Espresso, Friends and Conversation


“If I can come in here on a busy day and stand in front of the espresso machine, make drinks and chat with people...that’s where my world is, I love that,” said Shaun Damstrom, owner of the First Perk.

For the past 15 years, Damstrom and wife Krista have owned and operated the cafe that sits next to Highway 3. Having grown up around the East Kootenay, it was always their plan to return and raise a family in the area.

After several years in Victoria learning “about coffee and espresso”, then managing a brew pub and eventually the Jaffray Pub, Damstrom decided to build the cafe of his dreams on the land where First Perk sits today.

His philosophy is more than comfortable chairs and couches, “I want our clientele coming into this facility feeling like their coming to a friends house. I want people to walk away having a great experience,” he said.

“One of the things I pride myself on, if we hear what we hear in this place, it doesn’t leave the doors.” Its the second aspect of Damstrom’s philosophy, he continues, “Two people can come in and have a private conversation and, if they are overheard, Joe Blow down the road won’t hear about it.”

At the First Perk, Damstrom and his staff go out of their way to “make you feel comfortable.”

The extensive menu of great food, plus an espresso and dessert bar, give you an engaging experience full of lively conversation, delicious eats and sweat treats.

While the First Perk has only used POS-n-go for a short time, it’s already making a difference in how the cafe operates.

Taking on POS-n-go was a “change for us, but its been a positive experience. Its easy to use, easy to learn,” he said.

“We ask questions at all hours, at any time, even on the weekend and we’ve gotten prompt service from the POS-n-go team.”

As for the impact on the business, “POS-n-go will streamline a lot of things, its going to be so much better for us,” Damstrom said.

This weekend, if you’re anywhere near First Perk, “Come by, have a cup, take it easy, enjoy the weather and the atmosphere.”

Damstrom and staff will surely put a smile on your face and make you leave a whole lot better than when you arrived.

Does it get any better than that!

First Perk, just off Highway 3 on Aspen Drive in Jaffray, BC.

Soap, Ice Cream and Homemade Food


First it was EarthWare Face and Body products, then a move to Cranbrook and finally a move to Yahk where Tammy Bessant bought the Yahk Soap and Candle Company along with Two Scoop Steve ice cream parlor.

“I have been making and selling things since I was a teenager,” said Bessant. Twelve years ago she created EarthWare to make and sell 100% natural skin care products.

Three years ago she and her husband moved to Cranbrook where Bessant started selling EarthWare products to local shops and at farmers markets. While looking around the area for “good business opportunities,” they came across the town of Yahk and the Soap company. They immediately knew this was the place for them, so they bought the property and in May 2017 opened the soap shop which stocks the full range of EarthWare products. The shop also carries numerous gifts all handmade by local artisans.

At the same time, they re-opened Two Scoop Steve, a legendary ice cream shop where locals and tourists stop to rest and refresh after a busy day.

Bessant’s business philosophy is all about establishing mutual support among local businesses, artisans and vendors. “Follow your instincts and support each other. Collaboration with other local businesses, its something we feel strongly about. When one person succeeds we all succeed, its good for everybody,” she said.

After renovating the cafe space, which is part of the Two Scoop Steve building, Team Bessant is opening the Yahk Mountain Cafe.

The Grand Opening is today at 11am.

Serving homemade soups and sandwiches made from scratch, the Cafe is an exciting new venture. “We’ll start small and grow as needed,” said Bessant. They will use local food producers. All of the meat and produce, when the latter is available, comes from the Creston and Kootenay area.

This opening weekend the soup de jour is “cream of asparagus” soup with the asparagus grown in Creston. The featured sandwich is a pastrami or ham Reuben with a twist. Also on the grand opening menu, strawberry buttermilk muffins. Mmmm delicious!!!!

The Cafe is using “William Tell cider” in the dressings. The bread, muffins and other sweet treats are all homemade. You can also enjoy great coffee, lattes and espressos. And, don’t forget the ice cream. Lots of different flavored ice cream, a cool treat on a hot summer day.

For the past year, Bessant has used POS-n-go in the Soap shop and Two Scoop Steve. “Its super easy to use. The staff absolutely love it,” she said. “It’s user friendly, that’s why we got another one for the Cafe,”

Now that she’s running three businesses, “The reports at end of the day are perfect.” They help keep track of the sales and inventory details for each operation.

POS-n-go runs on an Elo PayPoint all-in-one cash register. According to Bessant, it’s “pretty and beautiful.” She added, “The Fast Order screen is going to be really good and a lot faster for the staff.”

Located just off Highway 3 in Yahk, BC, stop in at the Yahk Mountain Cafe and Two Scoop Steve, open daily from 11am to 7pm. The Soap shop is open 10am to 5pm.

An Entrepreneurs Journey


In 1987, a 16-year old Giovanni Del Priore left the family farm near Naples, Italy, traveling to join his brothers in St. Catherines, Ontario.

Several decades later he turned those youthful beginnings into not one but three thriving businesses. “The opportunities in Canada were better than southern Italy. Coming to Canada was a great decision,” Del Priore said. He started out working in a pizzeria. By late 1990, he owned one which sold in 2001.

In 1998, he and Leonardo Priore bought Criveller Candies and renamed it, Criveller Chocolate and Pastry Boutique. Its known throughout the Niagara area for awesome wedding cakes. With the bakery's success, Del Priore started a wholesale business supplying “unique food”, mostly of Italian or European origin, to restaurants and food vendors.

Del Priore’s business philosophy is straight-forward, treat your customers like family and serve fresh quality food. “What I like the most is actually being in front of people, I consider myself a people person, always have. Being in front of customers is very important,” he said.

In April 2018, Del Priore and Joe Manella took over an existing restaurant location at the Holiday Inn and Suites in St. Catherines, renaming it Baci Caffé.

The Baci serves up an all-day breakfast sandwich with bacon or sausage, it includes a small fresh coffee. You can also choose from delicious Criveller’s canolis, pastries, donuts, muffins, bagels and chocolate truffles. They also make fresh gluten and dairy free smoothies. Their espressos and lattes are a must try.

If that’s not enough, they also make great tasting sandwiches and focaccia for lunch. The new dinner menu will be revealed in a couple of weeks.

Del Priore said, “Good food is simple, fresh ingredients, real ingredients, no preservatives,” that’s what you will find at Baci Caffé and Criveller’s.

The Baci Caffé uses POS-n-go running on the Elo PayPoint all-in-one cash register.

Joe Manella wrote about POS-n-go, “Great system!! User friendly!!”

According to Del Priore, POS-n-go’s best feature, “I am able to change the pricing here at a different location, edit and apply, and upgrade the pricing as we go, I can do it remotely from wherever I am.”

Be sure to check out Baci Caffé, 327 Ontario Street, located inside the Holiday Inn and Suites, St. Catherines. Open daily for breakfast and serving great fresh treats until 11pm.

My First Business


When it comes to fresh authentic Japanese sushi there is only one place, Red Fin Sushi.

Starting her first business seven months ago, owner Harriet Kim took over Peter’s Place at the Magnuson Hotel just off Highway 3 in Creston, BC.

The new Togo menu includes an assortment of sushi along with Canadian cuisine.

From Temaki cones and Maki to 28 regular rolls and 20 special rolls, there will be plenty of sushi to satisfy your hunger. You’ll also find Bento boxes, Sashimi, Udon, Tempora and much more. Even Korean dishes.

The signature dish is the red fin roll. “Our food is fresh. We start making it when we get orders. Fresh and clean. Also, customers say that our presentation is awesome,” said Kim.

If sushi is not for you, the full Western menu may be to your taste. It includes chicken, fish & chips, burgers, veal cutlets, pasta and the old stand-by liver and onions. Mmmmmm good!

Kim’s future includes plans “to open a few more restaurants in the Kootenay area.”

With the Annual Blossom Festival coming up May 18 – 21st, Kim is excited to offer delicious sushi to festival goers.

Check out Red Fin sushi, open from 7am to 9pm daily, breakfast, brunch and sushi. The best in town!

From Manager to Owner


He’d been working in the food and beverage industry for many years, then started managing the Marrakesh Hookah Lounge in Kissimmee, Florida. When he saw an opportunity to expand the lounge from just food and tobacco smoking, Nabil Boromi decided to buy the business.

In May 2017, Boromi’s dream of owning a business happened when he purchased the Marrakesh. A hookah lounge has an array of tables, comfortable chairs and an assortment of large ornate hookahs. They are used to smoke fruity tobacco. A hookah lounge is seen as a stylish way to socialize and hang out with friends.

Since buying the lounge, Boromi’s added a bar serving beer and wine along with great Moroccan food.

As for the transition from being a manager to business owner, Boromi said, “It’s hard in the beginning, but you do what you gotta do.” Now that the Lounge is better known, its turned into a huge success.

Boromi uses the Poynt Smart terminal for his POS. Poynt uses modern all-in-one hardware combining a POS and payment terminal. This allows Boromi to provide easy ordering and payment for his customers. Regarding POS-n-go on the Poynt terminal, Boromi said, “It’s good, easy to use. I like the system.”

Boromi hosts a party every Saturday night with live music and dancing. He specializes in entertainers from Morocco and Egypt.

Tomorrow night, Adil Canadi will be at the Marrakesh to sing and entertain.

When your in Kissimmee, Florida be sure to stop by the Marrakesh at 5192 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway. Say hello to Nabil Boromi, try a hookah, then dance and sing the night away.

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