As a person who is tired of big box stores and chains clogging up the retail sector of this wonderful city, I am a big advocate of the small business. We are fortunate in Lakeview to have a number of awesome small businesses which offer a wide enough variety that one can find almost all they need without having to leave the neighbourood. Here are some of the businesses that are my favourite:
1)Lakeview Fine Foods–
3404 Hill Avenue
This is probably the last small grocery store you will find in this city. While it is not as big or as fancy as the newly renovated Safeway Stores, this place is good as it has everything you need in about the same amount of shelving that Wal-Mart has reserved for party hats. The people are super friendly, and actually know where things are located when you ask. For a fee, Lakeview fine foods will even select and deliver your groceries, right to your door! Just try and name one other grocery store in town that does that. You can’t, because they are the only ones that do so.
2) The Chimney Restaurant and Lounge
2710 Montague Street
The Chimney is probably one of my favorite local restaurants. The menu is typical of Regina Greek restaurants, Souvlaki, steak, seafood, pizza, etc., but you get so much food! Dinner meals come with soup, salad and garlic toast, followed by the gigantic main course. The atmosphere is very cozy and relaxing and the service is exceptional. The lounge is on the other side of the restaurant and is a good place to meet with friends and relax over a beer or three. The Chimney in my opinion trumps Lakeview’s other greek restaurant, Houston Pizza in terms of atmosphere, food quality and service.
3) River Heights Drycleaners
2750 Montague Street
Okay so I will admit that I am a tad biased towards this place, as I was employed there for most of my high school career, but this store is great. The prices are reasonable and the clothes are always ready to be picked up in a timely manner. Vern, the owner, is a great guy who likes a good conversation and will actually remember your name. They also are a Sears catalogue sales merchant and rent carpet cleaners. Awesome!
4) John’s Barber Shop
The Basement of the River Heights Mall
For those of you who have lived in Lakeview for a long period of time you will probably recall Ivan, the barber in the basement of the River Heights mall. Well, Ivan retired this past year and John was his replacement. John is a friendly, charismatic individual and one hell of a good barber. As he tells me every time I go there to get my hair cut he will “cut all styles.” John is also probably the most reasonably priced barber in town. Where else can you get your hair cut for under $20? Another plus about John is that he will give you an old-timey shave! Barbers like John are definitely becoming more and more of a rarity as more and more of them are retiring and forcing us guys to have to go fancy salons and pay $30 for the exact same haircut.
5) Kuntz’s Automotive
3435 Hill Avenue
When I was a teenager I drove a crappy car. It broke down sometimes. Actually it broke down quite often. And when it broke down, I could always trust the guys at Kuntz’s to give it the quickest fix at the most reasonable price. The guys at Kuntz’s do everything from installing a new mirror to doing complete engine rebuilds.
6)Orange Boot Bakery
3904 Gordon Road
Technically this business is in Albert Park, but the owners live in Lakeview and it is still relatively close by so I will recommend it. The Orange boot bakery, believe it or not, actually started when Mark and Cindy Dyck (who are both former LCA exec’s) started baking delicious bread in a brick oven in their back yard. Mark and Cindy started selling the bread to friends, and eventually it became so popular they had to stop the backyard business and set up plans to open up a store. A while later, Mark and Cindy were back, this time in a store on Gordon Road. The bread is just as good as when it was baked in their backyard oven, and they now offer amazing other bakery items such as cookies and muffins. Definitely check this place out if you haven’t already.
So, the next time you require require a service, try one of these amazing small businesses instead of heading out to a gigantic box store. You will probably be happy that you did.