Sechelt, Vancouver Island/Coast
Sechelt, Vancouver Island/Coast
With bold splashes of colour, big tropical prints and plants and carefully curated retro kitsch touches, Scarlet Osborne & Heidi Murphy lovingly built El Segundo from the ground up to deliver a fun, vibrant and totally unique space to enjoy delicious food and incredible cocktails. Having fully committed to the project in 2019, Scarlet & Heidi found themselves opening during the pandemic but despite this were immediately well received by locals and domestic tourists alike. You can check them out the next time you are on the Sunshine Coast, online at www.eatelsegundo.com, or follow them @eatelsegundo Being a new restaurant, El Segundo falls outside of the eligibility for many of the key government supports that are helping others in the hospitality industry - so the girls have spent the winter seeking others in their situation, and using the resulting collective voice to lobby for change at both a Federal and Provincial level. Although nothing official yet, they are still hopeful that their efforts will result in change that helps new business across the country.
In Business Since 2020
Best Community Impact
What motivated you to start your business and what core cause do you support?
The brain-child of two local women and moms, Scarlet Osborne and Heidi Murphy, El Segundo was developed in order to deliver fun, unique and bold dining experience. Heidi and Scarlet were motivated not only by the idea of delivering a fresh, vibrant blend of tropical fusion to Sechelt – but also by creating a space that would shed the old-school hospitality ‘norms’ when it came to company culture & inclusiveness. They wanted an environment where staff were invited to be entirely authentic, believing that this would lead to a more authentic experience for their customers. Then, disastrously, COVID 19 struck before they could get the doors open. Initial lock downs meant that their grand opening was delayed from April 2020 until late July 2020, due to construction slow downs and supply issues that carried on even after provincial dine-in restrictions were lifted. Over the summer they were thrilled – the restaurant was extremely well received and they took off - building the team up to 35 wonderful, motivated and happy employees. Things carried on well right up to mid-November, when BC’s socializing ban slashed revenue well below what they knew to be their breakeven point. This is when they first came to understand that there is a crucial flaw in the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canadian Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) programs… that they entirely exclude new business. Despite a 20 lease signed in February 2019, in excess of $410,000 in funds invested, and a monthly payroll of more than $44,000 Heidi and Scarlet found themselves in the dark when it came to government support. (Meanwhile, on average, their industry peers were all receiving between 35%-75% of their wage costs back in subsidies.) Feeling that this was an untenable situation, and that they must not be alone, they started calling and emailing literally anyone they could think of – and eventually formed a group of 23 restaurants in the same position as themselves. Leading the charge, along with Peter Wood of Bear & Joey in Victoria, they developed a strategy for lobbying – engaging all of the MP’s and MLA’s from the ridings of the various restaurants in the group. They interviewed with CBC, CTV, Local newspapers. https://www.coastreporter.net/local-news/new-businesses-lose-out-on-access-to-key-federal-benefits-3418292
Why do you deserve to win the Best Community Impact award?
Heidi and Scarlet from El Segundo have been lobbying tirelessly to seek change to flaws in key government supports - they want to see equitability for other new businesses like themselves when it comes to the support that they receive in order to survive COVID 19. This work has lead to some adjustments to the definition of the eligibility criteria Provincially, and changes are coming down the pipeline Federally also, partially as a result of the work that they have done.
Premier's People's Choice
With bold splashes of colour, big tropical prints and plants, and carefully curated retro kitsch touches, El Segundo delivers a fun, vibrant and totally unique space that is comfortable for all ages to enjoy a drink or a meal. The menu boasts a fresh, vibrant blend of tropical fusion fare with influences from the Pacific Rim: California, Hawaii, Mexico, and South East Asia. With classic beach bar items like tacos and burritos served alongside inspired soups, salads, starters and mains, every item on the menu is sent for a spin around the world to bring surprising twists to the table like duck tacos & red curry fondue. In addition, the cocktail menu is built around fresh, unique tropical tipples alongside a hand-picked selection of classic cocktails, non-alcoholic drinks, and a carefully curated collection of local beers and sustainable, local wines.