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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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Central Alberta

Judy’s story: I’m on the healthy road!

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On the Healthy Road!

My journey to better health starting when my doctor told me my blood sugar was at pre-diabetes levels, my blood pressure continued to require medication and I had weight to lose.  He sent me to see the RDPCN nurse. After some appointments there, the nurse referred me to the Health Basics program.

Exercise was my downfall. Working from home, I always found something else to do rather than exercise.  Health Basics increased my awareness. I tracked what I was eating and became more aware of what I ate, when I ate and why I ate. I also realized things that would make me healthier that I wasn’t doing.  I realized being healthy is a process and I took one healthy step at a time. I also became aware of the wider variety of options for healthy lifestyle.

My husband and I visited friends over the summer and noted they had lost weight.  This stimulated us to pay even more attention to our food intake. As a result of our overall efforts, I have lost about 32 pounds and my husband has lost 37. My blood sugar is now in the normal range. I have had significant decrease in my blood pressure medication. I have more energy. I enjoy exercising more as it is easier to move around and I have less arthritis pain. Health Basics is an excellent class- it started me on the healthy road. I also have much more confidence in my future health.

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

Read more success stories from the Primary Care Network.

Better than winning the Lotto!

Better than winning the Lotto!

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Sailing the Nile – Parts 1 and 2

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Sailing the Nile

This is the second in a two-part series “Sailing the Nile”.

There were only 15 guests on board the Malouka: nine polite Americans and our group of six raucous Canadians. We were on a six-day sail up the Nile River. The vessel was a traditional double-masted dahabiya, part of the Nour el Nil fleet https://www.nourelnil.com/

Dahabiyas have been plying the waters of the Nile for millennia. But this was a cleverly-constructed, modern, luxurious craft for us clever, modern, luxuriant folk.

Egypt: Sailing the Nile by Gerry Feehan

 

In addition to the crew – who outnumbered the guests – we were graced with the presence of Jean-Pierre, a gentle man with a charming Parisian accent whose only responsibility aboard ship (from what we could glean) was to hop from boat to boat, entertaining the guests with his relaxed septuagenarian spirit – and to act as self-appointed ‘bodyguard’ to Eleanor, one of the fleet’s owners. Eleanor, an elegant French lady, maintained her sumptuous quarters on the Malouka’s sister ship, the Meroe.

Every meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner, was served in style, on deck, in the open air. The food was amazing. We were waited on like Pharaohs and Queens: fresh-netted Nile perch, crisp fried falafel and baba ghanouj; straight-from–the-oven flatbread to scoop up the tahini, hummus and yogurt sauces. Each afternoon, we were offered the refreshing juice of some exotic fruit. After dinner, often just a simple desert of dates and figs.

After feeding the guests, the crew enjoys lunch on the lower deck

We quickly bonded with the crew. Where English/Arabic language issues arose, the occasional knowing nod, some common courtesy and a mutual admiration for the beauty of the Nile, sufficed. The Egyptian crew was polite and attentive. And even the most hardened of these river seamen displayed a boyish sense of humour.

Each time we neared shore to dock for an excursion, the captain – whom the staff had inexplicably nicknamed Humpty Dumpty – commenced a routine of alarmed shouts directed at the bow crew—while simultaneously engaging in a frantic arm-waving ceremony toward the helmsman. As we neared Edfu, and before he could start this inevitable daily performance, I jumped into his station at the bow and began gesticulating and yelling in my best pidgin Arabic.

Humpty looked at me in astonishment. The crew was momentarily dumfounded. Then one-by-one they burst into hysterical laughter. The cook, abandoning the galley, fell to the floor, pounding his fists on the deck with unrestrained glee.

I looked at the captain apologetically and said, “Asif.” But I wasn’t really sorry—and Humpty was laughing just as hard as the others.

The sun began to redden over the Nile. The barge passed fertile fields of cotton and sugar cane; lush orchards of pomegranates and figs. Galabiya-clad shepherds looked up from their flocks. Women washed clothes in the fading light. Children leapt into the clear warm water. A startled grey heron squawked. A young boy astride a thin donkey waived hello. Everything was fun and games. Then the squall hit.

The sudden gale propelled the dahabiya sideways. We were headed for an inevitable collision with shore. All hands were on deck as the bow slowly crushed into a thick grove of papyrus. I looked at the captain. He was not laughing. Orders were shouted. Two crewmen jumped overboard with tie-lines in hand, frantically swimming through the thick reeds. On shore they pounded grounding stakes into the hard bank. Then the entire team, from first mate to cook, hauled fast the lines.

When you are a ship’s captain you are on duty 24/7 and can never break, even if your name is Humpty.

As quickly as it started the squall ebbed and all was well again.

Humpty at the helm

This motley crew was not much help during the squall

After the calm we resumed our drift. Near the Temple of Horemheb we tied up for the night, went ashore and visited a small village. We popped in for shai (tea) at what can only be described as the neighbourhood pub, although no alcohol was served. The place smelled of desert grime seasoned with stale tobacco smoke. In the dim murky light an animated group of men were huddled around a table, taking turns smashing domino tiles down upon the battered old piece of furniture. They offered us shai and thick, sweet Turkish coffee, then invited us to join the game and share shisha—a water pipe. The local tobacco is flavoured with fruit and the taste is very mild. Even a deep inhale doesn’t burn the lungs. Or so I’m told.

It was evident that the people here were desperately poor. And yet they welcomed us politely, with expressions of sincere gratitude for our visit to their country. Proffered payment for the shai, coffee, shisha—and our domino debts—were all firmly refused.

Young and old, Nile folk were friendly and welcoming

Egypt needs visitors. Tourism has been hard hit by an unfortunate series of events: 9/11, middle-east concerns, terrorist threats – both real and imagined. The 2010 ‘Arab Spring’ democratic uprising was, ironically, particularly devastating. Tourist numbers plummeted to near zero, but are now recovering. Still, only about 150 of the 350 tour boats that formerly plied this section of the Nile are operating.

We left the village and climbed to a high vantage point overlooking the mighty river. It began to rain. Soon we were all soaked to the skin. Sawi, Alberto and Mahmoud (our on-board waiters and off-board protectors) danced gleefully in the desert downpour. This part of Egypt had not seen rain for four years.

In the morning, docked below the high dam at Aswan, we enjoyed a solemn breakfast while watching a last sunrise over the Nile. Our toast was served with marmalade and melancholy. Our time aboard the Melouka was over. Jean-Pierre and Eleanor came to bid us adieu. All of the crew were emotional. Mahmoud’s eyes were glued to the floor. You know I hate to see a grown man cry… so I avoided looking in the mirror.

We walked the gangplank off the dahabiya. A van awaited us dockside. There we were introduced to Sayed Mansour, from Exodus Travel, who would be our guide for the rest of our Egyptian adventure. He hurried us into the van. A plane awaited us. We were bound for the ancient temple of Abu Simbel on Lake Nasser.

Exodus Travel skillfully handled every detail of our Egypt adventure: www.exodustravels.com/‎

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 now live in Kimberley, BC!

Thanks to Kennedy Wealth Management and Ing and McKee Insurance for sponsoring this series.  Click on their ads and learn more about these long-term local businesses.

Click to read more travel stories.

 

8 miles off the coast of Ireland Gerry Feehan’s “Buddy-Hike” discovers the Skellig Islands

 

 

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january, 2021

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