"FIVE BUSINESS PLANS, FIVE OUTCOMES"
S4 News 666 British Columbia I The Globe and Mail, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010 ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ VANCOUVER 2010 THE WORLD CAME TO B.C. 8 DID THEY BRING THEIR WALLETS? FIVE BUSINESS PLANS, FIVE OUTCOMES ONE Moe Summers Owner, The Pita Express at Waterfront Centre HOPES (AND CHALLENGES) that before.” spilling over the sides. GOING INTO THE GAMES The mild weather helped, as Another customer, dressed in a Faced with stiff competition from did the food counter’s proximity black jacket with a Vancouver big-name restaurants such as Mc- to the Olympic torch on the city’s 2010 logo on the sleeve, cut in Donald’s and Starbucks, Pita Ex- waterfront. There’s also the thou- front of the line while talking into press hoped to lure Olympic sands of media representatives her cell phone. She holds up a visitors by offering friendly serv- working in the International half-eaten chicken sandwich and, ice and huge helpings – and rely- Broadcast Centre up the street with the phone resting under her ing on word of mouth. that have wandered in for break- chin, asks for it to be put in a ta- fast, lunch and dinner. keout box. OUTCOME Mr. Summer said sales are Mr. Summers smiles and fills For up to 18 hours a day over the about double that of his highest the rest of the container with sal- past two weeks, Moe Summers revenue-generating period in the ad. has been preparing and serving past. “He gave me even more food!” food to hordes of hungry people Among his bestsellers were the she shouted into her cell phone. in the heart of Vancouver’s Olym- gyro sandwiches, chicken and “I am coming here again tomor- pic district. lamb wrap and the vegetarian row.” And while he isn’t the only per- platter, all of which he helped It’s the kind of customer reac- son pulling long shifts during the make every day starting at tion Mr. Summers wants and Games to make bigger bucks, Mr. around 3 a.m., serving up his last needs. Summers is one of the few who portion around 9 p.m. Lots of food and friendly service would actually like to do it all He is one of four regular staff, are one way he has tried to set over again – soon. “The Olym- and he brought on four part-time- himself apart from the steep com- pics is great, it’s so much fun. I rs to help handle the crowds dur- petition within the food court hope we will have it again,” said ing the Games. from McDonald’s, also an Olym- the owner of Pita Express, a At the front counter where his pic sponsor, as well as Tim Hor- Greek-style fast-food restaurant in dishes are displayed alongside a tons, Subway and Starbucks, Vancouver’s Waterfront Centre. variety of drinks and desserts, among others. In the 11 years at his location each customer receives a hearty Mr. Summers said there’s even across the street from the Van- welcome and leaves with a heap- a possibility of one day expand- couver Convention Centre, Mr. ing plate of food. ing his Pita Express restaurant in- Summers said the Olympics is by “I come here every day. His to a franchise. far the most profitable of any food is my favourite,” said a regu- For now, he’s looking forward event that has come to the city. lar on a rainy day last week, try- to sleeping in – starting this “It was way busier than I ing to balance a plate loaded week. thought. I’ve never seen it like down with bread, salad and fish 66 Brenda Bouw TWO THREE Please Mum VP Steve Lee expects sales to meet expectations. JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL Prime locations helped two of Mitch Berger and Rob Ward’s restaurants. JOHN LEHMAN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL Steve Lee Vice-president of corporate development Rob Ward and Mitch Berger at children’s clothing retailer Please Mum Points West Restaurant Group HOPES (AND CHALLENGES) “There’s going to be life after The company, founded in Van- HOPES (AND FEARS) cos, believes his diversified busi- cess. He plans to follow up with BEFORE THE GAMES the Olympics for a little bit, but couver in 1986, signed its licens- GOING INTO THE GAMES ness strategy also helped boost the Olympic organizing commit- When Please Mum signed its li- like anything else we’d like to sell ing arrangement with VANOC Two of their restaurants had profits. tee on the issue. censing arrangement with VA- out of it as soon as possible,” three years ago, which allowed it prime locations during the The Vancouver Players Cho- “We’ll certainly have a conver- NOC three years ago to sell said Steve Lee, the Vancouver- to sell official Games pieces in ex- Games. The Players Chophouse phouse restaurant, located next sation with them,” Mr. Ward said Olympic-themed clothing, it ex- based retailer’s vice-president of change for a royalty payment. in Vancouver was so central that to BC Place, home to the opening when asked if he plans to seek pected sales to build up across corporate development, adding Among the most popular Olym- it was rented out for the duration and closing ceremonies, was compensation. “We have a pretty the country to a big finish at the that with the Games almost fin- pic items were those with the of the event by a Games sponsor. booked exclusively for the entire compelling argument there.” end of the Games. It turned out ished, he expects to meet sales Games mascots and aboriginal The location in Whistler at the Olympics by Bell, a Games spon- The location did serve as the to be more of slog than expected. expectations. artwork. foot of the village was a hot han- sor. venue for private parties held by A few weeks ahead of the event, He said the stores in British Co- Some of the Please Mum line gout for tourists and athletes That meant guaranteed revenue both the Italian Ski Federation sales in B.C. were still outpacing lumbia have been “flying through was also sold in the Hudson’s alike. However, going into the during the event, and given the and Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton. the rest of the country. the product,” forcing the national Bay Co.’s wildly successful Olym- Games, business wasn’t as strong excess crowds over the past two The Olympic effect also didn’t retailer to pull stock from other ci- pic Superstore in downtown Van- at locations further away from weeks, likely a little extra on top. impact his fourth restaurant, Sal- OUTCOME ties. Olympic merchandise in the couver. HBC is the official outfitter the Olympics sites. The restaurant was open to the taire, which has been in the well- Parents visiting the Vancouver Georgetown, Ont., and Calgary of Canada’s Olympic team, and public at times during the first heeled West Vancouver neigh- area from other parts of the coun- stores went to Vancouver, while maker of the red and black Cana- THE OUTCOME part of the Games, but Mr. Ward bourhood for the past try might want to consider stock- the West Edmonton Mall location da clothing line that has become Rob Ward’s restaurants have host- said Bell eventually took over all decade.Other restaurants outside ing up on Olympic attire for their sent its pieces to Whistler. ubiquitous among visitors and ed some of the hottest Olympic of its open hours. “They were in the downtown core agreed the kids before getting on the plane The St. John’s location reported Vancouverites during the Games. celebrities over the past two the spirit,” he said. Games did little to boost their back home. some product was still available The Olympic Superstore store weeks, from Wayne Gretzky the The Players Chophouse in business. However, Mr. Ward said Please Mum stores that carried in certain sizes a few days before saw huge lineups during the night before he lit the torch to Whistler was open to the public he can understand why crowds the officially licensed line of chil- the Games wrapped. Meantime, event, and was even forced to athletes fresh off the podium, and for much of the Games, with the didn’t venture far. “The mood in dren’s Olympic T-shirts, hats and the Please Mum location in Whi- open for 24 hours on some days with live performances by musi- exception of a few exclusive cor- the downtown core was infec- hoodies in cities across Ontario tehorse started to sell its Olympic to keep up with demand. That cians like Sarah McLachlan and porate parties.While Mr. Ward tious,” he said. and Alberta are out of stock after merchandise at half price about was an added bonus for Please Barenaked Ladies. said revenues at both Players When the Prime Tapas Bar lease having to send everything they midway through the Games. Mum, Mr. Lee said. Of the four eateries within his Chophouse locations met his ex- is up in April, Mr. Ward plans to had to Vancouver, where items The Lower Mainland stores While Please Mum has its own Points West Restaurant Group, the pectations during the Games, his move the restaurant concept to have been flying off the shelves have not surprisingly experienced line of Canadian-themed clothing Players Chophouse locations in other two restaurants in Olympic downtown Vancouver. The throughout the Games. the hottest sales, especially dur- that comes out each year ahead each Vancouver and Whistler, host locations didn’t fare as well. Players Chophouse Whistler loca- While that’s bad news for peo- ing the Olympics itself when tens of Canada Day, Mr. Lee said B.C., saw the biggest revenue The Prime Tapas Bar in Whistler tion, which opened 15 months ple outside of the Lower Main- of thousands of people visited they’re not worried Canadians bang, due in part to their prime didn’t see the traffic Mr. Ward had ago, will remain long after the land, it’s good news for Please the region. will be tapped out of patriotic locales. hoped for, which he blames on a Games and Mr. Ward is confident Mum, whose goal is to sell out of Please Mum’s Olympic attire buying fever when the day rolls However, Mr. Ward, whose last-minute change to the location the ski town will experience a the product not long after the wasn’t available through its on- around again this year. business partner is NFL punter of security fencing that made the post-Olympic economic lift. Olympics end. line store. 66 Brenda Bouw Mitch Berger of the Denver Bron- restaurant more difficult to ac- 66 Brenda Bouw The Globe and Mail, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010 I News 666 British Columbia S5 ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... A month ago, The Globe and Mail took a look at five very different businesses with one very big thing in common: They were each looking to reap profits from the Vancouver Olympics, and the two-week economic boon it was supposed to bring to the city. Today, we revisit those five firms – and find out whether they had a gold-calibre performance. Moe Summers, owner of the Pita Express in the food court across from the main press centre in Vancouver, has had steady business. PETER POWER/ THE GLOBE AND MAIL FOUR FIVE Potential buyers have been calling Christa Frosch from around the world. LYLE STAFFORD FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL John Palis says he’s surprised by the good behaviour he’s been seeing. JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL Christa Frosch John Palis Sotheby’s International Realty Managing administrator of Yellow Cab Co. Ltd. HOPES (AND FEARS) Christa Frosch. Included on Ms. Frosch’s new HOPES (AND FEARS) Mr. Palis said the event has none- visitors that are better behaved, GOING INTO THE GAMES “They’ve been calling from client list is a Russian business- GOING INTO THE GAMES theless put extra cash in drivers’ or the clampdown worked.” The Olympics gave Sotheby’s an places like Austria, Germany and man who was visiting Canada for Yellow Cab, the city’s largest taxi pockets. Friday and Saturday The boost also came at a good enviable entrée into the elite England, saying they’ve seen all the first time and wants to buy a fleet, added 25 cars to its fleet for nights are traditionally the busiest time, considering winter is the strata of real estate buyers able to these wonderful clips on TV. six-bedroom property in Whistler. a total of 275. Mr. Palis expected in the cab business, and the slowest season in the business, contemplate laying down millions They can’t believe how beautiful His price range is from $5-million “bursts” of daytime demand and Olympics were no exception. Mr. and since the new Canada Line for recreational properties. But an it is.” to $6-million. thousands of extra trips. But com- Palis said revenue was 20 per transit system has been cutting entrée is different than a deal in On the ground in Whistler, Another visitor from Hong petition from the new Canada cent higher than normal during into taxi profits since it opened hand. The company hoped to where Sotheby’s spruced up its Kong, who has been to Canada a Line whisking travellers from the the Games. The real difference last summer. reach interested buyers through office in the luxurious Fairmont few times, is eyeing an apart- airport to downtown in 25 min- came on weeknights, from Sun- Yellow Cab and the city’s other events and the expansion of its Chateau Whistler to show off its ment in Vancouver priced around utes was expected to eat into day to Thursday, when business four taxi companies also saw office at a luxury hotel in Whis- listings during the Games, Ms. $2-million. Her plan is to spend profits. shot up a whopping 70 to 75 per competition from cabbies in the tler. Frosch said hundreds of people up to four months a year in the cent. suburbs who were given tempor- have come by to take a look at city with her family. OUTCOME While night business was ary permits to pick up passengers OUTCOME what’s available. Sotheby’s is also heavily mar- Forgive the Vancouver cab driver strong during the Games, days for two months until March 23. With the snow-covered moun- While Vancouver is already the keting some of its Okanagan who can’t immediately tell you didn’t see the same spike. Mr. Pa- “It has eaten away at whatever tains as a backdrop, their proxim- highest-priced housing market in vineyard properties at its Whistler what day of the week it is. For lis said that’s largely because reg- gravy drivers may have seen dur- ity to the ocean and several Canada (said to be largely driven site, which has already captured many, it has felt like a Friday or ular customers weren’t going to ing the daytime,” Mr. Palis said. hundred thousand smiling tou- by the number of buyers from the attention of one Vancouver- Saturday for the past two weeks. meetings and regular daytime ap- When the permit period is over rists, it’s not hard to see why so Asia in recent years), prices are area couple. Make that a Friday or Saturday pointments during the Games, and the crowds go home, includ- many potential property buyers relatively affordable compared The couple will be taking tours when the Vancouver Canucks are and many of the Olympic events ing those from the Paralympics are walking through the doors of with other international cities. A of properties in the Southern Inte- playing at home. happened in the evening. next month, he said the indus- Sotheby’s International Realty property in Vancouver might be rior in the coming weeks, with a Not surprisingly, the taxi busi- “What surprises me more than try’s biggest competitor will lately asking about purchasing a worth roughly $800 a square foot price range of about $2-million to ness has been booming during anything else is how well-be- again be the Canada Line. home in British Columbia. – that figure more than doubles $3-million. the Olympics, as tens of thou- haved everyone has been, and Vancouver’s transit authority Sotheby’s said it has landed at in such place as London, New “We expect to have sales with sands of visitors try to get around the demeanour, given the size of has been pleasantly surprised by least three foreign buyers during York or Hong Kong. these buyers,” Ms. Frosch said. quickly and without the option – the crowds,” Mr. Palis said. Public the number of people who left the Games who are interested in The resort village of Whistler “There’s enough product that we or desire) to cram onto public drunkenness was a problem dur- their cars at home during the higher-end properties around the has more space for development, will find them something suit- transit. “Every night is extremely ing the Games, causing the city Games. province, ranging in price be- which means more selection – able.” busy,” Mr. Palis said. to close liquor stores on certain Olympic ticket holders were al- tween $2-million and $6-million. especially compared with recrea- She also expects to see a pop While the Olympics doesn’t ri- nights to try to prevent the prob- so able to ride transit for free on Calls are also coming in from tional listings in ski resorts in Eu- in property sales in the province val the business cabbies saw dur- lems from escalating. the day of their event. “We’ll see around the world from people rope, where properties were immediately after the Games, in ing the five-month Expo ’86 “Despite the size of everything, if they want to stick to riding the who have seen B.C. only through snapped up years ago and are of- particular this spring – and possi- event, and posed challenges like there seems to be more common Canada Line when they have to international television coverage ten passed down through genera- bly for the next several years. competition from free transit op- courtesy than in normal times,” start paying for it,” Mr. Palis said. of the Olympics, said Sotheby’s tions rather than sold. 66 Brenda Bouw tions and out-of-city taxi firms, he said. “Either we have so many 66 Brenda Bouw