Travel and Tourism Service Directory

Travel and Tourism Service Directory
Leah Anderson, Manager, EXPÉRIENCE by ANBL

The shopping experience comes first at ANBL

If, as the adage goes, the customer is always right, then he or she is also increasingly discerning and informed. That’s something ANBL understands implicitly with every bottle or can it sells to customers across the province.

These days, offering exciting shopping opportunities is key. Not only does ANBL offer product diversity and great value, it also strives to provide unique shopping experiences.

Three of these truly unique experiences include the Craft Beer Room in Fredericton, the Depot in Salisbury, and the recently opened EXPÉRIENCE by ANBL in Moncton.

Leah Anderson (pictured above), Manager of the EXPÉRIENCE by ANBL boutique, says she, for one, is “beyond excited. . . This is New Brunswick’s first specialty store for wine, spirits, and beer. We wanted to create something unique, accessible and fun for everyone—from beginner to connoisseur.” This new boutique is located in a brand new development in Moncton’s downtown core, at 55 Queen Street.

The store will carry new and trendy items customers often see online. These might include older vintages, rare selections and highly sought-after products from specialized producers. What really makes the difference, though, is the personal touch. “The team has extensive knowledge of the products we carry,” Anderson says. “They curate the whole experience for our customers.”

How do you DEPOT?
Situated a little outside of Moncton (TCH 2, Exit 433), is ANBL’s Depot store. This store also beckons consumers with its own set of unique experiences. “The Depot is a unique concept,” says Store Manager Cheryl Black. “It is the only store of its kind in Atlantic Canada. We like to say that Depot is the Costco of our industry. It isn’t like shopping at your local ANBL store. We have products that are available at your regular stores for the same prices, but our difference is that the more you buy, the more you save.”

In fact, a buy-up discount at the store is offered on all purchases of wine, spirits, and coolers, with savings starting on a purchase of three products. “When you purchase three-to-five items, you’re going to save three per cent on the total purchase,” Black says. “When you purchase six-to 11 items, you’re going to save 10 per cent. And when you purchase 12 or more, you’re saving 15 per cent. The best part of this is that customers can mix and match. You don’t have to buy multiples of the same product. You can buy a case of your favourite wine, but you can also buy 12 totally different products and you’re still going to save 15 per cent. That’s really our key message: How do you depot?”

Cheryl Black, Store Manager, ANBL’s Depot store

Craft Beer Room
Head west on the Trans-Canada Highway, and you may find yourself at the Craft Beer Room, located in a historic property in downtown Fredericton. It boasts the largest craft beer selection in the province—more than 200 brands.

Bianca Brophy is the key buyer for the store and she carefully selects every item carried. “The portfolio is a hybrid of local brews, fringe products, seasonal selections, one-time buys, rare allocations and core specialty products,” Brophy says. “There’s also a growler bar with a fresh line-up each week, where you can sample what’s on tap. We know that the craft beer industry continues to grow and evolve. Customers are constantly looking for what’s new—a new brewery, a new style, a new format. We look at local beers and beers from around the Atlantic Provinces. But we also have craft beers from all over Canada and the world.”

With such diverse shopping experiences available, ANBL is taking the old adage one step further: If the customer is always right, the discerning ones will always come back—and ANBL will be ready and willing to help them have the best experience possible.

Bianca Trophy, Craft Beer Room

The Moncton miracle strikes again

Moncton has a habit of regularly saturating its status as the entertainment hub of the Maritimes. Fortunately for visitors and residents, alike, it’s one habit that’s hard to break. Especially this summer.

“We have a reputation for hosting top-flight world-class entertainment, arts and cultural events,” Mayor Dawn Arnold says. “It’s part of who we are as a city. There’s also an economic dimension: The more interesting happenings we welcome, the more people come to see what we’re offering. Word spreads and business expands. We get a virtuous cycle going on.”

Consider, for example, the Avenir Centre, the city’s new 8,800-seat event centre. Opened to the public less than a year ago, it has already become an anchor of the downtown area, routinely attracting sports and music fans (and their spending dollars) in droves.

This summer (August 16-18), Cirque du Soleil brings to the Centre CRYSTAL, a one-of-a-kind production blending circus arts and ice-skating. Rock groups Def Leppard and Nickelback will also take up temporary residence at the venue in July and August.
Then, there’s this year’s major show—always an economic driver—at the Magnetic Hill concert site. Multiple album-selling country music star Luke Bryan will perform on August 10. Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, Kelsea Ballerini, and the group, Sons of Daughters, will join him in the line-up.

Meanwhile, the sixth Congrès mondial acadien comes to Moncton between August 16 and 23. Its Extrême frontière space will bring to the downtown area various performances and pavilions inspired by poets, creators, and other builders of Acadie. Festival Acadie Rock will also be featured prominently.

Rounding out the season will be the 2019 edition of Touchdown Atlantic on August 25 at the Stade Croix-Bleue Medavie Stadium, pitting the Toronto Argonauts against the Montréal Alouettes in the first CFL regular season game down east since 2013. The game is being presented by The Atlantic Schooners.

All of which, Mayor Arnold says, “demonstrates how our vibrant arts, culture and entertainment sector is alive and well and almost compulsively forms a major piece of our city’s economic story.”

And that’s no habit any city wants to shake.

Avenir Centre

All the comforts of home

Judy Sparkes-Giannou, the peripatetic managing director of Comfort Inn Airport Hotel in St. John’s, NL, considers her family-owned enterprise an island of good, old-fashioned hospitality in an industry that is lamentably afloat in what she calls “a sea of sameness”.

Forget all that stuff—from the familiar chintz and case goods to the wooden smiles carved into the faces of bored desk staff—that makes one hotel look and feel like every other these days. “If you run a place like this,” she says simply, “it only and always comes down to one thing: Do you give a hoot?”

It’s fair to say that she does. In fact, she and her brothers, Bruce and Steve Sparkes, have been running Clayton Hospitality—the family firm that owns and manages the Comfort Inn in St. John’s, Comfort Inn Gander and a Quality Inn in Clarenville—for decades. They came by their dedication to customer service honestly.

“Our dad, the original Clayton, started all of us in the hotel industry,” Judy says. “He used to say that this business is made up of a million little things. Our relationship with the customer is intimate. We have such respect for people who choose to spend their money and come and stay with us. And this attitude extends to our staff, some of which have been with us for many years. This is our value proposition.”

That’s not to say the job is a piece of cake. The St. John’s Comfort Inn, alone, boasts 144 rooms, meeting facilities for 200, a full-service restaurant, a fitness centre, on-premises parking, and an airport shuttle service.

But Judy is firm: “I make sure that I am in every day and that I speak to everybody I see—staff, guests, suppliers. If you are a customer, chances are you will see me at some point during your stay.”

Having said that, she laughs, she’s so busy that many who know her might faint if she ever answered the phone on the first ring.

Oh well, such is the satisfying price of giving a hoot.

Left to Right: Steve Sparkes, Judy Giannou Sparkes and Bruce Sparkes

Counting your lucky stars

There’s something comforting in knowing that you’re the only game in town or, in fact, for 400 kilometres around—something about being in the right place, at the right time, with the right products.

Just ask Gilles Cyr, Marketing Manager of the Grey Rock Casino, which officially opened for business on the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation in northern New Brunswick four years ago. “Our location is one of our best, distinguishing features,” he says. “Besides us, you’d have to go to Moncton or Montreal or Bangor, Maine. I think that gives us a bit of an edge.”

In fact, situated at the turnoff of the Trans-Canada Highway to Edmundston, Grey Rock bills itself as “a modern, state-of-the-art casino, bingo and dining experience”—a full entertainment venue that offers the same type of amenities available in larger centres.

According to Cyr, that means the Poker Room, open Thursday through Sunday for live games of Texas Hold’em, special tournaments and league play. Then, there’s the more than 200 slot machines, two electronic gaming tables for Roulette and Blackjack, and a Bingo hall that can seat over 400 players at a time. “We even have handheld Bingo devices that let you play more than 30 electronic cards along with the traditional paper ones,” he notes.

Gaming may be the magnet, but there are other draws as well. The Fiddlehead Café is open seven days a week, as is the well-reviewed Valley View Restaurant (which has become locally famous for its hearty steaks) and the casino, itself.

Then, of course, there are the live shows. (Recent events have included “Replay–The Beatles”, an act the Montreal Gazette has reviewed as a “superstar tribute band.”) Cyr also likes to remind anyone who asks that the area boasts many decidedly non-gaming amenities, such as: the Mont Farlagne ski resort, Edmundston Golf Club, New Brunswick Botanical Garden, République Provincial Park, the Vélo Edmundston Mountain Bike Club & Trails, and Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault Microbrewery-Tasting Room-Brewtique.

“The old adage holds true,” Cyr says. “It’s all about three things: location, location, location.”

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