Walnut Grove attracting growing businesses

Cruising through Walnut Grove and Fort Langley the other day, I had a chance to see what’s shaking on the new business front.

While I notice a lot of vacant buildings in the historic village, there appears to be a fair amount of action going on nearby, in Walnut Grove.

A couple of the ones I noticed are not new businesses, per say, but existing companies choosing to expand into this area of North Langley.

Among the new businesses I spotted in that neck of the woods, construction is progressing well on a new Greater Vancouver Powersports (GVP) building on 200th Street, just south of 96th Avenue.

This company, which already has operations in Chilliwack and nearby in Port Kells, is building a massive new structure that is sure to hold a lot of snowmobiles, ATVs, watercraft, and motorsports apparel and accessories.

GVP is owned and managed by Mike Skiba who brings more than 15 years experience to the motorsports industry.

• Stay tuned to the Langley Advance for more on this growing business.

In the meantime, I noticed there’s a new liquor establishment going gangbusters just a few blocks away – in the heart of Walnut Grove.

Has anyone checked out the new Oak & Thorne Neighbourhood Pub at the corner of 88th Avenue and 202nd Street? I’m told they have a fun trivia night every Monday and that they have a tendency to host craft beer brewery nights.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this still relatively new establishment that has been operational since late last year.

This establishment comes to us from the same folks at the Joseph Richard Group, the guys who brought us Townhall Langley and the new S+L Kitchen + Bar.

Dog groomer wins in California

Annie Williams, a pet groomer and animal lover from Langley, has brought home a silver award, $225 in cash, three trophies, and some national attention.

Williams won second in the poodles intermediate division and won first in the salon freestyle intermediate division and third in group at the recent Groom Expo West grooming contest in Pasadena, Calif.

In addition to the loot and the trophies, Williams earned the chance to be featured in the grooming industry’s most prestigious magazine, Groomer to Groomer.

But, she didn’t do it on her own. She also owes credit to her own poodle, Emily, as well as her Cocker Spaniel, Murphy.

Williams has been grooming for about six years, three years professionally.

She attended grooming school directly out of high school and has been running a salon since.

At the age of 20, she is an international award winning groomer with wins in Canada, the United States, and Australia.

Her ultimate dream is to compete at a world level on Groom Team Canada.

Kudos to Annie, Emily, and Murphy for your wins in Pasadenas.

Liquor stores helping dry grads

Until the end of March, booze buyers can help give Grade 12 students in Langley an alcohol-free celebration.

Local grad committees looking to raise funds for dry grad celebrations are once again getting a helping hand from the community, as well as the local BC Liquor distribution branch.

Until March 31, the BC Liquor stores will be collecting donations for local dry grad initiatives.

One hundred per cent of all donations raised will go directly to the Langley school district, which in turn will be given to the local grad committees.

This dry grad initiative at the liquor stores has been going on for 16 years, province-wide. Last year alone, more than $400,000 was raised in B.C., helping more than 52,000 high school graduates party safely and without booze.

Keep that in mind next time you hit the liquor store for a bottle of wine, a case of beer, a four-pack of coolers, or a mickey of the hard stuff.

The contribution of $1 or more will also earn you a small token of appreciation, on behalf of the BC Liquor distribution branch.

Heart-shaped pizza help youth

Three Boston Pizza locations in Langley (Walnut Grove next to Colossus, Langley Bypass next to IHOP, and Aldergrove near to Save-On-Foods) all participated in the recent fundraiser aimed at helping potentially at risk youth in town.

These operations were big players in what’s called a big-hearted Valentine’s Day fundraiser.

For the 24th year, heart-shaped pizzas were sold on Feb. 14, with a dollar (plus donations) going towards what Boston Pizza calls its Foundation for Future Prospects.

BPF Future Prospects raises funds and awareness for a variety of local, regional, and national organizations committed to connecting kids with role models in their communities, to ensure these youth have the guidance necessary to support their “bright futures,” said project executive director Cheryl Treliving.

This year, the efforts across Canada raised $535,000 for charity, and showed what big hearts people have, Treliving noted.

“We are extremely grateful to the many Canadians who were hungry to help out this Valentine’s Day by celebrating their love with a delicious heart-shaped pizza,” Treliving said.

“This is our most successful Valentine’s Day campaign to date and the funds raised will go a long way to helping kids across Canada be great.”

Among the mentorship programs that are aided through this initiative, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the JDRF ambassador and leadership program, and Kids Help Phone are listed.

It’s great to see so many corporations getting involved in annual fundraisers that make a significant difference to people in our community.

Keep up the great work.

Aldergrove woman pushes for residential self selling

As Vancouver house prices reach record levels of “unaffordability,” a Langley-based woman is revamping her efforts to help homeowners and buyers save a significant amount of money during their real estate transactions.

Nora Staffen, a 25-year real estate veteran and founder of Aldergrove-based Canadianhomefind.com (a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) company), is launching a new platform to “empower” individuals across the country to sell their own homes, she said.

“We believe that education and support are key in this industry, and that is why most people still use a realtor to buy and sell homes; they are experts in their field and they help people make educated decisions” Staffen said.

“Our aim is to be that virtual real estate expert for people, and provide them with all the tools, techniques, and support they need to make their own educated decisions with complete confidence.”

While the FSBO industry has seen significant growth in the rest of the country, Staffen said it has yet to catch on in the Lower Mainland.

It is likely that rapidly rising home prices and a high influx of foreign buyers have attributed to that phenomenon, she claimed.

However, CanadianHomeFind has identified Abbotsford, Langley, and Maple Ridge as prime FSBO communities due to a recent increase in first-­time home buyers and young families moving into these areas.

“Many of these individuals bought homes when the prices were already quite high, so retaining as much equity in their home as possible is very important. When you look at the commissions paid by homeowners it’s often more than the equity that they’ve accumulated through a year of mortgage payments… That’s a lot of money” Staffen continued.

“CanadianHomeFind is committed to help families save as much money as possible. That is why we have made it free to list your property on our website and have a freely accessible knowledge library filled with useful information for both buyers and sellers.”

The newly revamped portal launched last month, and can found at canadianhomefind.com.


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