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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Paint for life

Megan Wennberg browses for business news.

Posted By on Thu, May 25, 2006 at 12:24 PM

Dandy Lion Eco Interior Painting offers a healthy alternative for all of your house painting needs. Owner Selah Koile’s new business benefits both humans and the environment by reducing the amount of paint dumped in landfills (she uses recycled paint), reducing the stress placed on the body by dangerous toxins (she uses no VOC —volatile organic compound—paint) and supporting environmentally sustainable paint (the most expensive of Koile’s paints, an $80-per-gallon mineral paint, is composed solely of water, minerals and silicate). In addition to redecorating, Koile is also eager to educate people on the negative effects of standard latex paint chemicals—“you end up paying for things that are hard on the body”—and likens many home interiors to a “latex womb. It’s like being saran-wrapped in a way.” In her commitment to best practices, Koile has even painted herself out of a job on occasion: “A lot of the time in my work I really encourage people not to paint if they don’t have to,” says Koile, “and sometimes I actually put myself out of work. Sometimes people don’t really need to paint, they just don’t know any other options. My role is to help them understand other creative ways they can get the effect they’re looking for, because usually they’re just looking for a change.”

Joe’s to go

Joe Thomeh’s Kwik-Way at 5580 Cornwallis is now selling take-out food, made fresh by Joe’s wife, Kim. “She was making frozen food for the family so we could just heat it up whenever we needed it,” says daughter Rima, “and I was labelling the tops of the lids so we knew what it was, and at the bottom I would put ‘A la Mum,’ and she liked the idea.” Each meal comes in an individual foil container, to be heated in the oven, in the case of pasta dishes, or enjoyed immediately, in the case of Kim’s own hummus and potato salad. “It’s homemade food, I think that’s what people like about it,” says Rima. “It’s better than fast food.”

Alexander’s new groove

The Lower Deck bought out Alexander’s in the Brewery Market at the beginning of the month. The bar will re-open in mid-June as a restaurant/tavern with an entirely new focus. “There are two sides,” says general manager Adam Purcell. “We’re going to be separate from Keith’s but we’re going to work with them regarding the tours. for the other nine months of the year that are not tourist-driven, we want to embrace the community—Bishop’s Landing, the different condos. We really want them to feel it’s their home. They’re going to know the bartender’s name, the bartender’s going to know their name and they can sit there and have a conversation and some really good food.” The interior will be completely re-done to create a “Nova Scotian atmosphere,” including lots of Keith’s memorabilia. “We just want to be a totally different place than the other place,” says Purcell. “Alexander’s was a fun spot, but we don’t want the late-night thing and the locals around there really would like to have a place that they could go visit and be over at 12 o’clock.”

Dodos not extinct

Dodos Cafe and Barbecue opened Monday at 6184 Quinpool in the former home of Judith’s Country Kitchen. The restaurant is co-owned by Ali Ghasempour and Rami Kostec and will be open from 10am to 9pm on weekdays and from 9am until 10pm on weekends. Dodos will barbecue meat and vegetarian food as well as kebabs, and Ghasempour thinks the restaurant will be a good opportunity for people to “try the new barbecue, and they should try the new food.” As for the word “Dodo,” “I think it’s a catchy name,” says Ghasempour. “It’s very funny.”

Employee of the month

Satisfaction Solutions, an employee recognition and rewards provider, opened in January but is just starting to hit the market this month with their new website <\n>(satisfactionsolutions.ca). President and founder Amanda Abbott works across a number of industries to help management attract and retain high-calibre employees and improve overall employee satisfaction. “We go into a business and look at what they’re currently doing for their employees (through on-site interviews, observation and other methods) and then recommend adjustments, or create a new program and help them implement it,” says Abbott. “A lot of businesses have a recognition and rewards program, but they’re not necessarily active or implemented. So I come in and I’m that person you become accountable to. When you say you want to have a recognition and rewards program and make that initial commitment to me, I’m there to hold you accountable to it and make sure the gains happen and that you stay on timeline.” Effective recognition and rewards vary from business to business, and can be as simple as remembering to say “thank you,” to hand- delivering cooked lobsters. As for the traditional “employee of the month,” or gift certificates on employees’ birthdays, Abbott doesn’t recommend either, instead opting for tangible, thoughtful gifts and meaningful recognition. “ would be probably the last thing you’d ever hear me recommend,” says Abbott. “It has no merit and no basis. Recognition and reward have to be based on preferred behaviours and what you want to see replicated—what if five people performed at the same high level in a given month? Or no one did?”

Always looking for high-level performance: shoptalk@thecoast.ca

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