What’s In Store: Basement ‘fun zone’ wins Aldergrove builder an Ovation

Learn about animal adoptions at PetSmart, 20 years of Wendel’s, Jeans Day, and an online workshop.

Adding an indoor hockey rink, gymnasium, cinema, billiards room, and arts-and-craft station to a Vancouver basement garnered an Aldergrove-based company industry accolades this past weekend.

Versa Platinum Construction owner and founder Felipe Freig walked away from the 2017 Ovation Awards ceremony on Saturday night with the trophy for the best renovated room for the work he and his team did converting an unfinished basement into an open-concept fun zone.

Versa was up for the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association’s (GVHBA) best renovated room award for two of his 2016 projects, the winner being this project he dubbed Let There Be Light!

The eighth annual awards were given out before a sold-out crowd of 350 builder, renovator, designer, and supplier members at the Marriott Pinnacle Hotel in downtown Vancouver.

“We continue to see strong growth in new home development, and renovations across Metro Vancouver,” said Bob de Wit, CEO of GVHBA.

“The wide variety of homes up for awards this year was truly outstanding,” noting “stunning kitchen renovations, complete condo makeovers, and a 10,000-square-foot mansion renovation; plus micro apartments, and custom built homes including a cottage on Keats Island, and an opulent home in West Vancouver complete with private wine cellar, bar and 20-foot-diameter vehicle turntable.”

“The Ovation Awards showcase the variety of homes and outstanding craftsmanship of Metro Vancouver‘s residential construction industry. It is a symbol we are very proud to represent, which helps connect homeowners with award-winning professionals.”

> Read more about Versa

PetSmart co-hosts another adopt-a-thon

Once again, PetSmart is joining forces with a local animal shelter to help find homes for cats.

CARES is partnering with the Langley business to hold a two-day adopt-a-thon this weekend, both Saturday and Sunday, May 6 and 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Volunteers will be on hand to answer questions about the cats up for adoption, as well as CARES [http://www.carescatshelter.com/] – Canadian Animal Rescue and Extended Shelter was formed in 1993 when a group of animal lovers wanted a shelter for animals that were homeless.

The no-kill shelter for stray, abandoned, and unwanted cats in a safe, loving, cage free environment.

Since first partnering with PetSmart almost 20 years ago now, they have been able to adopt more than 6,000 cats.

The day after this fundraiser wrapped up, I received word that PetSmart Charities of Canada was being recognized for all the work it has done in caring for animals.

They’re recipients of an SPCA Caring Company Award, described as a business – not just here in Langley – with a long history of giving generously to the BC SPCA, including more than $800,000 toward their spay/neuter initiatives and events in recent years.

Jeans Day today

Today (Thursday, May 4) is Jeans Day, a fundraiser to help sick kids from across B.C. and the Yukon.

Jeans Day has raised more than $20 million for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation (BCCCHF) since the event’s inception in 1990.

It’s not too late to purchase a $5 button or a $20 lapel pin from Save-On-Foods, London Drugs, or IGA and receive a pardon for wearing head-to-toe denim attire or what’s dubbed as the Canadian tuxedo, to work.

“We encourage all British Columbians who are participating in Jeans Day on May 4 to challenge themselves to come up with the most unique jean attire,” said Teri Nicholas, president and CEO of BCCHF.

“Jeans Day is one of our most popular fundraisers, one that families and co-workers can participate in together. We have set our goal at raising an ambitious $1.2 million this year and encourage everyone to ‘Jean Up’ and fundraise for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.”

Jeans Day participants who take a photo of themselves in their denim outfits and share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the tag @bcchf and #JeanUp will be entered into a draw to win $500 worth of jeans courtesy of Jeans Day denim partner Mavi Jeans.

The winner will be drawn randomly after today’s fundraiser.

Prizes and cookbook help mark cafe’s 20-year history

Wendel’s Bookstore and Cafe first opened its doors 20 years ago, and has remained a hotspot ever since.

Since opening in the historic town of Fort Langley, the family-owned business has flourished, said owner Diane Morrison.

“Twenty years later, the energetic buzz is still present when you walk through the doors,” Morrison said. “For a small family-run business, it is an amazing accomplishment.”

Morrison boils down the continued success to a few core principles.

“We have always put our customers first. From menu decisions and staff training to creating a casual yet energetic atmosphere- the whole process is customer driven,” she said.

Wendel’s success can also be contributed to the uniqueness of having a full service bookstore within its walls.

“Surprisingly, 20 years ago, books and coffee were not a popular combination,” said Morrison. “The bookstore within a restaurant concept is unique, as it turns going out for a meal or a coffee into an entertaining outing.”

In 2017, words like “local” and “hand-crafted” and “made in-house” appear on menus all over the world.

And 20 years ago, Wendel’s was following the same philosophy before it was mainstream: “That’s the way we’ve always prepared our food because that’s the way food was made within my own home growing up,” Morrison elaborated. “Whole fresh ingredients, prepared by hand.”

Morrison recalled an early exchange with a food sales person.

“In the beginning, sales reps would come by and tell us that by using pre-made sauces and mixes, we would save money. We didn’t listen then, and we’re still not listening now,” she recalled.

In 2009, Morrison expanded, opening Wendel’s True Foods – a gluten-free bakery.

This company was inspired by and created due to customer demand, she said.

All it took was one small boy coming into Wendel’s and asking for a gluten-free cookie, and the rest is history.

Today, Wendel’s True Foods products are sold across Canada, and into the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.

“Our line of gluten-free desserts has been incredibly well received,” said Morrison. “We’re getting requests from all over the world to ship products, as we’ve been featured on the Food Network’s Food Factory three times.”

The next episode featuring Wendel’s True Foods will air on Canada Day, showcasing their gluten-free butter tart.

Between the two companies Wendel’s employs almost 100 employees, many of whom have been with the company more than 10 years, said Morrison.

“Even with the best menu and the best environment, it means nothing if you don’t have great staff” she said. “Over the course of the last 20 years, we’ve had some incredible people work with us, and our success is truly due to their dedication and genuine care for our customers.”

To celebrate this milestone, Wendel’s will be giving away great prizes like coffee for a year, a book a month for a year, gift cards, gift baskets and much more. Wendel’s will be running a “Share a Memory” contest with a $200.00 gift card given to the winner.

On Wednesday, May 17, there will be giveaways, treats and opportunities to win prizes.

People can enter to win in store, or online via social media.

“We are excited for the future of Fort Langley and look forward to continue to be an active part of this growing community,” said Morrison.

“We have a cookbook in the works celebrating the food of Wendel’s from the past 20 years. It truly is a pleasure to be a part of this community.”

Online tips offered by chamber

The secret to being found online is using keywords, and Tracey Ehman – an online presence and social media strategist – will share some tips during the next chamber workshop.

The Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce is hosting its latest Lunch & Learn session on Wednesday, May 17.

Ehman hopes to offer insight into how keywords can help a business reach its desired market and those needing their services.

The workshop is being held in the chamber board room, 207 – 8047 199th St. from noon to 1:30 p.m. Networking begins at 11:30 a.m. for a cost of $10/members or $15/non-members. Guests are encouraged to bring their own lunches.

For more information about the session, or to RSVP, at 604-371-3770 or info@langleychamber.com.

Vector upgrades for Huey

An aviation maintenance company, with a base at the Langley Regional Airport, is enhancing the performance of the Huey helicopters.

Vector Aerospace is a global independent provider of aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services.

The company announced last week that they have developed a series up “cost-effective” upgrades that can enhance the Huey’s hot, high, and heavy performance.

Customers for the UH-1H3 upgrade include the San Bernardino County sheriff’s department (SBCSD), which operates the UH-1H in support of a wide range of missions across the San Bernardino Valley and San Bernardino Mountains, including search & rescue, fire suppression, and homeland security.

The aviation division of SBCSD provides general law enforcement support, narcotics surveillance, personnel/cargo transport, airborne photography, search and rescue/recovery, multi-agency pursuit coordination, wildland fire suppression and emergency medical services transport.

Bell is one of the many world leading turbine engine, airframe, and avionic companies that Vector serves.