunt and myself, or just organizing his work the way he does, I was able to see that I made the right decision.

Over the course of the case, there were certain objectives that needed to be completed, and Jonathan always made sure to give us the information and heads up in advance. He was always prepared for upcoming activities, and we could tell that we were in good hands.

A few weeks ago, we had a scheduled mediation. For those who are unaware, before you are able to arrange a date for certain types of trials, in Ontario, you have to participate in a mandatory mediation. This involves a third, unbiased party, working with both sides to find common ground. and a settlement that both can live with. It may come as a surprise to many, that the majority of cases are settled at mediation and never end up going to trial.

We were fortunate in that we had a good meditator handling my aunt’s case. Jonathan presented himself in a professional manner, and dealt with the mediator and opposing lawyer in a skillful way. The other party was open to a settlement, and after a few hours of discussion the case was settled.

I truly believe that one of the main reasons the case was settled was because of Jonathan’s reputation amongst his colleagues in the legal profession. Jonathan was never rude in his dealings, and treated people with respect and honesty. He was always willing to listen, however, he recognized that he was there for his clients’ best interests. I often hear of lawyers who are rude, bullies, and not open to discussion, however, when you take on tactics like these, I believe you do it at the disservice of your clients.

I wouldn’t wish my aunt’s situation on anyone, but if you do need a personal injury lawyer, I highly suggest Jonathan Burton.

Jonathan Burton
Gluckstein Lawyers
416-408-4252
burton@gluckstein.com

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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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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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