MADE IN STRATHCONA
The East Hastings Corridor in Strathcona is making a comeback! And the Strathcona Business Improvement Association wants you to meet the great businesses that make up our neighborhood!
Tune in each week to find out the who, what, when, where, & how of Strathcona!
18 years ago, good friends Michael Perreten and Thomas Edstrand got together in the basement of the Blackcomb Ski Club and dreamed up the concept for Landyachtz. Fast forward to 2016, and Landyachtz has grown to over 60 employees with spaces in both East Vancouver and LA county, a manufacturing facility in Kimberly, and a retail space/arcade in Strathcona.
The Landyachtz mission is to make quality skateboards that will improve your life. You don't need a membership, seasons pass or vehicle to be a skateboarder…all you need is a board, and your imagination.
Skateboarding is good for the environment. It's a form of self propelled transportation that requires no fuel, and releases no pollutants into the air. It's only by-products are a healthier life and a happier day.
Everything from video production, product development, graphic design, sales, marketing, shipping and assembly all happen by a group of dedicated skateboarders in Strathcona.
This year and for years to come, Landyachtz will plant one tree for every board they produce and sell. Giving back is important to them, and they’re now in a position where Landyachtz can make a large impact on the world.
Of Strathcona, Landyachtz Operation Manager Jeff Radomsky has noticed an increase in the last year of “cool, relevant local businesses, murals and public art, neighborhood cleanliness, and community watch vehicles. I'm proud to be running a shop in such a beautiful, culturally rich neighborhood that I call home.’
To Jeff, the comeback in Strathcona means “more smiling faces, more interesting events of all kinds, more support for independent artists, a safer space for people to live, and most importantly, more authentic culture fostered by motivated, kind hearted people.”
The Back Gallery Project has been backing the growth and development of emerging and mid-career artists at its current location since 2013.
Founder and director Mónica Reyes studied art in her native Chile, and after moving to Vancouver, looked for ways to contribute to the Vancouver art scene by sharing what she’s passionate about.
Serving the local and international art scene, The Back Gallery Project promotes artist initiatives invested in shaping the economies of art and culture. Located in the heart of Strathcona, the gallery is uniquely positioned to create dialogues with the artists and cultural engineers who call the neighbourhood home.
Reyes has been a longstanding figure in the Vancouver art scene, having served as Vice President of the Contemporary Art Society of Vancouver. She’s committed to investing in art that “gives voice to the cultural diversity of the Pacific Northwest”.
Since the Strathcona revitalization, Reyes says she’s noticed a great deal of foot-traffic. “People are feeling safe and comfortable walking around, while discovering a wide new range of small business operating from Hastings Street. Just this year, two more art galleries joined the 600 Block Hastings, and with them comes a new group of followers that come to visit the area.”
Says Reyes, “We’re supporting local artists whose studios are sometimes close to our galleries, and opening the doors for people and neighbours to come see, and engage with, creative minds and the message they’re trying to convey.”
Husband and wife Lisa & Luc Leimanis had a simple goal…to make great home-style food while attempting to be 90% sustainable.
“A café was something all my friends thought I should do”, recalls Lisa. “So when I met my new neighbor and he happened to be a chef, I slowly worked my plan…The Uncommon Café was born and, that chef…I married him 2 years later!”
Not only does The Uncommon Café create yummy sandwiches, baked goods and serve great locally sourced beverages, they're even selling some local products! Come in for coffee and a sandwich, put your feet up on the ottoman at “Uncle Caleb’s Corner”, and when you’re done, walk out with some locally made hot sauce or jam.
At The Uncommon Café, every take-out container is bio-degradable. Lisa & Luc even went so far as buying 90% of their décor and equipment from pre-owned sources.
To Lisa, The Strathcona comeback means tourists…and great food! “It’s not just us that moved into town…there are a number of great eats around now. I’ve also heard from a lot of the regulars that the neighbourhood just feels better.”
“Along with the growth of the community will come the growth of our business. With that success, we hope to give back to the community…to the ones who welcomed us with open arms.”
Boardroom Custom Clothing specializes in custom manufacturing and technical, fashionable, and low-impact clothing solutions.
And it all got started in the family.
Boardroom President Mark Trotzuk’s brother, Jason, needed a clothing manufacturing company to supply his own endeavor, “Oil Can Eddies”. Boardroom was born from that need, and over the years, got more into promotional manufacturing for the big players, like Coke and Pepsi. In 2005, Boardroom Custom Clothing made the switch over to ethical sourcing.
In a market where most clothing is made in overseas factories at large volumes, Boardroom maintains a Canadian factory. Their product is NAFTA friendly…no difficulties or delays getting it across the border. And, more than 70% of the Boardroom's goods are sold and distributed in the United States.
Mark notes that hipsters have grown up and live in the east side, and want to live and work in cool areas like Strathcona. “It’s less gentrified, and still has a local manufacturing feel.”
“Businesses here are artisan businesses.”, adds Mark. “They have a specific craft they’ve come here to create.”
An added benefit to the staff of Boardroom Custom Clothing is the proximity to downtown and transit. “It isn’t crazy-crowded, and staff can go home for lunch and get back to work on time.”
Proprietor Christina Cottell lived in Texas when she was a kid, so naturally, she has a soft spot for Texas BBQ. That’s how Dixies Restaurant came to bring the authentic BBQ of Austin, Texas, all the way up to Vancouver.
From deep-smoked BBQ meats and home-style sides to make sure you’re never off your feed...to cold, refreshing beer and southern-inspired cocktails, Dixie's will treat y'all to the storied, rustic warmth of true southern hospitality
Dixie’s is open for dinner and weekend brunch, as well as being available for private functions and catering. Reservations recommended!
In the last year, Christina has seen positive growth and change come to Strathcona.
“An increase of market rental and condo development is starting to creep in, and more businesses are starting to open up around us. The biggest comment we got from people when we first signed the lease was that it would be 5-10 years before the area improved. But we knew better, and see improvement regularly.”
“These days, the comments are more along the lines of Did you guys know it was going to change this fast?, to which we answer Yeah…that's why we chose Strathcona.”
“More businesses equals more business. More population means more business. It's why restaurants like ours tend to seek out developing neighbourhoods…for competitive rent, and first access to the residents.”
While in university a few years back, Justin Horn took a summer job at a company that designed and installed luxury kitchens and bathrooms. There, he discovered he had an aptitude for design and conceptual thinking. Less than two years later, Paradigm Kitchen Design opened its doors.
Since 1995, Paradigm Kitchen Design has worked closely with every client to create unique installations that reflect their needs and tastes. They’re a full-custom manufacturer of luxury cabinetry and millwork…and cover all aspects from designing and planning to manufacturing and installation.
Relocating to the Railtown section of Strathcona just 4 years ago, Justin has seen a big difference in the area since then. “When we moved in the buildings each side of us were empty – now we have thriving businesses each side of us – one of which is Roundhouse Radio!”
“The comeback means people know where we are when we say we’re in Railtown or Strathcona. Our customers don’t mind coming to see our showroom because we aren’t viewed as the “bad part of town” – in fact, quite the opposite! So many fresh, new companies are moving into this area…that’s important to us”.
Say "Hello" (if you haven't already) to our second feature The Butler Did It
The Butler Did It Catering CEO / Partner Darryl Ray was still in his 20’s when he saw a need for affordable, quality catering.
Darryl and his business partner Erin had started organizing some events for Erin’s husband’s rugby team. They bought a small, East Van catering company and since then, The Butler Did It Catering has earned a reputation as one of Vancouver’s premier caterers by offering consistent, reliable service and high quality food with a sense of style and flair…all at a reasonable price.
To Darryl, the renewed interest in Strathcona is readily apparent. “There’s a lot of new development, and the renovation of older properties. I think there’s also a higher quality of businesses coming into the area…anticipating the long term residential changes that are on the way.”
The Strathcona comeback is important to The Butler Did It Catering. “It means we get to be part of a community that’s reclaiming it identity, and starting to be proud of its place and diversity in the city.”
Darryl Ray interview can be found HERE
Say "Hello" (if you haven't already) to our first feature Postmark Brewing
On a trip to San Francisco, Postmark Brewing CEO Steve Thorp saw the potential of on-tap technology. First launching “FreshTAP”, then “Urban Winery”, a craft winery, brewery and restaurant was the next step.
Born and built right here in Strathcona, Postmark Brewing creates beers that cater not only our thirsty West Coast palate, but to the active lifestyles we enjoy with our friends and colleagues.
Music is a large influence on everything they do. From brewing to just hanging out in the lounge and going on weekend adventures, they’re constantly being inspired by music….and even curate custom Soundcloud playlists for everyone to enjoy, any time.
At first, it was hard for Steve to lure friends and customers to the area. But as businesses invest more in the area, he’s noticed a big shift in the customer base and types of businesses leasing space.
“The area is cleaning up, maintaining a good balance with the neighbourhood, and creating safe places for customers to visit. People now see Railtown as a "cool" place to visit, work, eat and now live.”
To Postmark Brewing, it means more business, and a better place for our customers to be. “The comeback is what East Vancouver needs. People working and living in these areas means they care for them, and want to see them in their best.”
Steve Thorp Interview Here: http://cirh.streamon.fm/listen-pl-4622