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COMOX VALLEY

Profiles of Excellence

S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 e d i t ion

u sing t h eir vision d rive an d d e t ermina t ion t o s u ccee d .

Comox Valley Record Your community. Your newspaper.

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Comox Valley Record At a time when “global” is used to describe everything from “community” to the “economy,” there’s a lot to be said for local. And when it comes to local – local people, local stories, local business – the Black Press Community Newspapers are able to do it like no one else. With that in mind, welcome to our third edition of the Comox Valley’s Profiles of Excellence. Inside this special magazine section, you’ll read the stories of some of our community’s finest and most forward-thinking business people. From all sectors of local commerce, these leaders contribute to the very makeup of our community through their businesses and volunteer commitments. Our goal in publishing Profiles of Excellence is to capture in words and images the personal side to their stories. The local angle is truly close to home for our company. Black Press is Vancouver Island based, founded in 1985 by David Black, who continues to call the Island home. The award-winning Comox Valley Record is your paper. We are your source for local community information with our twice-weekly publications and our prized special sections. We continue to innovate to meet your needs and now offer you our services by means of our website, mobile phone applications, Facebook, and Twitter. Thank you for your continued support of the Comox Valley Record. Enjoy this edition of Profiles of Excellence.

f e at u r e w r i t e r Ryan Parton www.ryanparton.ca Ryan Parton is a professional copywriter and the former Regional Director for B.C. of the Professional Writers Association of Canada. As the owner of Ryan Parton Writing Solutions, which he founded in 2008, Ryan helps businesses, corporations and other organizations develop highly effective marketing materials and substantially increase the return on investment from their marketing initiatives. For a free consultation, call 250.702.1103 or visit ryanparton.ca/consult.

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COMOX VALLEY

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inside this issue Ronni Lister Remax Ocean Pacific Realty Personal Real Estate Corporation......................................................... 4-5 Lourdes Gant Professional Auditor & Human Relations Specialist............................ 6-7 Jeff and Sharon Germain, Beltone Hearing Care Centres............................................................... 8-9 Jonathan Veale and Richard De Luca, De Luca Veale Investment Counsel Inc............................................. 10-11 Richard Gibbs Courtenay Glass................................................................................... 12-13 Len Anglin Ironwood Shake & Tile Ltd.................................................................. 14-15 Detlef, Vera, Nadja and Saskia Recktenwald Vera De Windows Inc.. ........................................................................ 16-17 Greg Oksanen and Jane Wareing Living Room Pharmacy....................................................................... 18-19 Publisher: Joanna Ross Feature Writer: Ryan Parton Design: Jacoba Primrose 765 McPhee Avenue, Courtenay, BC V9N 2Z7 250.338.5811 www.comoxvalleyrecord.com

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Ronni Lister Personal Real Estate Corporation, Remax Ocean Pacific Realty

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Ronni Lister Personal Real Estate Corporation Remax Ocean Pacific Realty Buying or selling a home is one of the most significant transactions most of us will make in a lifetime. It makes sense, then, to have an expert in your corner looking out for your best interests. Here in the Comox Valley, you would be hard-pressed to find someone better suited for that role than Ronni Lister. A licensed Realtor with RE/MAX Ocean Pacific Realty, Lister has continually ranked among the Valley’s top Realtors. That 70 per cent of her clients come to her through referrals speaks to her honesty, integrity and ability to match every client with the right home at the right price. Lister’s impressive achievements read like the back of a hall-of-famer’s baseball card: she’s a six-time RE/MAX Platinum Award winner, she’s been among the Comox Valley’s top 10 Realtors for six years running and she’s been recognized as one of the top 25 RE/MAX Realtors in Western Canada for two years straight.

she says. “Even though we’ve grown considerably, I think those cooperative values still run strong. This place is a real hidden gem.” While Lister’s exemplary customer service keeps her phone ringing with referrals (she’s been known to personally steamclean a client’s carpets and to close deals on Christmas Eve!), it’s her proven marketing strategy that delivers results for her clients time and time again. “My marketing program is quite extensive, and it’s one of the things I really take pride in,” she says. “We market each home individually. For some people it’s virtual tours; for others it’s open houses, slideshows or direct mail. Everything is very personalized based on the client’s needs and market.

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That 70 per cent of her clients come to her through referrals speaks to her honesty, integrity and ability to match every client with the right home at the right price.

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“One thing that I do for every client,” she adds, “is I have a professional photographer take pictures of their home. That’s pretty rare, but it can make a huge difference.”

Ronni Lister Personal Real Estate Corporation Remax Ocean Pacific Realty

“I don’t really have a secret,” says Lister with characteristic modesty. “I work hard, I treat every client with respect and I take the time to make sure I truly understand their needs. I’m committed every day to being 100 per cent accountable for my actions and to provide honest advice to the best of my abilities.” Though she wouldn’t refer to it as such, Lister’s strict moral code is likely a product of her upbringing right here in the Comox Valley. “The Valley has always been a tight-knit community where people work together and help each other out,”

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Remax Ocean Pacific Realty 2230A Cliffe Avenue, Courtenay, BC V9N 2L4 Tel: 250-334-9900 www.ronnilister.com ronnilister@shaw.ca

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Lourdes Gant, Professional Auditor & Human Relations Specialist

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Lourdes Gant Professional Auditor & Human Relations Specialist Billionaire philanthropists notwithstanding, the primary goal of most companies is to make money. And the goal of making more money, at least in theory, is to lead happier lives. Yet somehow, many business owners have no idea that their companies are bleeding profits, let alone where those leaks are coming from. Many more lead workaholic lifestyles that corrode away their personal relationships. Lourdes Gant is a professional auditor and international human relations specialist based in the Comox Valley who specializes in helping business owners to improve upon the quality of their business and personal lives. “I help business people to generate more profits, streamline their businesses, and accelerate their company growth.” Although Lourdes is certified as a professional accountant and financial auditor, she actually provides her clients the much more comprehensive service that also enables them to improve upon the quality of their personal lives. “I work with executive business owners,” she explains. “Generally they come to me for a financial audit but they soon realize that numbers only tell part of the story. It’s also important to identify the more subtle, chronic sources of loss.” Some of the tools Lourdes brings to her clients include systems for increasing cash flow, empowering employees and

establishing professional boundaries. With extensive experience in China and Southeast Asia, Gant is also uniquely qualified to help companies bridge the substantial gaps in language, culture and ways of doing business when expanding into Asian markets. “Any qualified accounting firm can perform a financial audit,” she explains. “With the business values audit, and the quality of life audit, I can help ensure that a person’s professional life is truly honoring what they are about as a whole person. There’s more to life than work and more to life than just making money. What’s all that worth if your health and happiness is failing? Or if you’re not able to even step away from your business long enough to have a simple rest or to enjoy a family vacation.” With the right systems in place, nearly any business owner can reap the rewards of professional success without sacrificing personal fulfillment.

A “ ” auditor & human r e l at i o n s s p e c i a l i s t

Any accounting firm can perform a financial audit. With the values audit and quality of life audit, I can help you ensure your professional life is truly honouring what you’re about as a whole person.

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Lourdes Gant Professional Auditor & Human Relations Specialist Lourdes Gant International The Consulting Division of Justinian Enterprises Ltd. 4097 Gartley Point Road Courtenay, BC V9N 9T2 Tel: 250-331-0486 Fax: 250-334-9672 fax www.lourdesgant.com

To learn more about Lourdes Gant, and to download a free copy of her Five Ultimate Business Audit Checklists, visit www.lourdesgant.com/freegift

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Sharon and Jeff Germain, Owners, Beltone Hearing Care Centres

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Jeff and Sharon Germain Beltone Hearing Care Centre Tradition runs deep at the Beltone Hearing Care Centres in Courtenay and Comox. When owners Jeff and Sharon Germain bought the business from Jeff’s father four years ago, they were continuing a family tradition that began back in 1974. At the same time, they also earned the right to continue the family association with Beltone Electronics, a name that carries seven decades of excellence and continual innovation in the hearing care industry. “All Beltone offices are independently owned and operated. In our case, we’re a family business that’s run on pride of ownership and commitment to the hearing impaired,” says Jeff who now has 22 years of experience in the industry. “It’s that freedom from corporate dictates that has allowed Beltone Hearing Care Centre to be so responsive to its clients, and to become a leader in the local hearing care industry.” “A lot of people don’t realize that hearing loss is a very serious physical and psychological problem,” adds Jeff. “We’ve learned over time that it’s a very individual and personal thing. Most hearing aids today come with a standard set of features so it’s the skills of the fitter that truly makes the difference in programming them to match the person.” “It’s the attention to detail,” says Sharon. “Our customers tell us all the time that we spend more time with them than they received at other hearing aid places. It all starts with our comprehensive hearing assessment and continues for as long as you own your Beltones with BelCare.”

BelCare™, is Beltone’s unique free lifetime hearing care service. This is available to the customer not just here but if they visit any Beltone retailer in over 40 countries around the world, a service that’s unmatched in the industry. Building on their commitment to customer convenience and service, Jeff and Sharon opened up a second location in Comox in April of last year. “People really appreciate the convenience of having two Beltone locations in the valley from which to choose now” Jeff remarked. Although Beltone Hearing Care Centre carries most top hearing aid brands, another advantage the Germains have over their competitors is their exclusive right to distribute Beltone-manufactured devices. Beltone features an extensive variety of hearing aids designed to fit nearly every lifestyle, budget and degree of hearing loss. The advanced circuitry in Beltone devices gives wearers benefits like automatically honing in on speech when background noise is present and letting them feel as though they are not wearing anything in their ears at all.

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Our customers tell us all the time that we spend more time with them than they received at other hearing aid places. It all starts with our comprehensive hearing assessment.

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Jeff and Sharon Germain Owners Beltone Hearing Care Centres www.beltone.com Courtenay Beltone Hearing Care Centre 519 Fifth Street, Courtenay, BC V9N 1K2 Tel: 250-334-4044

“What you’ll find,” says Jeff, “is that a hearing aid from another company may look the same and have many of the same features, but the Beltone device will fit a little better, be more comfortable in the ear and sound a little bit better. It’s the small differences that add up to a big difference.”

Comox Beltone Hearing Care Centre C105 1966 Guthrie Avenue, Comox, BC V9M 3X7 Tel: 250-339-1180

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Richard De Luca & Jonathan Veale, De Luca Veale Investment Counsel Inc.

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Jonathan Veale & Richard De Luca

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De Luca Veale Investment Counsel Inc. When Richard De Luca and Jonathan Veale founded De Luca Veale Investment Counsel in 2005, their goal was to offer a higher level of Investment Management in the Comox Valley. As Portfolio Managers, the highest securities license available through the B.C. Securities Commission, De Luca and Veale owe – and deliver – an exceptional duty of care to their clients. “Many investors assume financial advisers have a duty to act in their best interests,” states a recent article in the Globe and Mail, titled The flaws in Canada’s financial sector. “In many cases, the financial advice investors get is coloured by the adviser’s need.” By contrast, the article compares Portfolio Managers like De Luca Veale with lawyers and accountants in that they’re mandated by a higher fiduciary duty to put their clients’ needs first. “Another major advantage is that we don’t do commission sales of securities,” notes Veale. “What we do instead is earn a small percentage fee based on assets invested with us; thus we have a vested interest in our clients’ portfolios growing. If a portfolio loses value our fees go down, ensuring our interests are aligned.” De Luca Veale provides a comprehensive range of financial and investment services, including Portfolio Management, retirement and estate planning and even life and health insurance. The difference is that they work directly for their clients rather than for an outside investment firm, bank or mutual fund company.

As a boutique firm, De Luca Veale is able to establish much deeper relationships with a smaller group of clients. These clients, says Veale, tend to be higher networth individuals who “don’t want to be asked every time there’s a decision to be made – they want to trust somebody with the qualifications and experience to take care of it for them.” “We’re proud of our firm’s success in offering a locally owned Portfolio Management business to our community,” says De Luca. “It allows us to fully serve our clients’ investment needs, employ local staff and support local related professionals and businesses, thus benefitting the entire Comox Valley.” With nearly 30 years of combined experience, notes De Luca, “we offer our clients a seasoned team of Portfolio Managers to steward their money while they focus on the other important things in life.” To learn more about De Luca Veale, watch the informative video at www.delucaveale.com. Call 250-890-2000 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

investment counsel

We’re proud of our firm’s success in offering a locally owned Portfolio Management business to our community. It allows us to fully serve our clients’ investment needs, employ local staff and support local related professionals and businesses, thus benefitting the entire Comox Valley.

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Jonathan Veale Richard De Luca De Luca Veale Investment Counsel Inc. De Luca Veale Investment Counsel Inc. 2082-B Comox Ave, Comox BC, V9M 1P8 Tel: 250-890-2000 Fax: 250-890-2080 www.delucaveale.com

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Richard Gibbs, along with his staff at Courtenay Glass, are celebrating their 50th anniversary of providing products and services relating to the glass industry. COMOX

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Richard Gibbs Courtenay Glass A lot has changed in the Comox Valley over the past 50 years. So much, in fact, that it’s actually more significant to look at what’s stayed the same – like the caring service and unrivalled commitment to quality of Courtenay Glass, which celebrates its golden anniversary this year.

Consistency, says Gibbs, has been integral to his company’s success. It also applies to nearly every facet of its operations, from the products it carries to the employees its customers have grown to love – many of whom have been with the company for years.

“When my parents started Courtenay Glass in 1962, it was basically a lean-to against the side of the house,” remarks Richard Gibbs, who took over the family business 20 years ago. “We’ve seen a lot of glass shops come and go over the years. What we’ve done well is offered consistent, professional service while building solid relationships with our customers.”

“Word of mouth has always been one of our biggest advertisers,” he explains. “That’s something that 50 years in business has been able to bring us, because the credibility and product confidence have been there from the start. People know we’ll be around to service them if there’s ever a problem.”

A full-line glass shop, Courtenay Glass is equally trusted by both its residential and commercial clientele. Its products run the gamut from tilt-and-turn windows, custom tabletops and shelving solutions to automatic door controls, custom high-end shower enclosures and rolling shutters and screens. “There are definitely cheaper products on the market, but we stick with quality rather than try to compete on price with the big boxes,” says Gibbs. “Some companies will bounce around with the flavours of the week, but that’s not our business philosophy. We’ve stayed with the same product lines for years. We’re not going to take part in the price-driven race to the bottom.”

So what do the next 50 years have in store for Courtenay Glass? According to Gibbs, a lot more of the same. “You adapt a bit as the market changes, but you have to stick with your main business principles, which for us means sticking with consistent, high-quality products and service. I’d like to sincerely thank the Comox Valley for supporting us these past 50 years, and we look forward to serving you well into the future.”

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We stick with quality. We’ve stayed with the same product lines for years. Consistency has been integral to this company’s success.

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Richard Gibbs – Manager Residential and Commercial Courtenay Glass Courtenay Glass Since 1962 1025 McPhee Ave, Courtenay, BC V9N 3A1 Tel: 250-334-3522 www.courtenayglass.com Email: courtglass@shaw.ca

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Len Anglin, Owner, Ironwood Shake & Tile Ltd.

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Len Anglin Ironwood Shake & Tile Ltd. Though Len Anglin is likely too modest to use the term “excellence” to describe his business practices, the owner of Ironwood Shake & Tile Ltd. embodies the term in nearly everything he does. “When something goes wrong, in business as in life, there are two kinds of people,” says Anglin, a 37-year roofing industry veteran. “There are those who will look for excuses or for someone else to blame, and there are those who take ownership. I choose to live above the line – ownership, accountability and responsibility rather than blame, excuses and denial.” Though there’s no denying Anglin’s business ethics – his company has a coveted ‘A’ rating with the Better Business Bureau and he can produce a long list of satisfied customers in virtually every Vancouver Island community – it doesn’t hurt that the roofs he installs are some of the best suited for the West Coast. Anglin is Vancouver Island’s exclusive installer of permanent metal roofs, which are gradually becoming the gold standard of roofing materials for their environmental, safety and even aesthetic benefits. Permanent metal roofs add considerable curb appeal to a home and are only matched in durability by much pricier options like aluminum and slate, earning permanent metal a hearty recommendation from VancouverIslandsBestRoof.com. That praise is echoed by one of Canada’s most prominent advocates for sustainable construction and consumer protection: Mike Holmes.

In a recent column in the National Post, Canada’s most famous contractor wrote: “If you want a roof that will really last, I recommend a metal roof. Metal roofs make sense because they last about 50 years, are environmentally friendly and fire-resistant. . . . One metal roof will save you from replacing an asphalt roof three times. That’s saving you money.” “People are spending more money these days on upgrades like granite countertops than they are on things that really make a difference and cut costs down the road,” says Anglin. “It’s great to have a granite countertop, but if you have to replace your roof three times then where’s the value?” At the end of the day, says Anglin, it’s all about giving customers a product he’s proud to stand behind. “Treat people the way you want to be treated,” he says. “We strive to always be fair and respectful. We look after our clients from start to finish, because being in business isn’t just about money.”

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Len Anglin of Ironwood Shake & Tile embodies the term “excellence” in nearly everything he does. He chooses to take ownership and responsibility over his business practices, producing a long list of satisfied customers in virtually every Vancouver Island community.

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Len Anglin, Owner Ironwood Shake & Tile Ltd.

Ironwood Shake & Tile Ltd. #115 - 2401 Cliffe Avenue Courtenay, BC V9N 2L5 Courtenay: 250-334-1717 Nanaimo: 250-716-5871 Victoria: 250-380-4853 Toll Free: 1-877-334-1717 www.ironwoodshakeandtile.com

IRONWOOD 15

SHAKE & TILE LTD.


From left to right: Nadja, Vera, Detlef and Saskia Recktenwald of Vera-De Windows Inc.

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Detlef, Vera, Nadja and Saskia Recktenwald

Vera-De Windows Inc. Nadja and Saskia Recktenwald have big shoes to fill. The daughters of Detlef Recketenwald, the only window-making Master Craftsman on Vancouver Island and perhaps all of B.C., are poised to become the new face of Vera-De Windows, a name that has become synonymous with quality craftsmanship and exemplary customer service. “I’m proud of what we’ve done here,” says Detlef, who built Vera-De Windows from the ground up starting in 1998 with his wife Vera who helped him a lot. “The goal of the company has always been straightforward: show the customer the quality, then give the customer what they’ve seen.” Today, Vera-De Windows employs 13 people, builds all of its windows and doors right here in the Comox Valley and ships it products to customers throughout North America. Detlef’s biggest initial challenge was, ironically, his expertise. He’d studied for three years in his native Germany to become a certified window-making journeyman, a level of education that doesn’t even exist in Canada. Unflinchingly opposed to compromise, Detlef has had to train every employee to meet his exacting standards; it took three years, he says, for his first employee to learn “the basics” and be allowed to make his first Vera-De window.

When Nadja, his eldest daughter, asked to take a more active role in the family business (she’d already been helping with translation and advertising), she too had to work her way up from the bottom. “I had her start cleaning toilets,” says Detlef. “When she started crying for something else to do I said ‘Yeah, you can clean the floors too.’” That was 2001. Today, Nadja is the company’s general manager and knows more about windows and doors than most of their competitors’ entire production teams. Her sister, Saskia, handles the administrative side of Vera-De Windows. Before long, the two sisters will share the helm of the family business, continuing their father’s proud tradition of honesty, integrity and impeccable attention to detail. “As our customer, you’re part of the Vera-De Windows family,” says Nadja. “We would never put anything in your house that we wouldn’t put in our own.”

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I’m proud of what we’ve done here. The goal of the company has always been straightforward: show the customer the quality, then give the customer what they’ve seen.

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Detlef Recktenwald Vera Recktenwald Nadja Recktenwald Saskia Recktenwald Vera-De Windows Inc.

That, perhaps better than anything, sums up what Vera-De Windows is all about. It’s why customers regularly invite their installation crews to dinners and family barbecues and routinely refer to their “Vera-De Windows” by name.

Vera-De Windows Inc. 2940 Moray Avenue Courtenay, V9N 7S7 Toll Free: 1-888-773-9911 Tel: 250-334-9819 www.veradewindows.com mail@veradewindows.com

“One thing I have learned through the years, is that what matters more than anything else is the relationships you build.”

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Jane Wareing (left), co-founder of Living Room Pharmacy along with Greg Oksanen, owner/pharmacist and their team at Living Room Pharmacy can help patients in a variety of compounding and pharmaceutical needs.

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Living Room Pharmacy - Online! “I don’t want my child taking med’s but he’s driving his teachers - and us - nuts! Any suggestions?” ... “I’ve been visiting from out of town, and realise that my dad needs more help than he used to. What can I do? Questions like these are asked everyday in Courtenay’s Living Room Pharmacy, the thriving family-owned shop on Cliffe Avenue near 15th. An aging population, busy families, remote homes, cutbacks, busy doctors, and busy teachers, are all factors that pharmacist / owner Greg Oksanen and his wife, Jane Wareing, are addressing in creative ways. “People want to take charge of their own physical and mental health, the health of loved ones, and their children’s education,” says Oksanen. “We’re trying to help them on that journey.” “We’re the only pharmacy to stock dozens of books for clients seeking cognitive therapies and support for many aspects of mental health, parenting, and aging challenges.” Jane, a former teacher with a keen interest in learning disabilities, autism, and ADHD, has amassed a large inventory of selfhelp books on these and mental health conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s and anxiety to PTSD and personality disorders. Recommendations from therapists and doctors in the valley ensure the selection’s continual growth. How do they compete with Amazon? “These books are in the store so people don’t have to wait, our prices are competitive - the import duties have already been paid - and we have a bigger selection for many mental health subjects.”

Living Room Pharmacy has now taken patient care and convenience a step further by offering their books and other items, online at livingroompharmacy.ca. Clients can buy specialty products, and have them delivered, wherever they live. Patients can also make appointments for medication consultations, compression garment fittings, ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, or make other inquiries, online. Livingroompharmacy.ca is dynamic, easy to use, and useful. It’s not an online drugstore; the emphasis is on preventive and cognitive therapies. The Bookstore is designed for easy navigation by different readers - parents, teens, caregivers, and professionals. The Independent Needs section offers product choices to help people stay comfortably in their own homes. Its unique Needs Assessment tool allows users to easily click through and find useful items that could help them, or their loved-ones, stay independent longer. An R.N. with years of eldercare experience helped create a product list, which Living Room is gradually building into its site. The Boutique, still under construction, features products from the U.K. and France. Naturally, the website offers convenient online Rx refill, transfer, and delivery services. Always adding products and links to community resources, Living Room hopes to receive input from local organisations. “Because we independently own our store and website, we can adjust quickly to our clients’ needs,” says Oksanen. “Our clients, and the Comox Valley, deserve it.”

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Livingroompharmacy.ca is dynamic, easy to use, and useful. With an elegant, world-class website, we have stepped up our level of pharmacy service.

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Greg Oksanen & Jane Wareing co-founders Living Room Pharmacy Living Room Pharmacy 204-1530 Cliffe Avenue Courtenay, BC V9N 2K4 Tel: 250-338-5665 Fax: 250-338-5855 Toll Free 1.877.214.6337 www.livingroompharmacy.ca

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COMOX VALLEY

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S P R I N G 2 01 2 e d i t i o n

Comox Valley Record Your community. Your newspaper.

a division of


April 18, 2012