Businesses in CSL

Solly the Caterer relocating from Côte Saint-Luc to Lachine

After being based in the small shopping complex on Robert Burns Avenue in Côte Saint-Luc for 25 years, Solly the Caterer  is relocating to Lachine.

“They are building condos so we have to move,” owner Mitchell Kadanoff told me. “ So we are moving to a brand new kitchen in Lachine where customers will be welcome again once COVID-19 somehow ends. Our CSL kitchen used to accept
customers pre COVID, but now we do deliveries directly to homes and will continue to do so from Lachine.”

The new address is  130 St. Joseph Blvd. Their final day in CSL  will be October 30. “We have a large parking lot for customers to eventually come visit us in Lachine,” he says.

Home  delivery service will be temporarily stopped between October 28 and and November 6.

Mitchell Kadanoff

“Our new kitchen will  now all be on one floor as compared to two in CSL and built with expansion in mind,” Kadanoff says. “The process to find a new kitchen and to  build it was about two years.There were and still are many obstacles in doing such a move and we are hoping to only be shut down for a couple of days in terms of our wholesale business and delivery to our retail customers such as Nosherz, REAL Bagel, and many others.”

The new locale is only a few minutes away from the best steamed hotdog in town at Lafleurs.

A brand new website for online ordering being  is developed, for a November launch. There will also be new business division set for January.

 "All of our great customers have been extremely understanding during the process,” Kadanoff says. “Davcon Construction was hired as general contractors for the move and their owner David Fine has been fabulous to work with.  COVID-19 has made it very difficult for us to get the new kitchen done in time, but even with the pandemic causing havoc to our schedule we somehow managed.”


Caldwell Pharmacy officially opens at Quartier Cavendish Pharmaprix

If you dropped by the Pharmaprix at Quartier Cavendish this week you were  not seeing double.

Owners David Banon and Sarah Ettedgui have closed their Caldwell location and merged operations at Cavendish. 

Here is the complete story.

David and Sarah did just amalgamate the two operations. They have actually established a "pharmacy within a pharmacy" and when you call, they still answer "Caldwell."

The phone number remains the same: 514-481-0293.

So does the superb staff: receptionist Aurelia; technicians Sheila and Thomas; and pharmacists Stephanie and Dalia.

Aurelia, Thomas and Sheila.


The iconic Caldwell Pharmaprix location is closing; merging operations at Cavendish

David Banon and Sarah Ettedgui are closing their Pharmaprix store at the Caldwell Shopping Centre on October 14 and centralizing all operations at their much larger location at Quartier Cavendish.

“The lease is up,” David told me. “There were renovations planned,   but nothing was ever confirmed with the landlord and given that we always look for long term commitments and the importance of our business staying opened year round,  we had to shift operations.”

David recognizes the fact this news has been quite shocking to customers who have been going there for decades, from the time the late Howard Smith was the owner-pharmacist. Caldwell has a special appeal, notably because of its two stalwart technicians Thomas Virta and Sheila Cohen. They have an encyclopedic knowledge of every client and go the extra mile when it comes to contacting doctors for  prescription renewals and pharmaceutical distributors to get certain products.

Sarah Ettedgui and David Banon.

“ I want to reassure you that we are taking the move and the interests of our clients very much to heart and as such all our Caldwell staff are absolutely staying on and are invested in making the transition as smooth as possible,” said David. “There will be the same telephone and fax number and when the line is answered it will be with the familiar voice of Sheila or Thomas! They will have their own mini pharmacy set up in the back of our current lab at Cavendish where they can call patients and even automatically renew their medications.”

Whereas Caldwell was open weekdays until 6 pm, customers will now have access to store open seven days a week until 10 pm. David and Sarah, his wife and business partner, have hired a registered nurse so that many new services can be offered A list of her services was posted online on their website. "And as of this year, we will start a flu vaccination clinic beginning the end of October,  where pharmacists will vaccinate our clients," David said "Clients will be able to take appointments online."

 What is the future of the Caldwell strip mall? There was once a bakery and that storefront has remained vacant for the better part of a decade. I would love to see Caldwell Provisions take over the Pharmaprix spot and double in size!

Raffi has left the building: iconic service station in Côte Saint-Luc is closed for good

It is a very sad day in Côte Saint-Luc as Raffi Abikian has closed his service station at the corner of Westminster and Guelph Road for good.

After nearly 30 years serving the community, Raffi has reluctantly merged all operations to his NDG service station/body shop. He is hoping to implement  a shuttle service. When I stopped by to see him, he promised me a full interview in January when all of the facts can be placed on the table. Let’s just say that Sobeys, the owners of the property, made the decision which results in  Côte Saint-Luc losing our last surviving service station. It is a huge loss, not to mention an inconvenience to all of us.

Raffi is a friend to all of his clients. When you bring your car for a checkup and he notices something that is wrong, you randomly ask if he will remember the situation weeks or months later. “It is all in the computer,”  he says, pointing to his head.

Raffi is honest, always looking to save the client a buck. “You do not need new tires,” he’d tell me. “I will find you barely used ones.”

Raffi departs his second home for the past three decades.


My 15 year old Toyota is still on the road strictly because of Dr.  Raffi. He took this dying patient and brought it back to life.

Raffi  wishes to advise all of his clients that they will be serviced at his NDG location, expertly managed by George Soulahian. More details are to follow.,

 Not too many years ago our community had Pneus Experts and Canadian Tire at then called Cavendish Mall, which serviced cars and Bernie’s on Côte Saint-Luc Road. The first two shut down and Bernie’s relocated.

When Shell opened a self-serve gas station, complete with a car wash and a depanneur, the future of Raffi’s was questioned.  Shell is owned by Sobeys. Originally Raffi owned a station further down Westminister, closer to Montreal West,

“We started from scratch when we opened our first garage and built our client list,” says Raffi. “Then, we had the opportunity to get this location, so we took it.”

Raffi’s son Ari, a very polite young man, is part of his talented and devoted team of mechanics.

As a member of city council, I am anxious to learn more about the Sobeys decision. Will they apply for a permit to sell the land for  housing? I would prefer the return of a service station.

Stay tuned to this space in January!


First ever kosher Tim Hortons to open in Côte Saint-Luc

Huge news from the City of Côte Saint-Luc and our Aquatic and Community Centre

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and council will formally announce today that the first ever all kosher Tim Hortons will open at the ACC. It will be part of a brand new structure built right next to the ACC and connected via a passageway.

A look at what the new Tim Hortons in Côte Saint-Luc will look like.

Negotiations  between Mayor Brownstein, our senior staff and Tim Hortons officials have been going on for more than a year. The mayor brought Councillors Sidney Benizri  and David Tordjman on board, members of the  Montreal Vaad Hair (MK), Rabbi Reuben J. Poupko,  Israel Consul General  David Levy and former Montrealer turned Israeli Sylvan Adams.  As a result of these discussions, Adams will secure the franchise rights for Tim Hortons to make its debut in Israel.

“Côte Saint-Luc will be the test case for Israel,” said Mayor Brownstein.

“Finally,” said Rabbi Poupko, “I will be able to experience the taste of  timbits.”

Consul General Levy made the connection with Mr. Adams, who made Aliya to Israel a few years ago but remains very much connected  to his hometown. Not only does Mr. Adams want to have a series of kosher Tim Hortons franchises in Israel, but he intends to have food court versions open up at Montreal Jewish day school cafeterias.

The ACC is already a popular destination for hundreds of people each day. The present-day snack bar will close and in the summer season Tim Hortons will setup a satellite site at the pool. “We also hope to do the same thing at the arena,” said Mayor Brownstein. “With the first ever kosher Tim Hortons, the ACC area will become a destination locale for all of the Jewish community in Greater Montreal.”

With a school across the street and new high rise buildings under construction, the timing is perfect for such a move.

Rabbi Saul Emmanuel, executive director of the Vaad, called this a great moment in Canadian Jewish history.

Former Parks and Recreation Department stalwart Harold Cammy, a diehard McDonald's customer, has agreed to come out of retirement to manage the operation.

As for Councillor Mike Cohen, he wished everyone a Happy April Fool’s Day. But the more I think of it, would this not be a great idea?



New dry cleaner/tailor opens on Westminster

There is a new business in  Côte Saint-Luc.    

Today I dropped by one of my favorite strip malls on Westminster and Mackle Road to pick up some items at Nosherz bakery. There is also a fish market and Qualitifruits. Now you can add a first-class dry cleaner/tailor.

Singh Deol

 Nettoyeur Jack has only been in operation for a few weeks, but word is already catching on. Brother Jack and Singh Deol ran the same kind of business in NDG for over 30 years. They wisely saw the vacancy on Westminster and jumped on it.

Singh showed me the state of the art equipment he and his brother have purchased. There were plenty of clothes ready to be picked up. “So many people come shopping here and they have noticed us,” Singh said. “We still want to spread the word.

Tibi Selcer

Jack is also the tailor and this represents a true need in our community. For decades people went to Rockland Tailor at the CSL Shopping Centre. Herman “Tibi” Selcer was the owner and what a magic touch he had with the needle. I used to love visiting Tib, even when I did not need any alterations. He was full of personality, not to mention a real charmer with the ladies. He passed away last month

When he retired, a gentleman named Constantine took over the place with his wife and has carried on Tibi’s tradition. Now there is another option, one in which you can park right next to the door.

Councillor Mitch Kujavsky said that he had a nice pair of pants sitting around the house for a year. The other day he took a walk to Nettoyeur Jack. They needed a seam fixed. "I brought the pants in and they did a very thorough examination," he said. "Four hours later I got a call that they were ready and it was a mere $7."

Nettoyeur Jack is located at 5808 Westminster. For more information call 514-481-6060.

The pumps may be gone at Shell, but Raffi Abikian insists he is not going anywhere

For the past 25 years, Raffi Abikian has become an iconic figure in Côte Saint-Luc. His Shell Service Station on Westminster Avenue has a loyal clientele.

In the recent past our community the then full Cavendish Mall had Pneus Experts and Canadian Tire, which serviced cars while there was also Bernie’s on Côte Saint-Luc Road. The first two shut down and last fall Bernie’s relocated to Lachine.

Raffi Abikian

When Shell opened a self-serve gas station, complete with a car wash and a Boni-Soir the future of Raffi’s was questioned. He does not own the land. His service bays are always busy.  The man is a genius. He remembers the history of every car in his computer. We are not talking laptop here. “The computer in my head,” he laughs.

I am writing this story because Raffi wants to assure all of his customers that he is not going anywhere.  People are wondering because there are no more gas pumps. These were removed. The next step is for Raffi to buy the land and focus exclusively on fixing vehicles. He has already started negotiations with Shell.  Once a deal is complete, he intends to completely renovate and expand.

Raffi already owns a repair and body shop in NDG.  Had Shell forced him out completely, he would have been left with no alternative but to house all of his business there.

Originally Raffi owned a station further down Westminster, closer to Montreal West,

“We started from scratch when we opened our first garage and built our client list,” says Raffi. “Then, we had the opportunity to get this location, so we took it.”

Raffi’s son Ari, a very polite young man, is part of his talented and devoted team of mechanics.

Côte Saint-Luc needs at least one service station and who could ask for anyone better than Raffi? He will only have to make one adjustment and not answer the phone with the word “Shell!”

CBC News report: Trading and giving away unused items

Community initiative in Côte-St-Luc draws inspiration from Buy Nothing Project

Facebook group helps connect people who want to trade or give away items to others in the area

Laura Elfman Ilana Grostern

Laura Elfman, left, and Ilana Grostern are hoping to encourage residents of Côte-St-Luc to trade or give away unused items for free instead of buying new. (CBC)


A new initiative in Côte-St-Luc is hoping to encourage residents to turn to their community for what they need—instead of their wallets.

Buy Nothing Côte-St-Luc is a Facebook group launched last month by Ilana Grostern. So far it has almost 100 members.

The concept, inspired by the international Buy Nothing Project, challenges residents to avoid buying new items and try to barter or trade for it instead.

"It's about the spirit of giving and receiving," Grostern told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

Grostern said she was inspired to make the group after watching a documentary on minimalism and realizing how much she "mindlessly consumed." A friend referred her to the Buy Nothing Project, and she felt driven to make a group for her community.

"A lot of people are just sitting on things they absolutely do not need and need to find a way to get rid of," Grostern said. "And people feel good, when they give something away just out of the kindness of their heart."

Choosing not to sell

Laura Elfman has her own Côte-St-Luc Facebook group, the Côte-St-Luc Mega Online Garage Sale, with almost 4,000 members.

However, she said she now prefers to use the Buy Nothing group, going so far as to help promote it on her own page.

"What's good about this group is that we're a community," said Elfman. "Hopefully they're asking for it for a reason," Elfman said. "If they need it, it's my pleasure to give it."

Fostering a community

Every application to join the group is vetted by Grostern, to make sure that the applicant does live within the boundaries of Côte-St-Luc.

"The entire purpose of the Buy Nothing group is to focus on building your local community, and connecting locals," she explained.

Right now, the group is primarily made up of parents, who are exchanging things like strollers and children's toys. Grostern said she hopes to see that expand as the group continues to grow.

"In the established groups that have been around for a lot longer, and there's a whole mix of people from the community," she said.

The group operates on an honour system, expecting that everyone who takes part is acting in good faith.

"[We] operate on the assumption that everybody's there with the best of intentions, and not there to take advantage of anybody else."

Reitmans closes its store at the Côte St. Luc Shopping Centre

A few weeks after the Pik Nik snack bar closed at the Côte St. Luc Shopping Centre, the popular Reitmans clearance store has shut down as well.


"We closed the Reitmans clearance store on January 28," spokesperson Katia Reyburn advised me. "Please know that closing a store is not a decision we take lightly. Reitmans is a healthy Canadian brand that has been in business for 90 years and we’re here to stay. As a national retailer, we are regularly making decisions regarding opening, renovating, relocating and closing stores, based on the needs of the ever changing Canadian landscape. Reviewing our portfolio of stores is part of the normal course of business."

Ms. Reyburn noted that there are many other Reitmans stores in the Greater Montreal area ready to serve the Côte Saint-Luc customer: four downtown stores and one nearby at Carrefour Angrignon.

I must commend the Côte St. Luc Shopping Centre for it always seems to find tenants for any empty storefronts. The former West End Gym (originally Vic Tannys) downstairs remains vacant.


Pik Nik shuts down at the CSL Shopping Centre

Ever since I can remember there has been a Pik Nik snack bar at the Côte St. Luc Shopping Centre. Located by the IGA, Junior Booty, the SAQ and the barber shop, it's a snack bar surrounded by stools and some tables on the side. Hot dogs have traditionally been the most popular items there. They also make sandwiches, some other snacks and serve breakfast.

A few days ago the owner, Khang, was forced to shut down operations. "The owners of this centre want too much in rent," he told me. "I cannot afford to stay, so I closed."

As Khang connected his things, regulars came the counter and stared ahead in shock. "What do you mean you are closed?" one heartbroken lady remarked.

The sadly abandoned Pik Nik.

Will the Centre get someone else to run the operation and bring Pik Nik back to life? Until then the only places left to eat are the Subways,  Muffins Plus, a sushi stop and Dominos Pizza. The IGA food counter makes some pretty good prepared meals and if you ever go there around lunchtime they drum up some good business. Who remembers the days when the Ben Ash Deli enjoyed a popular following?

As for Khang, who ran the Pik Nik with his wife, I hope he is able to bounce back somewhere else.