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The Ross Street Patio – A Summer to Remember

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“If you wish to make a space safe and vibrant you must occupy that space.”

If you happened to visit the Ross Street Patio installation over the summer, you likely would have seen just that; a vibrancy that was created through positive, collaborative engagement. 

 

  The Ross Street Patio installation has been a mainstay in Red Deer’s downtown for close to a decade. The area, located on the north lanes of Ross Street adjacent to the Cenotaph Park offers beautiful greenery in the form of planters, flowers and trees as well as patio tables with umbrellas and benches. Each year the City of Red Deer with the support of the Downtown Business Association create this lovely space for citizens to gather and enjoy a coffee or snack, enjoy programming in the form of live music and other entertainment, and take in the sights and sounds of a more bustling city centre. 

  The summer of 2020 saw a massive increase in foot traffic to the area, possibly more than any summers in the past. The spring was a time of uncertainty for many of the businesses in the area, and the restaurants in the area were making preparations to open their doors to the public after being closed for months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Restaurants and bars were given the green light to reopen their doors in late May and by early June most had.

   Over the course of the following few weeks, these businesses began setting up their own patios within the boundaries of the Ross St. Patio. Tribe, Tacoloft, Occam’s Razor, and The Velvet Olive Lounge/Capitol Package Store are all very different food and beverage joints with one thing in common: they were all neighbors sharing the same uncertainty. 

   And then, it happened. What began as a conversation on the patio with Kyle Key, owner of the Olive and the Capitol Package Store, and musician Paeton Cameron, and a few others, became what would be remembered as one of the greatest summers on the Ross Street Patio to date.

   The Velvet Olive had previously been “the spot” for live music downtown. With open mic nights for musicians to have space to show off their talents, and other live music events weekly. Unfortunately due to the Covid-19 pandemic these live music venues were prohibited from showcasing live music inside their establishments, leaving musicians with essentially nowhere to play, and left music lovers longing to hear live music again. 

 “Let’s do it outside.” 

   It was a thought, then a conversation, and then it was happening. On a warm Thursday night, Kyle, Paeton, and friends put up a tent directly in front of the restaurants, plugged in a couple speakers, and invited musicians to sign up for the first ever “Open Mic Night” – outdoors, on the Ross Street Patio. It didn’t take long before the people began to gather, safely and respectfully, to listen to the live music they had been starved of for months. And it didn’t take long for the other businesses to see the benefits and reap the rewards. By the following Thursday, Tribe, Tacoloft, and Occam’s Razor all offered to support the live music by pitching in on costs, promotions, and maintaining the space. Before long there were up to 3 live music events per week that were programmed by the businesses. This was in addition to the programming created by the DBA and made the Ross Street Patio the most popular space in town. And the businesses all reported a remarkable increase in foot traffic and sales as a result of its popularity. Over the next few months the area had garnered such attention that photographers and film crews began attending to document the successes, and the citizens of Red Deer were calling to make reservations at the establishments, sometimes weeks in advance. 

  One of the last great events to take place on the “Ross Street Stage” was a collaboration between the 4 businesses, four breweries, and 11 local musicians. The “Save Our Stages – Originals Open Mic” night on Sept 18 was broadcast live over the internet. Each of the 11 musicians was invited to play 3 songs, all originals, to the excited crowd that filled the seats of the businesses’ patios and the Ross Street Patio seating. Filmed and broadcast by the team at Hot Shoe Studio the event was a huge success, culminating in a show of support by the local RCMP. As the sun set, approx 10-12 RCMP patrol vehicles slowly passed the Ross Street Patio with lights flashing and sirens sounding as a salute to the citizens of Red Deer and the businesses for doing their part to make the downtown safe and vibrant, by occupying that space. The cheers were deafening, and the tears of joy were real. What a summer, and what a city.

 Thanks to the City of Red Deer for providing the space. Thanks to the Downtown Business Association for the support and additional programming. Thanks to the businesses for breaking down their silos and working together for the greater cause. And thanks to the citizens of Red Deer for showing up, supporting local, and being generally good in the world. 

I’ve never been more proud to be a Red Deerian, and I can’t wait for next summer. 

To watch the full Originals Open Mic video click here: https://youtu.be/8fzMIT8pIyE

Downtown Red Deer Adventures, promoting all things downtown through positive collaborative engagement. Guided tours, private parties, event hosting, and much more.

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Indoor Winter Market accepting applications for vendors

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From The Downtown Business Association

Vendors wanted for Scott Block Theatre Winter Market.

The Red Deer Downtown Business Association (DBA) is looking for vendors who would be interested in participating in this year’s first indoor winter market happening November 26 to 28 at the Scott Block Theatre (4816 50 Ave).

The Scott Block Theatre Winter Market is the first indoor winter market hosted by the DBA for Red Deer Lights the Night. This Alberta Farmers’ Market Association approved market will feature local vendors selling an array of make it, bake it, and/or grow it items. The times and dates for the market are:

  • Thursday, November 26: 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.
  • Friday. November 27: 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 28: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    To be a vendor at the Scott Block Theatre Winter Market, just complete the vendor application on our website.

    Applications must be received by Thursday, November 5, 2020.

    Please submit applications by mail or hand delivery to:

    Red Deer Downtown Business Association 120, 5009 50 Avenue
    Red Deer, AB T4N 4B2

    Or email to: [email protected].

    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.

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Downtown Business Spotlight: 4 Pillars

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This week’s Business Spotlight shines on 4 Pillars! Located at 4779 49 St, 4 Pillars is the place to go to find debt relief. We sat down with the owner and Debt Relief Specialist, Eric Everett, for more information about the business!

What is your business? 

Well, we help people through their debt problems, so we have debt relief solutions and financial advice on how to solve problems.

 

When did you open? 

Well, 4 Pillars, across Canada, started in 2002, so 18 years and Red Deer started 7 years ago. I purchased July 1st of 2019.

What would you say makes your business unique? 

I have to say great staff, or they’ll beat me up! What I love is that we don’t just help with debt. We have all kinds of different solutions to help people through whatever needs they have, so when they walk out they say, ‘Wow! That was easy!’

What are some products/services that you offer?  

Our main job is to get people to do a Consumer Proposal. I call it bankruptcy-light. There are hardly any consequences, versus bankruptcy. It’s a very easy solution through their debt problems. And it’s not just that people have little debt problems; our average debt level is 60,000$, it’s hard to get out of that by themselves. The government came up with the Consumer Proposal about 20 years ago so that people can come out through their debt problems without committing suicide or robbing banks so that they can have some hope for their future. I’m actually a hope builder!

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

Well, great visibility is the main reason. We have about 10,000 cars drive by our location every day, so that’s huge for us. And then Lucky Restaurant is right next door!

What do you think makes Downtown vibrant? 

Lots of access, ease of getting around, everything is located in a small area, and it’s not hard to get in and out of the Downtown area like a lot of centers.

I love Downtown Red Deer because… It’s a good business location for me.

 

If you or someone you know is looking for assistance getting out of debt, 4 Pillars is the place to go.

Website: https://www.4pillars.ca/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/4PillarsCentral

 

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october, 2020

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