One of my favourite projects as of date, was designing and developing a website for Ambrosia Centre on Fisgard in Victoria. It is one of my favourite for so many reasons. The project was fun all around, from the time and how the job came about to the challenges that came with it to the clients reaction to the completed work. I don’t think I would have like to do it any other way.
Guy Le Monnier, the owner and a colleague from my BNI chapter in Victoria, wanted his business website redesigned. As part of my work procedure, I try to sit with my clients and get to know them and their business. I met up with Guy at the Ambrosia Centre and I got a royal tour of the event centre. The funny part was that, I have lived in Victoria for 13 years, and have walked past this building so many time but did not know about the Ambrosia Centre. To be honest, I was a little bit disappointed because, I felt I didn’t know my city well enough as I thought. It made me wonder, how many Victorian’s actually know the history of this city and what most of these buildings are all about.
Ashlar Manor was built by design as a banquet & event space by the Masonic Lodge of Victoria in 1994, and then acquired in 2002 by Mr Dominique Chapheau, a well-known restaurateur who operated it as Ambrosia Catering & Event Centre. It is right downtown Victoria, in the heart of Chinatown on Fisgard street. In 2012 French trained chef and owner of Island Gourmet Catering, Guy Le Monnier took over the business. When Guy took over the business, he basically inherited most of the assets that comes with the business including the business website which was super out dated. Let’s say the last time the website was updated was in “never” since it was created back in 2002.
Being a graphic designer, challenges are part of the work and it creates a lots of excitement and gets your creative juices flowing. The first challenge was getting the website information together, ‘hosting account information’ and so on. Now you will think the business is sold, and the website is of no use to the previous owners but apparently that wasn’t the case. I do not know the laws of acquiring a business, but if I sold my business, I am sure going to hand all documents over to the new owner including all access to the business website, thats just me. Let’s just say there was a few emails sent back and forth from the new to the previous owner about access to the website and few incorrect passwords were received. At the end, all accounts had to be reset and new passwords generated, everyone now happy.
Getting access to the website was a stretch and working on the back end of the site was also something else. I like to have my work very well organized, just so I can figure out things quickly or find them quickly when I search. Some people will say I am anal, well too bad, thats how I think everyone has to work. Anyway, you can imagine my frustration when and a little shock when I opened this site up and had about 200 plus themes on the back end all needing updates, about 15 to 20 plug-ins that were of no use to the website and most needing updates. I guess a website running for more than 10 years without updates, nothing less is expected. Aside that, there were about 20 to 30 pages built but only 8 to 10 of them were being used. The thought of getting raid of the whole site raced through my mind, but the business needed the old site live while the new one was being built. I can’t say cleaning up and getting stuff organized to my liken was the best job. It was long wasted hours but at the end, I learnt a few lessons and valuable experience that I will certainly add to my next project.
In all, I enjoyed working on this project a lot aside from all the challenges. I learned how to do things a little bit different on other projects. Also managed to tour one of the landmarks in Victoria, the Ashlar Manor which by the way has a big conference room to sit up to 200 plus people and has a huge kitchen area to cater for any event. Now I can say, I know a little bit more history about Victoria. Also the challenge of organizing the site pages and clean up gave me more understanding of my work. To sum it up, the owner Guy Le Monnier praised my work to some of the members of my BNI chapter, and that for sure is a big plus in my line of work.
So with all that said, if you live in Victoria and you are planning a wedding or planning your next business meeting or any sort of event, and needs a place or catering service, Ambrosia Centre is the place to call.