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Neighbours Nov 28

Neighbours Nov 28

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Neighbours: Nov. 28
Neighbours: Nov. 28

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Published by: The London Free Press on Nov 28, 2013
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The end of November can be one of the dullest and darkest times of the year. The days are short, the nights long and most think it’s still just a bit to early to for Christmas chatter. But don’t delay your holiday planning for too long. We spoke to catering expert Tami Collins from Steel Grill about why getting a head start on your holiday planning can help keep your festivities stress-free and focused on what’s really impor-tant: family and friends. From what to consider when putting together a holiday menu to how to stay calm when entertaining dozens of guests, let Collins be your go-to guru for get-ting through the Christmas season. She shares her holiday hosting tips with readers on Page 6. There’s nothing like a little contro-versy to get people talking, and who would’ve thought a community Santa Claus parade would cause such a seasonal squabble. The Hyde Park Santa Claus parade has been around for five years, but has faced repeated backlash from organizers from the City of London parade who say there just isn’t room in the city for two Santa Clause parades. Hyde Park thinks otherwise. The parade is ballooning in popularity and gives local families a fun alterna-tive to the downtown spectacle. We caught up with organizers to talk about the parade’s past, it’s future and what people can expect this Saturday. This edition of LFP Neighbours also features information on two local high school productions: Blood Brothers, put on by the students at St. Thomas Aquinas, and the Little Mermaid Jr., produced by students at Oakridge. Both sets of students have been pouring their blood, sweat and tears into their respective performances and promise to deliver an evening of fun entertainment for the whole fam-ily. To find out more about the plays and how you can get tickets, check out Page 4. As always, our goal each week with LFP Neighbours is to keep our read-ers connected to the community that matters to them. From local news stories, to features on new business-es and neighbours who are making a difference in the community, we strive to keep readers engaged. To do this we need your help. Planning a local event? Have a neat story idea? Or know somebody who deserves recog-nition? Reach out. Send us an email at
 lfp.neighbours@sunmedia.ca
Serving Byron, Oakridge, River Bend and Hyde Park
PROUDLY PRINTED IN LONDON, ONTARIOThursday, November 28, 2013
A Special Zoned Section published by the Advertising Department
WEST LONDON
Santa Claus is coming to town - twice?
 
THIS ISSUE
NEIGHBOURS
ALEX
WEBER
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BRENT BOLES
Neighbours
Having spent three and a half decades in the carpet and flooring business, Jim Deacon doesn’t stay in it because it’s easy.“It’s not a fun business. It’s very difficult. But when you’ve got good staff you try to have fun,” he said. “It’s what I want to do.”Deacon, owner of Deacon Flooring on Hyde Park, sticks to the business side of things but can point out dedicated colleagues who have spent their lives ripping up carpet and installing flooring while sacrificing their bodies in the process. He tried doing the instillations once when he was young but found himself in a sticky situation – he said he ended the day covered in glue and learned his lesson. Coming out of high school, Deacon knew that despite having the grades, he wasn’t interested in going to university. “There were unspoken words of I’m not doing that,” he recalls of conversations with his father. So instead he marched to a store in Argyle mall and asked for a job. As luck would have it, they were in need of a carpet salesmen and Deacon filled the spot.He honed his craft at other local suppliers and later as a manufacturer road representative before opening his own shop in February 2000.“The first year, our sales were $300,000,” he said, adding that they’ve since grown to in excess of $2.3 million. He credits his success to some simple advice his father once gave him. “He said, ‘don’t do anything less in your client’s home than you would want in your own.’” And if he does make a mistake? “If I mess up, I’ll fix it.”Deacon said the flooring industry is a competitive one where it can be difficult to balance the customer’s needs and budget. But despite the challenges, he’s enjoyed the industry enough to make it a career and doesn’t hesitate to point out his favourite parts.“It’s actually two pronged: the staff rela-tionships that you cultivate and cherish . . . and the customer relationships that you build,” he said.He’s also built a relationship with the community, sponsoring soccer and hockey teams and donating to schools. “I’m happy to do that. I love doing that, man,” he said. “London West has been wonderful to Deacon Flooring.” Outside of work he cherishes family relationships. His 15-year-old son has been the voice of Deacon’s radio presence since he was a baby. “James has done my commercials since he was one year old, saying ‘da-da.’”Though he loves the job, he said one of the most challenging aspects comes when he has to collect from people who can’t afford to pay their bills.“I get gooned a lot because I’m too nice, but my clients are important to me,” he said. Despite having proven his ability to grow the business, Deacon has a unique business plan going forward. “No growth. Protect and keep what you have,” he said. “You have to, nowadays, keep your eye on the plate . . . If you want to grow, don’t forget what got you there.”
2
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2013
 •
NEIGHBOURS
JIMDEACON
Owner of Deacon Flooring got his start in industry working as carpet salesman
Getting floored
Deacon Flooing
1900 Hyde Park Road, London
BUSINESS
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If you want to grow, don't forget what got you there."
Jim Deacon, owner of Deacon Flooring, stands on the showroom floor.
 
If you happen to catch a glimpse of a white haired elderly gentleman dressed in cherry red this weekend, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Jolly ol' St. Nick will be cruising through Hyde Park Saturday morn-ing as the guest of honour at the fifth annual Hyde Park Santa Claus Parade. The parade begins at 10 a.m. at the Sherwood Forest Mall and will head up Gainsborough Rd., ending  just west of Hyde Park Rd. at the Sun Media building. This year’s parade is expected to draw large crowds says Lisa Topp, one of the parade organizers. “We really pushed our Twitter and Facebook this year,” she said. What began as a simple Christ-mas parade hosted by the Hyde Park Lions Club five years ago has morphed into a full-fledged com-munity affair. The Lions Club joined forces with the Nor’West London Optimist Club and created the Hyde Park Santa Claus parade. The two organizations decided to team up because they felt the grow-ing community needed an event to tie it together. Thousands of people have moved into Hyde Park over the past few years as the barren farm-land that once lined the road has been transformed into subdivisions. “Over the last three years we’ve really increased the number of people in the parade, volunteers and the crowd,” Topp said. Last year, she estimates that 6,000 people came out to watch. But the wholesome commu-nity parade has not escaped controversy. There are those who feel the parade should not compete with the official London Santa Claus Parade, which takes place each year downtown. “I personally don’t believe there’s room for two Santa Clause parades in this city,” Shaun Merton co-chair of the London Santa Claus Parade told The London Free Press last year. “It causes a lot of grief.” Topp admits the Hyde Park parade has taken its share of hits over the past five years, but that the criticism has only inspired organizers to work harder and has shone a greater spotlight at the event. “It still comes up, but we pride ourselves on being a community parade, not a city parade,” she said. “Thanks to the city of London for doing some free advertising for us.”In addition to providing families with a morning of holiday fun, the parade is also a vehicle for people to give back to their community. This year, the Nor’West London Optimist club will be collecting “ac-tive toys” to use for its programs. These are items like soccer balls and tennis rackets that can be used for active sports and games. Non-active toy donations will be donated to the London Resource Centre. The parade also features a food drive for the London Food Bank. The Hyde Park Business Association will also be collecting boots to be donated to the Mission Store.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2013
 •
NEIGHBOURS
 3
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COLLABORATION:
 Lions Club joins forces with Nor’West London Optimist Club for Hyde Park Santa Claus parade
Jolly Old St. Nick sits inside a chimney during last year’s Hyde Park Santa Claus Parade. Organizers estimate 6,000 people came out to the parade in 2012 and expect this year’s crowd to be even larger. ABOVE TOP: Volunteers depart from Sherwood Forest mall during last year’s Hyde Park Santa Clause Parade. Rosie Delfre, Hyde Park Lions Club sec-retary, clutches a stuffed lion at the 2012 Hyde Park Santa Claus parade.
IF YOU GO
What:
 
The Hyde Park Santa Claus Parade
When:
 
Saturday, Nov. 30, 10:00 a.m.
Where:
 
Parade begins at Sherwood Forest Mall, heads down Gainsborough Rd., and ends at the Sun Media building just west of Hyde Park Rd.

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