HicksBiz Blog

Hicks on Biz: How do you say no to United Cycle's Wilf Brooks? By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, April 13, 2018

After a lifetime of community building, Wilf Brooks has passed the United Cycle reins to his niece and nephew. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN By GRAHAM HICKS Okay Wilf Brooks, you’re now “retired”.  You turned in your key to the vast United Cycle Sport (oops, now United Sport & Cycle) building. The sale is complete. A fourth generation of Brooks descendants, your nephew and niece Jason Bots and Lisa Ross, are now 100% owners of the store that’s operated in Edmonton since 1928. United Cycle is an anomaly:  The independent sports store with one outlet on 103 Street south of Whyte has not only survived, but flourished. At 110,000 square feet, the recently re-branded United Sport & Cycle is one of Canada’s biggest sports stores. Practically every other independent store in town of any vintage is long gone, unable to compete price-wise against big-box chains. Wilf, how did you do it? You, your sister Iola and your brother Rod took over United Cycle ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Rostizado moves from good to excellent by GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN: April 10, 2018

Lobster and prawns in a creamy salsa with corn: Delicious! GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN By GRAHAM HICKS Rostizado (by Tres Carnales) #102, 10359-104 St. (Mercer Building) 780-761-0911 Mon. to Fri. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.  (10 p.m. Friday) Sat. 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Sundays Dinner for two, not including tip, tax or beverage:  Basic, $40; loaded, $80 Food – 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience – 4 of 5 Suns Service- 4 of 5 Suns Rostizado has changed in the four years since  last reviewed in this column. It has gone from very good to excellent. The “modern Mexican” restaurant — started by the Tres Carnales trio of Dani Braun, Edgar Gutierrez and Chris Sills — should now be considered as one of the city’s top-10 restaurants. As only a confident, independent restaurant can do, Rostizado has gone beyond its former signature dishes, its Cuban-style pork shoulder and chicken cooked Mexican-street style on giant rotisseries. The rotis ... Read the rest of entry »

A new pan-Canadian culture is emerging out of the Citadel Theatre's The Silver Arrow and Shumka's Ancestors and Elders - dual review by GRAHAM HICKS

The Silver Arrow Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta Canada April 4 to 29, 2018 Ancestors and Elders Shumka Ukrainian Dancers, Kehewin Native Dance Theatre and Running Thunder Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada April 27 and 28, 2018 Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com Mixing and matching of the highest order has been happening on Edmonton’s two major stages. The Citadel Theatre’s Silver Arrow is a rollicking re-telling/re-invention of the legend of Robin Hood, a world premiere as written by Edmonton playwright Mieko Ouchi.  In this Robin Hood, the world is cheerfully turned upside down – women play men’s parts, half the action is in the air on ropes and sashes, ethnicity is all a blur. The play is written around actor Kristi Hansen’s real-life disability of being born one-legged, with much fun and good-natured humour written into the character, including a beautiful prothesis created for her by a shy admirer. All the above is all just ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Many want us to think otherwise, but the world is a cleaner place By GRAHAM HICKS, first published April 5, 2018

Pipes are seen at the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain facility in Edmonton, Alta., Thursday, April 6, 2017. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says a B.C. court decision on the Trans-Mountain pipeline is a definitive victory. The federal court of appeal on Friday dismissed the B.C. government's bid to appeal a National Energy Board ruling that allowed Kinder Morgan Canada to bypass local bylaws during construction.JONATHAN HAYWARD / THE CANADIAN PRESS By Graham Hicks With little government regulation, the USA’s overall greenhouse gas emissions have been dropping. The USA is now expected to meet its Paris greenhouse gas reduction commitments – despite having torn up that agreement last year. Why?  Market forces! Utility companies can make more money converting coal-burning electricity plants to natural gas. There’s so much natural gas, it’s so easy to produce, it’s cheaper to burn than coal and it burns far cleaner than coal. In the mid-2000s, 50% of American el ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Buco Pizzeria and Vino Bars offer excellent wide-ranging fare By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN April 3, 2018

Buco-style crispy-skinned seabass , served with a light mayo sauce. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Buco Pizzeria and Vino Bars bucopizzera.com Buco EPCOR Tower, 10423-101 St., main floor 780-250-2826 Mon. to Fri. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (1 a.m. Friday) Sat. 4 p.m.  to 1 a.m. Sun. 4 p.m. to 11 a.m. Buco Windermere, 1155 Windermere Way S.W. 780-540-2826 Tues. to Sat. 11 a.m. to midnight (1 a.m. Friday/Saturday) Sun. and Mon. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Buco St. Albert, 130 Bellerose Dr., St. Albert 780-569-2826 Mon. to Fri. 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (10:30 p.m. Friday) Sat. 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sun. 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Dinner for two, not including tip, tax or beverage:  Basic, $30; loaded, $80 Food – 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience – 4 of 5 Suns Service –  4 of 5 Suns Graham Hicks 780-707-6379 graham.hicks@hicksbiz.com Hicksbiz.com @hicksonsix Even Carmelo Rago, top dog of the family-run Sorrentino/Buco restaurant group, is surprised at the welcome the city has ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Sale of Edmonton company CCI Thermal a big deal By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN March 29, 2018

Harold Roozen is the founder of CCI Thermal Technologies. File photoLarry Wong / EDMONTON JOURNAL By Graham Hicks Historically, business in Edmonton is conducted with discretion, privacy and civility. Those qualities are in marked contrast to Calgary’s boisterous, extroverted big-money business sector – at least until the Great Humbling of 2015 and 2016. Edmontonians, no matter their wealth, don’t drive flashy cars. The most ostentatious vehicles on our roads are Range Rovers, Mercedes roadsters or Beemers. Other than Daryl Katz’s mega-mansion overlooking Hawrelak Park, fine homes in this town are inconspicuous – hidden on acreages or in cul-de-sacs, surrounded by trees. Showing off is just not part of the culture. It makes sense, therefore, that the sale of privately-owned, Edmonton-based CCI Thermal to American industrial-heating giant Thermon Heating Systems, for an eyebrow-lifting, all-cash $258 million Cdn, was barely publicized. But it is a BIG DEAL, ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Wildflower Grill good, but too conventional By GRAHAM HICKS first published EDMONTON SUN March 27, 2018

Not much happening within the Wildflower pork chop. Wildflower Grill 10009 107 St. 780-990-1938 Wildfloweredmonton.com 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Fridays and Saturdays, 11 p.m.) Dinner for two, not including tip, tax or beverage:  Basic, $70; loaded, $130 Food – 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience – 3.5 of 5 Suns Service- 4 of 5 Suns By GRAHAM HICKS Expectations, you are banished. Go sulk under the kitchen table. You’ve let me down again. Off the Weekly Dish reviewing team went last week – three of us – on a mid-week expedition to the Wildflower Grill. Wildflower has been around for many years – originally the flagship of Richard Lim’s now-defunct Lazia Hospitality Group –  in the same building as the downtown Matrix Hotel but with a separate entrance and address. It was sold sometime in the past year, with a reported re-commitment to quality by the new owners, and the hiring of a young Calgary chef, J.P. Dublado. I had high ho ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: When it comes to transportation in Edmonton, stick to the tried, true and inexpensive By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, March 23, 2018

Edmonton transit buses make their way along 104 Avenue. File photoDavid Bloom / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS Gondolas!  NO! Prototype Magnetic-Levitation LRT!  NOOOOO! Bombardier’s Advanced Rapid Transit (Vancouver’s SkyTrain)!   Maybe, but NOT NOW! BRT (Bus Rapid Transit)!  PROBABLY! Smart roads! Smaller vehicles! Cleaner vehicles! And, one day, driverless vehicles! YES !  But by then I will be mouldering in my low-density urban grave. Hasn’t Edmonton city council and its senior management learned anything from the dismal failure of our broken-down Cadillac waste management system, from the not-fully operational NAIT LRT line, from  bridges built years behind schedule, from the soon-to-be financial fiasco of Blatchford? Don’t wing it with unproven technology!!! Use reliable and cost-effective technologies … like, golly, highways and private vehicles. Like old-fashioned buses! As the public hearings on expanding ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Vietnamese contrast – An Chay, Miss Saigon, Saigon Garden by GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN March 20, 2018

An Chay's vegetarian vermicelli special at $13 is excellent value. An Chay 11203 Jasper Ave. Facebook 780-752-2203 Weekdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Weekends, noon to 8 p.m. Closed Tuesdays Dinner for two, not including tip, tax or beverage:  Basic, $25; loaded, $50 Food – 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience – 4.5 of 5 Suns Service- 4 of 5 Suns Miss Saigon 10375 78 Ave. misssaigonyeg.com 780-249-2220 Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. Dinner for two, basic $30; loaded, $45 Food – 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience – 3.5 of 5 Suns Service – 3.5 of 5 Suns *** Saigon Garden 9711 107 Ave. 780-428-8833 saigongarden.ca Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Tuesdays Dinner for two, basic $30; loaded $45 Food – 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience – 2.5 of 5 Suns Service – 4 of 5 Suns Three Vietnamese eateries today, each worthy, but certainly illustrating the breadth and ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Edmonton’s broken-down Cadillac waste management system by GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN March 16, 2018

A contract worker sorts paper at the Edmonton recycling facility.Ed Kaiser / Postmedia By Graham Hicks Rarely has a city felt so betrayed, so let down, by one of its own departments. City Auditor David Wiun’s recently released audit of the Waste Services Branch is one of the most damning City of Edmonton public reports ever released. The once world-famous City of Edmonton Waste Services Branch had been fudging its reports, its numbers were not to be believed, its management culture had become “independent” (i.e. gone rogue), equipment and facilities were (and are) falling apart …   Waste Services has hopelessly failed in its long-touted goal of diverting 90% of waste from landfill. The best the city had done was diverting 49.5% of residential garbage in 2013, and had since been getting worse, down to 35.7% in 2016. Most of our garbage continues to be hauled to a landfill site near Ryley, 80 kilometres away. Nobody knows how much – or where &nda ... Read the rest of entry »