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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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#ReDiscoverRedDeer

Vision for downtown Capstone neighbourhood beginning to come together.

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From the City of Red Deer

Capstone redevelopment achieves new milestone with first major land sale

The transformation of Capstone has taken a significant leap forward with the announcement of the first sale of land, triggering approximately $36 million of multi-family residential development.

The City of Red Deer announced that Calgary’s Brad Remington Homes will deliver approximately 180 new condominium homes to the community. The deal represents the first investment of private equity into the Capstone community, and sets the stage for additional interest from both commercial and residential developers.

“This is a turning point in our city history, which will prove to be transformative as a former industrial area transitions into a modern, walkable urban community”, said Mayor Tara Veer. “Capstone is a city-defining project and represents the next generation of living, working and recreating in our city, and prioritizes our downtown through densification and sustainable community design. Most importantly, this significant private investment in Red Deer demonstrates confidence in our local marketplace and vision for downtown revitalization.”

Earlier this year, The City initiated a direct marketing program to identify developers with the financial strength, brand reputation and expertise in multi-family community development to help deliver the vision for Capstone.

“Developer selection is a critical step in a redevelopment program of this magnitude, and so our outreach was intentionally broad”, said Allan Seabrooke, City Manager. “We developed specialized tools, conducted site tours and shared information with capable developers from across the province and the country, in an effort to find the right partner to help us deliver on our vision for this community.”

Brad Remington Homes, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, has delivered over 3,500 homes in southern Alberta, and is known for its construction expertise and philosophy around home ownership.

“Our mission has always been to provide the highest quality home possible, while remaining affordable”, noted Brad Remington President and CEO. “I am impressed by The City’s vision for Capstone and believe that many Red Deerians will aspire to live in this riverside community. We’re thrilled about the opportunity to redefine a whole new neighbourhood, and revitalize downtown,” he added.

The vision of Capstone started in 2009 with the relocation of The City’s Civic Yards, which opened up the area to development. Since then, The City has been investing in the foundation for future growth, focusing on upgrading utilities and services in the area, building a Riverwalk pathway, road improvements, landscaping, increased parking and reimagined gathering spaces.

Capstone is on its way to becoming a vibrant, mixed-use community. The master plan vision, developed by urban strategists GEHL Studios, outlines character areas like the “Green Spine” and “Riverwalk“, which are intended to easily connect pedestrian and bicycle commuters to the Red Deer River valley and to the downtown core. With over three million square feet of residential opportunity, Capstone will be home to over 5,000 new residents when complete. Combined with an additional two million square feet of commercial and retail opportunity, the community represents a billion dollar real estate program.

Simultaneous to the land sale announcement, The City unveiled the highly anticipated 3D visualization of Capstone, giving Red Deerians and Albertans the first glimpse of what the community will look like in 2040 at full build-out.

“The release of the 3D visualization, and the sale of development parcels marks a significant milestone in the Capstone rejuvenation project and is a result of years of preparatory work and infrastructure improvements showing our commitment to the vision,” commented Tara Lodewyk, General Manager, Development and Protective Services.

Consumer Research conducted earlier this spring indicates that the future resident of the community – dubbed the ‘Cap Citizen’ – seeks to be connected to nature, while having the services and offerings of downtown Red Deer on their doorstep. Capstone is designed to be a prime riverfront address, an accessible city home, and a leisure destination for all Red Deerians.

For more information about Capstone or to view the 3D animation visit the website at liveincapstone.ca.

Buildings to be demolished. City will take over Michener Centre North lands

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Calgary

Forget the Horizon, Downtown Calgary is in Big Trouble Right Now

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Calgary Downtown Empty

Do you travel through or live in downtown Calgary? 

Do you glare at our skyscrapers and see only a few lights on? 

This is a tale of a cowtown that stopped producing milk, even our ranch has closed. If there was a light at the end of this tunnel, not even our top economic spokespeople can offer any of us a realistic answer for where we are at now, or when we will even see the light. The economic destruction from COVID-19 continues to ravage the health of local businesses and almost every other industry that calls our city home. With that, there is a lot more to the story that reaches beyond March of this year. The question is, what does a pillar city in Canada do when their downtown is empty and graduates continue to emigrate?

Recent data from the CBRE from Q3 of 2020 show the office vacancy in downtown Calgary has hit 28.7%. That number may seem irrelevant without comparison to other metropolitan places in the country. The chart below shows the office vacancy percentages based on data collected of unused office space by square footage in the downtown core in each identified city.

Calgary office vacancy

Data Sourced: CBRE, “Canada’s Office and Industrial Quarterly Statistics Q3 2020”, CBRE.ca

The clarification we are lacking is that there is a very real problem with attracting commercial activity. The challenge lies within the lack of large firms that have more than 1,000 employees to fill these empty sky-high office buildings.

We cannot simply just ask companies to move their workforce, an example being Suncor’s recent decision to uproot 700 employees from Ontario to relocate to Calgary. Better described as 700 humans with families, friends and communities in Ontario. No figures have been released to state how many jobs will be coming to Calgary. 

Almost within the same week, we see the consolidation of Husky Energy by Cenovus. This does make “fiscal” sense for the financial health and future of the company, becoming the third-largest oil and natural gas producer in the country. Citing a piece in the Financial Post by Diane Francis, Cenovus will close the Husky head office in Calgary, which is not reflected in the Q3 data released by the CBRE. 

If we keep in mind that the headquarters for Husky Energy Inc was Western Canada Place, where we saw the Apache Corporation “strategically exit” Canada back in 2017. It will become clear in the near future that we could see another tenant evacuation of a huge building in downtown Calgary. 

One piece of that 28.7% of our current office vacancy is due to Nexen leaving their building on 8th street completely vacant, setting up shop in the same building as the newly purchased Husky Energy Inc. In this case, bottom level retail such as cafe’s are not included as occupied office space. 

If there are corporate tax incentives in almost every major city in the efforts of attracting big business, therein lies the question. What else can Calgary offer to sway large firms to come here? Take a look at the chart below stating the 2020 Corporate Income Tax Rates in Canada.

2020 Canadian Corporate Tax Rates

Source: TaxTips, “2020 Corporate Income Tax Rates”, Taxtips.ca

At some point in the recent history of Alberta, competitiveness turned into desperation. There is some benefit to local entrepreneurs looking to set up a business by lowering the barrier to entry, however, have we really seen that as a result of the lowest corporate tax rates in the country? 

Looking at the fact sheet prepared by Calgary Economic Development in May of this year. As shown in the chart below, take a look at the new and renewed business licenses. It is crucial to note that COVID-19 has created a mountain of economic problems for almost every city, which we can assume had a major impact on the 2020 numbers seen below. We may see this continuing to decline as the pandemic continues to ravage our economy.

In addition, It is important to note the lack of new business licenses issued since 2017. This is not a new problem but has been exacerbated by COVID-19.

Business Licenses Calgary

Calgary Economic Development, “Fact Sheet: Calgary Small Business”, 2020 Edition Published: June 24, 2020, p 6., Calgaryeconomicdevelopment.ca

When faced with a challenge, Calgarians do not quit. The piece of the puzzle that has yet to be found is to restore incentive to local and foreign investment. The ideology that big tech would eventually be “sold” on Calgary’s infrastructure has not gained traction. 

Recent history teaches us that big tech follows big tech, an example being TikTok opening a new headquarters in Dublin back in August of this year, where companies such as Alphabet, Amazon, eBay, Paypal and Facebook also have European headquarters. While these names are well-known globally, the economic and sociological effect it could have on our city would offer Calgarians some indication that we are actually progressing in some way. 

Consider being a graduate enrolled in an extensive and expensive program this year. The lack of economic progress is tied with the lack of jobs in a psychologically destructive way. If we cannot incentivize foreign investment and create new job opportunities, more importantly, how do we hold on to waves of eager graduates that are well aware of the benefits of moving to other cities or countries? 

The narrative that new graduates carrying thousands of dollars in debt are given any chance to achieve anything close to previous generations in Calgary back in the high oil and gas days is now an irrelevant argument. Understandable that they may pack up and leave for greener pastures.

The evidence is in the 2019 Calgary Civic Census. The age demographic of 20-24 is our second lowest age demographic sitting at 5.94%, the lowest being the 15-19 year olds sitting at only 5.28%. The chart below shows the breakdown of our Calgary’s age segmentation. 

Calgary young people leaving

Source: Calgary Civic Census 2019, “Civic Census Results 2019”, Calgary.ca

Cities such as Vancouver and Toronto last conducted their population census in 2016. The comparison data ranked Calgary 29th out of 35 cities in Canada for the age demographic of 20-24. Thinking about the cities you are aware of in Canada, to not even rank in the top 10 for young adults adds to the enormous problem we will be attempting to remedy for an unknown amount of time. This data can be seen clearly in a CBC post relating to this issue.

The information above may offer some real data that has very real implications. However, the narrative less documented is what sentiment do young people feel in Calgary and what is left to be proud of. It cannot just be the Stampede or nothing at all. Even after emigrating to another city or country, what is it that they tell their newfound community about their home city? The vibrant, creative and hard-working young people in this city have a fighting chance, but only if there is some benefit to their future staying here. Without awareness of foundational values, celebration of culture and real opportunity to rely upon in your city, understandably, young people will continue to leave and seldomly will ever return.

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References:

Calgary.ca, “Calgary Civic Census 2019.” 2019 Civic Census Results, 2019, p. 18, Calgary.ca.

CBRE, “Canada’s Office and Industrial Quarterly Statistics Q3 2020”, CBRE.ca.

Calgary Economic Development, “Fact Sheet: Calgary Small Business”, 2020 Edition Published: June 24, 2020, p 6., Calgaryeconomicdevelopment.ca

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For more stories, please visit Todayville Calgary

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november, 2020

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