Local Shoutout—Calgary and Area, Part IV

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.

A/maze Calgary Escape Game

“People come to escape rooms for an escape from their everyday life. Each of our rooms is filled with secrets, and you will see things that no other room can provide. For example, Tesla’s Study features an actual usable 1920s hotel switchboard, and all combinations in Max Baker vs The Game are entered using a 1980s computer. Our rooms seamlessly integrate cutting edge technology into antiques to get as close to magic as you can get…without practicing witchcraft, that is.”

A/maze Calgary Escape Game is an escape room located on 11th Ave SE, in the historic building of the original Calgary Wine and Spirit Company—Calgary’s only escape room located in a heritage building.

A/maze has three rooms: Max Baker vs The Game, Tesla’s Study, and The Cabaret Voltaire, each suitable for 2-6 players. I have personally completed all three rooms and they are all equally cool. The rooms at A/maze are chockfull of antiques and nostalgia-inducing items, secret doorways, and unique puzzles. While I wouldn’t say that rooms are the most challenging I’ve ever done, the puzzles are very well thought out and fun.

Dark Table

“With the aid of darkness, you can rid yourself from distraction and focus your attention on pleasant conversation and savoring the flavors of your meal—the way dinner is meant to be enjoyed. Our visually impaired guide servers will help you navigate your way through your four-course meal, giving you insight as to how life would be like without relying on your vision.”

Dark Table is a dinner restaurant located on 6th Ave SW, as well as another location in Vancouver, BC. The concept: you eat your food completely in the dark. No cell phones, smart watches, or anything that produces light allowed. According to the restaurant, “Without the sense of sight, the senses of touch, taste, hearing, and smell are intensified. Diners are even encouraged to eat with their hands if utensils start getting in the way.”

As a visually impaired person, my favourite part about Dark Table is that they employ blind or visually impaired “guide servers”. Considering there is an 80% unemployment rate for blind people in Canada, I’m happy to give Dark Table my business.

Wisp Boutique Spa and Salon

“Wisp is a full-service salon offering wide portfolio of services, including hair styling, cutting, colouring, as well as other specialty work. Our team of committed professionals are passionate about helping you find a style as unique and beautiful as you are.”

Wisp Boutique Spa and Salon is smaller, adorable salon located in Marda Loop. The owner, Evi, was brave enough to fulfill her dream of opening her own salon at the beginning of the pandemic.

I have been seeing my stylist, Kelsey, for two years now and I have never been happier with my hair. Kelsey is personable, knowledgeable, and very talented. You can check out her Instagram @kelsvickstyles.

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.