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Celebrating women in business: 7 Tri-City women entrepreneurs

From gourmet delights to furry friends and car dealerships, sisters in the Tri-Cities are doing it for themselves
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Eleanor Roosevelt famously liked to say, “A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong it is until it's in hot water.” 

This sentiment has continued to ring true for generations, and the past few years have been no different. Whether advocating for equal opportunities and pay, serving as frontline support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic or everything else in between, there’s no denying the substantial strength and impact that female workers and entrepreneurs have on society. 

And it’s time they were acknowledged for it. The future is female and this International Women’s Day, we are celebrating the theme ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress’ by highlighting a colourful collection of businesses in the Tri-Cities that are owned, operated or managed by women. 

Little Gypsy’s Fine Jewelry 

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Lydia Podobnik, owner of Little Gypsy’s Fine Jewelry, Gifts and Gallery. Photo via: Little Gypsy’s Fine Jewelry.

As Albert Einstein once said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” One business that fully exemplifies this sentiment is Port Moody’s Little Gypsy’s Fine Jewelry, Gifts and Gallery

Owner Lydia Podobnik offers a diverse collection of custom design work and repairs, as well as lovingly hand-crafted items available from over 50 local B.C. artists. Indulge in the opportunity to express your uniqueness with items and accessories that are one-of-a-kind, just like you! 

Explore your metaphysical side with journals, tarot cards, oracle decks, sage, Palo Santo and incense, as well as healing stones and crystals. At Little Gypsy’s, you’re encouraged to exhibit and promote self-love, wellness and individuality from the inside out. 

Creating an inclusive safe space for both artists and anyone who walks through the door, regardless of gender, race or orientation, the space operates on shared respect and the acknowledgement that, at the gallery, we’re all just people.

Stop by today to explore and add a little magic to your life and be sure to check out Little Gypsy’s on Instagram and Facebook.

Westwood Honda

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Photo via: Westwood Honda.

Life is a highway, and these days, it’s never been easier for those looking to live life in the fast lane to get out and hit the open road. 

Westwood Honda offers customers and staff of all identities and backgrounds a welcoming and respectful environment that believes in honest, straightforward and transparent communication. Occupying a trusted space in the community for over 45 years, they utilize a “what you see is what you get” approach to all aspects of their business. Whether you are servicing your current vehicle or purchasing a new one, Westwood Honda takes care of its customers with their unique approach. When it comes to purchasing a preowned vehicle, Westwood Honda offers the best market value price first, without the need to negotiate or worry if you’re getting the best deal. 

Passionate about fostering an equal opportunity and diverse workforce; Westwood Honda encourages women and people of all gender identification to apply to join their team today. Westwood Honda strives to ensure that everyone feels welcome, recognized, and comfortable in all aspects of their business. Regardless of whether you are a staff member, returning customer, or new customer, you are always welcomed and safe as part of the Westwood Honda family.

For more information on getting in the driver’s seat of your career trajectory, visit westwoodhonda.com or contact rmaciver.westwoodhonda@gmail.com. Follow Westwood Honda on Facebook and Instagram for the latest deals and promotions.  

Newport Drydeck

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Sisters Keri and Laura Belanger of NewPort Dry Deck. Photo via: NewPort Dry Deck.

Sisters Keri and Laura Belanger have been resurfacing sundecks together for over 11 years. Keeping it all in the family, their father, one spouse and friends make up the hardworking NewPort Dry Deck team. 

Frustrated that deck recoating only lasted a short time, the sisters decided that homeowners, like themselves, would want a coating that would first and foremost be waterproof as well as long-lasting. Through their research, they were able to find a better solution – polyurethane deck coatings. 

The family was pleased they could seal around wooden railing posts and bond to stucco siding without having to remove it. They even coat concrete! After resurfacing decks for friends, word started to spread and NewPort Dry Deck was born. 

The Belanger sisters take great pride in knowing family homes will remain protected from the elements for well over 20 years with the help of their deck surfaces. Every year they replace hundreds of worn-out vinyl and fibreglass decks with their unique waterproof coating: OmegaDeck – a water-based, troweled-on polyurethane coating. It’s seamless, easy to clean, and doesn’t trip, tear or stain. 

“I love doing the estimates, booking the jobs, then having my sister and crews work their magic,”  says Keri Belanger, owner. “Whether it’s the deck, stairs, railings, or concrete entrances, the transformations are beautiful! We are passionate about what we do and it shows. Getting to work with my family is the bonus.”

Call 604-256-1158 for a free quote and follow NewPort Dry Deck on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

Member of Parliament Bonita Zarrillo 

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Photo via: Bonita Zarillo.

Canada’s theme for International Women's Day 2024 is Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress. The most viable avenue to pursue this endeavour is to ensure that women are given opportunities to be at the forefront of conversations and decisions around women’s rights and the government policies that affect them.

For example, women disproportionately work on the front lines of the care economy and deserve better pay and working conditions. While publicly recognized as heroes for working long hours and facing increased incidents of abuse for the sake of supporting us and our loved ones, these workers – more often racialized and new immigrant women – are receiving inadequate wages behind the scenes. Condemning this blatant injustice, Bonita Zarrillo advocates for further legislation to remove barriers for women and diverse genders to achieve pay equity and fair benefits.

With a background as a Business Analyst, which took her across North America and beyond, Zarrillo bridges the gap between logic and compassion to form a comprehensive campaign for gender equality. Zarrillo is the Member of Parliament for Port Moody-Coquitlam, Anmore, and Belcarra. As one of the 103 female Members of Parliament, she is a dedicated champion of those serving in the care economy.

To learn more about Zarrillo and her platform, follow her on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates or email her office at bonita.zarrillo@parl.gc.ca.

Good Dog 

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Heather Grandy and Vanessa Janusz, owners of Good Dog. Photo via: Good Dog.

We all want to know our families have everything they need to be happy and healthy – that extends to the furry members, too! 

With spots at 331 Laurier Ave in Port Coquitlam and a brand new location at 2911 Murray Street at Rocky Point in Port Moody, Good Dog offers daycare, boarding, training, grooming and retail services that paw-sitively put your furry friend first. 

Put your pup on the path to success with the Board and Train program, featuring education and new skills to continue at home. Is your pooch prone to anxiety? No worries. The new Rocky Point Custom Care Daycare and Boarding facility is designed for reactive or nervous dogs, prioritizing unique services and specialized care to ensure your doggo’s disposition remains comfortable and stress-free. 

Treat your pooch to a pampering at the brand-new Rocky Point grooming salon, including the Puppy Splash package, which introduces your puppy to grooming intentionally, creating happy memories while boosting their confidence. 

Owners Heather Grandy and Vanessa Janusz pride themselves on going above and beyond providing basic care to create a nurturing environment where every dog can thrive, no matter their personality or background. From its dedicated team to its tailored programs focusing on positive reinforcement techniques, you can rest assured that your pup is top priority. 

Whether you’re going away on a trip, need a helping hand training or are seeking a gorgeous groom, visit your closest location today and be sure to follow on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates. 

Bralissimo

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Nataliia Kashpur, owner of Bralissimo. Photo via: Bralissimo.

Womanhood is about promoting empowerment of all kinds, and Bralissimo in Port Moody does its part to build women up while also supporting the girls, in more ways than one! 

Featuring one of the best comfortable, colourful and creative collections of bras, lingerie, shapewear, swimwear and sleepwear in the Vancouver area, the business promotes community care with an international flair.

Browse a diverse selection of items, including some of the best European lingerie brands, such as PrimaDonna, Empreinte, Chantelle, Simone Perele, Lise Charmel and Aubade. With over 24 years of experience fitting women from cup sizes B to N, owner Nataliia Kashpur creates an inviting and comfortable space for women of all ages to feel secure, confident and empowered. 

Be sure to visit in-store at 202 Newport Drive in Port Moody and follow Bralissimo on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates.

Olive the Best 

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Daniela Hammond, owner of Olive the Best. Photo via: Mario Bartel.

They say that variety is the spice of life, and Daniela Hammond’s Olive the Best in Port Moody’s Newport Village has it in abundance! A finalist for this year’s Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year award and included in last year’s Tri-City News Eater’s Choice Awards, this local legend is celebrating its 5th anniversary on March 22 and is marking the occasion in a big way. 

The shop is celebrating its momentous milestone from March 18 to 24 by providing guests with various gourmet food samples on top of its usual oil and vinegar tastings, as well as an after-hours tasting event mid-week on March 20. As if that’s not enough, visitors also receive a free mini pairing ($16 value) for every $75 spent in-store or online during the event week!

The locale will also be doling out other exclusive promotions, including tickets for the March 20 event ($15 value) and a ticket for one of the Olive Oil Masterclasses with Emily Lycopolus, “The Olive Oil Critic,” on March 24 and 25 ($85 value), which includes a cookbook and sampling of four recipes. 

Adding a delicious dose of flavour to the Tri-Cities, Olive the Best stocks 100% independent lab-tested, high-quality ultra premium extra virgin olive oils and traditional 12+ year aged balsamic vinegars, on top of other gourmet foods and gifts.    

Follow Olive the Best on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates on prizes, packages and more.