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Downtown Business Spotlight: U Pick Koffee

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This week’s Business Spotlight shines on U Pick Koffee! Located at 4710 51 Ave, this local shop has everything you need for your Keurig K-Cup stock. We sat down with the general manager, Ken Van Someren, to learn more about this business!

What is your business?

Our business is U Pick Koffee, here in Red Deer. We have only been in business for a couple of months. Our main product line is Keurig K-Cups. We specialize in the mix-and-match program, where you can buy many pods of different kinds to try and find a new favorite pod!

 

When did you open?

We opened officially on the 1st of September and our operating hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m, Monday through Friday as well as 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday.

What would you say makes your business unique?

I think it’s unique because of the mix-and-match program. You can buy K-Cups in a number of grocery stores, but we have a much bigger variety. We are working towards getting up to 250 to 300 different varieties. We have regular coffee, decaf coffee, we have teas, we have flavored coffees, we have dark roasts—all the roasts that you could want! And we have some that are even on special. Also, we don’t have an exact date yet, but you can check our Facebook page and Website because we will be having a coffee tasting night in November!

 What are some products/services that you offer?

 The products we carry are of all varieties, we don’t carry just Folgers. We’ve got Timothy’s. Tim Horton’s, Van Houtte, Torani, and Starbucks. We have pretty much all of them and we’re getting more in all the time. We’ll soon have some Christmas special ones in— a Christmas hot chocolate is coming! We also sell regular bean and ground coffee from two suppliers right now.  They’re both unique to this area and you can’t buy them in just any grocery store. One is White Frog Café, from Sylvan Lake. There is only a couple of us in Red Deer that sell it, and we have grounds and beans. We also have coffee from a company called Rampage Coffee, they are out of Saskatoon. We have beans and grounds from them, and we’re the only ones in Central Alberta that are selling that product.

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

We wanted somewhere that there would be visibility. We didn’t want to go into a mall where we were mandated to the hours that we can open. We wanted good exposure and we found that in Downtown Red Deer.

What do you think makes Downtown vibrant?

I think it’s the people that are Downtown and working together to make it better. Although there is a lot of empty spots Downtown right now, the ones that are there are really into the Downtown and want to make it even more vibrant. I think the City is working on that as well, leaving the patio open this year. I think that’s a good idea. There are things that need to happen, and they will happen!

I love Downtown Red Deer because… The people are friendly, and the businesses are inviting. People don’t want to go to malls all the time!

If you’re looking for a place that offers a wide variety of coffee and specialized K-Cups, look no further than U Pick Koffee!

Website: https://upickkoffee.ca/

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/uPickKoffeerd

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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Exploring Gros Morne Newfoundland with Gerry Feehan

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Exploring Gros Morne Newfoundland with Gerry Feehan

The view from atop Gros Morne is spectacular.

The talk of salt cod and moose started before we’d even made landfall on The Rock. On the ferry from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland, a wizened fellow regaled us with stories of jigging for fish with his cousin and bagging a bull moose with his wife. It was late September.

He was pleased as punch that the freezer was stocked with sufficient cod and moose meat to see the family through a harsh Newfoundland winter. As

Florence and I drove off the ferry the man motioned us with a gnarly finger. I rolled down the window.

“Safe travels me-son. And don’t drive at night on The Rock,” he warned, “sometimes the moose are so thick you have to get out of the car and push them off the road.”

We were on Newfoundland’s southwest tip. The island is bigger than I had expected. The first road sign we saw proclaimed, ‘St John’s 890km’. But before heading to the distant capital on the Avalon Peninsula we wanted to explore the west of Newfoundland, Gros Morne National Park and L’Anse Aux Meadows, where Leif Erickson established North America’s first European settlement 1000 years ago—500 years before Columbus set foot on Hispaniola in the sunny Caribbean.

The drive north from Port Aux Basques was slow going. Along the highway, workers were installing the new transmission line from Muskrat Falls in neighbouring Labrador on the mainland. This project is an expensive undertaking—and considered by some Newfoundlanders just another dam boondoggle. Many Islanders also still bristle at the mention of Churchill Falls, a hydroelectric legacy from the era of Joey Smallwood, Canada’s last Father of Confederation.

Fall colours were near peak as we drove past lovely Corner Brook and leafy Marble Mountain. We enjoyed a late-season round of golf at Humber Valley Resort, ranked Canada’s 6th best public golf course. The rolling fairways were flanked by yellow, gold and red-hued deciduous trees and stoic evergreens. There were no moose on course, but a solitary black fox did greedily eye my ball on the green at the signature par 4 10th.  A little further down the TransCanada we made a sharp left at Deer Lake onto Hwy 430, bound for Gros Morne and the rugged west coast.

 

Life is hard on The Rock.

Gros Morne National Park is remarkably diverse. The pebbled shoreline of Rocky Harbour gives way to a series of finger lakes, forming magnificent inland fjords. South, across Bonne Bay, lie the Tablelands where Earth’s mantle has squeezed to the surface and only the odd pitcher plant and a few other hardy species can survive the acidic, infertile ancient soil. And lording over all is Gros Morne, Newfoundland’s second highest mountain, which we intended to climb.

The night before our ascent we stopped at Park Headquarters to pick up a trail map.

“Be careful me-loves,” warned the ranger, “specially if you see a tick fag.”

“We most certainly will,” I assured her, glancing over my shoulder. In the morning, low dense clouds roiled out over the sea but the sky above Gros Morne was crystal clear. No tick fag up there.

The hard part about summiting Gros Morne Mountain isn’t the summit itself. The top is flat as a pancake, a broad sparse plain where caribou graze on lichen—and rock ptarmigan nest. The difficult portion of the ascent is ‘the Gully’ a breathless hour of bouldering through frost-shattered rock that precedes the Arctic tundra of the plateau. ‘Big Lone Mountain’ tops out at 806m (2600 ft) and since the hike starts pretty much at sea level, the elevation gain is just that. As we exited the Gully, our calm fall day rapidly deteriorated into wintery conditions atop the windswept barren.

A rock ptarmigan strolls the summit.

We snapped a quick pic at the signpost marking the high point before scurrying toward the descent on the far side of the mesa. There we met two young women who had stopped for a terrifying selfie on the precipice overlooking Ten Mile Pond. I could barely stand upright as we screamed at each other over the wind. The Parks Canada brochure warns trekkers to be prepared for an arduous climb and that “hikers have fallen from the ledge… and died.” Watching the gals pose near the cliff in this gale, I wondered, “Fallen? More likely blown.”

That night, at the Ocean View Hotel in Rocky Harbour, we enjoyed our first Newfoundland kitchen party, where we were screeched in and kissed the cod, courtesy of local celebrity Dave Shears. I joined our host on stage for a couple of songs.

“Stick around and strum a few after the others have left,” he offered, “and we’ll have a cuffer ‘bout dis and dat.”

So, long after the cod had been smooched, the screech ‘inned’ and the bar doors barred, we were still singing, quaffing—and trading yarns with our convivial hosts.

Western Brook Pond is a glacier-carved, masterpiece of nature. A cruise on this fresh-water fjord is mandatory for any visit to Gros Morne. But check the forecast. Chances are that you’ll walk 40 minutes from the parking area to the pier only to find the boat ride has been cancelled due to foul weather.

But even if the outing is kiboshed, the 2km hike through tuckamore forest, with long stretches of boardwalk over peaty bogs and around fragile wetlands, is worth the amble. Luckily we had a good day for it. The boat meandered slowly to the far end of the long, narrow lake, squeezing between sheer, 750m high cliffs. Everywhere waterfalls cascaded to the surface from the dizzying heights. Since Newfoundland is a land of perpetual impromptu music, the boat’s crew couldn’t refrain from scratching their musical itch during the two-hour tour.

When not attending to his maritime duties, the first mate played the spoons. Passengers clapped accompaniment while Celtic jigs blared over the ship’s loudspeakers.

Sheer cliffs define the fresh-water fjord.

The next evening the live entertainment continued at the Gros Morne Music Festival in Cow Head with fiddling, percussion and a sad, a capella ballad recounting the hard life of early Newfoundlanders. After midnight, walking back to our campground, the wind began to freshen. At 3am we were shaken awake by a strong sou’ wester – and slept only in fits and starts for the rest of the night.

Our plan was to hit the road early for the 350km drive to l’Anse aux Meadows on the extreme tip of the Northern Peninsula. But by morning the gusts were blowing in at 100kph – a sad portent for motor home travel. We decided to hunker down and wait out the tempest. But one by one our resolute fellow campers pulled up stakes. Soon we were the sole remainders. Suffering from FOMO, I threw caution to the gale-force wind, pulled out onto the narrow, winding highway and, as they oddly say in Newfoundland, steered north ‘down the coast.’

Next time: L’Anse aux Meadows and more tales from The Rock.

Gerry Feehan is an award-winning travel writer and photographer. He lives in Kimberley, BC.

Gerry Feehan is an award-winning travel writer and photographer. He and his wife Florence live in Kimberley, BC!

Thanks to Kennedy Wealth Management for sponsoring this series.  Click on the ads and learn more about this long-term local business.

 

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WATCH: Arthritis – Use it or Lose it!

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Click above to join Dr. Nav Rattan, a Family Physician, Sport Medicine and MSK Physician, and Jeff Kopp, Kinesiologist and Recreation Therapist in this video stream recorded from the Red Deer Public Library.

Click here to learn more about the Red Deer Primary Care Network.

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