Inspired YEG: Running a Business in the Heart of Edmonton

Edmonton has numerous noteworthy organizations that are transforming innovative ideas into projects, and projects into new businesses. Many of them have gone through trials and tribulations to be where they are today. At EOCC, we believe that their inspiring stories are worth telling and learning from. We also believe that it’s critical to support and empower local businesses since they bring a unique touch to our beautiful city. That is why we aim to bridge the gap between established businesspeople and pioneering entrepreneurs.

Running a Business in the Heart of Edmonton

Many business owners have noticed a shift in Edmonton’s downtown region in recent years. With the introduction of establishments such as Rogers Place, there has been more traffic and business brought to downtown than there ever was before. One person who is hopeful to see life brought to the urban core is the owner of two Second Cup locations, Ian Turner. In 2005, Turner and his wife SunMi Park opened their first Second Cup location in City Centre, which is now celebrating its 13th year. Turner and Park opened their second location in 2014 in the Canadian Western Bank Union.

“I’m most excited about the Ice District being finished, when that finishes I think our downtown core will make it,” said Turner, “not only is it growing, but it has a heartbeat now.”

Turner is hopeful that the Ice District will be the heart of downtown Edmonton. He is passionate about getting the people of Edmonton to come to downtown because he is aware that there is a stigma that has been in Edmonton for a long time that people should avoid downtown.

“I’ve lived in Edmonton all my life, so my 40+ years and the things that I have been accustomed to, that I have learned from my parents and by the Edmonton retail market is to never go downtown,” he said.

Turner says that he knows that Edmontonians, for the longest time, were more prone to go to places like West Edmonton Mall, Kingsway Mall or Southgate Mall to avoid heading downtown. He thinks that the retailers of Edmonton’s downtown core need to unite and change the minds of the consumers.

Edmonton’s LRT is a contributing factor to Edmonton’s downtown growth Turner believes. It allows easier access to consumers and for Turner, it brings in a lot of his staff who come from various locations around the city.

In addition to being hopeful about the future of downtown, Turner is also hopeful about the future of Second Cup. He says that Second Cup locations are currently rebranding and that in the next few years, a lot of Second Cup locations will be renovating, introducing new brewing technology and new, more sophisticated ways of doing things.

“This summer I’m super excited to about our new line of FroChos,” said Turner, “We have three new Frochos and we have changed the way we do cold coffee, which is now called flash brew.”

Turner is excited for his customers to come in and try and enjoy his new products. Turner’s motivation derives from happiness. He believes that there are highs and lows in life, and you can’t sweat the small stuff.  You may have failed yesterday, but today you might be the best you’ve ever been. Customer service is extremely important to Turner and his two businesses, so he tries to impart this belief system as much as he can on his customers.

“I feel that with my customers, sometimes I’ll tell them to go enjoy this Monday, this dreary, rainy cold Monday because this Monday might be their best Monday,” said Turner, “it’s all about perspective.”

Tips for Aspiring Business Professionals

Some advice that Turner would have for his younger self or an up and coming entrepreneur would be to commit to whatever you are doing. To do it well and to do it right. As for what’s next for Ian Turner and his businesses, in five years he hopes to be an owner of four businesses, working part-time, golfing part-time and vacationing part-time.

When it comes to the future of downtown Edmonton, Turner thinks we need to wait until the Ice District is finished to know whether or not the expansion of downtown will be a positive or a negative because at this point, not everyone is succeeding. Although, overall, Turner is optimistic for our city of Edmonton.

“I love this city, I can’t see myself living anywhere else,” he said, “I like our weather, my wife is comfortable here.”

Turner could see as he retires, moving elsewhere, but summers would always be spent back here, because Edmonton is home.