The Victoria Real Estate Board recently elected its directors for 2014. They are Mike Nugent (back row

The Victoria Real Estate Board recently elected its directors for 2014. They are Mike Nugent (back row

BUSINESS BEAT: Plenty of love behind Blanshard organic cafe

Owners of Bliss Café set up new shop on Blanshard Street

Brother and sister Heather and Joe Cunliffe, operators of popular Pandora Avenue live food juice bar Café Bliss, have expanded their offerings in a new location.

Be Love has taken over half of a beautifully renovated space at 1019 Blanshard St. that formerly housed Alpine Market. The cozy new café offers a wide variety of organic appies, main dishes and desserts in a comfortable environment. Visit beloverestaurant.ca.

Microsoft gaming studio pulling up stakes

Less than two years after setting up shop in Victoria, Microsoft announced it is closing its gaming studio here in 2014.

Siting the office here – it opened in Bastion Square and moved to a larger space at Wharf and Fort streets as staff was added and game development ramped up – could be traced to Don Mattrick, the EA Sports co-founder who became head of Microsoft’s interactive entertainment division and lives part-time in the city. Mattrick left Microsoft and became CEO of mobile game producer Zynga in July.

While a number of Victoria employees are expected to be transferred to a studio in Vancouver and some to Washington state, at least two dozen staffers will be forced to look for new employment.

In a statement, Microsoft said it still views Victoria as a source of top talent for the industry and will actively help staff who face layoffs to find jobs in other companies. It also expects to “build upon our relationship with the University of Victoria as we seek to fill our future talent needs.”

The closure is expected to be finalized by next spring or summer.

Royal Oak McDonald’s receives a facelift

On Sunday, franchisee Grant Reid unveiled some serious upgrades to his McDonald’s Restaurant in the Royal Oak Shopping Centre. The renovations include new flat-screen televisions, leather chairs, modern lighting, contemporary artwork and updated washrooms, plus a redesigned barista bar for coffee and smoothie fans. The restaurant is at 4410 West Saanich Rd.

Who’s making waves on the business scene

Sports tourism booster SportHost Victoria named Harbour Digital Media owner John Juricic to replace Andrea Carey as chair of its board of directors. Juricic is a past-president of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce … The City of Colwood has a new chief administrative officer. James Moller, rounding out a stint as city manager for Humboldt, Sask., starts in February and replaces Chris Pease, who came back in an interim role during the search.

Send your business news to ddescoteau@vicnews.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This male Dungeness can safely be harvested after passing muster. An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals on the Saanich Peninsula are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Submitted)
Sidney and Sooke record 57 crabbing violations in 2020

While recreational crab fishery has ‘compliance issues,’ no evidence of ‘large scale poaching’

Police seek information after a pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk at the intersection of Goldstream Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway on March 3.(Google Maps)
Witnesses sought in Langford pedestrian hit and run

Suspect is older man driving four-door, gold sedan

The University of Victoria has said some of its students were impacted by an off-campus exposure to COVID-19 last weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria students impacted by off-campus COVID-19 exposure

UVic has not specified where the exposure occurred

Const. Mat Jones of the CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit joined a team of Saanich police officers and ICBC representatives cracking down on distracted driving at the McKenzie/Quadra intersection in Saanich on March 3. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
‘Leave the phone alone’: 40 distracted driving tickets issued in two hours at Saanich intersection

Saanich police, CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit crackdown on drivers’ cell-phone use

Victoria police are investigating after a person broke into and stole a vehicle from a Douglas Street car dealership on the morning of March 3. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Suspect sought after vehicle swiped from Victoria dealership

Suspect broke into Douglas Street dealership shortly before 5 a.m.

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Most Read