Downtown businesses were in the spotlight Sept. 18, thanks to a partnership between Community Futures Grande Prairie, Region and the DownTown Association.
A tour of City Centre businesses was part of the annual Community Futures Symposium, which drew more than 90 representatives from across the province. About half the delegates joined the tour, kicking off the three-day event.
Participants were provided with gift certificates from the DownTown Association along with a Food, Shop and Culture tour guide to check out the wide array of art galleries, clothing and shoe stores, coffee shops and restaurants.
“There are a lot of cool and eclectic stores in the City Centre,” says Holly Sorgen, Community Futures Executive Director in Grande Prairie. “We had colleagues from 27 of our offices in Alberta. If you just came in from the airport to the symposium hotel, you would not know any of this existed.”
The tour also enabled Community Futures to profile clients it has supported, including Grande Prairie Coffee Co., Taj Grill and Bistro, Elaine’s Unique Plants and Design, Liquor For Less, D. Luxe, Pink Rain Hair Lounge, Affordable Elegance, Pure Home Design, Cree8iv Ink, and Broken Oak Distillery (located just on the outskirts of downtown).
Organizers partnered with Executive Driving Service to take guests on the tour.
The conference theme was Lead The Way.
“The tour allowed us to walk our own talk and promote local business, including goods produced in the community,” Sorgen says.
She noted colleagues from other Community Futures offices thought the walking tours would be a concept to adopt in their own locations.
Sorgen added it would be worthwhile to consider developing similar tours for tourism packages as well as a like initiative to reintroduce Grande Prairie residents to the City Centre.
The Downtown Association was thrilled to join forces with Community Futures on the tour, says Executive Director Wendy Bosch.
“We have a strong, vibrant downtown business district and we were pleased to showcase all that we have to offer. We are pleased to work with our partners to promote the City Centre and this was a great opportunity to put our best foot forward with visitors from other communities.”
Local speakers at the symposium included Dave Doyle, owner of Pita Pit, and Peter Lepinski, co-owner of the Business Innovation Group and a certified business coach.
A workshop presented by Erin MacAngus Marshall, performance consultant and trainer at Dale Carnegie Now – Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan, was also a highlight.
Conference sponsors included the City of Grande Prairie, the County of Grande Prairie, the Grande Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce, FBC Grande Prairie, and the Business Development Bank of Canada.
The event was last held in Grande Prairie in 2006.