Village Ice Cream
Garrison Corner location, 2406 34 Avenue
[easyrotator]erc_12_1474386021[/easyrotator] Photography Ryan Girard
There’s a new black market in Alberta, but this one traffics in stracciatella, hibiscus sorbet and Oaxacan chili coconut milk. At least that’s the rumour – the alleged bootleggers of Village Ice Cream’s products are difficult to find, probably because their contraband is so coveted. But then, that’s been part of Village Ice Cream’s strategy. “We pride ourselves on being a bit of a secret,” says Jessica Hua, marketing co-ordinator and manager of the Garrison location. For a well-kept secret, Village attracts a lot of attention. The first location was completed in 2012, and owners have since added two more. The Garrison location, with its high ceilings, brass countertops and windows that open up to the patio, isn’t a sight you’ll soon forget, either. Hua says she’s seeing new customers every day. So how does an artisan ice cream purveyor manage to make a go of it in Calgary’s drooping economy? “The nature of what we want to present to our neighbourhoods and our communities is that ice cream is a simple form of celebration,” Hua says. “For now, the goal is to help bring people to the party.”
5012 50 Avenue
[easyrotator]erc_29_1474387114[/easyrotator] Photography Ryan Girard
Joel Moran has a better relationship with his in-laws than most. When he married Carina and into her Italian family, he fell in love with the cannoli his mother-in-law, Deborah Solda, made. He talked her into selling them from home, and demand was instantaneous. “We were either going to get shut down because we weren’t a licensed commercial kitchen, or we were going to get burnt out,” Carina says. Soon they set up a storefront in Lacombe called Sweet Capone’s. Located in a historic district, the 225-square-foot storefront has daily lineups. Carina says she’s been (happily) overwhelmed by the response since the July 1 opening. Sweet Capone’s remains a collaborative effort between the Soldas and the Morans. And Carina is proud that the store looks like a bakery plucked right from the heart of Rome. “We wanted that image of when Italians were first coming to Canada to establish a better life,” she says. “We wanted it to be an experience.” And if you think the storefront is an experience, wait until you try the cannoli.
10505 Jasper Avenue
[easyrotator]erc_83_1474387932[/easyrotator] Photography Ryan Girard
It takes an especially optimistic urbanite to foresee success in a shuttered retail space tacked onto a dentist’s office. But since returning home from Toronto in 2011, Peter West had made a hobby of envisioning retail locations throughout downtown for the cafe he dreamt of founding. “When I saw the ‘for lease’ sign go up my heart skipped a beat,” he says. Then again, West’s foresight made sense. He’s an urban planner and was concerned less with glamour or size than with concepts like flow, density and corridors. He settled on the 450-square-foot space along Edmonton’s main downtown thoroughfare, and, almost instantly, Coffee Bureau was a shot of espresso for Jasper Avenue, enlivening a sapless street corner and winning accolades from java junkies. “Within weeks we were profitable,” says West, who co-owns the shop with his wife, Cristiane. Coffee Bureau’s early success meant West could reimagine his original growth strategy, which involved multiple locations across the city to meet the volume he needed.