Tag Archives: Amazing Customer Service

Top Ten Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving During COVID-19

Obviously, this year’s Thanksgiving is going to look a little different from last. Family get-togethers will be much smaller—if they happen at all.  But that doesn’t mean you and your loved ones can’t have as much fun this Thanksgiving weekend. Here’s a list of ideas and events that are happening around the GTA.

1. Take a hike and enjoy nature:
Take the opportunity to get out and stretch your legs while the weather’s still warm! The Scarborough Bluffs has 11 parks featuring trails, gardens, and beaches along the shore of Lake Ontario. Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area in Milton has an amazing view of autumnal colours as the trees change with the season. The Elora Gorge Trail is also a favourite, as it showcases a 20m waterfall and 10km of scenery.

2. Fishing at Glen Haffy:
If recreational fishing is what you crave, Glen Haffy supplies rainbow trout from a hatchery, and visitors may fish from two ponds. The conservation area also offers a variety of nature trails that are ideal for bird watching.

3. Apple Picking:
Apples are in season! Carl Laidlaw Orchards, located in Brampton, are open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays for September and October. Chudleigh’s is also open for apple picking and has an animal farm and hiking trails for visitors to enjoy. Tickets must be purchased in advance. They are busy, so plan to go early to avoid lineups!

4. Take a drive in the country
It’s the perfect time of year to take a relaxing road trip out of town—go and pick up a pumpkin or some corn from your local farmer and enjoy the fall colours along the way. Take a trip up to the Apple Factory to get your fill of specialty products, or drive up to Collingwood to get a view of Blue Mountain.

5. St. Jacob’s Market:
Drive out to St. Jacob’s Market near Waterloo for a variety of different specialty vendors that include baked goods, books and toys, handmade crafts, and meat and seafood. You also have the option of purchasing a Market Meal Kit for 2 for $35, which includes cheese, dinner buns, a mini peach pie, and more. The market is open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

6. Picard’s Peanuts:
There is tons to do at Niagara-on-The-Lake!  Wineries, lunch on a patio, if the weather permits, and don’t forget to hit up  Picard’s Peanuts for some freshly roasted peanuts and unique snacks, such as potato chip covered peanuts, chocolate covered marshmallow and sponge toffee and chocolate-covered peanuts.

7. Support a local restaurant:
Take a well-deserved break and have a night out. Order in from your favourite local restaurant or dine out to help support local businesses. There’s no need to stress yourself out over cooking a Thanksgiving feast!

8. Have a picnic:
Organize an outdoor picnic or BBQ at a local park. There are a number of parks around Toronto that have firepits and BBQs available, or you have the option of bringing in your own grill. High Park, Centennial Park, and Earl Bales Park all allow visitors to bring their own grill.

9. Virtual Oktoberfest:
The Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest has moved its event entirely online. On October 9th and 10th, tune into their stream to enjoy both live and pre-recorded events, including cowbells and yodelling, keg tapping, and Oktoberfest trivia.

10. Stay active:

Before the weather gets too cold, now’s the perfect time to get out and go for a bike ride or a jog. Enjoy the fresh air as you take a walk down to the beaches. ActiveTO has extended major road closures into October to encourage more space for cycling and walking. Road closures change from weekend to weekend, so check their website for updates.

Happy Thanksgiving! Be well and stay safe.

 

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In Need of a Party Planner?

As everyone knows, I often try to promote small and neighborhood businesses on my blog. In my particular neighborhood, Cathy Siegel owns the go-to store in midtown Toronto for anything and everything you would need for a party.

The store is called Party Rock and is located on Avenue Road between Lawrence Avenue and Wilson Avenue. Party Rock is a party supply and rental shop that has everything that you would need for a party – from balloons, to loot bag goodies.  If you’re looking for a themed party, she’s got everything from Star Wars themed balloons, napkins, plates, and cutlery to whatever craze is hot at the moment.  A lot of her party items are unique, so you won’t be able to find them in many other places.

Looking for everyday gifts?  Party Rock carries it all – from funky, fun socks to games the whole family can enjoy.   Sending the kids to overnight camp?  Cathy’s selection of fun pillows, stationary and bunk decorations can’t be beat.  There’s countless aisles of decorations, toys, and stuffers for any holiday that you can think of.  In more recent times, because everyone seems to be focused on puzzles, she’s started stocking a lot of different varieties, in all sizes and all levels of difficulty.

Cathy will also supply seasonal items, such as pool toys and swimming gear, and special occasion items, such as sombreros and piñatas for Cinco de Mayo. In addition, she’s able to do a variety of different balloons displays that include arches, names and numbers.  

Cathy and her staff also make for wonderful party consultants. People are known to use her for bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs, where she’s able to tie the party theme together with matching invitations and decorations.  She’s also more than willing to source out items for you – just because she doesn’t have it in-store, doesn’t mean she won’t be able to get her hands on it.  Whether you’re having a kids birthday party, celebrating a special occasion, or if it’s a large-scale event like a bar mitzvah or engagement party, Cathy will be able to handle all of your party needs.

Once you’re inside Party Rock, you will be like a kid in a candy store!  And for the record, she has the candy too!

Party Rock
1919 Avenue Road
647-966-0019
CathyPartyRock@gmail.com

 

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Salbro Bottles…A Package Deal

As some of you know, not too long ago,  my business partner and I started a second business called Minus H2O, where we manufacture ultra-concentrated cleaning products. The company began as a passion project with the goal of reducing carbon emissions and plastic pollution, while also saving consumers and businesses a lot of money.

In the early stages of developing the product, we knew that we would need bottles, and one of my colleagues recommended I contact a local company, known as Salbro Bottles.

I first reached out to them a couple of years ago and ever since, they’ve been amazing to deal with.  I had originally explained that we were a startup, and were unfamiliar with consumer packaged goods. One of the owners and his colleagues walked us through the process of recommending bottles, sending samples, and assisting us in making the best choice possible for our initiative.

Since that time, Minus H2O has grown and Salbro has also been very good to us when we’ve had special requests or needed special orders. They also took the time to help me with a presentation, where I needed 500 empty bottles to show a retailer how much plastic pollution they’ve been emitting.

Aside from their willingness to help, it’s great to be dealing with a company that’s looking ahead long-term. While many businesses these days would rather make money on the first sale, this company is determined to build a lasting, long-term business relationship.

Salbro Bottles has recently been purchased by TricorBraun, another packaging company, but the Toronto staff remains the same.  What’s even more important is that the company vision has remained consistent and they’ve been true to their word.  They’re just as helpful today as when I first met them.

If you’re ever in need of different bottles and packaging material in bulk, I highly suggest you give them a try!

Salbro Bottle
http://www.salbrobottle.com/
905-850-1190

 

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Clean-Cut Customer Service

As much as I’m trying to share information about companies that are across Canada and North America, I do like to occasionally give a shout out to local businesses that I’m familiar with.  One such company is Stork Cleaners, a laundry and dry cleaning business that’s been serving the local community since 1964.

Stork Cleaners happens to be owned by a gentleman named Fred, who lives in my neighbourhood.  The store was originally owned by Fred’s dad but is now run by him and his sister-in law.  The business has a large following and loyal clientele because they do great work.  Fred even offers a pick-up and drop-off service, knowing that many of his customers are busy and can’t always make it over to the store.  

I personally go to him for my shirts and suits, but I’ve noticed that a lot of people go to him for special items, such as:  wedding dresses, expensive coats, blankets, and other miscellaneous items.

Fred is extremely efficient, organized, and always a pleasure to deal with. If you happen to lose your ticket, Fred keeps his own records so that he can easily keep track of everything and find your items.  If you’re in a time crunch, Fred will do his best to make things work and will package or put your clothes on hangers depending on your preferences. On top of that, he’s very reasonably priced and easy to work with.

For someone looking for a cleaner or to wash more delicate items, I’d suggest Fred and the team at Stork Cleaners.

Stork Cleaners
416-635-0550
storkcleaners.com

 

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Leitner Headsets Stands Behind their Product

Although my blogs are often related to the Toronto area, or the region I live in, SQM is an international company, so I’m always excited when I have the chance to spread the word about businesses in other areas of the world.  Today, I’m glad to be able to put a spotlight on a company that is based in the United States, and ships their product to many other countries. 

Since I spend a good chunk of the day on the telephone, a number of years ago I decided that instead of straining my neck, I’d start using a headset (on a related note, wow does it make a difference….it is much more comfortable).  While I have had several different headsets over the past decade, last year my business partner hooked up a wireless version that is built by a company called Leitner Headsets.  The base is actually plugged into the phone, but the headset itself has no wires attached, and is charged when sitting on the base. 

While the headset is quite comfortable and reliable, over the past couple of months an issue has come up where the headset disconnects, lights flash, and it doesn’t work.  Since the headset wasn’t even a year old, I was getting mildly irritated, as I thought it would be a pain to fix, since the product was from the United States.  Nonetheless, I decided to call up Leitner Headsets to see what could be done.  On the first call, I was quickly connected to a gentleman, who immediately found my account.  He was extremely pleasant to deal with, and since he seemed to be quite knowledgeable, we ended up trying to troubleshoot to see if he could guide me through fixing the problem.  At the end of a short call, he told me that someone would check back with me in a couple of days to see if the issue was resolved, and if it wasn’t they would simply send me out a new headset. 

The very next day, the initial problem occurred again, but before I called them back, I decided to wait to see if I would get a call.  I didn’t expect anyone to call me back, but sure enough two days later, on the day that they said they would follow up with me, they actually did!  This second employee seemed confident that she could fix the issues, she asked if it would be okay to take me through some additional steps before sending me out a replacement headset.  Since the staff have a-can do attitude and the issues weren’t mission critical, I was fine with giving it another shot.

Again, the fix seemed to work for a couple of days and then I started running into the same issues again.  A few days later, I received another follow-up call, and when I explained to them it was still broken, they immediately said that they would send me a new headset. 

After the call, I received a couple of emails, including a note indicating that my headset was on the way, as well as a status update, and although they indicated that it may take up to a week before the new headset would arrive, three days later I received the package.  Even the package showed me that I was dealing with a customer-centric organization, as there were two stickers on the outside of the box.  The first, indicated that the package was “picked with customer love by Mitch” and “thanks for being a loyal customer since 2018” 

But that’s not all!  On the day that I finally got around to opening the box, much to my surprise, the company includes a handful of candies in the package  I can’t recall every receiving an added surprise, like this, and this small gesture certainly put a smile on my face. 

For these days where I’ve often said that successful companies stand behind their product, Leitner was great at troubleshooting and when they realized that wasn’t going to work, they sent me a replacement with no fuss, meaning no stress on my end. They have a great product and clearly a great culture that is focussed on customer service.  They are a pleasure to deal with, and I highly recommend them your headset and telecommunications needs. 

Leitner Headsets 
212-230-4525 
leitnerheadsets.com

 

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Unparalleled Experience

Several months ago, I heard about a popular Middle Eastern restaurant that had opened up in Toronto called Parallel. The restaurant is owned by the Ozery Brothers, of Ozery Bakery fame, and the creators behind the popular pitas that are available across the country and in some select locations in the United States. The Ozery Bakery has been around for more than 20 years and has grown from a small family owned bakery to a staple for alternative bread products. The Ozery Brothers’ new restaurant is sure to become a staple for Middle Eastern cuisine due to the great food, wonderful ambiance, and the overall unique experience that it has to offer.

Where the Ozery Bakery was the creation of just Alon and Guy; Parallel is a collaboration between Alon, Guy and their brother, Aharon. The addition of Aharon is apparent in how the space, location, and ambiance of the restaurant differs from that of Ozery Bakery. By having the three brothers all collaborate together, putting their individual skills and tastes into the restaurant, they have created a restaurant that is bursting with flavour and style.

Parallel itself is a small, open concept space that seats about 75 people. An interesting aspect of the restaurant is that it backs onto the kitchen, allowing diners to see what is happening behind the scenes. The decoration is minimal, though the art pieces that are on the walls, are statement pieces and draw the eye. The high ceilings and the trains that can be seen through the window, give the restaurant a chic, yet warm, ambiance that is reminiscent of a working, living warehouse.

Now, don’t be fooled by the location or the modern ambiance. The food is steeped in tradition, and the dining experience is based in community. The menu is all about shareable items and diners can share beer and food with the table. This adds to the overall experience and charm of the restaurant and makes Parallel a great place for a friendly get together, a date, or a relaxing night out.

The menu offers dishes that suit all likes and dietary lifestyles. Parallel offers gluten free, vegetarian and vegan friendly options, while also offering a selection of diary, gluten and meat dishes. The menu is not overly extensive, but there is enough variety that diners feel like that they can sample a wide variety of flavourful food, and non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages.

The acquaintance who told me about the new restaurant raved about how great it was and told me that they had already decided to go back. They were very excited, but there was a problem; it was so busy, they had to make a reservation a couple of weeks in advance and they didn’t know if they would be able to wait that long. Now I don’t know about you, but when there is a wait list that long, I know that I have to go and see for myself what the craze is about.

So that’s exactly what I did… two weeks after I had made my own reservation.

When I arrived, my guest and I were immediately greeted and escorted to a table that had already been set. The server was great; they were personable, friendly, and full of suggestions. There was a great variety of food and beverages available, and the atmosphere was lively. The Parallel salad was tasty, and the fried cauliflower was amazing! The mushroom dish was unique and delicious. The flavours of each dish were mouth-watering and memorable. They were plated attractively and were a decent portion size; though, I will admit that I found the restaurant to be a little bit on the expensive side, the food and the experience was well worth the money. I can’t wait to go back again and explore more of their menu, because if the food is as flavourful as the cauliflower or the salad, I know that I am in for an exciting treat.

Living in Toronto means that there are tens of thousands of restaurants that are available to choose from; and it has become increasingly difficult to find a unique, fun, and delicious restaurant that stands out. That being said, Parallel is one of those restaurants that is unique, memorable, and different, and in my humble opinion, everyone should try it and see for themselves how great it is.

Parallel is closed Monday and Tuesday, but it is open every other day of the week, offering both brunch and dinner. So, whether you are looking to try a new type of cuisine, impress a dinner date, or have a fun, relaxing brunch with friends or family, Parallel is unparalleled in providing great food and a great atmosphere, and you should definitely stop by to check it out.

Parallel
(416) 516-7765
www.parallelbrothers.com

 

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Buckling Down the Best Customer Service

From time to time, I’ve purchased various products, either online or at one of their few retail stores in Canada, at The North Face.  The company has anything from casual clothes, outdoorsy-type of clothes, sporting equipment, camping gear, and more. 

Back in 2016, my wife bought me three pairs of shorts. They were all stylish and comfortable, and came in various different colours. While the shorts currently look as good as new, I had a slight problem, last year when part of the plastic on the belt wore down, resulting in the buckle no longer staying connected.  I called up The North Face to see about purchase a new buckle, but it turns out they’ve changed the style to a different buckle that would no longer fit my shorts. In fact, even when I first visited the store, one of the employees I talked to was willing to replace the buckles right then and there, until we realized it wasn’t going to fit. 

Because it was near the end of the summer, their parts department didn’t have my type of buckle stocked, but told me to keep in touch and when the parts came, they’d send them to me.   As time passed, our interactions turned into quite the comedy, as on three separate occasions they sent me the wrong type of buckle.  At one point, I even sent them pictures to describe exactly what I needed, however, I would still end up with the wrong items.  In the end they finally figured out what I needed, and sent me two of the three buckles (because they only had two).  While that would have been more than enough (I could always take off the belts to use with the other pair) the went one step further and offered me a free pair of shorts for the long delay and the inconvenience. 

The moral of the story is that I had often heard The North Face has great products, and as often with companies with good products, they stand behind their brand with great customer service.  Whether it was in-person at one of their stores, speaking to their Canadian head office in Montreal, connecting with their call centre or online exchanges, I’ve had consistently good experience from them.  All employees have a can-do attitude and truly aim to please. 

If you’re looking for great customer service along with great clothing products, check out The North Face. 

The North Face Canada 
514-404-4896 
https://www.thenorthface.com/en_ca/homepage.html

 

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