Come for the food… stay for the game.
That is the motto of Red’s Grill, located at our local rink in the Mission Leisure Centre.
Since opening in 2004, it’s been an incredible journey for the Stene Family. Stopping in for a burger, you can’t help but acknowledge their exceptional customer service, their warm welcoming nature and their cheerful disposition.
Their reputation speaks volumes and their food has become known to many as the best arena cuisine in the Fraser Valley. Over the years, customers have become friends.
It is not difficult to see that they are business owners that are not only proud of who they are, but also of what they do and where they are situated.
“We take pride in representing the Leisure Centre,” Danica tells us. “We are constantly being told how well looked after the facility is. It makes us proud to be included in such praise, as we’re part and parcel.”
Scott and Danica have three girls, Makenna, Piper and Zoe, and they are all growing up, affectionately known as ‘rink rats’ themselves. They have not only grown up at the Leisure Centre, but now have all have started working at the grill.
… but ‘family’ doesn’t stop there. It goes much further and much deeper.
Their extended family includes their staff, the staff of the Leisure Centre, the seniors from the curling rink, the parents, the coaches. the MACL crew that light up when they come through the door … and most importantly, the kids.
These are the kids they have watched grow up. The kids they have watched learn to drive, graduate, go on to university, become adults and start families. Some of them, they’ve even hired and watched go on to become professional athletes, red seal tradesman and pilots.
“We know them all on a first name basis and what teams they’re on. They aren’t just kids to us, they’re community members.” Danica explains. “If they’re acting out of line, they know we won’t let them get away with it. They know we are always here if they need guidance or support.”
Scott and Danica are adamant about abiding by and respecting the codes and conduct set out by the Mission Leisure Centre and expect the kids to do the same.
“We feel we have raised an entire generation of kids. We look after them when they’re out and about.”
Respect and integrity has always been a two way street and it has paid off. Many of the kids have come back time and time again to help with outside catering and community functions.
“A few years ago, a few kids walked over to the grill after school, just prior to summer holidays, and asked if I would sign their yearbooks.” Danica smiles, as she is reminded of one of her favourite moments at work. “I was so incredibly touched. I gave them all gift certificates. They made me feel like I was still cool.”
Successful business know that survival depends on collaboration. Working as friends, supporting each other, sharing resources and pooling together benefits everyone in the long run.
Red’s Grill has always been active in our community and is usually one of the first businesses to contribute to local non-profits and donate their time and resources for fundraising. If there is opportunity for them to help out, they do. Their food truck can often be found at community events and Danica sits on the Parks and Recreation advisory committee.
“I want my kids to understand the we have to give back.” Danica emphasizes. “We are here because the community supports us and it’s our obligation to support them right back. Without that, we can’t survive."
Advice for everyone during this difficult time?
Keep your faith.
Danica is a hugger at heart and not being around all the familiar faces is difficult.
“We miss the seniors and all the kids. We worry about them because they aren’t just customers, they’re friends.”
Take deep breathes, Mission. This too shall pass.
We are a community of strong, caring people and will get through this together.