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 deserve a shout out.
Cat Café On Whyte
“Our spacious yet homey cat lounge acts as a home away from home for both human and cats. The tranquil environment provided by our Cat Lounge allows you to drink your coffee while spending time with the cats as if in a home environment.”
Cat Café On Whyte, Edmonton’s first cat café, opened its doors in 2017 and pride themselves on partnering with a number of other small Edmonton businesses, such as ACE coffee brewers. Local rescue, SAFE team, provides Cat Café with the kitties in hopes that the increased visibility will help find them fur-ever homes. For sanitary purposes, there are two sides to the café: the serving side and the cat lounge. Beverages and sweet treats are provided in the cat-free serving side.
Little Brick Café and General Store
“We are Little Brick. We are a café, general store, and event space in the heart of Edmonton. We believe in good coffee, simple living, and the finest quality products.”
Little Brick is literally a little brick house—specifically the J.B. Little heritage house. The house was built in 1903 and has been beautifully restored, including a picnic space outside. Little Brick serves coffee, soups, salads, sandwiches, and baked goods; all while utilizing local farms and roasters. While you’re there you can pick up a four pack or tall can of local craft beer to go, or you can stay and try what’s on tap (which rotates weekly!).
“Angela & James Pauls relocated to this pigture perfect place in October of 2019 after a house fire at Christmas of 2018. It became very important to them to create a loving and nurturing space for their animals. When Covid-19 happened in 2020 it was the right thing to do for Angela, to offer friends and family a safe place to go out and have some family fun! It took off like mad and word got out that this was the place to be!
Their goal is to introduce you to their loving four-legged family and show you how much these farm animals love and need to be loved just like us! When you see them talk about the farm you see the love they have for what they do! Visiting the farm is visiting their home, their love shows through everything they do and they want to share that with you and your family!”
Pigtopia is a family fun farm located just west of Millet, which is less than a 60-minute drive from North Edmonton. They have mini horses, goats, and of course, lots of pigs! Pigtopia offers farm tours, children’s day camps, and birthday parties. You can also apply to be a member of The Cuddle Club—volunteers who get to help socialize the pigs by snuggling and playing with them.
If you happen to fall in love with one of the pigs on your visit, for only $30 a month you can adopt a pig. Edmonton has bylaws against owning farm animals as domestic pets, so your new friend will have to continue to live at Pigtopia, but you can name them and visit them as often as you can.
And don’t worry—Pigtopia doesn’t use any of their animals for meat.
I recognize that all of these businesses are based in Edmonton, 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.