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Volunteer Central’s Good Business of the Month: Cosmos Group

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3 minute read

Written by Ryan Charles Parker // Photo: Cosmos Group

 

Sometimes, waste isn’t waste. Just because we are finished with an item, it does not mean that our having exhausted it for ourselves renders it useless. No one knows this better than Cosmos.

Cosmos is an organization that does many helpful things with what we would sometimes consider trash. To this end, just to start, Cosmos runs three bottle depots: two in Red Deer and one in Blackfalds.

The amount of money that these bottle depots raise is quite astonishing. In 2019, Cosmos raised $594,702.35 for local charities.

That is a large chunk of cash, but Cosmos strives to become even more lucrative. As Trinesh Padiyachi, General Manager of the three depots run by the organization told me, (we want to) “become the number one in Alberta for recycling.”

Another initiative that the organization has taken up is bottle drives. Bottle drives generate revenue for many local charities, including, but very much not limited to, youth sports.

But Cosmos’ programs extend beyond collecting and recycling bottles. Their Recycling Infrastructure Program used blue bins to raise over $11,000 that was used to support non-profit organizations in Red Deer.

Cosmos does more than just recycle. They use their resources to teach everyday life skills for those who need them. They run courses to help establish skills and to help their clients with personal development. These courses include topics such as: anxiety, budgeting, communication, and so many more.

It was in this spirit that Cosmos opened the Karma Cafe in 2018. According to Cosmos’ website, the goal of the cafe is to “create a meaningful business that could provide individuals the opportunity to learn valuable employability skills within the Food Service Industry.”

The contribution to our community that Cosmos provides cannot fully fit into the space allowed in this article. They convert something as humble as empty bottles and use those bottles to generate thousands of dollars that is given back to organizations that truly need it. That is no small task.

And just as they help organizations, they help people. They offer courses for everyday life skills, which can be very difficult to develop. And not only do they teach these abilities in theory, they operate institutions that help put these skills into practice.

We are collectively grateful for their work, which has earned them the award of Good Business of the Month from Volunteer Central. And they’ve earned it.

Do you know a local business practicing corporate social responsibility? We’d love to hear about them! Email us at [email protected]

Volunteer Central strives to build a strong, connected and engaged community through volunteerism.

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Downtown Business Spotlight: Artisan Food Market

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This week’s Business Spotlight is the Artisan Food Market on Ross Street. Located at 4916 50 (Ross) Street and a newer addition to the array of businesses located on Ross Street, this spot brings local vendors from all over the province to one central place. We stopped in to chat with the Owner, Alexander Lobkov, to learn more about his business.

What is your business?

We are Artisan Food Market on Ross. And what we do is get a bunch of products from vendors from farmers’ markets and small-time business owners, and try to get them all into one store so people can browse their favorite selections.   

When did your business open?

We opened in April, end of April of this year. What a time to be open, to be honest, but we survived through the first and we will see how the fall goes.

 What makes your business unique?  

It’s just the variety of different products that we carry from small little businesses, under one roof. So we carry 30 different vendors so it gives you quite a variety of what you see here and what to shop and try out and all that jazz. 

What are some products/services that you offer?  

So we do customer orders for the  D Dutchman Dairy and our other vendors here and we offer various products from the following vendors:

  • Adila Chocolaterie
  • Ambrosial Cheesecake Shop
  • Bamboo Dumplings
  • Black Forest German Bakery
  • Cain’s Mustard
  • Confetti Sweets
  • D Dutchmen Dairy
  • Dad’s Sausage and Cured Meats
  • Earth Group
  • Edgar Farms
  • Going Nuts
  • Henry’s Honey
  • Herbal Healing Tea
  • Infused Mediterranean Foods
  • Irvings Farm Fresh
  • Latin Food Specialties
  • Little Bear Gelato
  • Longview Beef Jerky
  • Lupits Kitchen
  • Momma G’s Kitchen
  • Moms Happy Kitchen
  • Mountain Rhino Gluten Free
  • Occam’s Razor
  • Orgali
  • Pat’s Greenhouse & Gourmet Jellies
  • Rustic & Modern Home Cooking
  • Shirleys Greenhouse
  • Soupin It Up!
  • Stawnichy’s
  • Sunshine Blends
  • Taco Loft
  • Taste of Ukraine
  • Tasty Kitchen Creations
  • Thai Manna
  • The Go Tu
  • The Happy Kernel Kettle Corn Company
  • Troubled Monk
  • Wildrose Coffee Roasting

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

We wanted to support downtown! This is kind of a personal endeavor for me. So, I’ve always loved downtown since I moved to Red Deer five years ago. So, I just wanted to support it and yeah, that’s why we came down here.

 What do you think makes Downtown vibrant?  

Having the unique little shops around here is definitely what I love about downtown and that’s what draws me here and that’s why I made our business so unique is so we just fit in so perfectly down here.

I love Downtown Red Deer because… I love the live music that goes on, I love the Christmas lights, the parade, not so much this year, but definitely, in the future, I’m sure they’ll be back on again. And yeah, that’s why I love downtown. It’s a small town with a big city feel.

Next time you’re downtown, be sure to check out Artisan Food Market on Ross where they are always bringing in fresh local products to discover!

Follow their social media pages for updates on new vendors and products!

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

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

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Downtown Business Spotlight: CanWest Travel Company

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For this week’s Business Spotlight, we stopped into CanWest Travel Company. Located at 5018 50 St (Ross Street), CanWest Travel Company has been part of downtown for over 24 years! We sat down with, managing partner, Joanne Walokoff, to learn more.

 

What is your business?

CanWest Travel, a retail business agency.

When did you open?

1996.

What would you say makes your business unique?

We’re the only one downtown, I believe. We serve all of Central Alberta. We used to have a location in the south as well. We specialize in African travel, and we custom design any trip that people want—whereas other traditional travel agencies will sell packages that are already put together. But we love to customize plans for people, make it their own.

What are some products/services that you offer?

We are full retail, so we sell airline tickets, do hotel bookings, all-inclusive packages, cruises, coach tours, expeditions tours, expedition cruises, lots of niche products like polar bear adventures—that sort of thing. That is what full service is, I guess.

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

Well my brother and I are partners here, and we are from Red Deer, so we just wanted to be in the center, in the heart. This is our third location in Red Deer, but we’ve always had a location downtown and we just love the people that are down here and want to see it thrive.

What do you think makes Downtown vibrant?

I think it’s the mix of people, and the mix of businesses—people coming for lots of different reasons; for hair, for groceries, for travel, for banking… lots of different services, shopping, dining. It just has a lot to offer and City Hall Park is a beautiful place to hang out, have some lunch. Ross Street Patio is always fun, the market is great. People are coming down if its once a week or once a month, there is still something to draw them to the heart of Red Deer.

I love Downtown Red Deer because… it is home for us. We don’t live downtown but we work downtown, and the majority of our time is here, and it’s been successful for us. And we do enjoy the diversity of people. We see a lot of the people from C.A.R.E. go by and have served a lot of them. We collect clothes and housewares for new immigrants and refugees in our basement, and we have volunteers at TGSL. We get a lot of those people that come in that we meet and welcome them, so they have a comfortable place in town. I just love a lot of things about it, even some of the street people are so awesome, it just makes it more unique. Lots of people are scared to come downtown and I am so shocked by that, really, people are harmless. So, I love downtown because it’s our home, and we’ve made it our home. It’s not big and concrete either, like downtown Edmonton. It’s big and busy—I like that it’s small and more cozy, intimate. And lots of small businesses, which is nice. If you look across the street you can see four other businesses.

 

Be sure to check out CanWest Travel Company for your next vacation! You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Website: https://canwest.travel/

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/canwesttravel

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