With the holidays behind us, shopping local should still be top of mind for Vancouverites. Local businesses keep dollars close to home. Dollars spent within our neighbourhoods directly benefit the local economy and are re-invested within the community in the form of local employment or the contracting of locally-based suppliers and services.
Shop The Neighbourhood, a local shopping initiative from Yellow Pages, celebrates small businesses all year round, and reminds Canadians how shopping locally makes a difference in our lives and directly impacts the local economy. Small businesses are our economic backbone – they create jobs, funnel funds back into the community, keep decision-making power localized, and generally contribute to building healthy, thriving neighbourhoods.
In partnership with Yellow Pages, I wanted to highlight another awesome shop that opened in 2016 near Chinatown – Lisa Lou’s Chocolate Bar.
Lisa Lou’s Chocolate Bar
The area in and around Chinatown on Main Street is definitely changing with new restaurants and shops popping up every month. Last year, Lisa Lou’s Chocolate Bar was born; a 12-seater chocolate, ice cream, and coffee shop. They join other restaurants like Campagnolo, Torafuku, Bodega and Kobob Korean Burgers just a few steps away. Given great foot traffic and a transit friendly area, this up and coming neighbourhood was a great fit for Lisa Lou’s.
Lisa Lou’s vision is to be fun and whimsical with their package design and characters, and to have a strong stance on natural and ethically sourced ingredients, supporting the local community, and offering outstanding service to their customers.
Lisa Gardin AKA “Lisa Lou”
Lisa Gardin has been in the chocolate industry for 15 years working at places like the Wedgewood Hotel, Thomas Haas, and Chocolate Arts. It has been a long time dream for Lisa to open her own boutique chocolate shop. She always wanted to put her own whimsical spin on chocolate, making products that are more accessible than some of the higher end chocolate shops around town.
Lisa Lou is a nickname inspired by her father. It embodies that fun nature of her shop, brought to life by the bold turquoise on their packaging and the shop’s interior décor.
You can see the fun and whimsical side of Lisa Lou’s in their package design and characters. They currently have three lines of their chocolate bars. These are the shop’s signature items:
The Boys – Pete, Joe, Marc, and Frank
This line is fantastic. I particularly love the Joe, featuring coffee cardamom caramel, shortbread, and pistachios.
The Hipsters – Zoe, Lily, Oscar, and Kylo
They are wheat free and vegan and have crispy chocolate mixed with fruity caramel.
The Ladies – Joan, Ruth, Sue, and Helen.
The Ladies feature sweet, fruity jellies and crunchy, nutty, chocolatey pralines.
These lines are great for gifts or for your own personal snacking.
There are so many good products on the shelves of Lisa Lou’s and one of the items that just make my taste buds sing is their candied almonds.
In addition, Peanut Brittle was an especially hot item over the holidays.
When it was warmer in the summer, I remember coming here for ice cream with my coworkers all the time. They have some really unique flavours like Bourbon Caramel Ripple, Coffee Cardamom, and many other flavours on rotation. Two of my favourites were the Caramelized Banana and the Assam Tea. You can get these in 8oz or 16oz sizes. Also, you can turn them into ice cream sandwiches or ice cream floats.
More collaborations are on the way for 2017. Look out for birthday parties, workshops, and community events hosted in this space. If you’re curious, give Lisa a visit to see what is possible.
In particular, Chocolate Hazelnut Hearts, along with a few other items, are on their way for Valentine’s Day.
Go for a Visit
Lisa Lou’s Chocolate Bar is one of many amazing local businesses near the Chinatown neighbourhood. Stop by and grab a coffee or tea along with some tasty chocolates to enjoy. You’ll definitely find something unique for yourself or for a friend!
Local businesses are neighbourhood-oriented. Business owners and staff share the community’s interests, and are personally invested in the welfare and future of the neighbourhood.
1007 Main St, Vancouver