Robbie's warm and friendly oasis

Post by Kerri Brkich in

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Sure, it's ambush marketing, but it's also good hospitality

For a few weeks leading up to the Olympics I often stood at the bus stop in front of Robson Square and wondered, who’s Robbie? Why would Urban Barn have this guy’s name and image on their store window? On Monday I learned the answer, and in the process discovered a business that is dedicated to letting their staff, and passersby, enjoy the Games.

Robbie is the store manager and will be living as the on-site host at the Howe Street location for the entire Olympic Games. The store is offering refuge to those in need of a comfortable place to rest their feet, and the seating areas spread around the store each have flat screen TVs tuned to the sporting events of the day. The Wii station and daily games challenge provides a little healthy competition for us non-Olympians.

Rather than try and sell you the couch you’re sitting on, the staff can be found enjoying the party atmosphere and doling out coffee. I asked Rick Bohonis, CEO of Urban Barn, why they would essentially shut their sales down for 17 days and his answer was simple: He wanted his staff to have a memorable experience, he wanted them to have fun and invite the world into their living room.

We arrived just as the rain began to pelt down. It was a welcome break from the deluge and I felt like I had just joined a house party in progress, complete with live music. Tip of the hat to Urban Barn, a downtown business that has embraced the spirit of the Games!

A full schedule of events can be found at and they ask people to RSVP for special events.

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