I thought I would take you on a little tour of our neighbourhood. Our store is located in the Ritchie neighbourhood of Edmonton. Ritchie has a very active community league with some very committed people.
We moved to our present location in 2010 after leaving our former location at the west end of Whyte (109th street and 82nd Avenue). We were deliberate in choosing this neighbourhood to relocate. The area had lots of single-family homes, some condominiums, apartment blocks, it was underserved by good food stores, it had a relaxed feel, it had busy roadways around it but the actual neighbourhood was fairly calm, and many of our former customers were from Ritchie and surrounding neighbourhoods. It was a good fit for the type of store we wanted to create – a neighbourhood/community store.
The building we rented has a parking lot for those people travelling a further distance or needed to use a vehicle, it had ample room to install some bicycle racks, it had potential to put in some green space, had good proximity to major roadways, has good bus service, and Mill Creek ravine was only a block away.
The present store is located on the borders of 4 really good community leagues – Boonie Doon, Strathcona, Ritchie, and King Edward Park (where I have lived since 1993).
Ritchie is developing into quite the happening neighbourhood, especially the corner of 76th Avenue and 96th street. The development and building of the Ritchie Market (76th avenue east of 96th Street) have certainly changed things – mostly for the better but there are some downsides (mostly because of higher traffic volumes and parking issues). With this new development, the two older strip malls (south and west of Ritchie Market) stepped up and renovated. Very nice improvements.
Looking for a good sandwich? In 2017 Farrow opened their second location in the city and chose Ritchie. They took over a little White House that is east of 99th street on 76th avenue. This little building has been many things over the decades. It was the location of Lucky’s – a small restaurant operated by two of the owners of Cafe Mosaics (the previous owners before the present owners). Farrow has a very pleasant and simple patio area.
Our store has a little connection to this building. When Audry and Penny closed down Lucky’s they gave me the coffee grinder. We used this grinder at the downtown store and have it as the backup for our Whyte store.
The Blue Chair is a well-established eatery and live music venue. It also looks like they are going to have an outside patio as part of the redevelopment of the strip mall. This will be a great addition to the area and joins all the other patios in the area – Mill Creek Cafe, Biera, Farrow, and Transcend.
Biera and Blind Enthusiasm Brewery – these were the businesses that were responsible for the energy that was has revitalized the Four Corners in Ritchie. The building owner envisioned a building housing a diverse community of businesses including two of his own – Biera and Blind Enthusiasm Brewery. He invited several businesses to share the space – Transcend Coffee and Roastery, Acme Meat Market, and Creekside Cyclery.
Mill Creek Cafe has been a fixture on the corner of 96th street and 82nd Avenue (kitty-corner to our store) for a couple of decades now. They serve up good food, bake fresh bread, and has live open stage once a week.
In 2017, they closed for about 6 weeks and revamped the space. They also bought the building in 2016 and spruced up the exterior. The owners are very friendly.
Humpty’s. This is a typical American diner type of experience. If you have been to a Denny’s you will have an idea of the food it offers. Originally, it was a Fuller’s restaurant, then an Earl’s and then Humpty’s. I think it is a locally own eatery.
Our connection to this space. On May 5th, 1991 I was sitting on the patio (it was an Earl’s then) with two people I knew at that time and said I was going to create Earth’s General Store. I did not know then I would end up moving the store to the lot across the street 18 years later. Strange how that happens.
Transcend Coffee has been roasting coffee in Edmonton for several years. They have a few cafes around the city and moved into the Ritchie Market when it opened.
Food in the Nud is an excellent recent addition to our neighbourhood. They offer plant-based, paleo, gluten-free baked deliciousness.
Food and Other Stores in Our Neighbourhood
Ritchie Community Foods is a good sized convenience store offering your typical fare and some extras – like ‘butter chicken’ to-go. They open at 7 am which is great for us because we get the Sunbaked Pitas dropped off there because we don’t open until 8 am. When I asked them about arranging the drop off they did not hesitate – just what they do. Very nice couple that owns and operate it.
There is another convenience and cigar store that opened across the avenue from Ritchie Market. I think this was a poor choice since Ritchie Community Foods was already struggling and this will only water down the customer base even more.
Maven and Grace is an antique and gift shop. They also offer flowers. It is owned by the wonderful people from Mill Creek Framing.
Mill Creek Framing has been around for a very long time. The present owners, Cathy and Jason, bought it from Peter (who was/is married to Wendy of Art Works fame and I have known since the 70s) and seem to have done well with the business. Parking by their customers in our parking lot is a bit of an issue but it is not their fault. They have a huge parking lot behind their store.
Color de Vino is a wine and liquor store. They specialize in good quality products and do very well on the organic and vegan side of things. Very helpfull and friendly staff and owners.
Acme Meats – a real butcher. This business moved into the Ritchie Market complex from across the avenue. It has been around for decades. The present family bought it from the previous owners about a decade ago. It was one of the older neighbourhood butchers that survived the supermarket meat department. Perhaps they will let you get meat unpacked or bring in your own container. It is worth asking.
Adara Hair & Body Studio is another business that has been around for decades and with a variety of owners. They have done some very creative initiatives and very supportive of the LGBQ… community. A hair and body studio that is a little different and a little more than the standard. They will be moving across the avenue to the Mill Creek Cafe building at the end of the year. Check out my post about that. Sad to see them go.
My nephew worked at Adara (I think it was called something else then) almost 20 years ago as a hairdresser.
Two Mothers a diaper, waste-free products, reusable menstruation products and much more for the pregnant family.
Pedalhead Road Works a high-end bicycle shop is just west of us on 82nd Avenue.
Mike’s Bikes and Beans is a local and independent bicycle shop. Mike deals with utilitarian bicycles, cruising around style, and has some electric assist bicycles. He also serves our coffee to his customers. He and his parent live in King Edward Park neighbourhood. He is bilingual so you can use French for your transaction. This business is on the east side of the Mill Creek Bridge across from Value Village.
Fire and Flower – a cannabis-based business should be opening sometime this year. They spent a lot of money on the building already but it turns out that the building is one metre too close to a school and so there are some obstacles to remedy this.
There is also going to be a cannabis-based business opening across the avenue from our store. They started working on it in August 2018. Nice to see the empty space being used for something.
Live Music Venues in Our Neighbourhood
The Richie Community League Hall has been a live music venue for many decades. I went to concerts/dances there in the 80s.
For more almost two decades, the Blue Chair has been a cosy live music venue for local and touring musicians. I also love that the community has a place that opens at 7 am in the morning for breakfast.
The Sewing Machine Factory is a relatively newcomer to the live music scene. They have been a venue for about three years. They are located kitty-corner to the store below Mill Creek Cafe.
The intersection of 96th Avenue and 82nd Avenue is a fairly major bicycle crossing. People cross here to access the east starting point of the 83rd Avenue bike lanes/bike grid, cross the Mill Creek Bridge, Mill Creek Pool and the Mill Creek ravine bicycle path.
We thank all the people that make this neighbourhood so vibrant and interesting. We appreciate the people and businesses that purchase from us. Mill Creek Cafe and Biera buy items from us on a regular basis for their business.
I hope you enjoyed my sharing of our neighbourhood and what makes it such a great place.