Sony Mehta and his family were all smiles Monday morning when they saw the new renovations to their business, Chico's Fried Chicken & Pizza on Bowen Road.
The Mehtas handed their keys over to James MacIntyre, owner of nearby Studio Kitchens & Design Ltd., on Friday and MacIntyre and his staff worked 24 hours a day until Monday morning to complete the renovations to the front section of the 25-year-old business and reorganize its kitchen.
MacIntyre and his staff are longtime customers at Chico's and his company decided to step in when Mehta was having financial troubles and completed the needed renovations for free.
Mehta, his wife Sukh and children Haresh and Kareena, were greeted at their store by MacIntyre, his staff, city councillors, Nanaimo economic officials and local media when he first saw the work that was done to his restaurant.
"We were amazed at the work James and his staff did to our business," Sukh Mehta said.
"When James first approached us with offer, we couldn't believe it. Having someone who is one of our regular customers step up like to help out business is exciting and overwhelming." MacIntyre said that for him, it's all about "paying it forward."
"I hope this starts a trend in Nanaimo, with businesses helping other businesses like this," he said.
CAFE ENTERS CHALLENGE
COCO Cafe in Cedar has entered the National Co-op Challenge for a chance to win $25,000 to expand the business, which exists to create opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.
Spokeswoman Katie Marks said COCO Cafe is one of just three finalists in the Western region of Canada remaining in the competition, sponsored by the non-profit group, and with two of the remaining three targeted to each receive a $25,000 prize, the chances are good the cafe will receive the funding.
But Marks said nothing should be taken for granted and she's encouraging residents of the mid-Island region to vote online for the cafe in the competition at www.cooperators.ca. until the final day on Oct. 18.
"We're so excited to be part of this challenge," Marks said.
"If we win $25,000, we'll use the money to complete renovations to our kitchen, expand the rest of the building and develop a new menu. We really want to get this operation booming."
Jenn Duncan and Michelle Leigh of Nanaimo and Deb Colk of Duncan are the first three finalists to be randomly drawn to participate in the "Live Free for a Year" Grand Finale event at Woodgrove Centre.
Each of the finalists received a $500 Woodgrove Centre gift card.
Three finalists will be drawn each week for next three weeks of the promotion and all 12 finalists will participate in the contest's Grand Finale Event on Oct. 19 in centre court to determine the grand prize winner.
The $40,000 grand-prize package in the promotion is the largest Woodgrove has ever given away.
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