The Pulse: Aug. 24, 2021

Here's what you need to know about Edmonton today.

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  • 11°C: Clearing in the morning. Fog dissipating in the morning. High 19. (forecast)
  • 1,972: Alberta reported 1,972 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday — combining data from Friday to Sunday. (details)
  • 9: The Edmonton Elks confirmed that nine players have tested positive for COVID-19 since playing the BC Lions on Thursday. (details)

Bread & Bakery

New bakery brings baked goods to Riverdale

By Sharon Yeo in the Food Roundup

The folks behind popular café Little Brick are gearing up to launch a new neighbouring business in Riverdale.

Bread & Butter Bakery, the newest sibling establishment from the River Valley Company, is set to open its doors on Aug. 26.

Bakery manager Ange Minor is keen for people to finally taste the hard work she has put in over the last year preparing to launch.

"I always wanted to have more of savoury-focused shop, and the wonderful owners (at the River Valley Company) gave me complete free reign of how I wanted to do that," said Minor. "All the recipes have been tested and tested until they became absolute perfection."

Minor feels the savoury nature of Bread & Butter sets it apart from others in Edmonton's bakery scene.

"We will have a beautiful bread wall stocked full of a variety of from scratch, baked fresh daily breads," said Minor. "From focaccia, signature sourdough, brioche loaves, multigrain loaves, gluten-free focaccia, and savoury pastries like scones and croissants."

Those hoping to find the shop's namesake "butter" for sale will not be disappointed, either. "Our bakery cooler will be filled with signature butters, which are meant to be eaten together with our breads to make a perfect pair," said Minor.

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By Michelle Ferguson

Story City CEO Emily Craven

Startups pitch to celebrate and connect the community

By Mack Male in the Tech Roundup

Another edition of the Great Alberta Pitch Marathon is in the books, with more than 100 companies taking the opportunity to make connections with fellow entrepreneurs and potential investors.

About 40 of the companies that participated in the Aug. 19 event are from the Edmonton region, including Uproot Food Collective, a marketplace for emerging food brands, and Terrapin Geothermics, which develops emission-free energy projects from waste heat.

Terrapin was the first company of the day to pitch. "We loved sharing our story alongside other great energy and cleantech groups in our community!" the company tweeted.

Participating companies were not pitching for prizes, awards, or even investment. At least not directly.

"The goal is to help these companies grow by connecting them to the right people and the right resources at any stage — whether that's expanding nationally or getting their idea off the ground," explained Zack Storms, founder of Startup TNT and one of the co-organizers of the event.

"The event also provides an unparalleled scouting opportunity for interested investors to understand the rapidly maturing startup ecosystem in Western Canada."

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A chart showing the number of cannabis licences issued per month in Edmonton since August 2020, peaking just over 20 in October and April.

Chart of the week: Cannabis licences

By Scott Lilwall

Business licences for cannabis retail stores in Edmonton have been declining since hitting a recent high point in April, according to the city's open data catalogue.

April saw 22 business licences issued for cannabis shops in Edmonton. That was the highest number since August 2020, which is as far back as the available data goes. But the downward trend since then could reverse itself in the near future now that city council has voted to cut the licensing fees for retail cannabis stores by almost 90% to bring them in line with the price paid by other types of businesses.

The changes, which drop the fees for pot shops from $2,500 to $255, take effect in January.

The higher costs, according to the city, came from the fact that the licensing process for cannabis stores was more complex after legalization in October of 2018. Businesses required more hands-on guidance from the city to navigate the process, which led to higher costs.

In recent years, some of the rules placed on cannabis retail have loosened, and dedicated services for new stores are no longer needed. City administration hopes that bringing down the cost of licences for legal shops will reduce the number of black-market sales in the city.

Albertans have some of the easiest access to cannabis shops in the country, with 14.3 stores for every 100,000 people, a number that is matched only by Yukon. Edmonton's metropolitan area topped all other Canadian cities for legal cannabis sales per capita last year, with spending at about $129 per person.