holly'S AMAZING STORY...
This Amazing Story happened on a crisp fall October afternoon inside Country Club Centre, where we met up with Holly, Kristal, and their supervisor, Save-on-Foods’ Assistant Store Manager, Mandy Wass – at tables that were spread out inside the mall, just outside their grocery store. Being a busy afternoon for the three of them, we ended up having separate conversations – but we were excited to speak each with them, just the same. This is Holly’s Amazing Story.
Before sitting down for their chat, Barb Barry, NACL Employment Services Manager, offered to treat Holly to a beverage at what was then Kaldi Café. As soon as they walked in, the manager greeted Holly by name, and was very apologetic that he didn’t have any Coca-Cola to offer her that day – but was still very happy to see her!
It became clear very quickly as Holly and Barb sat at their table in the mall that Holly was well known within the Country Club environment and beyond. As they chatted, there were definitely a few “Hello, Holly!” greetings said as people passed by. One gentleman stopped to ask how she was doing, and to find out if she was still working at Lowe’s. She let him know that she was “here now” – pointing to the Save-on-Foods doors.
It was awesome to witness this natural, organic “connectivity of community,” where people get to know you just by seeing where you spend your time and/or through their interactions with you – even if it’s where you might take a break or maybe have a drink/snack during your workday (which for Holly, is usually in the Save-on-Foods eating area by the interior mall entrance)! It’s clear that Holly is well-respected and recognized in the community, which follows her wherever she goes… 😊
With that introduction, let’s get into discussing her work at Save-on-Foods and her thoughts on NACL Employment Services!
When asked what Holly loves the most about her job, she said “The customers. I see people, they are my friends, I get to know them, their names, and I am happy to see people. There are people that I’ve made friends with – it’s really lovely.”
About her job itself (as a Cashier), Holly said “I have learned a lot (there are lots of codes to know)…I work hard. I usually work three days a week – sometimes more, sometimes less – it depends. I do like working at Save-on-Foods. I have help if I need it – any of the staff will help me. Mandy and Daryl (the new manager) are great, too. People (staff) are friendly and helpful.”
About Save-on-Foods as an employer, Holly said “I love that they hire people with disabilities. It gives people an opportunity to have a job.”
When asked about working with NACL Employment Services, she said it’s “EXCELLENT. I love working with you guys…I love it. When I needed a job, you’re helpful. I used to work at Lowe’s, and when it was time for a new job, you helped too. Both Fenella (Lotzer, Employment Specialist) and Debra (Buvyer, Employment Specialist) have helped me. They are brilliant, and I am so glad to have them in my life.”
She also went on to say, “I can ask for what I need, when I need it. Deb really listens to me an awful lot, and that is very important to me. I have some challenges with my body too, and it is good for me to work and get out of the house…and sometimes out of my comfort zone. I know that I can do things – what I want with my money (I earn) – I love shopping!”
Holly then told us about some of the benefits/perks of working at Save-on-Foods…
Shirin goes on to say…
“I know this is a perfect match because I’ve learned that Brenda is smart, caring, and always trying her best. She is loyal and never, never says no when asked to try something new. We love her attitude. My staff are like family, and everyone in this workplace family must learn from one another to accept all members of staff, and be flexible and supportive of each other.
This restaurant is a community while still being a family. We always want to be open and welcoming to everyone – and NACL’s employment staff and support, are a good fit for us.
We have Brenda now – and it works.”
After arriving in Canada from Iran in January 2015, Shirin Younessian took over The Bees Knees Café in 2016 – expanding its services (under its full name of The Bees Knees Café and Catering) to include catering, meal planning, and most recently online cooking classes! With the support of her family and staff team, they operated their 208 Wallace Street location in Nanaimo from 2016 until early April 2021, and they opened their second café at Country Club Centre in early March 2021 across from the food court (open during mall hours).
The Bees Knees will be relocating their Wallace Street café to a new, permanent spot on Third Street in the near future – so we’ll update those details here as soon as we have them!
In the meantime, visit their website https://beeskneesnanaimo.ca and social media (Facebook and Instagram links are included below) for more information – but better yet, please visit either of their warm and welcoming café locations for absolutely DELIGHTFUL (and DELICIOUS) food and beverages!
Save-on-Foods (Country Club Centre)
New location on Third Street coming soon - STAY TUNED!
Country Club Centre (across from the food court): #29 - 3200 N. Island Highway, Nanaimo, BC V9T 1W1
NACL thanks you for actively supporting inclusive employers in our community, like The Bees Knees.
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT nacl employment services?
Would your business or the business of someone you know like to be part of the inclusive employment movement? NACL Employment Services is always seeking employers to provide opportunities for our Job Seekers with diversabilities. Please click here for a description of the service itself – or, please click the button below to connect with our Employment Services Manager, Barb Barry, to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!