March 8th is International Women’s Day. It’s a global day to recognise and celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. It’s also a time to raise awareness of the progress made towards achieving gender equality and the work remaining to be done. International Women’s Day is a day of unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy, and action and is celebrated in many countries worldwide.

The West End BIA is marking International Women’s Day, March 8, by recognising many member businesses owned and operated by women. International Women’s Day serves as an important reminder of the need to support and empower women entrepreneurs and business leaders. Women-owned and women-led businesses bring unique perspectives, innovations, and economic growth opportunities to their communities and beyond, and we wanted to take this time to shine a light on some of the amazing women-owned businesses in the West End. 

Lisa Arthurs, The Quick Nickel 

The Quick Nickel first opened in 1989, and has been one of the go-to clothing boutiques in the West End, and Vancouver for over 30 years! Owner Lisa Arthurs set out to combine her passion for fashion, with her love of a great deal, resulting in one of our neighbourhood’s most iconic, and long-standing businesses. Lisa’s knack for scouting the latest trends, combined with her relationships with top quality manufacturers ensures that Quick Nickel is able to have the best of both worlds; combining a small locally-owned retailer with the products and merchandise that you love from your favourite brands, at affordable pricing. With new clothing for men and women arriving nearly everyday, there’s always something new for you to browse through, in-person or at their new online shop.

In addition to clothing the West End, Lisa is always looking for ways to help out the community! From board-level involvement with the West End BIA, to partnering with tons of events each year, to helping promote local artists and other businesses on Davie Street, she does it all.

Sherri Zarandooz, PappaRotti 

It was love at first bite for both for Sherri when we independently discovered the PappaRoti bun in Dubai. Sherri knew immediately it was an artisan food brand that would appeal in Canada. Sherri was keen to start her own businesses, and the PappaRoti franchise concept presented itself as the ideal combination of Sherri’s business development experience and, her husband, Jav’s passion for customer service. Read more here

Sherri also sits on the West End BIA’s board, helping to brand, promote and revitalize the West End. 

Check out PappaRoti here.

Kerri Jones, Peaked Pies 

Kerri is an Aussie girl who grew up surfing the waves of Newcastle, Australia. She went on a school ski trip to “the snow” and fell in love with snowboarding. Year after year she went on her winter pilgrimage with her mates down to the Aussie Ski Fields but she yearned for the Mountains, and the biggest and best mountain she had heard of was Whistler…

Arriving in Whistler, she was instantly in awe and fell in love with the mountains, the village, and the lifestyle… Why not stay another season? She knew she would miss her family and her friends, but surprisingly didn’t realize how much she would miss another staple in her life… The Aussie Meat Pie. 

Kerri knew that she had to create a place for every Aussie to be able to come and get a taste of home and those who had only heard of these amazing things called Meat Pies could try for themselves. That’s when Peaked Pies was born. 

You can now find one of their three stores on Denman Street. Learn more here.

Ofra Sixto, Ofra’s Kitchen 

30 years ago, Ofra immigrated from Israel to Canada, and called Vancouver home. In her efforts to adapt to the new culture, she met with a few challenges; new language, cold and wet climate and very different food. With time, she got used to many changes, and even loved many of them, however the one thing that she could not fully adapt to was the food. Her palate craved the taste of Israeli delights: Crunchy Falafel, Creamy Hummus, Mouth watering Shakshuka, Finely chopped Israeli salad, and other dishes from that region.

After many years of being a business owner in a different sector, Ofra decided that it is time to have her lifelong dream to open a restaurant come alive. In Dec 2019, she opened her first restaurant in Vancouver. She named it Ofra’s Kitchen. The name, she thought, will tell her story. “People will come to my home, my kitchen and share the food I make”, she said. 

Patrons are commenting on the amazingly familiar taste, smells and the wonderful atmosphere. One of their patrons said “It feels like we are in your living room”, another said: “I walked in from the streets of Vancouver straight to Tel-Aviv”.

Ofra’s Kitchen is the only Vegetarian/Vegan, Authentic Israeli/Middle Eastern cuisine on Denman Street. All of her dishes are made with love, using the freshest ingredients. Ofra hand picks all the products herself. You can feel her love in every bite. Ofra, herself, is there to serve you from her array of authentic dishes, found only at her kitchen. Learn more about Ofra’s Kitchen here.

Victoria Jazic, Honey Hair Lounge 

Victoria moved from her hometown of Whistler to Vancouver 8 years ago and fell in love with this West Coast city. Victoria has always had a passion for art and anything creative. After finishing high school, she knew right away that she wanted to pursue a hands-on career that brought together her passion for art and working with people. She attended Blanche Macdonald in 2013 and started working in a salon as a junior stylist immediately after graduating. Over the years, Victoria has followed her passion for colour and taken many classes to grow my skills. Victoria loves doing vibrant creative colours as well as beautiful natural shades.

In 2019, she decided to branch out into the business world and became the owner of the Honey Hair Lounge. It’s been an amazing journey so far and Victoria loves my salon family and truly enjoys doing her craft everyday. 

Honey’s Hair Lounge is a contemporary salon in the heart of Davie Village with a unique team of Hair Artists. Learn more about Honey’s here.

Deanna Henry and Nikki Ogen, Garden Health 

When Deanna Henry and Nicole “Nikki” Ogen took over the health and wellness store Garden Health in 2017, the two-spirited LGBTQ+ Indigenous women were looking for a business opportunity that aligned with their values. The store seemed like a good fit, presenting the opportunity to create an environmentally friendly and community-conscious space.

For both women, an interest in health started early. Deanna’s mother encouraged her fascination with health foods, leading her to become a nutritionist and herbalist. For Nikki, health and wellness have been part of her life since she was diagnosed with Lupus at age 6, undergoing extensive therapies and trying a wide range of products to relieve ongoing symptoms. The drive to help others navigate their health goals and challenges led them both to acquire Garden Health. Read more about Deanna and Nikki here.

Check out Garden Health today.

Fiona Grieve, Buckstop

After years in the restaurant industry, Fiona Grieve founded Buckstop in 2013 to bless the West End with the best American Barbecue in Vancouver, mixing together spices and smoke in a blend that is all their own. With a focus on creating nearly everything from scratch, Fiona uses seasonal, local ingredients and is constantly changing up their menu to the surprise and delight of local foodies.

One of the “hidden gems” that West Ender’s wait for each week is Buckstop’s Burger Monday, an evening where a new burger creation is launched in small quantities and for a limited time! Each week promises a burger made from delicious meats ground in-house paired with creative, fresh (and sometimes crazy) toppings. They have been known to sell out within the first hour of opening!

Besides the amazing eats, Buckstop is also known as one of the best places to grab a cocktail in the West End, with southern favourites and unique takes on the classics like the Rootbeer Whiskey Sour and the Brown Butter Bourbon Old Fashioned.

Fiona also sits on the West End BIA’s board, helping to brand, promote and revitalize the West End. 

Kristina Sonney, D’oro Gelato e Caffe

D’oro started back some 20 years ago as Mondo Gelato as a “Gelateria”, a place that serves primarily gelato and sorbetto. Pino Bacinello and Kristina Sonney purchased the two locations in 2014 with the concept of converting them to a true Italian Café. In Italy they are referred to as “Cafeteria, Gelateria, Pasticceria e Bar”. Translated (Coffee shop, gelato shop, pastry shop and bar)

Today, D’oro is just that! A true Italian café/bar where one can indulge in sweet deserts, the creamiest handmade artisan gelatos, (sorbettos available for the nondairy). You can sit down and have a breakfast, lunch or dinner panino with a glass of wine and a lovely soup on a cold and rainy Vancouver evening, or a fresh crispy salad in the summer. Of course, one can also start the day off with a cappuccino, espresso or affogato. Or, come for a mid-day “Café Corretto” and do as the Italians do which is enjoy life!

Sonia, Nilka, and Alexandra, Mi Tierra Latina 

In early 2020, Sonia, Nilka, Michelle and Alexandra realized that a key element missing from Vancouver’s West End was a fully stocked grocery filled with Latin American goodies.  The all-women team then set out to open Mi Tierra Latina, they have made it a point to fill their shelves with every product they could get their hands on from various Latin American countries. Each week you can be certain you will find new products in store.

When you walk into the store, you won’t have to worry about getting lost as each product is sorted according to country of origin. Rest assured, there’s always someone available to advise you on what sauce goes well with your planned dishes. Learn more.

Jacqui McMullen, Times Square Suites and WEBIA Chair

Jacqui McMullen is a dynamic leader who wears multiple hats as the General Manager of Times Square Suites and Chair of the West End Business Improvement Association’s board. She is a driving force behind WEBIA’s mission to brand, promote, and revitalize the West End.

As a WEBIA board member, Jacqui is well-informed and engaged in the West End community. At Times Square Suites, Jacqui has overseen a luxurious apartment-style hotel that caters to business travellers, couples, and families. Nestled in Vancouver’s West End residential community, just two blocks from Stanley Park and a short walk or transit ride to the heart of downtown, Times Square Suites is the perfect base for guests to explore the city.

Teri Smith, Executive Director at the West End BIA 

Lastly, we would like to shine a light on our very own Executive Director, Teri Smith. Teri is a leader in community and economic development. Teri is also currently the president of BIABC and is an active member of the Vancouver BIA Partnership and a past member of the IDA Canada Leadership Committee. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Simon Fraser University where she completed a double major in criminology and psychology. When not working, she’s a busy mom of two and can often be found on the soccer field cheering on her kids, baking up a storm in the kitchen or planning new travel adventures.