How Café Neo Hopes to Build a Sense of Community During COVID-19
Café Neo opened in late June of 2020 in Revolution Square on Stony Plain Road (10062R 151St NW). The little coffee shop is managed by Zana and Antonio, both of whom love coffee and people and cannot wait to meet more of the surrounding community. Their passion is to create a space where people feel welcome, loved, creative ad open for genuine connection. The idea behind creating Café Neo emerged out of passion for creating a positive customer experience. The Neo brand is rooted in the making of high quality beverages, started by their sister company, Neo Juicery. At Café Neo, they offer a selection of fresh cold pressed juices, tasty snacks and sandwiches that complement their core product: coffee!
“Our sister company, Neo Juicery, made plans to set up a shop in this building and as a brand, we felt like we needed to create a new place to build community in the area around Revolution Square,” Zana tells us, “A coffeehouse is the best way we felt we could do that.”
Café Neo combines the freshness and vibrancy of the Neo brand with a welcoming and positive atmosphere for their neighbours and community to relax in. Both Café Neo and Neo Juicery are developed and owned by local entrepreneur, Ala, Kareema, Daniel and Jonathan. Neo Juicery was established in 2017 and has been serving Edmontonians with fresh cold-pressed plant-based beverages ever since. Through the Neo brand, they as a team, wanted to create a new experience for customers, so they dreamt up Café Neo. Both are located in the same building, opposite of each other, with a shared food development space in the middle that serves the production of Neo Juicery’s products and the catering of all of Café Neo’s foods, drinks, and snacks.
The inspiration for Café Neo, both in brand and in atmosphere, came from the roots of traditional coffee experienced in the Middle East. They aspired to take that warm, traditional and authentic coffee experience and modernize it to fit the area and clientele around Revolution Square. With that, a pop of colour was added in the space, along with a delectable menu of fresh and exciting new beverages, and an authentic coffee menu to inspire even the most selective coffee connoisseurs.
“We believe Café Neo is a unique business in Edmonton because we combine our passion for food, coffee and people with a deep desire to build and grow beyond the boundaries of our space,” states Zana, “When you walk into Café Neo, you’re not just walking in to grab a coffee; you’re walking into a family of dedicated entrepreneurs that want Café Neo to be your daily fuel stop.”
In the case of opening the business during the pandemic, the Café believes they have been exceptionally lucky to have been at the tail end of setting up things when COVID-19 hit Edmonton hard. It did delay them, but they hadn’t yet opened their doors which was for the best. Not having opened yet bought them some time to adjust their business plan and reconfigure how they would do things.
“COVID-19 definitely reduced our capacity to offer the full vision behind Café Neo, due to space and size restrictions, and concerns around customer safety,” says Zana, “That being said, Edmontonians really have stuck together during this time, and we have experiences a lot of patience, kindness and support from the community around us as we stumble sometimes to make things work.”
Some precautions that Café Neo has taken include reducing their menu offerings to take-out friendly options and have only been offering foods and beverages in take-out containers. They have also reduced seating capacity and adjusted how they configured space to allow for ample room between tables and chairs for social distancing. In addition to this the business has also amplified their sanitation procedures and added safety tools such as social distancing stickers, maks and gloves for staff, and a sanitation station at the entrance and exit.
The next time you’re craving a coffee or juice, stop by and try Café Neo, they love hearing feedback on how they can improve and create what people want in the area.
Visit them on Facebook for more info and to stay up to date!
If you would like to see your Stony Plain Road & Area business featured on our blog, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Who can be tested?
Any person who wants to be tested, can now be tested, even if they do not have symptoms.
The following groups will continue to receive priority:
– Any person exhibiting any symptom of COVID-19
– All close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases
– All workers and/or residents at specific outbreak sites
– All workers and/or residents at long-term care and level 4 supportive living facilities
– All patients admitted to continuing care and hospital settings.
Canada to Go
10 students from UBC (University of British Columbia) have put together a resource listing businesses from all over Canada. The website contains a simple list of local restaurants, cafes, and breweries, which are currently open to serve us, with their updated operating hours and offerings. They are hoping that this will allow customers to see what options still exist for them while providing some support for local restaurants who are operating with severe resource constraints due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
So far, the website has over 1000 businesses spanning from Vancouver to Halifax. An area on this resource that is lacking is the listing of Stony Plain Road & Area businesses. We encourage businesses in the area to post their information on the site so more people can reach you. You can list your businesses and find out more here: https://www.canadatogo.ca/
Quick Reference Resources for Businesses
Alberta Biz Connect – Biz Connect provides workplace guidance and supports to help businesses and non-profits affected by COVID-19 begin to reopen and resume operations safely.
Visit Biz Connect here.
Business Licence Fee Reduction – To help businesses experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 situation, the City is offering a 50 percent business licence fee reduction upon request for businesses that renew or apply for a new business licence between June 1 and December 31, 2020. To request the fee reduction, please renew or apply for your new licence by calling 780.442.5311 or emailing email@example.com
One-on-One Support for Edmonton Businesses – Do you have questions about the City of Edmonton or supports available to your business? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll do their best to assist you.
Personal Protective Equipment for Businesses – The City has developed this list for local businesses that may need personal protective equipment (PPE)
The list can be found here
Small & Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant – The Small & Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives, and non-profit organizations that were ordered to close or curtail operations, and that experienced a revenue reduction of at least 50 percent, as a result of COVID-19.
The Government of Alberta has committed up to $200 million in funding for this program.
Applications will remain open until August 31, or for 4 weeks following the start of phase 3 of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy – whichever is later.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – This wage subsidy will enable you to rehire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, help prevent further job losses, and better position you to resume normal operations following the crisis. On July 17, 2020 the government proposed changes to CEWS including the extension of CEWS until Dec 19, 2020.
Learn more here.
Engagement Assistant Reaching Out to SPR Businesses
Stony Plain Road & Area businesses will be hearing from our new Engagement Assistant, Leo, in the upcoming days and weeks to get some updated information on your businesses. To ensure that our directories are up to date and make sure everything is in order Leo will be doing his best to reach every one of you! Please give him a warm welcome to the BIA when he reaches out!
This summer the Stony Plain Road and Area BIA is launching a shop local initiative to encourage our community members to engage and explore the businesses within our district. We are currently planning a digital initiative with the working title “Secrets of Stony Plain Road: Scavenger Challenge” on our social media channels that will allow the community to learn about our district, explore the area, and support our businesses while staying safe during the ongoing concerns of COVID-19. Our tentative dates for this challenge are August 7th to 21st.
What It Is:
– Each day we will post a question about a landmark, historical fact, or business in the BIA on our various social media channels
– Participants who answer correctly will be entered into a daily draw to win a certificate / gift card or prize package to a local business for a minimum of $25.
– If they visit a location specified in the post and post a photo at the location to their social media, they receive an additional entry to the daily draw.
– Those who participate each day of the scavenger hunt are entered to win a grand prize of products and gift cards / certificates to local businesses valued at a minimum of $250.
We are looking for participation from our businesses in three areas:
– We are looking to feature a variety of diverse businesses with interesting facts about their products or services or in a building with a recognizable landmark. The facts or landmark can be widely known, as we are looking for a range of difficulty in our questions.
– We will be purchasing the certificates / gift cards, prize packages from our local businesses for each of the daily prizes and are looking for at least ten businesses that are willing to match our contribution for the grand prize through donation of a product, service, or certificate.
– We are also asking willing businesses to promote the initiative on their social media channels to increase participation and awareness.
Reasons to participate:
– Participating businesses will receive business exposure and promotion through our social media as well as any other channels that share the initiative.
– We will attach your logo and business information on our promotional materials posted on our website and social media.
– Winners of prizes will have the opportunity to try your products. The goal of the grand prize is to provide community members with the opportunity to try a range of products and services in our BIA that they may not have been aware of.
Please fill out this google form if you are interested in partnering with us for this initiative: https://forms.gle/zvudsGAVbvZts1TF9
Please contact Jane at email@example.com if you have any inquiries.