HicksBiz Blog

Hicks on Biz: RAM Manufacturing — keeping it local By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, January 11, 2020

Out of Edmonton, Richard Meunier's RAM Elevators and Lifts manufacture and export 1,000 units a year. By GRAHAM HICKS The announcement came out in November. Located in the city’s west end, RAM Elevators and Lifts Manufacturing had been sold. It was not so much the sale of an independent manufacturing company, founded, operated and owned by lifelong Edmontonians Richard Meunier and his partner Sandy Smart, that was of interest. It was about the buyers. Aroon Sequeira and Corey Smith are among the city’s top businesspeople, business leaders and business thinkers. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Sequeira heads up Sequeira Partners, a financial advisory company focused on helping oilfield servicing companies be bought and sold. Smith was the president, CEO and minority partner in oilsands camp operator Noralta Lodge. He steered that company from a value of minus-$50 million (following the 2014/15 oil crash) to its sale in 2018 to former competitor Civeo Canada for $420 milli ... Read the rest of entry »

Smokey Bear’s non-stop surprises By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, January 7, 2020

Smokey Bear head chef and owner Riley Aitken prepared a dish of Gruger Family oyster mushrooms in a yeast sauce on the fire at the restaurant at 8223 104 Street NW in Edmonton, on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Photo by Ian Kucerak/PostmediaIan Kucerak / Postmedia Smokey Bear 8223 104 St. NW 780-722-7398 Smokeybearyeg.com (Reservations) No listed take-out service Hours: Tues. to Fri. 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sat., 3 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sun. 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Monday Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tip and taxes: Basic, $60, loaded, $160 Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns By GRAHAM HICKS Never has any other Weekly Dish  Edmonton restaurant experience started with bewildered, moved on to puzzled and ended up at delighted. STORY CONTINUES BELOW On first hearing the name Smokey Bear, I envisioned Montana’s style smoked BBQ, picnic tables and sticky ribs. The clever logo — a silhouette of a b ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Why another oilsands surface mine? By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, January 3, 2020

From left, Kyran Auger, of Keepers of the Water, Bonwen Tucker, Oil Change International, Batul Gulamhusein of Climate Justice Alberta and Nigel Henri Robinson with Beaverhillls Warriors held a press event to call on the Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson to reject the proposal and recommended approval of the Teck Frontier Mine in Northern Alberta on November 22, 2019. Photo by Shaughn Butts / PostmediaShaughn Butts / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS Why would the Alberta government be so damned stupid as to propose another surface mine in the oilsands? No matter the science, the optics stink. Yet another vast, oily, tailings pond, huge intrusions into Mother Earth, vast disruptions of the beaver, the fox, the bear and the caribou. All the oilsands stuff that the Rest of Canada hates … and many Albertans are equally uneasy about. The federal Liberal government is committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. To that end, its core political support is near 100 per cent in ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: The retreat from fine dining By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, December 31, 2019

The foie gras triangles from Brasserie Bardot, a second restaurant by Violino. By GRAHAM HICKS It’s a head-scratcher. The best of restaurateurs are crying the blues — fewer customers spending less, higher taxes, higher wages. But as they cry, they open more restaurants! Dozens of secondary locations are opening, using the same name or variations. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Padmanadi, Vivo, Pizzeria Rosso (Pizzeria Bianco), Splash Poke, Bodega Tapas, Farrow Sandwiches, Workshop Eatery (Woodshed Burgers),  Café Amore (Amore Pasta), Dorinku Tokyo (Dorinku Osaka), Duchess Bakery, Green Onion Cake Man,  Violino (Brasserie Bardot) and Local Omnivore (Pink Gorilla) have all opened second outlets. And this list barely scratches the surface. Partake was one of 2019’s most successful new restaurants. Pictured here, its charcuterie board. PHOTOS BY GRAHAM HICKS – EDMONTON SUN Nate Box – who opens, closes and converts eateries in the blink ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Is it possible? A real economic recovery for Alberta? By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, December 27, 2019

The Trans Mountain Expansion Project pipe is on the ground near Highway 60 and 628, and will be in the ground before Christmas as an event was held to mark the start of right-of-way pipeline construction just west of Edmonton Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. Ed Kaiser / Postmedia The great oil crash of 2014/15 sent Alberta’s economy reeling into the ropes. Ever since, as our champ staggered back to its feet, pow! Along would come another blow. Climate change – stop the pipelines! Bash! A provincial NDP government – blame the rich! Spend, spend, spend! Pfffttt! The federal government’s ecological love song – death to the carbon-based economy! Bam! STORY CONTINUES BELOW Heading into the 2020s, the kid is pretty bloodied up and still on its knees. But it’s about to stand up. Its energy is returning. It’s gaining ground, a counter punch here, a jab there, gaining some momentum. The debate over climate change is slowly moving from ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Tastes of Edmonton 2019 By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, December 26, 2019

Braven's prime rib will make meat-lovers think they have died and gone to heaven. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN The best of meals, you remember for a long, long time. The very thought arouses the memory’s tastebuds, accompanied by a sweet sigh of taste recollections. The longer the memory lasts, the better the original must have been. Here are my Weekly Dish highlights from 2019. From Cyrille Koppert’s new Partake, for example, way back last January, I have total recall of the ever-changing complimentary snack given to all guests before dinners are ordered. Not silly old popcorn or peanuts, but, that night, mushroom and melted brie combo on toast. How to start right! Imaginative and complimentary starters set the tone at Partake restaurant. At the Gui Lin Noodle House on 97 Street was the lightest, most fragrant beef noodle soup I can remember, thanks to orange zest and the addition of an exceptional fruit never before tasted, especially in a soup. STORY CONTINUES BELO ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS ON BIZ: The University of Alberta’s next big thing By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, December 20, 2019

University of Alberta experimental oncologist Dr. John Lewis may revolutionize the targeted delivery of medicines /therapies to the human body at a nano-level. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUNEdmonton By GRAHAM HICKS This is a dumb analogy, but it’s as good a way as any to envision might be the biggest scientific breakthrough coming out of the University of Alberta since Dr. Lorne Tyrell’s vaccine for hepatitis C, or the medical team that developed the Edmonton Protocol for reversing severe diabetes. University of Alberta experimental oncologist Dr. John Lewis has worked on “delivery platforms” at the nano scale — i.e. incredibly tiny — to carry drugs or gene therapies to exactly where they are supposed to go in the body in a safe and timely manner. The dumb analogy? Consider the delivery platform to be Star Wars’ Luke Skywalker and his X-wing fighter, attacking the mighty but diseased Death Star molecule: Finding, attacking, gaining entry, and deeply penetrating ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Dorinku Osaka — Casual, stylish & delicious By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, December 17, 2019

Dorinku Osaka's pork katsu, from the restaurant's noon menu, is presented with a variety of smaller dishes. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Dorinku Osaka 10328 Jasper Avenue 780-761-9990 Osaka.dorinku.ca No listed delivery or reservation service Hours:  11 a.m. to late, six days a week, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sun. Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tip and taxes: Basic, $30; loaded, $70 Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns By GRAHAM HICKS Restaurateur Isaac Choi has a magic wand. This past decade, Choi has opened Japonais Bistro, Dorinku Tokyo and DOSC (Drunken Ox Sober Cat). All have been unique and popular. All have boasted consistently excellent food quality. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Dorinku Osaka on Jasper Avenue is no exception. If anything, the latest offering from Isaac Choi is even more interesting food-wise than its predecessors, offering separate lunch and dinner menus, a fresh fish bar and, at the back of the stylish yet casu ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The spirit of giving By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, December 13, 2019

About 40 volunteers packed 1,300 hampers, on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, for the Christmas Bureau in the gym of St. Francis of Assisi Elementary School for delivery to families in need.Shaughn Butts / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS Ever since Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was published in Great Britain in 1843, the story of cold-hearted businessman Ebenezer Scrooge’s Christmas Eve conversion from miser to philanthropist (with the help of a few ghosts) has served as a model for Christmas conscience and charity. So here we are, Christmas season 2019. The problem, truly a First World problem, is the sheer volume of the “asks.” Any charity of any size has a “development” department, that, as often as not, contracts with marketing firms to bombard donors and would-be donors with e-mails, snail mail, telemarketing and social media inserts. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Many of us have become literally afraid to give. If a charity snares your emai ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Braven lives up to expectations By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, December 10, 2019

Braven's prime rib will make meat-lovers think they have died and gone to heaven. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Braven JW Marriott Hotel, Edmonton ICE District 10344-102 St. 780-784-8580 bravenrestaurant.com Reservations: opentable.ca No listed delivery Hours:  Mon. to Fri. 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 pm., 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sat. and Sun. 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tip and taxes: Basic, $60; loaded, $150 Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns By GRAHAM HICKS Braven, to our great relief, is all it’s cracked up to be. The more formal of the lobby-level restaurants in the new, exciting JW Marriott Hotel, Braven is doing an extraordinarily good job of having something for everybody, of offering top-notch quality and dining satisfaction within the “something”. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Its traditional steakhouse selections – the five-to-14-ounce steaks, roast beef, lamb, 14 oz. pork chop, salmon a ... Read the rest of entry »