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Red Deer Downtown Business Association

Downtown Business Spotlight: GrupDesk

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It’s Monday and this week our Business Spotlight feature is GrupDesk! This open and collaborative workspace is located at 5212 48 Street, Unit B102. We had the chance to sit down with owner, Gio Aguirre, to learn more about the space!

What is your business? 

GrupDesk is a new concept for co-working space, a space that catapults businesses, small business owners and freelancers to the next level. It’s for somebody that is looking to do their work in a professional environment, or they can not work from home because it’s too distracting. Now, with COVID, people cannot work in their offices or go to Starbucks or other coffee shops, which are too noisy or too busy. Some people can’t afford to get a full office, with all the expenses that come with that, so that is why GrupDesk was created, to be that middle ground. A professional environment for people to come do business with customers, while still being able to keep the cost down. 

 When did you open? 

We opened in 2018, officially in February. We have been going strong since then! I think it was a little bit of a hard adoption, people didn’t know what we were about as it is a new concept. In Red Deer there was only one coworking space before our time. When we opened, we saw the need in the market. I myself am an entrepreneur with other businesses but I needed a place to run those business from and this was the perfect opportunity to create a coworking space where people like myself could come do business.   

 What would you say makes your business unique? 

I think the uniqueness comes from us breaking the standard of normality. Usually when you open a business you rent an office, you meet with your customers there but you have this huge overhead. We are the flexible middle ground, for a little a month you have a full office and professional environment. I think that’s what makes us unique. Also, GrupDesk offers mailboxes and printing services as well. I think that’s the differential point, no one offers those three elements but GrupDesk is a place to do business and meet with customers, a place to do printing and a mailbox that gives you a business address instead of your house. 

What are some products/services that you offer?  

So we have the coworking space, of course, and for the mailboxes the difference between that and other businesses that offer mailbox service is that we provide a city address. It’s not a PO BOX, its a suite number so for online ordering that’s huge. What makes us really awesome is that we send email notifications as soon as you get mail, which other people don’t do. So that’s super important. For me, I needed that for a long time. I had to drive all the way to Red Deer from where I live in Blackfalds just to find an empty mailbox. So, when I started this, I was like that’s not going to happen anymore! So, we started the email notifications. When we took over this space there was a printer here already, so we took over that contract and now we can offer printing services that are competitive with the online printing providers. A lot of people don’t know we do this so were pushing forward with promoting that services but its one of our strongest points.  

Why did you choose Downtown Red Deer as the location for your business? 

It’s the central point of the city. If you’re coming from the North or the South, Downtown Red Deer has everything. Everyone knows Downtown, everyone passes through Downtown so that was the main reason why we chose it. 

What do you think makes Downtown vibrant? 

The variety of businesses in the area. So, if you go to the South it’s a conglomerate of certain types of shops, but Downtown has everything that anybody can think of. We have a travel agency, a VR place, a grocery store, lawyers and a coworking space. A huge variety of businesses, I think that’s what makes downtown vibrant.   

I love Downtown Red Deer because… it’s so flexible and you can find everything in Downtown and the environment that has been created around business and customersI think it’s a great community. It’s not isolated to the North or the South, Downtown is the heart of Red Deer. 

GrupDesk is the place to check out of you’re looking for a new space to work from if you’re working from home or looking for a new space to run your small business.

Website: https://www.grupdesk.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/grupdesk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/grupdesk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GrupDesk

We serve approximately 500 businesses and property owners in Downtown Red Deer, Alberta. Our Mission is to build an engaged Downtown community, develop a Downtown brand and enhance the Downtown experience.

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Business Spotlight: Ewyn Weight-Loss Studios

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1. What is your business?

Ewyn Weight-Loss Studios support clients on their weight-loss journey through programing, healthy eating, stress management and much more; they are a hub for healthy living.

2. When did your business open?

This Ewyn studio opened in 2017, but Natalie has been running it since 2019

3. What makes your business unique?

Stabilization and maintenance are what make Ewyn’s weight-loss different, working with clients to reach their goals than helping them maintain the perfect balance for their individualized goals to make weight loss truly sustainable.

4. What are some products/services that you offer?

A FREE consultation followed by individual programming per client to help them reach their goals of healthy living and weight loss.

5. Why did you choose Downtown Red Deer as the location for your business?

The business was already placed downtown when I took over, but I do find that we get about 15-20% of our business from people stating they saw us as they drove by.

6. What do you think makes Downtown vibrant?

The greenery and opportunity for living an active lifestyle with the tails and outside gyms.

7. Finish this sentence: I love Downtown Red Deer because…

I love the downtown Market, and it has such a sense of community and fresh, inexpensive vegetables. I often recommend it to my clients.

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Business

It’s proving to be a lively summer on the Ross Street Patio

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By Mark Weber

With the new designation of being an Entertainment District, there’s an exciting new vibe resonating across Red Deer’s Ross Street Patio.

Earlier this year, City council approved Entertainment District status for the Patio, meaning that the Ross Street Patio is now a place where adults can consume alcohol outside of a licensed premises while taking in various forms of live entertainment. Prior to the May 24th council meeting, City administration determined a new bylaw was needed to support the DBA’s request and sought direction from council before proceeding.

According to the City, Entertainment Districts are new to the province, having been created last December through an amendment to the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act.  “We are getting brilliant feedback – it has been so well-received,”
explained Amanda Gould, the DBA’s executive director. There have been no issues either, she added, pointing out that folks have been responsible and simply enjoying the option to have a drink while listening to artists perform on the Patio each week. “They’re having a drink, they’re getting rid of their garbage, and then they are on their way. It’s been absolutely brilliant – it’s been a dream. “It’s great to be able to offer this to people who come downtown.”

Gould has also noted that the designation would help to further revitalize the downtown core by drawing more folks down to not only check out the entertainment that is running on the Patio all summer, but to also see all that downtown ultimately has to offer.

Business owners have also been saying it’s been a positive move. “Tribe, in particular, on Canada Day saw a 30 per cent increase in sales.”

The regular performances are also proving a major draw this summer. “We get people of so many different walks of life coming down to see them – it’s so interesting to watch the Patio right now. We get in at half past eight, and then you go around the corner to look at the Patio to check and make sure everything is good as we do every morning. People are outside City Roast having coffee, sitting on the picnic benches, having their breakfast, or just sitting down to have a chat – it’s just lovely to see. And then it gets full on the days that we have the entertainment going on.”

Thursday and Friday performances run from 12 – 1:30 p.m. with Wednesday performances going from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. “Wednesdays continue to be our best day as we have the market going on then, too.”

Visitors are invited to come down and purchase all their fresh fruits and veggies between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday.

The annual car boot sale will soon be happening as well – they will be on Wednesdays also, she added. “Wednesdays are ‘the day’,” she added with a laugh.

According to the DBA’s website, “Load up your car, truck, or van with any items from your house that you wish to sell (or that you would normally put out in a garage sale) and come down to Little Gaetz Avenue for the Downtown Red Deer Car Boot Sale.” Pre-registration & payment required for those wishing to sell.

And to top of the celebratory spirit, a special limited-edition beer created by Sawback Brewing specifically for the Patio has proven to be a hit as well. “People love it,” said Gould, adding the beer – available at several downtown restaurants – will be available through the summer. The musical performances and the market both run through to the early fall.

For more about the Downtown Business Association and all that is planned for the Ross Street Patio, find them on Facebook or visit www.downtownreddeer.com.

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