New Business Week

Starting a business is always difficult, but getting a new enterprise off the ground during a global pandemic takes the challenge to a whole new level. That’s why the West End BIZ is celebrating all the businesses that opened since January 2020 with New Business Week taking place February 22nd to 28th.West End visitors and residents are invited to watch for decals popping up around the neighbourhood on the newest grocery stores, retailers and restaurants. Throughout the week, we will be holding a draw with participating businesses (see below) where customers will be able to enter to win one of three prizes. The first prize is a $150 gift card to a West End business of your choice and a pair of West End sock, the second prize is a $100 gift card to a West End business of your choice and a pair of West End socks and third prize is a $50 gift card to a West End business of your choice and a pair of West End socks. Winners will be drawn the following Monday (March 1st). Please see full contest rules here.

Over the last year, the West End BIZ has seen 60 businesses take on the challenge of opening to customers during a pandemic. Most of these business owners started the process of starting their business long before they could have known what was coming in 2020. Learn more about a few of these businesses stories below.

Participating Businesses

Banh Ngon, 690 Sargent Ave

Habesha Restaurant, 594 Ellice Ave

Caplan Debt Solutions, 1151 Portage Ave

Pitza Witza, 636 Notre Dame Ave

Bistro on Notre Dame, 784 Notre Dame Ave

RH Variety, 643 Portage Ave

Warkentin Business Solutions, 598 Ellice Ave

Right Ride Auto, 712 Portage Ave

Garden House East Indian Cuisine, 789 Portage Ave

West End Businesses Established in 2020

  • Vast Market, 407 Carlton St
  • Bright Link Immigration, 714 Sargent Ave
  • Hair Bruja, 1318 Portage Ave
  • Snap Dragon Delivery Service, 1346 Clifton St
  • Madonna Beauty Salon, 375 Cumberland Ave
  • Richard G. Gamble C.A., 1151 Portage Ave
  • Bread & Biryani Inc., 616 Ellice Ave
  • A Muse N Games, 576 Wall St
  • Asmara Café, 633 Portage Ave
  • Waanga 2020 Fashion, 464 Sherbrook St
  • Lockmish Locksmith, 1462 Erin St
  • Melt Chocolates, 600 Clifton St
  • La Farina, 570 Portage Ave
  • Acadian Insulation, 824 Erin St
  • Anmol Auto Sales, 1121 Ellice Ave
  • Refill Zero Waste Market, 634 Notre Dame Ave
  • Habesha Restaurant, 594 Ellice Ave
  • Sea Level 100, 806 Sargent Ave
  • Banh Ngon, 690 Sargent Ave
  • M28 Travel and Tours, 871 Sargent Ave
  • Right Ride Auto, 712 Portage Ave
  • Caplan Debt Solutions, 1151 Portage Ave
  • Fusion Wok, 899 Portage Ave
  • All Natural Meats, 628 Notre Dame Ave
  • Meaza Medical Spa & Salon, 510 Sargent Ave
  • Right Ride Auto, 712 Portage Ave
  • Marwa Store, 695 Sargent Ave
  • 36D Building & Design, 1037 Erin St
  • Warkentin Business Solutions, 598 Ellice Ave
  • Pitza Witza, 636 Notre Dame Ave
  • Peak Ventilation, 1440 Erin St
  • Straight Arrow Automotive, 1250 Wall
  • Bistro on Notre Dame, 784 Notre Dame Ave
  • Chef on Demand, 510 Sargent Ave
  • RH Variety, 643 Portage Ave
  • Pho Five Star, 555 Balmoral St
  • Ellice Auto Repair, 593 Ellice Ave
  • Garden House East Indian Cuisine, 789 Portage Ave

Bistro on Notre Dame, 784 Notre Dame Ave

On November 14th, 2020, Bistro on Notre Dame was ready to open their doors to the public, the tables were set, the safety measures were in place and the food was prepped. Unfortunately, this was right at the time the Government of Manitoba was announcing that the entire province would be moving to Critical (Red) on the Pandemic Response System. Bistro on Notre Dame had to quickly adapt to these new measures and began adjusting their menu to make it takeout and delivery friendly.

Before Bistro on Notre Dame opened, Dean Herket, owner of Bistro on Notre Dame, had already faced many hurdles from renovation delays to personal illness. This led to Bistro on Notre Dame opening a year later than originally planned. Even with delays, Dean was determined to get his business up and running and share his locally sourced ‘elevated comfort food’ menu to Winnipeg. Dean wanted the space to feel comfortable and welcoming. You can definitely feel that as soon as you walk into the space. From the rustic decor and open kitchen, the space has a warm feel to it. Dean felt that by having an open kitchen it would allow for conversation with folks who might just be there for lunch break, or stopping by in between shifts, it also would allow for Dean to further communicate and discuss his menu and the story behind some of the menu items.

Next time you stop by, be sure to order a piece of their lime & agave chess pie and have Dean explain the story behind why it is called chess pie. You will be able to get a sense of the care and thought that went into every part of Bistro on Notre Dame and the atmosphere they are very excited to share with everyone.

RH Variety, 643 Portage Ave

Exactly one year ago, RH Variety opened their doors in the West End. Rey, owner of RH Variety, says that the year definitely came with challenges but he is grateful for all of the community and government support. At RH Variety, you will find a ‘variety’ of everyday grocery items to bubble tea to fried chicken specials. Rey says that he liked the idea of a mixed concept and not just sticking to one cuisine. Rey has always had a passion for food. His previous work experience has allowed him to try out different cuisines and find new items for his customers. You can find Rey’s specials on Skip the Dishes or visit 643 Portage Ave. RH Variety is open 9am-9pm on weekends and 10-8pm on weekdays.

Habesha Restaurant, 594 Ellice Ave

On September 23rd, 2020, the West End welcomed a new Ethiopian restaurant called Habesha. Mimi, owner of Habesha Restaurant, says it was a dream come true to open her own restaurant. Growing up in East Africa, she had always worked in a restaurant and had a passion for food. Although the pandemic has caused struggles, she was overwhelmed with the support the community showed her. Next time you are in the neighbourhood, be sure to check it out. Mimi suggests trying her Kiffo Roll Up with Injera, she said it is a play on a sushi roll and is a really unique option. For any veggie lovers out there, don’t worry, there are tons of vegetarian options on the menu! You can find Habesha on DoorDash or at 594 Ellice Ave, they currently have limited dine-in service.

Right Ride Auto, 712 Portage Ave

Right Ride Auto is a new car dealership in the West End. Since opening in May 2020, they have been able to provide folks with a great selection of both preowned and new vehicles. Their friendly staff is available to help folks through the whole process from finances to making sure it is the right vehicle for you. Throughout the pandemic, Right Ride Auto has continued to focus on making sure they were meeting their customers needs. Next time you are driving or walking along Portage Ave, be sure to pop in! You can also learn more about their vehicle selection by visiting rightride.com.

Banh Ngon, 690 Sargent Ave

Banh Ngon, located on the corner of Sargent and Victor street, opened on September 4th, 2020. The family owned business decided to open up shop in the West End because of the blooming culture in the neighbourhood and they wanted to share their own culture with the community. Sandy Tran, from Banh Ngon, says that the West End also offered a lot of foot traffic which was key for their takeout style operation. They wanted to create a space that was quick and easy for folks to grab some delicious Vietnamese food. Banh is a term that refers to a variety of prepared foods, sweet or savoury, Sandy Tran, from Banh Ngon explains. “Ngon translates to tasty or delicious. Because we love to make all types of yummy food and plan to always add new items, we wanted the name to represent our many specialties,” Sandy Tran, Banh Ngon.

In some ways, Banh Ngon was fortunate that they had planned to operate as a takeout style restaurant from the start. During the pandemic, they were able to continue to operate and it did not have a large effect on them. Sandy Tran says “With the wave of supporting local businesses; we had found ourselves overwhelmed with love and orders by the entire community of Winnipeg. We are beyond grateful for the response the community has given us with our business and hope to feed the community with our traditional meals to get through this together.”

It’s a challenge for any new business to try and get their name out, Sandy Tran says that it was no different for them. Fortuntely, they have found that their social media presence on Instagram has been a great way to get the word out and to keep their customers informed. You can follow Banh Nagon at @BanhNgonWPG on Instagram to keep up with their latest updates.

Next time you are walking or driving through the neighbourhood, be sure to stop in and try one of their traditional cold cuts. It includes a variety of house made cold cuts that have a piece of Vietnam in every bite. It is a perfect combination of spice and seasoning and can be enjoyed by all ages.

Warkentin Business Solutions, 598 Ellice Ave

Warkentin Business Solutions opened their storefront in March 2020. After being in business for two years, TJ, owner of Wakerntin Business Solutions decided to open up a storefront right here in the West end. Their business specializes in income tax, cash refunds, business tax and book keeping. TJ says that through his 20 years of experience in banking, he found that there was a need for specialized accounting advice and consulting for businesses. He wanted to create a space that was approachable to everyone, whether you were a new businesses owner or it was your first time paying taxes. Their space is set up to be a relaxing and a comfortable space to learn and get some great advice at an affordable cost. If you would like to learn more, be sure to call 204-786-8572 or email info@wbtax.ca.

Author: Aurora Debreuil