The St. Albert business was the winner of the Stadium Yards competition
On Feb. 20, Allard Hall was abuzz with anticipation as the finalists for the Stadium Yards contest, The Cut, made their final pitch in front of judges and a live audience. The winner will receive $125,000 in inducements from Rohit Group of Companies, up to $5,000 in branding and marketing from FKA, a marketing and communications agency, and mentorship from experts at the ATB Entrepreneur Centre.
Stadium Yards will be a seven-acre, mixed-use space, off of 84 Street and Jasper Avenue. It will have residential rentals and commercial properties, including a 2,500 square-foot retail space with a mezzanine, whose lease has been up for grabs as part of The Cut.
From an initial 47 entries, through two rounds of cuts, five finalists emerged: The Grizzlar Roaster’s Experience Café, Jack’s Burger Shack, Luna & Leo, Caribe Community Bar & Restaurant, and Coffecito.
The contest was open to small or medium-sized businesses, either new or looking to expand. Participants were required to submit a short video and a paragraph outlining their idea and how they will help build connections in the community. Finalists then pitched their business plan to the judges and a live audience at Allard Hall on Feb. 20.
Judges consisted of Kristina Botelho (founder of KB&co.), Jay Downton (co-founder of Oilersnation.com and Nation Network, president of Oodle Noodle, co-owner of Little Brick and River Valley Company), Aimee Parker (entrepreneur strategist, ATB Entrepreneur Centre), Ian O’Donnell (executive director of the Downtown Business Association), Rohit Gupta (president at Rohit Group of Companies), and Casey McClelland (vice president at Colliers Canada).
Finalists were given five minutes each to outline their business plan and make their case, followed by a 10-minute question and answer period.
The judges were interested in how each finalist would connect to the community and what they would bring to the community as well as business experience and financial capability. They were also looking for passion, vision, attitude, and personality.
Each finalist brought a level of diversity to the competition, ranging from a coffee shop to a Latin bar to a burger joint to vegetarian charcuterie to a Mexican confectionary. But they all seemed to look past the typical for-profit model. Several finalists talked about paying it forward, with either taking portions of each sale to help provide meals for the less fortunate or by giving people the option to pay in advance for meals for others in need.
After the judges deliberated over each pitch, they informed the crowd that they chose Tu Le and Ninh Le, owners of Jack’s Burger Shack as the winner. Already having a successful burger joint in St. Albert, they proved to the judges that they were the best option, as they already had a solid business plan. Using locally sourced food, they enjoy keeping their business local.
They will begin making improvements to the new space at the beginning of November 2020 and will open soon after.For more information, visit stadiumyards.com/thecut.
Featured Image: Tu Le, co-owner of Jack’s Burger Shack, is the winner of The Cut. | Stephen Strand