Langley's own Robyn & Ryleigh are performing at the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce Christmas dinner next Tuesday

WHAT’S IN STORE LANGLEY: Chamber crowns top citizen Tuesday

In this week's column, Langley Advance editor Roxanne Hooper delves into a lot of business happenings and good deeds.

Two of my favourite local singers – Robyn and Ryleigh Gillespie – are showcasing their talents next week at the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce annual Christmas dinner. But that – believe it or not – is not the  piece de resistance of the night. No offence, ladies. The highlight for most of us is the crowning of the H.D. Stafford Good Citizen of the Year.

This chamber meeting is being held Tuesday, Dec. 13, at Cascades Casino, and features a turkey dinner and a pie dessert buffet. The event gets underway with networking and registration starting at 5 p.m., and dinner and festivities commencing at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $35 for chamber members ($50 for non-members) and available by calling 604-371-3770 or registering online at www.langleychamber.com.

Businesses are asked to bring a gift for the holiday door prize draw (not alcohol).

“Come dressed to impress in your holiday best,” said president Scott Johnson. “Christmas sweaters and ties are welcome.”

In the giving spirit

Speaking of being in the giving spirit, kudos to Dana Matheson and his team at C&D Logistics.

For the third year running, the Langley company built its own toy mountain in their office to help kids in need across the Lower Mainland.

Kudos on a job well done, everyone!

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Cupcakes help feed hungry

Tracy Dueck at Tracycakes is also doing her own take on charity this holiday season.

She has a sweet food bank campaign.

“Get in the spirit of giving during our Cupcake For A Can fundraiser in support of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank this December,” Dueck said.

“It’s a great way to get a free cupcake and give back to those in need.”

This campaign runs until Dec. 20 at her Murrayville location.

Share-a-bear tradition

For $12.50, customers at the BC Liquor Store in Langley and Aldergrove can choose a teddy bear to take home, while its twin is donated to a local shelter, hospital, or other “worthwhile” charity to brighten the holiday season for a child.

It’s a cool way of giving. I ran a similar charity campaign in another Lower Mainland community many years back, where people could buy handcrafted wooden toys – built by prisoners – and the twin was donated to the local Christmas hamper. So, obviously I’m a fan of the concept.

In this case, staff from each of the local stores get to pick their charity of choice and will be delivering the stuffed teddy bears in time for the holidays.

This program has been running every November and December for 27 years now. That means more than 625,000 bears have been donated – 25,000 of those last year alone.

Hearing company gets on board

Even a local hearing care company is getting into the spirit this month.

Beltone Canada, including the outlet in Murrayville, is taking part in a national food drive to help feed the less fortunate in this community.

Until Dec. 19, they’re inviting people to bring in a non-perishable food item, and in exchange they’ll receive a free hearing evaluation. Then, Beltone will be doubling all food donations in the form of a monetary donation to Food Banks Canada.

For more info, visit www.beltone.ca.

CAPTION: Joseph Richard Group CEO Ryan Moreno and culinary director Matthew Stowe helped raise money recently for the Covenant House in Vancouver, by sleeping on the streets.

Exceeding the goal

A few weeks back now, Ryan Moreno of Joseph Richard Group, and his director of culinary operations, Matthew Stowe, joined a few dozen other Lower Mainland executives in a project to aid Covenant House Vancouver’s crisis program.

These men, who many see in person or recognize as leaders of S+L Kitchen and Bar and Oak Thorne Pub in Langley, spent the night sleeping on the streets with the 2016 Sleep Out fundraiser.

Their goal was apparently to raise $13,500 for the cause. Indications are that the total if closer to $40,000.

Downtown gets in the spirit

There’s still time for people to win in a downtown business association’s Christmas contest.

Most of the merchants downtown participate in this annual program. This year there are 42 businesses taking part between now and Christmas Eve.

It’s simple to participate, and you could win a one of three cool, $2,500 packages (a travel adventure, a downtown shopping spree, or Apple toys).

Every time folks make a purchase between now and Dec. 24, at any of the participating merchants, they get a chance to enter the contest by writing their name and phone number on the back of the receipt.

The draw will be made on Jan. 3, and the winner will be announced on Jan. 6.

I don’t know about you, but it would be hard for me to pick. I’m an Apple girl, through and through, so admittedly that would be a pretty sweet prize. But given this cool weather of late, getting away on a vacation would also be nice.

Then, of course, I could get quite a lot of cool things by going shopping at a number of downtown Langley City merchants, as well, with the shopping spree. I could even treat the extended family to dinner, and spoil a few other people in my life – not just myself.

Well, when and if my name is drawn, I’ll have to make that hard choice. For now, I just want to let you know it’s happening.

DQ serves up dinner for hundreds

Speaking of downtown Langley, and charitable initiatives by local businesses, I was impressed to learn about a cool effort (pun intended) undertaken every Christmas for the past decade by Cindy and Gordon French – owners and operators of the Dairy Queen restaurant in downtown Langley.

Their efforts, too, are worth a complete story on its own. If there’s a chance you want to help, please check it out. This restaurant, in the Langley City Square, will be serving up a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings for some 500 people on Dec. 21. Wow!

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Donut downtown

And speaking of Langley City Square, here’s a little aside – before I forget to mention it. Did anyone visit the new Robin’s yet?

A few weeks ago now, the donut company set up shop in the old Mocha Room Coffee Bar location, next to Dairy Queen, in the City Square at 203rd Street and the Fraser Highway.

CAPTION: Save-On-Foods stores in Langley and Clayton Heights are getting behind a number of community events, including two in Fort Langley. Last weekend, for instance, Clayton store manager Mike Bryant (above) and others were at Pioneer Day at the Langley Centennial Museum Dec. 3.

Save-On helps kids

For those of you following the Langley Advance business news in both our print and online editions, I already shared news from one of our local grocery stores this past week – about the reopening of the Safeway Extra store on 200th Street in the Willowbrook area.

Well now, I wanted to share more grocery store happenings.

The teams from the Save-On-Foods stores in Willoughby, Walnut Grove, and even the Clayton Heights participated in last weekend’s Pioneer Christmas event at the Langley Centennial Museum. They were there helping decorate gingerbread cookies and offering support at this great community event.

And members from these three area stores – even one decked out as an elf – will also be participating in this coming weekend’s Christmas on King Street event in Fort Langley.

They’ll be handing out free oranges, candy canes and hot chocolate, offering folks a chance to spin the rewards wheel, and collecting donations for B.C. Children’s Hospital.

It’s a cause that everyone is happy to get behind, said Mike Bryant, the Clayton store manager.

“When it comes to kids, especially sick kids, it’s pretty easy to get people to rally… it’s a cause that really resonates with our customers,” he told the Langley Advance.

“No matter who you are or how grumpy you are, this is always one thing you don’t mind donating to,” Bryant said.

So, it was timely to hear this week about a huge commitment from Save-On Foods stores – and of course the parent company of Overwaitea Food Group – located up in the Walnut Grove area of Langley – to further helping the sick kids.

Save-On Foods committed another $15 million to B.C. Children’s Hospital, to fund Canada’s first paediatric walk-in immunization clinic and some “urgently” needed equipment.

According to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation president and CEO Teri Nicholas,  Close to one-third of B.C. kids at two years of age, among the most vulnerable in our society, are not up to date with their immunizations.

This Save-On gift will establish Canada’s first storefront immunization clinic at the hospital and consultation services to physicians across the province, Nicholas explained.

The goal is to improve immunization rates for all children, including those with complex medical conditions, said Leslie Arnold, the executive leader at the hospital.

“We are striving for improved immunization rates for B.C. kids,” Arnold said. “This clinic will be a safe, reliable and convenient place for families to come while at our hospital, as well as providing province-wide leadership to community health providers.”

The new immunization clinic will be situated in Children’s Hospital’s busy ambulatory care building and open not only to patients, but all family members. Last year, 86,000 children and youth were treated at BC Children’s – counting their siblings and parents, the clinic has potential to provide thousands of immunizations annually when it opens to the public in the fall of 2017.

“The Save-On-Foods team is passionate about our communities, and it’s by supporting the tremendous efforts of the fine folks at BC Children’s Hospital that we’re able to help change lives across this province,” said Save-On-Foods president Darrell Jones.

Save-On-Foods has supported BC Children’s Hospital for more than 30 years.

In 2007, Save-On-Foods pledged $20 million to establish Child Health BC, it’s goal to make healthcare accessible to kids around the province.

With this commitment fully funded – Save-On-Foods immediately went to work to determine its next major gift.

“Giving back to BC Children’s Hospital is a natural fit for our company, and together with our teams, our customers, and our supplier partners, we’re helping ensure our future – the kids in communities across British Columbia – is bright.”

CAPTION: Christian Chia, president and CEO of OpenRoad Auto Group, (centre) with just some of his team of 985 employees.

Open Road making headlines, again

The company that brought the Infiniti, BMW, Mini, Land Rover, Jaguar, Porsche, and OpenRoad Exotics dealerships in Langley is boasting more good news.

The OpenRoad Auto Group was named one of the best employers in Canada recently. That’s the sixth year in a row they’ve earned the title, based on an annual survey conducted by Aon Hewitt, which evaluates employee engagement and satisfaction at 200 Canadian companies.

Once again, OpenRoad was ranked in the top 25 per cent, leaving CEO Christian Chia a happy camper.

“It’s a great honour once again to be recognized as a top Canadian employer,” he said.

“We have dedicated many resources to developing a strong corporate culture and ensuring employee satisfaction throughout our organization. So it’s really validating to know that our efforts continue to pay off with our consistently high results in the coveted annual employee survey.”

According to the survey results, employees at OpenRoad Auto Group reported high levels of engagement in all categories, citing examples like strong internal communications, fun employee events, and specialized programs that support skills training and professional development.

Employees also referred to OpenRoad Hearts, an innovative peer-to-peer recognition app that allows employees to use their smartphones to send and receive hearts for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Since the app was launched in 2013, there have been thousands of individual engagements with links to OpenRoad’s social media feeds where employees and customers can comment and provide positive feedback.

Established in 2000, OpenRoad is B.C.’s largest automotive dealership group with almost 1,000 staff representing 15 automotive brands at 18 full-service car dealerships – obviously many of those in Langley’s luxury auto mall area of Glover Road and the Langley Bypass.

 

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