Dunbar Greetings has been a community fixture for 31 years. Like the neighbourhood, it has evolved under the ownership of Bilkish Jaffer and Salman Kassam who have introduced products and services to meet their customers’ needs.
The shop originally housed a Canada Post franchise that Dunbar residents fought hard to secure; a petition of 5,000 names was signed and the outlet was in place for 10 years until the contract was terminated due to required costly upgrades that were prohibitive for the small shop.
Dunbar Greetings became a one-stop shop for business needs. They introduced photo-copying, printing, stationery; fax services and greeting cards. They also offer DHL and FedEx shipping services.
Bilkish mentions, “We started with a very small copying machine making about 1,000 copies a month. In our heyday we had three photocopiers making over 100,000 copies a month before the technological advancement and the opening of mega stores. Our sales dropped so we diversified and started to explore different ways to expand our business.”
“Our store is like a trading post where people in the neighbourhood bump into one another.” Bilkish Jaffer
She adds, “Dunbar’s demographics began to change. The area became unaffordable for young people and many of our customers left the area. This is how we started selling tea, spices and ready to eat foods.”
Dunbar Greetings began selling tea in 1993.
“Today we carry over 100 varieties of loose tea. Our motto is to sell quality tea at affordable prices. We buy bulk tea from a supplier who sells ethically and socially responsible tea. Our supplier ensures that the tea estates provide education and health care for the families of tea estate workers. The labels and packaging are done on the premises to pass the savings on to our customers and provide a living for us,” says Salman.
“Tea is our passion.” Salman Kassam
There is more to tea than simply being a warm and comforting beverage; some contain antioxidants while others help boost the immune system. Studies have shown that some teas help to prevent illnesses and diseases.
Functional teas are an exciting new line found at Dunbar Greetings. These blends are comprised of herbs, teas and flowers and are purported to treat specific ailments.
Green teas are a staple in Asian countries and are lauded for being high in antioxidants. Other teas include Matcha, Rooibos, black teas, fruity teas, Pu-erh, and Oolong.
The business partners strive for excellent customer service and judging by their online rave reviews they succeed.
Dunbar Greetings also sells samosas, finger foods and spices.
Tasty treats abound. Samosas, Jamaican patties, katchoris, patras, stuffed chicken rotis and stuffed vegetable rotis are all sold and make great lunches, appetizers or party food.
Christmas is just around the bend and Dunbar Greetings is a great place for gifts and stocking stuffers. If you are scratching your head for ideas why not try mini bags of loose-leaf tea, essential oils or bath salts?
Sadly, the building that houses Dunbar Greetings is up for redevelopment and this will be the shop’s last Christmas in this location. The storefront will close in May 2019.
Dunbar Greetings will continue to have an online presence, which is expanding, and they will be adding new products. Free delivery will be offered to Dunbar customers who spend $60 or more on tea, spices and finger foods.
They would like to thank all of the customers who have supported them over the years.
Bilkish says, “We hope they will stay in touch as they are like family to us. They will be missed a lot.” We know Dunbar residents will mirror this sentiment as they say goodbye to this well loved long-term business.
3456 Dunbar Street
Vancouver BC V6S 2C2