Bringing Richness Back To Ritchie
In a few short weeks, Edmonton will be home to a new neighborhood focused, multi-use building known as the Ritchie Market. Housing some of Edmonton’s favorite local businesses, including Transcend Coffee, the Acme Meat Market and Velocity Cycle, this project is predicted to bring important growth to our beloved city. On top of housing some of YEG’s favorites, the Ritchie Market will also be home to Blind Enthusiasm, a brand-new brew house serving family friendly fare and a selection of in-house made beers.2017 has proven to be a year of change for the local companies involved in this project. Transcend has recently closed both their Mercer and Argyll locations, plus their warehouse roaster due to slow traffic and changing business needs, and Blind Enthusiasm is preparing to open their doors for the first time. With a changing economy and new revitalization projects underway throughout the city, it will be interesting to see how this project bodes over with Edmontonians.
The market has been an ongoing project for Greg Zeschuk, co-founder of BioWare videogames, and Poul Mark, founder of Transcend coffee. Together, the duo hopes to create a hub for area residents to develop relationships, enjoy local eateries and create a daily routine that incorporates the market. In my opinion, Ritchie is the perfect community to bring this dream to life, with a vibrant young demographic consisting of university students, young families and retired couples. Despite the growing popularity of chain stores such as Starbucks and Boston Pizza, I see an opportunity for these local businesses to capture and retain a loyal consumer base through their neighborhood convenience, above and beyond customer service and their modernized store format.
The open design of the market encourages collaboration among the businesses, where customers can purchase a beverage from Transcend and food from Blind Enthusiasm or Acme Meats. This sense of community will hopefully drive traffic and create a loyal customer base for the market. The Creek Side location of Velocity Cycle will further promote the sense of community, by offering a new cycling store experience. They will be offering regular group rides in the river valley, followed by celebrations at the neighboring brew pub. This will not only encourage return customers to Velocity by offering weekly complimentary fitness initiatives, but will also drive sales for the neighboring restaurants in the market.
The facility is also encouraging sustainable business practices by using ecofriendly energy sources, and by creating sound relationships with local farmers to inspire the “eat local” mentality. Blind Enthusiasm’s one-Michelin star chef Christine Sandford hopes to use quality ingredients, and to modify her menu seasonally to accommodate Alberta farming.
It is clear that these companies all strive to create high quality, innovative products that add value to their customers lives. Be it through high quality food and beverages, the sense of community or sustainable initiatives, I am excited to see the growth that this project will bring to Ritchie and the surrounding Edmonton communities.