After 70 years in business, NDG store says reserved bus lane hastened closure – Montreal

A store in Montreal’s Côte-des-Neiges-NDG borough, that’s been operating for over 70 years, says it’s closing its doors because a new bus lane has hurt business.

The city installed reserved lanes during rush hour on Queen Mary in November of 2022.

Back then, merchants worried aloud that their customers wouldn’t be able to find parking. Now they say their fears have become reality.

“Everything has dropped off at least 25 per cent,” said Barbara Vininsky, owner of Jack and Jill.

Vininsky takes pride in selling what’s trending in the world of kids.

“The customers, they’re like my friends. I have a relationship with them,” she lovingly said.

The business has taken various forms since her mother opened it in 1945, but she says now its storied history as a storefront is over.  She’s closing in a few months, in large part because she claims a reserved bus lane implemented on Queen Mary Road in 2022 has been bad for business.

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During the afternoon rush when parents would drop in with their kids, the parking spots right in front of the store are eliminated to facilitate public transit mobility.

“When they can’t find a parking spot, they just keep going, so you lose all that business,” she said.

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Back when it was announced, Vininsky and others petitioned against the lane. The Punjab Canteen restaurant says it has hurt them, too

“It’s been a very big loss in our business,” said chef Manjeet Kumar.

Kumar said customers have received parking-related fines, and sometimes delivery drivers just don’t pick orders up at all because there’s nowhere to stop.

“I don’t think it reduces parking, they’re just going to have to look for it,” said public transit user Marlene Miolich. “There’s lots of side streets here and buses are imperative.”

When Vininsky announced the closure online, dozens of sad comments poured in.

“I’m very sad because I have to find another job,” said Hazel Young, who has been working at Jack and Jill for 23 years.

Snowdon city councillor Sonny Moroz said he had shopped at Jack and Jill as a child.

“My sister bought all her Beanie Babies there, and to lose it is to lose a landmark institution on an important commercial artery,” he said.

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Moroz voted in favour

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N.B. coffee shop raising autism awareness celebrates 5 years in business – New Brunswick

Aaron Nielsen had his son in mind when opened the first  Aaron’s Coffee House five years ago at a New Brunswick farmer’s market.

Makhi, 16, lives with autism and sensory processing disorder, a condition his father calls “a daily battle.” Nielsen said he and his wife wanted to open a coffee shop in order to build a safe space for Makhi to interact with others as well as create opportunities for people with similar conditions.

Aaron’s started as a pop-up coffee shop at the Salisbury farmer’s market and has since grown to include a location in Riverview as well as one in downtown Moncton.

“If anything happens to my wife and I, this is going to take care of (Makhi) financially,” Nielsen said. “And then we thought well, if we’re gonna do this for him we gotta do this for other people, too. That’s where we got the idea to hire and train other people like my son.”

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Both Aaron’s locations operate out of rooms within Queen E vape shop locations.

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Nielsen calls the partnership “a great opportunity,” but the shared space presents challenges for his plans to hire employees with autism. So he’s looking to expand on his own.

“We’re contacting investors, we’re trying to get to the point where we can have our own stand-alone location,” he said.

Makhi isn’t able to work in the coffeehouse just yet, as he doesn’t feel high temperatures due to his sensory issues, which could create a safety issue, Nielsen said.

For now, Makhi makes magnets that are sold at Aaron’s and helps out where he can.

“If I need some extra cups from out back, if I need some extra milk, if there’s anything that I need, he’ll grab that for me,” Nielsen said. “Sometimes he’ll try to interact with customers but at the same time we’re not pushing him.”

Customer Brenda Richard said she appreciates the social inclusion aspect of the café.

“It’s good for community support and it helps a lot of families. I think it’s a wonderful idea,” she said.

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Employee Matthew Murphy is currently in his first year of studies at the

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US business leaders are pushing back against years of corporate diversity efforts

By Elizabeth BennettFeatures correspondent

Getty Images Bill Ackman, chief executive officer of Pershing Square Capital Management LP (Credit: Getty Images)Getty Images
Bill Ackman, chief executive officer of Pershing Square Capital Management LP, pushed back on DEI policies in an X post (Credit: Getty Images)

Diversity, equity and inclusion policies have become the norm at many companies. As some notable corporate leaders reject the approach, is a DEI backlash brewing?

Elon Musk used his social media platform X, formerly Twitter, on 3 January to tell his 168 million followers that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) was “just another word for racism”. Musk added his comments in a retweet of American hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman, who had posted a long criticism of DEI policies, following his successful calls for the resignation of Claudine Gay, Harvard University’s first black and female president.

In the same week, Chip Wilson, founder of activewear brand Lululemon, made headlines in a Forbes profile when he spoke out about the “whole diversity and inclusion thing”. The former CEO (Wilson left the company in 2013 but still remains a major shareholder), criticised Lululemon for wanting to be “everything to everybody”, and called the brand’s inclusive advertising imagery “unhealthy”, “sickly” and “not inspirational”. 

For the past several decades, corporate DEI policies have become an increasing priority, embraced by leaders of major businesses. Katleen De Stobbeleir, professor of leadership at Vlerick Business School, Belgium, says DEI has been a prominent theme since the 1960s, but the focus has amplified in the past decade. “It used to be a ‘nice to have’, and something for the more advanced companies. But today it has become a qualifying minimum and a topic that has received more attention from the C-suite.” 

Yet some of the same kinds of high-profile leaders who embraced the inclusive policies are now publicly critical of them.

Alamy Chip Wilson, founder of activewear brand Lululemon, criticised the brand for its inclusive advertising imagery, calling it "not inspirational" (Credit: Alamy)Alamy
Chip Wilson, founder of activewear brand Lululemon, criticised the brand for its inclusive advertising imagery, calling it “not inspirational” (Credit: Alamy)

Sankalp Chaturvedi, professor of organisational behaviour and leadership, and associate dean of equity, diversity and inclusion at London’s Imperial College Business School, says extensive research has shown “when gender, ethnicity or any form of the diversity are on the table, quality of discussions and decision-making is better, creativity is improved and the performance of the organisation and its culture is stronger”.

Yet despite this, these programmes are increasingly landing in corporate crosshairs.

Chaturvedi says the current public pushback is

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Edmonton’s historic Italian Bakery reopens 3 years after fire destroyed business – Edmonton

Edmonton’s Italian Bakery celebrated its grand reopening Saturday, more than three years after a fire destroyed the Chinatown landmark.

Customers packed the store to celebrate the bakery’s return with a lion dance, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and free samples of pastries and meals.

“I just want to say ‘Edmonton this is for you. This is for you,’” owner Renato Frattin told Global News.

The family-run store business is now operating out of a new and improved space with more to offer.

“We never had pizza before. We never had fresh pasta and now we have opportunities to do that,’ Frattin said. “We never had produce, now we have that, too. So we kind of got the full package here.”

The Italian Bakery temporarily ceased operations in April 2020 after a fire ripped through much of its old building. Edmonton police confirmed arson was to blame.

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This was the family’s second encounter with a fire-related incident. Back in February 2016, a blaze tore through their 118 Avenue location.

Between construction delays and family circumstances, including the deaths of Renato’s parents and brother-in-law, the Chinatown location stayed closed longer than originally anticipated.

The bakery soft-launched about a month ago. Frattin is not only thrilled to make a comeback, but excited to see patrons waiting for the bakery’s return.

“I am so happy to see all the people here. The turnout is unbelievable,” he said.

“There were at least 100 people outside before the store even opened today. We’re so happy.”

Frattin’s parents, Antonio and Aurora Frattin, first opened the Italian Bakery in 1960. Frattin is grateful to see the business pass down through the generations.

“If you work hard, and you have good quality and consistency… time passes, and the next thing you know you’re like ‘Oh, I’m here,’” he said.

Anne Stevenson, city councillor for the O-day’min ward, was in attendance Saturday morning, saluted the bakery for its courage.

“This is a great example of how, as a community, we can go through exceptionally hard and challenging times and come through even stronger than before,” she said.

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Several other community partners were in attendance, including Chinatown Business Improvement Area co-chair Christina Trang and Edmonton police chief Dale McFee.


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James Pauk Photography shuttering after 54 years in business

Peter Street location could close by end of year; ‘I think what we will miss the most is the interactions with customers,’ says Greg Pauk

One of Orillia’s oldest businesses is set to close.

James Pauk Photography opened in 1969. It was started by the late James Pauk, who immigrated to Canada in 1951 from the Netherlands. With an interest in photography, he landed a job as reporter and city editor with the Packet & Times.

“He was a self-taught editor and reporter at the Packet who basically ran the dark room,” explained his son, Greg Pauk. “When his time was done there, he decided to do wedding photography, and then he had the opportunity to buy a business, which became his dream.”

Pauk recalls his father learning at the New York Institute of Professional Photography before opening in downtown Orillia.

“It’s been an interesting journey,” he said. “Not too many businesses in town remain from that time frame.”

He says the photography industry is vastly different today with digital cameras and cellphones.

“A lot of things are online now,” he said. “Interactions with clients are different now, too. Sometimes they come into the store to talk to you and sometimes they will just send an email.”

Around 2003, digital photography changed the way the business went about a lot of its production.

“The so-called black room where film was developed and prints were made was gone,” Pauk said. “Now we use digital files and a desktop computer to edit and print with high-end inks and digital paper.”

The industry has continued to change at a fast rate over the years, leaving Pauk feeling it’s time to make a change and reinvent how his business operates.

“I think what we will miss the most is the interactions with customers day in and day out,” he said.

He plans to continue his work as a photographer on a part-time basis once he closes the storefront at 25 Peter St. S., which could happen by the end of the year.

The complete photography studio and retail business has photographed family portraits, weddings, and special occasions all while doing custom framing and selling equipment.

“I think being so diversified was the real secret to our success,” Pauk said. “Memorable moments have given us a lot of opportunity to photograph some interesting people throughout the years.”

In 1967, his dad photographed the Los

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