HicksBiz Blog

Hicks on Biz: Edmonton's eyelash queen By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 17, 2019

SugarlashPRO founder Courtney Buhler poses in Sugarlash's soon-to-open headquarters on Whyte Avenue. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUNEdmonton By GRAHAM HICKS Name the Edmonton cosmetics company, that, in 10 years, has gone from a home-based business to a global eyelash company, with 35 staff and expected 2019 revenues of  $18 to $20 million? Stumped? Of course! But all will soon change. Courtney Buhler’s SugarlashPRO will be a local household name once the company unveils its storefront world headquarters, now under construction at Whyte Avenue and 108 Street, in the former BMO bank building. Courtney’s is a remarkable story of determination and perseverance, of sensing an opportunity, overcoming obstacles, taking on major financial risk … and winning. She started as a broke, 20-year-old single mom. Today she is only 30, with two more kids and a most supportive husband. Dustin Buhler formerly handled SugarlashPRO's logistics. Courtney and SugarlashPRO are proof positive that E ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Turkish wine and food an unexpected delight By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 14, 2019

Sofra's roasted Turkish-style lamb chops, duck breast and tenderloin are simply fabulous. Graham Hicks/Edmonton SunEdmonton Sofra Authentic Turkish Cuisine 10345 106 St. NW 780-423-3044 Facebook No listed delivery service Tues. to Sun. 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Monday Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience:  4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding tip, taxes or beverages: Basic, $30; loaded $90 By GRAHAM HICKS Turkish food in Edmonton does not get the respect it deserves. Here’s a culture, an ancient civilization that cradled the Greeks and the Romans. It’s among the world’s most moderate Muslim nations … with a food pallet as attuned to western meat ‘n’ potatoes as anything in Greece and Central Europe. Another interesting anomaly: Turkey’s geographical location and terrain would suggest the country ought to be a major producer of wine. Turkey is all about grapes, not wine. Grapes as a fruit, dried grapes as raisins, distilled gra ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Explaining Don Iveson By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 10, 2019

Mayor Don Iveson speaks with media at the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce's Mayor's State of the City Address luncheon at Edmonton Convention Centre in Edmonton, on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. Ian Kucerak / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS Mayor Don Iveson gave his sixth annual “State of the City” speech on Wednesday to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. As he moved into well-covered territory – high-tech, innovation, blah, blah, blah – my mind wandered. The next municipal election is October, 2021 –  2½ years away. If Iveson runs for a third time will anybody challenge him? I  doubt it. Mike Nickel, city council’s lone fiscal hawk, knows he can’t beat Iveson – heck, he couldn’t even win a UCP nomination in his provincial riding. Councillors Michael Walters and Sarah Hamilton have flirted with the idea. But neither would run against pal Don. As Iveson moved on  in a rather boring speech, I thought about his political p ... Read the rest of entry »

Weekly Dish: London Local can teach the Brits how to cook By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 7, 2019

London Local owner/chef Lindsay Porter (foreground) and sous-chef Leslie Tannahill are bringing English cuisine back to life! Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN London Local 2307 Ellwood Drive SW 780-752-2244 London-local.ca Delivery: Doordash Tues. to Fri. 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (11 p.m. Friday) Sat. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sun. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Monday Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience:  4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding tip, taxes or beverages: Basic, $35; loaded $70 By GRAHAM HICKS It’s no secret. The food at the “English-inspired” London Local is consistently delicious because the kitchen doesn’t believe in shortcuts. The sauces – Ketchup-style, HP-style, tartar, relish – are originals, conceived and made from scratch by owner/chef Lindsay Porter. The meats are ground/cured/tenderized in house. Even veggies get special treatment. Porter’s brussels sprouts are sautéed in a house-created ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Why moving oil by rail is a flop By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 3, 2019

Rail cars wait for pickup in Winnipeg. (File photo) By GRAHAM HICKS Today I am going to figure out, with the help of energy analyst Tim Pickering of Calgary-based Auspice Capital, one of the weirdest aspects of Alberta’s oil business. Despite good prices for our heavy oil, why has shipping oil-by-rail fallen off the map? Alberta oil producers are currently sitting pretty. Our Western Canadian Select (WCS) heavy oil – basically the oil from the oil sands — has moved from a rock-bottom $12 US a barrel last fall to around $40 today. (All prices are in American dollars. P.S. this column is not about the dreaded “differential” – it is concerned only with the actual price of heavy oil.) We all know the pipelines carrying our oil are full.  Our oil storage capacity – those great big tank farms we see around the Strathcona County refineries and elsewhere along our oil pipelines – is once again filling up. If the pipelines are full, the storage tanks ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Meuwly makes magnificent meats By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, April 30, 2019

Behind the Meuwly kitchen counter blenders, through a ghostly glass, primal meat cuts are being cured. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Meuwly’s 10706 124 St. 587-778-7615 meuwlys.com No delivery listed Mon. to Sat. 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Sat. to 5 p.m.) Closed Sunday Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience:  3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Lunch for two excluding tip, taxes or beverages: Basic, $17.50; loaded $30 By Graham Hicks In the good ol’ days, foods weren’t gussied up with  trendy names. “Charcuterie” was simply called cold cuts. “Prosciutto” was cured Italian ham. “Salumi” was salami. But in the good ol’ days, cold cuts were limited to Schneiders garlic sausage, Maple Leaf baloney and vacuum-sealed slices of wet ham. While the butcher who makes cold cuts is now a “charcuterie master” and any small independent food processor is an “artisan”, what’s available today by way of locally-mad ... Read the rest of entry »

Come walk the North Saskatchewan River Valley, from Fort Saskatchewan to Devon, June 7 to June 11, 2019

Join the Second Annual Camino Edmonton 2019!!! The Camino Edmonton is an informal, five-day walk through the North Saskatchewan River Valley from Friday June 7 to Tuesday June 11, 2019, starting at Fort Saskatchewan/Lamoureux, ending at the University of Alberta Botanical Garden. All hikers are welcome to join us - for a day, a half-day or the entire five days. Everybody is responsible for their own daily drop-off/pickup arrangements.   Here is the schedule. Friday June 7, 2019:   Meet 8:30 a.m. Lamoureux Church (Notre Dame de Lourdes Catholic Church) , Village of Lamoureux, 56  Lamoureux Dr.  Finish about 4:30 p.m. Strathcona County  Nature Trail Staging Area - Township Road 540 on the east side of  the North Saskatchewan River  (just west of Alberta Capital Region Wastewater treatment plant, north of the Legends Golf Club.) Distance 15 km. Notes:  Lamoureux is a village across the river from Fort Saskatchewn. As there is no walkway on the bridge in ... Read the rest of entry »

The story of Journey singer Steve Perry and Edmonton rock band Privilege ... a long time ago!

For years and years, there have been rumours/legends around Edmonton that Steve Perry - the amazing voice of Journey in the early '80s when the band had its big hits  Don't Stop Believin', Open Arms and Any Way You Want It - sang with the popular Edmonton band Privilege before he joined Journey.  Having hooked up with band leader Andy Krawchuk on Facebook, I asked Andy what that was all about. It's true! Here's the story of Steve Perry and Privilege - from the mid-'70s, when Privilege was spending much time in the USA. "Let's see if I can remember this," wrote Andy from the United Kingdom, where he has lived for a long time. "I met Steve (Perry) when our band, which had changed its name from the A&W Lords to Privilege, were recording in Bakersfield, California at the recording studio belonging to our producer Gary Paxton. "Steve was a starving drummer doing session work, but he was also in a band. He loved our horns and came to see us in Hollywood when Privilege was warming up for the Ike a ... Read the rest of entry »