Tag Archives: Service

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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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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Ask and ye shall receive (great customer service)

Quite some time ago, I wrote about a great phone repair store called Stellar Cellular on College Street. The person who ran that store was named Richard, and he as an overall great guy to deal with, who did amazing work.

A couple of weeks ago my wife was having a problem with her phone, and so I reached out to Richard and asked him for some help. To my surprise, he said his store had moved out of town and he was not doing repairs anymore. He highly recommended Maaz at Ask Computers, and suggested giving them a call. Ask Computers is run by two brothers, Maaz and Mani, on Front Street.

I called up Maaz and mentioned his colleague, Richard said I should give him a call. I explained the problem with my wife’s phone and he invited me to stop by whenever I could. They’re closed on Sundays so I drove down on a Saturday, showed him the phone and explained the problem. Right away he knew what the problem was.

Unlike some places that gave you a ticket, Maaz writes up a work order and a quote, then has you sign off electronically. Additionally, he will also text you updates when repairs are underway and when repairs are completed. He told me he’d try and get back to me later that day, but otherwise it’d be done on Monday.

Much to my surprise, about two and a half hours after I dropped it off, I got a message saying it was ready. I stopped by again, paid him, and tried the phone out. The phone was working perfectly fine again, and I even got a follow-up email thanking me for my business and asking me to leave a review.

The location is a small store but it was neat and clean, and right away, between the look of the store and the initial conversation, I had felt I was in good hands the entire time. The whole customer service system he had in place was great—something you don’t see often in small businesses.

Whether you’re looking to buy computer equipment, get something repaired, or whether you just need advice, Maaz and Mani have a great store and I highly recommend stopping by for your tech needs.

Ask Computers

416-862-9595

Askcomputers.ca

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A Taste of Good Customer Service

Lady York Foods is a unique, one-off grocery store, often frequented by folks in the Italian and Portuguese community who live nearby. They’re well-known for their butcher shop, deli and cheese section, locally baked goods, and their produce. I also go there for seasonal items, like figs and fresh olives. If you happen to be making prosciutto, you can easily get the leg of a pig and similar items—all high quality.

Last Friday my wife and I decided we wanted to make a rack of lamb for dinner. I headed over to my neighbourhood Costco and much to my sadness and shock, they didn’t have any lamb in stock, which was a rare event.

Although they had other meats, my wife and I were both craving lamb. I put my thinking cap on and while I was at Costco, I called up Lady York Foods to see if they had a rack of lamb in stock. I spoke to a young, friendly guy in the butcher shop and told him what I was looking for.

When I arrived, it was all wrapped up and ready to go. I thanked the young man for his help and headed home, eager to start digging in. When I got home my wife opened the package and was surprised because it looked different from the usual rack of lamb.

Usually it’s Frenched so it looks very presentable, and so we were surprised it wasn’t Frenched already but we didn’t think anything of it. When we went to cook and slice it, we realized there was an extra bone in there, and when we went to continue slicing it we realized there was no actual meat, just bone and fat.

I called up Lady York Foods again and asked to speak to a manager. I told her there might have been some miscommunication and confusion, and that I was sold something that wasn’t butchered and properly presented for sale.

The young man from the butcher section told me to come in whenever it was convenient, and he would be happy to refund me. I took a picture of the lamb so I could prove I wasn’t yanking his chain and stopped by the next day.

When I approached him we ended up having a nice chat and he apologized for not having the product I was looking for, and for making me return to the store to get a refund. Lady York Foods was willing to step up to the plate to ensure customer satisfaction and the young man in the butcher shop was willing to make things right.

I showed him the picture I took of the lamb and we had a good chuckle. He ended up taking the picture for training purposes for the rest of the butchers.

I applaud Lady York Foods because they stood behind their product standards and readily refunded the money in the case of a simple miscommunication.

Lady York Foods

416-781-8585

www.ladyyorkfoods.com

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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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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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Behind the Scenes of Great Customer Service

Last week, I mentioned my daughter’s bat mitzvah, and the beautiful invitations that we sent out.  As part of the celebrations, we also wanted to jazz things up a bit, and so my wife decided to speak to somebody about décor options.

We didn’t want to have an overly fancy, lavish setup, nor were we interested in going crazy with our budget.  We did want to have a nice centerpiece on each table, some décor for the buffet area, a guest book so our daughter would have a souvenir to remember things by, and we also needed to have something for the table cards.  While some people go crazy depending on what type of celebration you’re having, we wanted to keep things somewhat low key but still elegant, whimsical and special.

Enter Lori from Behind the Scenes Creations. My wife had been referred to a few people, but as soon as she spoke to Lori, she knew she had found someone she could work with….something just clicked. Lori was creative, energetic, warm and understood our need to stay within our budget.

For the centerpieces, one of the themes throughout the function was the pineapple because it’s my daughter’s favourite fruit (and the symbol for hospitality). As a result, Lori put a pineapple on each table, on an attractive wooden platform, alongside a terrarium with cacti and succulents (another one of my daughter’s favourite things).  For the table cards, Lori handmade mini glass terrariums that mimicked the centerpieces, that were filled with live succulents.   Lori built stand up letters for the buffet, using flowers, for my daughter’s name.  Lastly, Lori suggested we put together a nice photo album (we did this at Costco) that everyone could sign.

With the exception of the photo album, Lori put together all of these items on her own.  Recognizing the manual labour that went into these pieces, I’m still amazed she was able to do this….and at an extremely reasonable price.

The telltale sign of success were the compliments we received.  Whether it was the comments regarding the centrepieces, the numerous people who asked to take a centerpiece (and the pineapples!) home and the many, many, MANY compliments on the table cards, Lori obviously is doing something right. If you’re in need of a superb event and decorations planner, someone that you will love working with, I implore you to consider Lori.  She did a fantastic job of bringing our vision to life for us.

Lori Himelfarb Weiss
Behind the Scenes Creations
416-566-6641

 

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