Public Art Updates

Art in its purest form is a beautiful medium for communication, expression and interpretation. From the moment the canvas is stretched over the easel, to the first strokes of a painter’s brush, the artist is immersed in a flow state – a trance of passion and dedication to their craft. While the consumers and supporters of art may never fully internalize this process, we can pay respect to artists and show appreciation for the final product. The fruits of their labour and diligence are ours to enjoy. Here in Inglewood, we are hosts to a cornucopia of public art and this month, we wish to take you on a small, virtual tour of sorts.

Simmers Murals

Siblings Kyle and Derek Simmers are no strangers to mural painting in our city. We are privileged in this community to showcase not one, but two of their compositions outside of Social School and Phoenix Comics Respectively. The compositions are imaginative, enticing and indicative of two incredibly talented individuals. While their murals may be found all over downtown, we’re proud of the work they have contributed to Inglewood. (@kyle_simmers@dereksimmers)


Local visual artist Doro has blessed us with a howdy-doody wintertime mural located on the window of Spolumbo’s Sausage. As part of Maud Collectives Northern Reflections exhibit from last winter, the piece was also intended as a multimedia, augmented reality production with help from other local Calgary artists. We’re glad to see this beautiful, interactive public art piece up in the summertime. (


Don’t you just love it when public art is practical and interactive? One would simply not take a stroll through Inglewood without paying a visit to PARK PARK. The two-year pilot project successfully turned a grey, empty lot into a vibrant, colourful art exhibit with a lion’s share of amenities. Thanks to the kind folks at PARK, it features seating, a phone charger, bike pump and a little library. (@ourparkonline)

BUMP Barriers

If you glance upon any wall mural, jersey barrier or painted parklet around the city, there’s a darn good chance the amazing team at Beltline Urban Murals Project (BUMP) was behind it’s existence. BUMP is a small, not-for-profit, visual arts organization in the heart of our city gracing Calgarians with expansive open-air art galleries since 2017. Their mission is to highlight and showcase the immense and diverse artistic talent Calgary has to offer and beyond. With our city as the canvas, BUMP has helped transform Calgary through creative and powerful public imagery. You can find jersey barriers painted by BUMP artists outside of Kane’s (Billie Rae Busby), Brewcade (Strawberry Milk), Dutil (@darkcornerstattoo, and Dirty Duck (@mikehooves), respectively.

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Cats in the Cradle

Our Fathers and Father figures in our life are some of the most important pillars of our upbringing. They are the people who took us fishing, taught us how to change a tire and have effortlessly demonstrated how you can grill your way through a Canadian winter. They’re the ones who took time out of their work days to volunteer on school field trips, coach our soccer teams and always found the time to read us to sleep or pass on sagely father advice.

Our Dad’s were wearing new balance shoes and baggy faded jeans before any of us decided it was cool – they were cracking Dad jokes before we even knew what a Dad joke was. We love the Father figures in our life and to show them how much we care we’ve highlighted some fantastic options in Inglewood for you to treat your Dad this Father’s  Day.

Silk Road Spice Merchant
Every grill master knows the secret to exceptional barbecue is a properly seasoned cut of meat. For herbs, spice and everything nice, look to Silk Road Spice Merchant this Father’s Day. If you’ve ever been around Inglewood on a weekend, then surely you’ve noticed a lineup outside their shop’s doors. For a good reason, Silk Road delivers on flavours and a little wait is nothing to be salty about. Treat your Dad to a barbecue rub, some chili seasoning or many of the other herbs and spices Silk Road has in store this Father’s Day.

Nerd Roller Skates
Since when is roller skating for nerds?! No matter, drag your Dad down to Nerd Roller Skates and watch them relive their glory days on a pedestal of quad rollers – you’ll be dominating the Bow pathway in style in no time. Nerd’s Roller Skates also carries a selection of inline skates for those of us looking for a more modern approach to skating. Just remember to wear a helmet.

Circa Art Glass
If you’re really looking to stand out this Father’s Day, pay yourself a visit to Circa Art Glass. The one of a kind glass gallery specializing in mid-century modern European art glass carries a stunning list of pieces in their roster to add elegance and elevate any home office or study. This one is for all the classy Dads out there, or really anyone who wants to add some decor to their living space.

Shoulder to Shoulder 
Whether your Father is a picker, grinner, collector of antiquities or simply appreciates a unique gift, then you absolutely must check out Shoulder to Shoulder Antiques. From vintage toys, military paraphernalia, flags, jewellery and so much more, there is a gift for every Dad at Shoulder to Shoulder. Surprise them with a rare WW2 helmet or some Rock’em Sock’em robots that they can show off to the other Dad’s in the neighbourhood.

Chin Whiskey
Treat your Dad to a hot shave and a haircut at Chin Whiskey this Father’s Day. Their expert team of barbers have the knowledge and passion to give your Dad a stylish new mane. Finish it all off with a soothing hot towel and premium hair/beard products to leave your Dad feeling rejuvenated and looking great. 

Man of Distinction
We know you’ll find this difficult to imagine, but there are some Dads who can use a little help when it comes to the fashion department. Quality men’s consignment stores are far and few and one may not know exactly what to look for while shopping for their Dad. Thankfully, Man of Distinction is here to assist you. Carrying a diverse array of premium brand men’s clothing, Man of Distinction has the perfect blazer or set of Nike’s your Dad can show off to Tom across the street. From formal to casual, their roster suits a wide range of garments to add to your Dad’s wardrobe this Father’s Day.

Poor David’s
With a slogan that states “Be a Legendary Gift Giver”, Poor David’s does not disappoint when it comes to presents. From books, cards, gardening, candles and more, they carry gifts appropriate for any occasion. It’s a real one-stop-shop for Father’s Day and more. Surprise your Dad with the tantalizing scents of rocky mountain soap or some new tools for the garden this year.

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Blue Skies Smilin’ At Me

Inglewood Blue Store

The neighbourhood grocery store truly is the cornerstone of a community. Just as animals on the savannah meet to quench their thirst and seek refuge from the elements at a watering hole, the corner store is a pillar that all in the community may enjoy together. From the first ice cold slushee of the summer, to when you need to run out for eggs and milk while dinner is in the oven, the corner store always has your back. Perhaps the image of a convenience store invokes nostalgic images of hanging out with your friends after school, playing arcade games and buying candy bars. Whatever the reason, we all are grateful for our local mom & pop grocers.


The Blue Store in Inglewood was originally founded as Inglewood Food Mart & Video – for those of us who fondly remember the days of VHS and DVD rentals. When owner Chris Nam and his team took over the location in October, 2019, they wished to breathe new life into the building. Inspired by local west coast haunts like Coombs Market (Vancouver Island), Chris wanted to incorporate the sentiment of a classic corner store, while offering local market-style selections.


“Our mission is to bring affordable groceries to everyone in the community and to provide a safe hub for residents to get everything they need without having to leave the neighbourhood,” said The Blue Store owner, Chris Nam. “We decided to embrace the nostalgia of this heritage building, restoring its original hardwood floors and tin ceilings and adding 60’s & 70’s inspired mural work.”


Colloquially known as “The Blue Crew,” Chris’s team attentively strives to create a safe and approachable environment at the store, both internally and externally. Their “chalk wall” on the east facing wall of the shop cleverly gives patrons and passersby in the community a creative platform to share their thoughts, struggles and inspiration. Additionally, it has been an integral catalyst for individuals in the community to connect and drive traffic to the store during the COVID-19 pandemic.


“During these challenging times with social media becoming one of our only methods to connect, we wanted to bring back a safe oldschool option,” explains Chris. He adds, “We also look for opportunities to resource share with other community organizations, for example we lent our picnic tables to the Ramsay community centre throughout the winter months when their public skating rink was operational.”


Many of the regulations imposed in our province during the COVID-19 pandemic have made it difficult for small businesses to find financial equilibrium. The pressure of maintaining a safe work environment, coupled with the constant threat of closure has forced many shops to permanently close, while people continue to shop at larger corporations. The Blue Store in Inglewood has been a shining beacon of success in the community and has managed to thrive during these trying times. Being able to operate as as essential service, combined with the #shoplocalyyc effort have been a positive light during a dark year for Chris and his team.


“We are so thankful that our business as a grocery store allows us to stay open as an essential business,” said Chris. “We are finding that where we may have lost foot traffic on weekends, we have gained back in local support with people making a conscious effort to support locals instead of going to big box stores. So far, the most challenging part (thankfully) has been to adjust to our growth as we’ve expanded with our Ice Cream Window, The Coffee Hut (partnered with local brewers Fratello), and the opening of our commercial kitchen that offers a both Yakuza Sushi and Korean Fried Chicken.”


On top of diversifying their product roster with fresh and delicious sushi, Korean fried chicken and premium coffee, The Blue Store understands the importance of supporting local and keeps their shelves stocked with local products from neighbouring Calgary shops such as Tubby Dog, Fratello, Fresh in the City, Marcellos Gellato, Motherlode Coffee, Crooked Crout, and more. Chris is eternally grateful to the vibrance of the community and it’s incredible residents for their support.


“Our favourite part of The Blue Store is the people. Our customers are incredible and the support we’ve received from Inglewood, Ramsay, and surrounding communities has been overwhelmingly positive,” Chris states. “There is a real sense of community here and that has very much shaped our approach. The most rewarding piece to date has definitely been the relationships built with locals both residents and business owners and being embraced as one of them.”


So next time you walk out the door for a grocery run, or if you’re just looking to score a quick caffeine fix, think about The Blue Store or any of the other small grocers in your community. By supporting them, you’re also supporting other small businesses and that’s something you can feel good about.

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Earth Day in Inglewood

The earth is our home, a sophisticated web of mechanisms that coexist to form life. It provides us with fresh air to breathe, water to drink, a bounty of food for nourishment and resources that we utilize to produce goods and facilitate services for everyday life. As humans, there are a multitude of actions and steps we can take to reduce our environmental impact and ultimately increase our sustainability on this planet. The resources we extract are often finite and the factories and fuel we dispel are harmful to our environment. It takes a conscious effort for all to reduce this type of impact, but there are small steps we can begin with to make a difference in our local communities. In honour of Earth Day, we have elected to showcase a handful of the shops in Inglewood who are producing local, sustainable and environmentally conscious goods and services. Check out their websites below for more details.


The Apothecary

The earth is our home, a sophisticated web of mechanisms that coexist to form life. It provides us with fresh air to breathe, water to drink, a bounty of food for nourishment and resources that we utilize to produce goods and facilitate services for everyday life. As humans, there are a multitude of actions and steps we can take to reduce our environmental impact and ultimately increase our sustainability on this planet. The resources we extract are often finite and the factories and fuel we dispel are harmful to our environment. It takes a conscious effort for all to reduce this type of impact, but there are small steps we can begin with to make a difference in our local communities. In honour of Earth Day, we have elected to showcase a handful of the shops in Inglewood who are producing local, sustainable and environmentally conscious goods and services. Check out their websites below for more details.


Bike Bike

Aside from the health benefits of increased cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, joint mobility and decreased stress levels, cycling is a sustainable mode of transportation compared to our fossil-fuel burning vehicles. By cycling, an individual can reduce anywhere between 1 and 2 tons of CO2 emissions each year – not to mention cutting down on traffic congestion and factory pollutants. With this in mind, pay a visit to Bike Bike this Earth Day. Whether you’re looking to tune up the vintage Italian steel frame that’s been in your garage all winter, grab a new commuter, or even booking a Bikepacking tour – Bike Bike carries it all and more.



Any flora enthusiast in the community is familiar with Plant and that’s because they are a popular purveyor of all things green. Succulents, flowers, ferns and conifers in the cooler months – Plant showcases a diverse ecosystem of vegetation. Don’t forget their handmade terrariums, tasteful decor and workshops.

Studies have shown that having plants in your home may boost productivity, fight stress and most importantly enrich the air around you with sweet-sweet oxygen. Visit Plant now and get your green on.


Peacock Boutique/ Man of Distinction

Choosing to purchase your clothing at consignment or thrift stores is the number one way to cut down on emissions when looking for a new wardrobe. By extending the life of a particular garment you are significantly reducing carbon, water and waste footprints. It helps keep clothes out of the landfill and saves from factory pollutants. Luckily, Inglewood has you covered for consignment stores. Peacock Boutique was voted Calgary’s best consignment store – they carry a roster of clothing items from premium designers and their expert staff are eager to help you find the right look. For a more masculine display of products, pay a visit to Man of Distinction. From blazers and dress shirts to more casual wear, these shops have the tools to make you look good and feel good about your purchase.


Ol’ Beautiful / Cold Garden / High Line / Revival

One of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce your environmental footprint is to simply buy local. The resources and pollutants that are expelled through shipping products are greatly reduced through Fortunately, there is no shortage of premium craft breweries in Inglewood. We have Ol’ Beautiful Brewing Co., Colden Garden Beverage Company, High Line Brewing and Revival Brewcade. Not only can you feel good about purchasing a product from the source, but you also know that these breweries use mostly local ingredients as well. And hey, drinking beer feels pretty good too, yeah? You can do even better by walking or biking to all of the different breweries in our community. Just remember to wear a helmet and drink responsibly. 


Monki Bistro

First things first, Monki Bistro does brunch right. From their ever-evolving directory of elevated French Toast dishes to their signature Pink Prosecco hollandaise sauce, Monki is an establishment where the food is always on top. The fare is fresh, locally sourced and produced with the customer in mind. What you may not know about Monki is their commitment to providing a sustainable, environmentally conscious takeout and delivery service. All of their take-home products are compostable and recyclable, in an effort to reduce waste and consumption. Feel good about takeout next time you order from Monki Bistro.


Bite Grocer and Eatery

As Inglewood’s resident grocery store, Bite occupies an integral niche in the community, keeping it’s residents satiated with a host of organic and locally sourced products. Their scratch baked breads from their bakery, delicatessen items and grab & go meals are all made in-store with the utmost attention to quality and detail. Check out their online shop for a full list of items, all available for free, daily curbside pickup.

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Business Spotlight: Kent of Inglewood – March Shavings

Wet shaving is neither a task or a chore, it is a practice one anticipates with great pleasure – a cherished ritual of self care and nurture for the body. You step out of a hot shower, load a fresh platinum blade, and begin to form a rich, foamy lather. The effortless glide of the razor across your skin leaves you feeling soothed, clean and ready to tackle the day. For many, this is an act of personal wellness, a routine that leaves you feeling your best and looking your best. For those who are not familiar with the timeless art of wet shaving and all of it’s accoutrements, Kent of Inglewood is your local educator, purveyor and knower of all things razors, blades and beards. They are doing it quite well and getting people excited about shaving!


Nathan Gareau helped open one of the first Kent of Inglewood stores in Calgary close to seven years ago and is the communications manager for the brand. A sister company to Knifewear, Kent of Inglewood formed it’s roots as a happy accident of sorts.


“Kent of Inglewood started out of curiosity and customer demand,” said Nathan. “People were coming into Knifewear (next door) looking for straight razors and we wanted to satisfy that need, so we opened up shop.”


Nathan is a man of culture, presentation and enjoys the finer things in life – he crafts a mean Manhattan and speaks in cursive. Don’t let this intimidate you from your wet shaving journey, Nathan is as affable and approachable as they come – eager to share with or educate anyone about the joys of safety and straight razors.


“I’m very much a polish my own boots and listen to records hipster, but wet shaving is for anyone,“ Nathan jokes. “When people come back and tell us how great their razor is, that is very rewarding. A lot of people don’t have those nice self care moments in their lives and it’s really valuable.”


The brilliant part of wet shaving is the inclusivity of the community, it really is a choose your own adventure scenario. Whether you’re shaving your face, head, body, legs, or other parts, a safety razor may be a superior choice to those cartridge razors you’ve been using.  Many individuals take the plunge into the world of safety razors because it’s a cheaper alternative and much more environmentally friendly than the bulk, waste and exorbitant fashion of cartridge razors. For some, it’s a less sensitive and closer shave than a traditional cartridge razor. Finally, it’s the experience and passion of the craft that certain individuals lust after.


Nathan insists that your wet shaving journey “depends how much work you want to get into it. For some it’s an experience, for others it’s a cheaper alternative.” He adds, “There are certain parts of your day you’re never going to enjoy, but if you can enjoy shaving, then overall you’re going to have a better day.”


Like many shops in the community, Kent of Inglewood values a product roster of local, sustainable, ethically sourced goods. They carry a wide range of razors, blades, soaps, creams and virtually any accessory that will enhance one’s shaving experience. In particular, you can find local products from Tremendous Beard Care, Kent of Inglewood’s own product line and Karve Shaving from Edmonton. One of their most admirable qualities is the way they take care of their employees.


“We work really hard to take care of our staff,” says Nathan. “It’s important that our staff be paid a living wage, along with benefits and profit sharing. These are the things that make it worth while for someone to stick around.”


For the month of March, Kent of Inglewood is offering 15 per cent off all safety razors, traditional straight razors and shavettes. Whether you are starting your wet shaving  journey or looking to upgrade from your current razor, Kent of Inglewood has the tools for you to achieve a closer, more comfortable shave and reduce your environmental footprint.

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Business Spotlight: Switching Gear YYC

What’s keeping you inside? Nothing! There has never been a better time to spend outdoors than the present. Take a look around and you’ll find lots of Calgarians are venturing to the mountains and enjoying our city’s beautiful parks and streams. Prairies to the east and mountains to the west, there’s no shortage of exploring to be had. Some of us have even taken up ice skating for the first time. Aside from a couple of bruises along the way, the push for many Calgarians to take up outdoor activities is a positive shift. There is not a better way to beat the winter blues and improve our overall health. We have an abundance of locations and resources at our disposal, so let’s utilize them for the better.


Look to Switching Gear YYC for your first stop to tackling those outdoor adventures. Whether it’s general clothing, gear for summer or winter sports, Switching Gear YYC carries all the tools and accessories you need to elevate your outdoor sporting experience. “We like to be a stepping stone for folks in their outdoor journey,” says Switching Gear YYC manager Rory Allen. “If we don’t have it, we’re pretty certain no one else has it either.”


The all-encompassing sports consignment shop has been a staple in the town of Canmore for nearly three decades, before opening their Inglewood location two years ago. The original owners observed a demand for a gear hub where consumers could purchase and consign outdoor sporting goods under one roof and seized the opportunity. “Before Switching Gear, people in the town (Canmore) used to post ads for their gear and run around buying and selling,” explains Allen. “We provided an outlet for our customers’ demand and the stores have been operating happily ever since.”


The Switching Gear YYC model has been a welcome addition to the Inglewood roster of shops. Our community is no stranger to second hand and consignment stores and Switching Gear YYC has certainly found their role within the neighbourhood. “There’s a lot of consignment places in Inglewood, but nothing like Switching Gears,” says Allen. “We sit well with Inglewood and the overall community surrounding it and love interacting with the other shops. There’s lots of great food around here as well!”


Whether you are looking for a pair of skates, a set of cross country, or camping gear, Switching Gear YYC carries a diverse array of supplies to help you along the way. “You have to start somewhere. You don’t need everything, but you need something and we’re here to help you out,” says Allen.


For a full list of products and upcoming arrivals, please visit:


Instagram: @switchinggearyyc

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Business Spotlight – Monki Bistro: Monki Business

Monki Bistro: Monki Business

Brunch is a sacred ritual practiced by the majority of urban dwellers in our city. It is not quite breakfast and not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end. The fare is warm, hearty and should satiate one’s appetite well into the late afternoon hours – perhaps topped off with a mimosa or two. With this in mind, if there’s one thing that Monki Bistro knows, it’s brunch.


Co-owner Aditya Dutta is the visionary on the Monki team. Along with Kaushik Sudharsanam, they are the primary caretakers of the overall pulse of the company, ensuring a positive customer experience and keeping the vibe in check. “Monki was my favourite brunch spot in Calgary,” said co-owner of Monki Bistro Adi Dutta. “We were thrilled to find out that it was for sale in 2016. The co-founders had a vision, but our goal was to freshen the brand – come up with something lively and creative.”


Monki Bistro was founded in 2012 in Calgary’s Beltline. Although it had become a popular haunt in Calgary’s brunch community, it was when owners Adi and Kaushik purchased the establishment in 2016 that the venture really established itself as a community favourite – expanding to a location in Inglewood. “We like to do brunch differently,” said Dutta, “we cannot change the premise of brunch, but we can take the classic brunch experience and transform the act of eating together.” Dutta adds, “The customer is above everything for us. We will toss out a menu if it is not received well.”

Monki serves an array of classic brunch dishes, elevated through a contemporary, yet simple approach to flavour and presentation. Their menu includes innovative takes on french toast, breakfast poutines, hash and eggs benedict. Their pink hollandaise really stands out from other brunch spots, with the added prosecco providing a crisp tone to the flavour. While they maintain a flagship lineup of favourites, their rotating french toast is something you’ll go bananas over. Stuffed with decadent fillings and topped with ooey-gooey sauces and syrups, their holiday french toast was a recent community favourite. The ginger-brioche foundation really set the stage for eggnog whipped cream and gingerbread crumble. “I absolutely love our french toast,” said Dutta. “We’ve been quite creative with our recipes and our customers love the new inspirations. Look out for a new french toast surprise this month!”


Adi and Kaushik believe in bolstering a menu with local goodies, so be sure to treat yourself to a coffee from Rosso or a malted beverage from Eighty-Eight Brewing Co. (The Good Morning Coffee Stout pairs deliciously with any menu item.)


Adi admires the sincerity and charm of Inglewood, where it “feels like its own little town.” Every store and resident are proud to be a part of the community and it shines through at the restaurant. It does not take long for word to travel through a community about new menu items. “The Inglewood Business Improvement Area is very unique,” said Dutta. “You see Rebecca, the executive director, Inglewood BIA, going up and down 9th Avenue every day on her bike. She always helps us out with tips on the shop.”


Like many local restaurants, Monki Bistro has been presented with many challenges through the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they are committed to providing a safe, sustainable experience for their customers at no compromise. With takeout and delivery in mind, Adi and the team at Monki have fortified themselves as a premier brunch delivery service. All of their take-home products are compostable and recyclable – an effort to provide a sustainable service.


Instagram: @monkibistro


To order today, visit:

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Business Spotlight: Gravity ~ An Uplifting Experience

As you enter Gravity Espresso & Wine Bar, your senses are immediately ignited. An aromatic burst of fruit and caramel flavors from a fresh brew of Phil & Sebastian coffee flood your nostrils; the savoury tang of cheese and the soft warmth of fresh baking dance merrily in a fragrant bouquet. The calming, blue walls of the café are covered with original artwork. The bar and seating is adorned with hardwood; creating a cozy, elegant aura. You approach the register and are greeted by a friendly barista. At once you are cuddled by the warm, inviting ambiance of Gravity – you are home.


Andy Fennell founded Gravity in 2010 with his wife and started operating in 2012. Having worked for WestJet and Royal Caribbean for 20 years, Fennell grew tired of the daily grind and monotony of his workplace. He combined his passions for food, drink and company into a small family business – Gravity was conceived.


“I worked for WestJet and Royal Caribbean for 20 years before opening Gravity and was bored of the mundane repetitiveness of my office job,” said owner and founder of Gravity, Andy Fennell. “I was excited to open something that allowed me to interact with people and even better, be my own boss! The name Gravity is a reference to our passion for rock climbing.”


An English expat himself, Fennell’s mission is to make gravity the first choice for a European style café in Calgary. Gravity combines all the amenities of a public house with the serenity of a classic café. It is your home away from home – a shop in Inglewood where patrons can get lost in the day with a cup of coffee, comfort food and a glass of wine (or two). They also support local artists and offer entertainment as a live music venue.


“We value our employees and guests equally. We want to be seen as a business that is as interested in people as we are. That’s our bottom line,” said Fennell.


Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gravity has not been able to offer live music for several months. While Fennell misses the strums of guitars and soothing voices, he is confident that music will return in the future.


“I would love to add some music to help us through these times, but not at the expense of our guests and staff,” said Fennell. “I welcome the day when live music may safely return to our venue.”


Fennell cherishes the closeness of the business community in Inglewood. He loves chatting with fellow business owners about their stores. Some of his favourite shops in the community are Espy, Limitless, Bite – Grocer & Eatery and Ol’ Beautiful Brewing. Fennell is keen on supporting his neighbours and keeps the coolers at Gravity stocked with fresh beer and cider from Ol’ Beautiful. He admires the product they create and describes the owners (Chris, Devon, Zoei) as “genuinely nice people and very personable.”


In the evenings, Fennell likes to pair a nice red wine with a charcuterie board. His favourite is a Grenache/Syrah blend called Longue Dog. When he is not busy running his business, Fennell loves spending time with his family. Fennell states his favourite way to enjoy a cup of coffee is “In my backyard, on my deck, on a warm summer morning listening to The David Gray album “Gold in a Brass Age” with my wife and kids.


Although COVID-19 has presented a challenge for many small businesses, Fennell remains optimistic. He finds the social interaction of a café to be incredibly rewarding. The hustle it takes to keep your head above water these days is both challenging and gratifying for him.

Fennell and the team at Gravity have made an effort to support local charities over the years. His most recent charitable endeavour is a fundraiser for the YMCA. To raise awareness, he has not cut his hair or beard since April and has raised close to $5,000.


To donate, visit:

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Business Spotlight: espy: Garments and Gratitude

On the surface, espy is simply an affordable designer boutique. But peek behind the proverbial dressing room curtain and you will find that it is much more. espy is a personal experience for the shopper – a place where clients may learn something new about themselves and leave feeling absolutely elated. When CEO and proprietor Megan Szanik founded espy in 2009 during the last recession, her initial vision was to run a designer discount shop. espy quickly turned into something substantially more, surpassing her expectations. At espy, the focus is all about the client; the garments are merely a vessel for their confidence. Szanik noticed that many clients were coming in with a poor body image and she wanted to make a difference.


“We want to help our clients discover something new about themselves,” said Szanik. “You know that feeling when you find that perfect outfit? It’s important that people experience that confidence and feel great inside and out. I want to know what that client is going through and why they feel that way.”


Szanik and her team of style professionals want to empower their clients by putting customer service first. She plays the role of proprietor, stylist and counselor. The customer experience is therapeutic and rewarding; going above and beyond the role of a personal shopper. One of the pillars of Szanik’s business is creating an inclusive and dynamic shopping environment. She achieves this by offering a diverse array of sizes from 00 to 16+ and special sizes that cater to long arms and legs. Szanik sees no gender in clothing and loves to help clients achieve their identity. No garment is off limits at espy.


“Inclusivity is very important to us as espy,” Said Szanik. “Everyone deserves to feel comfortable in what they’re wearing, we want to help our clients achieve that euphoria.”

espy is proud to offer a wide selection of premium brands and designers in their product line. Their buying team is constantly in search of new styles and designs to elevate their diverse demographic of clients. Szanik stocks boutique brands from designers in Canada, Italy, Spain, Denmark and more, ensuring that there is a unique style tailored for each client. Specifically, including a local element in the espy roster is a crucial value for Szanik.


“What we buy is over 50 per cent Canadian designed,” Said Szanik. “Our base supplier is Iris Setlakwe, a Canadian designer who produces everything in Canada. She really understands clothing.”


Szanik also resides in Inglewood and holds a great respect and admiration for the community. Living just a five minute walk away from the shop, her commute to espy is one of the favourite parts of her day. When she is not at work, you can find her frequenting other local shops in the community. Some of her favourite Inglewood shops are Notorious Hair, Knifewear, Kent of Inglewood, Plant, Silk Road, Bite, Limitless and more.


“Inglewood is an extremely supportive community,” said Szanik. “I love the diverse set of buildings, the mix of old and new, the river that runs through and the great outdoor spaces.”


espy is also committed to giving back to the Calgary community through fundraising initiatives that combine fashion elements. Charity campaigns such as #nakedespy and #bikiniespy have garnered tens of thousands of dollars for organizations like the Prostate Cancer Centre and Special Olympics Calgary.


For more info on espy and fundraising opportunities, please visit their website: and follow them on social media @espyexperience.

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