Economic Development Newsletter Header
September 2019
This Month's Issue:
Digital Marketing and Cannabis Update
Digital Marketing for Small Businesses
by Nicole Lynch (    )

Having an online presence can seem daunting at first if you don't know where to start or what your goals are. However, not using any digital marketing tactics could be costing you valuable leads when potential customers go researching the services you offer online.

Think of this style of marketing as a way of fostering relationships beyond the face-to-face experience. Print ads and street signs are important, but could your small business take advantage of the following four strategies today?

#1: Stay active on social media. Don't just sign up for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - use them. Spend some time each week dedicated to letting your followers know what is going on with your business. This could be something simple like sharing daily specials with a tasty photo or showcasing a store walkthrough of new products during a switchover to a new season. Also, if people comment on your posts or ask you questions through messaging platforms make sure you're engaging back with them, so they know they're been heard.

#2: Create shareable content. You know your customers and the questions they're asking in store so why not share that expert advice online? Create a blog on your website with short, informative articles. This will give users a reason to keep coming back to your website, hopefully share with friends and you can use these tips and tricks on social media posts or in e-newsletters as well.

#3: Optimize your website for mobile viewing. Gone are the days when people just used their desktop computers to browse online. It's a great idea to choose responsive web design that automatically adjusts to different-sized screens and viewpoints. Additionally, focus on crafting a site with shorter sentences, easy to read font, links that are clickable and simplified menu choices.

#4: Build a targeted email list. Have an e-mail sign up form on your website and ask customers if they'd like to be added during the checkout process. This way you're building a list of people who already engage with, and purchase, your products. Send out an e-newsletter monthly or quarterly depending on the amount of time that can be committed to this. Offer incentives for being on the list such as customer appreciation sales, helpful blog posts and advanced notice of special events.

If you'd like to learn more about digital marketing, be sure to purchase your tickets today for the first annual Small Business Week Conference on Tuesday, October 22. The conference will feature two speakers discussing social media and how to grow your online presence. Early bird tickets are available until October 4 for $15. Learn more about the conference below.

In This Issue

Join the Conversation!
Cannabis - The Past Year and the Near Future
by Monty Killoh (  )
October will mark one year since cannabis was legalized throughout Canada. The following is an overview of how the cannabis industry has grown in St. Albert, as well as what to expect in the coming months as new legislation makes edibles, concentrates and topicals legal.

Cannabis Retail in St. Albert

In October 2018, St. Albert had one cannabis retail store open for business upon legalization. That number soon grew to three, however, the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) imposed a freeze on the issuance of new provincial retail licences in November due to cannabis supply issues. This freeze was lifted at the end of May, and since then three new cannabis retail stores have also set up shop in St. Albert.

Even though six retail stores are operating in St. Albert, another dozen stores were issued development permits; some of which may end up opening soon. Click here to see a map showing all the locations in St. Albert where permits have been issued for cannabis retail stores.

At the provincial level, Alberta's role-out of the private retail model has arguably been a success, especially when compared with other provinces. According to Statistics Canada, over $123 million has been spent on legal cannabis in Alberta - more than any other province, including Ontario and Quebec. This number may be more related to availability/access to legal cannabis as opposed to consumption, considering that Alberta issued 277 provincial retail licences compared with Ontario's 25 (ironically, with five cannabis retail stores, the City of Toronto currently has fewer locations than St. Albert).

Coming Soon: Edibles, Concentrates & Topicals

In October 2019, new federal regulations will legalize the following new types of cannabis products:
  1. Edibles/Beverages - include everything from baked goods to candy to sugary drinks that are infused with cannabis (alcoholic/caffeinated beverages will not be permitted to be infused with cannabis). Restaurants will not be allowed to sell edible products.
  2. Concentrates/Extracts - are highly concentrated cannabis oils/resins that can be smoked or vaporized. Like existing vaping products, consumers will be able to purchase "cannabis vape pens" that come with swappable/disposable cartridges containing cannabis oil.
  3. Topicals - include any kind of cream, lotion or applicator containing cannabis that can be applied directly to the skin; this type of cannabis is typically non-psychoactive and can be used for localized pain relief. 
Although these products will be legalized in October, they likely won't be in cannabis retail stores until December/January, as October will only mark the point when such products can be manufactured/produced. For more information, please visit the City's Cannabis Legalization webpage.

Small Business Week is an annual celebration that pays tribute to the contributions that small business makes to the Canadian economy. Small Business Week 2019 is taking place from October 20 to 26.

On Tuesday, October 22 we will be hosting the first annual Small Business Week Conference from 7:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m, in partnership with the St. Albert and District Chamber of Commerce and Northern Alberta Business Incubator (NABI). 
The conference will include presentations by Brian Siddle from Strong Coffee on how to optimize your social media presence and Paola Rohuede from Kre8tive Business Solutions on how to grow your online presence to gain more customers.
Join us and other like-minded business professionals and entrepreneurs to network and learn together. Early bird tickets are now on sale for $15 until October 4.  Breakfast is included.  Purchase your ticket today! Tickets are limited.
Small Business Week Conference
Tuesday, October 22, 2019
7:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Kinsmen Banquet Centre at 47 Riel Drive.
7:30 am - Doors open
7:30 - 8:00 am - Breakfast
8:00 am - Opening Remarks
8:10 - 8:30 am - Introduction of partner organizations
8:30 - 10:00 am - 5 Ways to Optimize Your Social Media Presence - Brian Siddle, Strong Coffee
10:00 - 10:30 - Networking break
10:30 - Noon - How to grow your online presence and gain more customers, Paola Rohuede, Kre8tive Business Solutions
Noon - 12:15 pm - Closing remarks
This conference is open to businesses operating in St. Albert.

Tickets can be purchased here.

Business Spotlight On... Reel Story Communications Ltd.
by Katrina Rossol ( )

Ruth Wiart took a leap three years ago to leave her seven-year communications specialist role at NAIT to strike out on her own and create Reel Story Communications Ltd. here in St. Albert. The company specializes in digital video production for corporate and individual clients.

At first running the business out of her own home, she has since become the newest digital marketer to open her doors in Northern Alberta Business Incubator's (NABI) Mission Ave building this past July. With over twenty years of experience in digital communications, she is using that expertise to tell the stories of a variety of local businesses.

Ruth truly embodies the idea that if you "follow your passion the money will follow." Her company's name, Reel Story, rings true as she helps clients discover and articulate their real story through engaging, and strategic, video production. She says that developing a deep and trusting relationship is key. Her background in broadcast television at CTV National News in Toronto and A-Channel Edmonton, paired with her corporate communications and digital video production experience at NAIT, lends her a unique edge in the digital marketing world as she brings each client's story to the screen.

Recently, she produced brand promotion videos for local businesses Fit + Fierce and RE/MAX. Her company also specializes in producing Life Legacy videos which capture the life stories of individuals and couples who are celebrating milestone birthdays and anniversaries.

However, Ruth is not just a one woman show! She pulls from a talented pool of local freelancers including new graduates from various post secondaries including NAIT, and resident graphic designers and social media marketers.

Making the transition out of her house and into an office space in downtown St. Albert has allowed her to move away from the distractions of home and create her own space, says Ruth. She chose the NABI site due to its location in her hometown and its downtown accessibility, walkability and stunning view of the park behind the office. She also explained that NABI was quite flexible during her search for an office and she takes advantage of the access to meeting rooms within the building. Finally, the Mission Ave location has a plethora of other St. Albert entrepreneurial businesses which she networks with each day.

For additional information, please visit Reel Story's website at
Reel Story Communications Ltd.
2223-13 Mission Ave

The Spotlight on Business is a monthly feature wherein we highlight a local business and learn more about what they do and how they positively contribute to the identity and economy of St. Albert. If you, or someone you know, would like to be featured in a future issue, please contact  with a brief description of the organization. 
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New Businesses in St. Albert
Find local companies in our St. Albert Business Directory

Commercial/Industrial Businesses

Canna Cabana                                                                                                      403-265-4207
2 - 512 St. Albert Tr
Cannabis Retail Store

Coco Lashes                                                                                                         780-977-9693
2 - 44 St. Thomas St
Eyelash Extension Services

Dr. Phone Fix                                                                                                        780-569-0907
114 - 1 Hebert Rd
Mobile Repair, iPad Repair Store, Computer Repair & Accessory Sale of Cell Phones

Erin Ridge Physio - Jolene's Massage Therapy                                                   780-347-0251
420 - 935 St. Albert Tr
Massage Therapy

The Learning Seed Daycare and After School Programs Ltd.                             780-680-6022
310 Carleton Dr
Daycare & After School Programs

Tinkers Paws Dog Grooming                                                                               780-394-4287
50 - 22 Rowland Cres
Dog Grooming

Home-Based Businesses

A&R Yardcare                                                                                                     780-660-0923
Yard Maintenance, Lawn Cutting & Snow Removal

All About the Crust                                                                                             780-906-6363
Baking, Chacuterie, Gift Baskets

Always Pilates                                                                                                    780-399-1339
Private & Small Group Pilates Fitness Instruction

Harmonie Nutrition & Massage Inc.                                                                   780-901-9181
Nutritional Consultations & Massage Therapy

Revive Auto Detailing Solutions Mobile                                                            780-446-7793
Mobile Power Polishing, Ceramic Coating and PPF Installation

Monthly Growth Stats

Single Family Housing Starts

Single Family Dwelling Resales


Building Permits Issued


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29 Sir Winston Churchill Avenue | St. Albert, AB | T8N 0G3