For this week’s Business Spotlight, we popped into Sunworks Living, located at #110, 4913 Gaetz Ave in the heart of Downtown Red Deer. Visitors to this unique shop are treated to a shopping experience like no other in Red Deer. The selection of high-quality products and expert customer service allow Sunworks to stand out, and why people keep coming back. We sat down with Kathryn Harris of Sunworks to learn more about this exceptional downtown business.
What is your business?
We are Sunworks Living, quality gifts and local art gallery, we offer a unique shopping experience.
When did your business open?
The business opened May 10th, 1996.
What makes your business unique?
Our focus is on local products, so we try and bring in unique, local but very curated pieces. Some of our works in the store are from a few neighborhoods away, others are from as far away as Quebec. We try to stay as Canadian as we can. We do have an emphasis on staying environmentally friendly so some of our products do come from away, but they are a little more sustainable.
What are some products/services that you offer?
Local is one of the key things for the business. We showcase local art, we build special order pieces with local materials based on customer-specific requests, we are very particular as to what we bring into the store, it must be of a certain quality, not found anywhere else. In-store, we carry housewares, handmade natural soy candles, greeting cards, books, kitchenware, a little bit of everything.
Why did you choose Downtown Red Deer as the location for your business?
When Paul and Terry started Sunworks, Downtown Red Deer was a desolate wasteland. Paul grew up in Calgary and it was very important to him that the downtown be the beating heart of the city. At the time you could virtually hear the slamming of the wooden outhouse door and tumbleweed rolling across the street, but downtown is where they always wanted to put their business. I’ve heard Paul say to Terry,’ we need to do something about the downtown or we need to move’ so, they felt compelled to get involved and felt a call for change. The community has always been very important.
What do you think makes Downtown vibrant?
The people that work here. I can stand outside in front of the store in the sun on a Tuesday afternoon and can greet people as they walk by. I will see businesses across the street, and we give each other ‘the nod’ in greeting. You must acknowledge the people that are here.
Finish this sentence: I love Downtown Red Deer because…
It’s where I work, where I play and it’s close to home. It’s close to pretty much all homes in Red Deer because it’s the heart of the city. You must go through the downtown to get anywhere anyway so why wouldn’t you stop?
The charm and relaxed atmosphere of this quaint shop make it a pleasure to be in. The perfect gift is easily found with the help of the friendly and highly knowledgeable staff, as the possibilities are endless. Give yourself time to browse, there is a lot to discover!
Make sure to follow Sunworks Living:
And Money Flowed in the Streets….
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
Charles Dickens was a masterful writer with a superb grasp of the human psyche. In his Christmas Carol, which has been retold thousands of time since its original publication, he captured the penultimate human tragedy and richness: gratitude and thankfulness leads to an overflowing heart.
However, in this time in our world while every medical officer and professional is running the Covid 19 marathon, internet and news channel surfers are digesting every chart and update hungrily, and business men and women are looking to an uncertain future post crisis, people are discovering what is truly valuable.
We have witnessed the dismantling of sports empires worldwide-the NFL, NHL, MLB, MLS, PGA tours and other professional sports are now on pause for the 2020 season. Our entertainment industry, in addition to seeing Harvey Weinstein charged with sexual assault is also shut down worldwide. Business empires, so powerful in previous months are now powerless to resist falling sales and changing trend.
The gods of this world are now neutered, powerless, crownless and less significant everyday.
While public gatherings have been outlawed in numbers over 15, and social distancing has replaced conversation and relationships, families are spending more time together and hobbies are on the rise. I would venture to say that more people have never read so many books, or cooked so many cookies, or binged on Netflix or have been engaged with video entertainment than ever before.
On the positive side, crime rates are down. People are home so thieves are less likely to find empty homes.
The porn industry has shut down.
Houses are cleaner, and early spring cleaning is occurring.
Income tax season, while lengthened, will be less stressful for people.
Afternoon naps are now fashionable again.
People of faith can now find (or make) time to pray, read, and watch sermons and seminars online.
Music is more likely being played from all decades more often.
And then we consider the plight of the rich and entitled, when Covid 19 or any disease/condition enters their homes and robs them of health and a sense of well being…
Earlier today on whatsapp, a picture was posted with a quote from Sidhu, but it could also be from Ecclesiastes as well…
The richest people in Italy threw the money on the road and said, “This did not work in our bad times, we cannot save our loved ones, we cannot save our children, what is the use of this wealth? There is a lesson for those who value money more than humanity …. humbleness
Ecclesiastes 1: 1-4 states that, in the words of the teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem that”
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.”
In Italy, where Covid 19 has claimed thousands of victims, where a country is held hostage by something so small and insignificant, they have realized that no matter how much money they have, no matter now much power they have, that it cannot save their lives.
Their money, once a symbol of wealth and stature, now blows down empty city streets, rolling and curling in response to slight breezes and great gusts. Passers by walk by, pick up Euro every now and then and gaze upon the piles of powerless and valueless currency that pales in comparison to the greatest treasure of all: faith, humanity, health and humility.
The Red Deer Downtown Business Association opens up survey for downtown identity project.
The Red Deer Downtown Business Association (DBA) is proud to announce the launch of their survey to assist the DBA’s ongoing efforts of creating an identity for Downtown Red Deer. This survey will be used to gain feedback from citizens of Red Deer and surrounding communities on their thoughts of downtown.
The DBA is looking for 20 individuals that complete the 3 to 5-minute survey, to participate in a longer 20-minute interview in return for a $10 gift card to one of the specialty coffee shops in the core.
The Downtown Business Association has been operating in Red Deer for over 30 years, serving approximately five-hundred business owners in the Downtown area. Through partnerships and leadership in advocacy and promotion, the DBA is the catalyst for a vibrant and prosperous downtown that is the place to live, work, play and do business.
For more information, contact: Amanda Gould, Executive Director, Red Deer Downtown Businesses Association 403.340.8696
(originally published March 30, 2020)
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