Making Edmonton Digital Helps Businesses Get Online
The pandemic has accelerated the need for businesses to create and maintain an engaging online presence. Making Edmonton Digital, a partnership between the University of Alberta, City of Edmonton, and Digital Main Street, is helping local businesses with this transition.
Funded by the City of Edmonton and Western Economic Diversification, this free program connects business owners with a consultant who can work with them for a maximum of 12 hours. Services could include learning how to update Google listings, creating websites or accounts on social media channels, and work on branding. The program will run until September, or when they reach a total of 630 businesses. So far, approximately 400 businesses have signed up.
According to Brett Eigner, Marketing Lead on the project, services are tailored to the business owner’s level of understanding. “We walk everyone through the steps carefully and cater [to] each individual and digital literacy level accordingly”, he said. “Whether we are showing them how to edit their webpage or how to use email, everyone gets the utmost respect, care, and attention.”
Of the businesses in the food and hospitality sector that have joined the program, include farmers’ market vendors such as Sunshine Organic, shops like Carol’s Quality Sweets, long-standing restaurants like Blue Willow, and newer establishments like Pine & Dine. Food-related businesses currently make up 67 of the program participants.
Businesses run by individuals or families who may not speak English as their first language, or represent marginalized barriers, often face additional barriers. “We have a range of languages spoken by our consultants,” said Eigner. “When we have had a language not spoken by our team we have arranged to get a translator to assist our work with the business owner.”
Eigner also shared that while they have done some targeted outreach, including with an Indigenous business association and Black-Owned Market, they are hoping to do more over the summer.
Eigner acknowledged that some additional support may be required beyond the 12 hours allotted. Their partner Digital Main Street can offer some extra training, but it is limited. Eigner said they are working through various ideas, but nothing is confirmed yet.
To sign up, businesses can go to the website for more information.
- The City of Edmonton extended its temporary outdoor patio and retail space program until April 2022 so businesses can continue to extend business spaces onto city sidewalks and in some cases, on private properties.
- Speaking of al fresco opportunities, the Downtown Business Association arranged for parts of 104 Street Downtown to be closed for extended patios last weekend and next weekend to allow more people to experience Downtown Dining Week at participating businesses.
- Some hospitality businesses have set up makeshift patios wherever possible, such as in adjacent parking lots or back alleys.
- Businesses in Old Strathcona, including Sugared and Spiced, remain optimistic in spite of the pandemic.
- Loblaws, Sobeys and Co-op stores in Alberta reported a total of 77 cases of COVID-19 amongst staff last week.
- Congratulations to Kind Ice Cream who opened their second location in Highlands last weekend! Find them at 6507 112 Avenue.
- The Colombian had planned their grand opening for their second location in the French Quarter last weekend. Unfortunately, on Saturday, they announced that due to a staff member testing positive for COVID-19, they voluntarily shut their doors. When they re-open again, they can be found at 8816 82 Street.
- Candid Coffee Roasters opened its doors for the first time last week, located at 6752 75 Street. They aren’t open regular hours just yet; check their social media for updates on their next opening dates.
- Local Calgary breakfast chain Bro’Kin Yolk will be opening their first Edmonton location this summer at South Edmonton Common (1641 102 Street).
- Awn Kitchen (formerly The Ruby Apron) will be opening its storefront in Landsdowne this June.
- Edmonton’s first location of The Mill Craft Bar + Kitchen will be opening in May at 4810 Calgary Trail. Another branch of the restaurant is already open in Fort Saskatchewan.
- We loved the Twilight Picnic Experience we were treated to at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden last year, so it’s great to see the idea has expanded to include a brunch option, too! This option is available between 10am-2pm from Thursday to Sundays starting in May. Prices are $60 per adult (and $35 for children) and include an individual box, non-alcoholic beverage, and admission to the Garden.
- Fleisch now offers soft ice cream, known as Groove by Fleisch. The origin story behind the sub-brand is that co-owner Kim Der’s partner, Ivan Rankic, is responsible for the design and ice cream flavours, inspired by his favourite things. Given they sold out on their first operational day, it seems like a success already!
- The latest CBC Radioactive Best Dishes column highlights the Punjab Parantha Hut in Mill Woods.
- Have you wondered where you can get your hands on birria tacos in Edmonton? Sharon has you covered.
- Congratulations to Nai Nai Mie on reaching their first birthday!
- Curiocity has a listicle featuring 10 patios in Edmonton to visit this spring.
- Daily Hive posted a listicle of the 10 places to find the best cinnamon buns in the city.
- Eat North chatted with local singers Chloe Albert and Celeigh Cardinal on their favourite places to eat and drink in Edmonton.
- The City of Edmonton is recommending a pilot that will allow alcohol at 47 picnic sites in Sir Wilfred Laurier, Whitemud, Hawrelak, Government House, Victoria, Gold Bar, and Rundle Parks. The pilot would run May 28-October 11, 2021. This item will be discussed at Council on April 28.
- Campio Brewing, along with its three sister brewpubs have created a charity collaboration beer called First Call. Funds from every sale will be donated to support systems that serve Alberta’s first responders, including Legacy Place Society, an emotional support system for first responders.
- Voting is now open for the Made in Alberta Awards, which include categories covering savoury and sweet food products and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Voting closes May 15, 2021.
- The MilkCrate Listens series focusing on mental health concludes with an interview with Chef Christine Sandford of Biera.
- Omar Mouallem is making a movie about the Burger Baron chain!
- The LoveGood Food Exchange Box celebrated its one year anniversary. There are now 9 similar food boxes around the city.
Urban Agriculture and Farming
- The newest episode of The Well Endowed Podcast features an interview with beekeeper and gardener extraordinaire Dustin Bajer.
- Also on the topic of bees, the Alberta Beekeepers Commission is warning that bee import delays could impact production of honey and canola this year.
What I Ate
- PSA: just one week left to check out Downtown Dining Week deals, as the event only runs until April 25, 2021. 48 restaurants are offering multi-course meals for $20, $35, $50, and $65. Last week, we were gifted dinner from Sofra – the Kusleme Kebab (lamb medallions) were a perfect medium rare, and the bulgur pilaf was pakced with flavour (and a bit of heat!). Emily loved the pita bread and Biber Ezme (red pepper dip). It was another reminder of how fortunate we are to have so many diverse restaurants in #yegdt.
Lamb and scallops from Sofra
- Friday night was made for balcony dining! Mack and I picked up Downtown Dining Week take-out from our neighbours Tzin and DOSC for a dinner date. We couldn’t get enough of Tzin’s gnocchi with mushrooms and Parmesan cream and bison brisket risotto. Consider mixing and matching meals to try even more restaurants!
Meals from Tzin and DOSC
- I love that I am still discovering #yegfood hidden gems, even now. We hit up Hazeldean Bakery last week for the first time, and I had to use Emily for scale of the apple fritters (though we actually ended up enjoying their cinnamon buns more)! Bakeries also have to be one of the few pandemic-proof businesses.
Emily loves doughnuts!