Local Shout Out—Calgary & Area, Part III

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) estimates potential permanent closures of up to 222,000 small and medium-sized businesses, depending on how the situation evolves.  That’s 21 percent of all Canadian businesses.  The corresponding job losses would range between 962,000 and 2,951,000 Canadian workers.

While most of us are struggling financially right now, it is extremely important to support local small businesses whenever we can.  Not only is it stimulating our economy, helping each other is simply the Canadian thing to do.  Over the last few months, I have been trying to be more conscious of where I am spending my money.  Although it’s not always possible for me to support local because—lets face it—shopping at Walmart or Dollarama is often less expensive and more convenient.

So, to support local business, I have compiled a list of small and medium-sized businesses that I have personally patronized and feel that the price, quality, and customer service deserve a shoutout.

Analog Coffee

“We have coffee in our blood! In fact, our family’s history in coffee dates back to 1974, when our Dad, Cam Prefontaine, first started a wholesale coffee company which was operated out of our garage and basement! Our parents involved all three of us brothers (Russ, Chris & Jason) in the family business from the start, earning our allowance by helping Dad service old coffee brewers.”

Analog Coffee has several locations throughout Calgary—The Farmer’s Market, Westman Village, Southcenter Mall, Bow Valley Square, and 17th Ave.  I love the rich family history within the company, which is reflected in the “important ideas” Analog is built on: delivering unmatched coffee experiences to customers, fostering community, and the simple, but very important, idea that great coffee makes life better.  Analog also ensures that their coffee beans are sourced ethically and that their partnerships directly improve the lives of the farmers, their families, and communities.

Sought x Found Coffee Roasters

“The coffee journey begins,

When one, like a child, without any preconception,

Looks, feels, tastes, and becomes curious.”

Sought x Found is an absolutely adorable speciality café located on Centre Street, NE.  The owners are professionally trained in tasting, roasting, and brewing, and the company supports sustainable trading practices for the farmers they partner with.

The coffee is phenomenal, but I think my favourite aspect of Sought x Found is their coffee subscription box, called the Get Out of Your Coffee Box: A Curious Coffee Subscription.  The subscription box costs $75 per month and includes three 227g packages of new and exclusive coffees.  They also have a zero-waste option for those of us living in Calgary—delivering the coffees in three glass jars that can be returned and reused every month!

Lil E Coffee Café

“What makes us different, makes us great.  Brewing Greatness.  Lil E is more than a coffee café.  It’s brewing greatness by giving life and employment skills to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Greatness starts with a belief that each person has what it takes.  Our mission as a registered charity is to build 10,000 bright futures, one cup at a time.”

Lil E Coffee Café opened in the beginning of 2021—a perilous time to start a new business.  The owner, Paul Constance, was inspired by his daughter Ella, who was born with Down syndrome.  Lil E employs only neuro-diverse individuals or those with developmental disabilities; raising awareness in the community and providing these people with opportunities they may not have found elsewhere.  Many employers overlook people with disabilities and don’t appreciate the unique skills and talents that they bring to the table, making it difficult for adults with disabilities to live a full life.  As the mom of a little boy with autism and a staunch advocate of inclusion, this business model warms my heart.

I recognize that these are all based in Calgary (where I live), so if these aren’t local to you, I hope this article can encourage you to research the small businesses and services available in your hometown.  Let’s work together to stimulate the economy, practice environmental responsibility, and support our communities.