Looking for a place to set up shop? Edmonton is known as a great place for small businesses to thrive. However, don’t be shy about looking just outside the city limits, too. Edmonton is flanked on all sides with smaller cities and towns that are vying for your business, and they have plenty to offer to help you launch, grow, and maintain your company.
The Town of Beaumont
“Beaumont is the fifth fastest growing community in Canada (2016 Canada Census),” says Bert Roach, economic development officer, Town of Beaumont. “Beaumont has had over $1 billion dollars of new investment in the last decade. Median household incomes are $134,443, well above the national and provincial incomes.”
In addition to the 165+ store fronts already in operation, Roach explains, “Over 150,000 square feet of new commercial and office space is under construction, so plenty of space for new business is available.”
“Boundaries have recently expanded by 21 quarter sections of new land and Beaumont should continue to grow rapidly in the coming decade,” Roach continues. We expect to add 15-20 new storefront businesses this year. We have had interest from international and national franchises, along with many local inquiries from residents of the region who see opportunity in Beaumont.
“Beaumont has been one of the fastest growing communities in Canada for well over a decade. Our community has grown at an above average rate, even through tough economic times. We are working hard with our residents and all stakeholders to plan our community wisely and create great opportunities for families and businesses, all while providing the highest possible quality of life for everyone.”
The City of Spruce Grove
“Spruce Grove is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada. Our average annual growth rate has been 5.8 per cent from 2013-2017,” says Mayor Stuart Houston. “We have a young educated population with an average age of 34.3 years. Our largest demographic is 30-39 years of age. We also have above-average income levels. The average is $121,000 per year per household.”
Mayor Houston points out, “In 2016, Spruce Grove was ranked as the third most lucrative place for business in Canada and one of Canada’s best places for business by Canadian Business magazine. Our business costs are well below Edmonton’s with lower municipal taxes, streamlined regulations and lower rates to lease space or acquire properties. Our permitting processes are among the shortest in the metropolitan region. We are within 40 days for development permits and 2-3 weeks for building permits for commercial/industrial.
“Spruce Grove is situated on two major highways, the Yellowhead and Highway 16A, which provide convenient access to the Anthony Henday ring road and the Edmonton International Airport.
“There are two main business associations: the Spruce Grove Chamber of Commerce (over 600 members) and the City Centre Business Association (164 businesses). The City Centre Business Association is spearheading the revitalization of our city centre area.
“The business community consists of a mix of local boutique and family owned companies with franchise operations and larger corporate players. These encompass a broad range of corporate and professional offices, retailers, restaurants, hotels, auto dealers and services, entertainment and personal services.
“There are also a number of industrial parks in Spruce Grove which host over 225 businesses ranging from local companies to national and international players.”
Mayor Stuart Houston concludes, “By locating in Spruce Grove, your businesses can take advantage of lower costs and access to a young and educated labour force while having convenient access to the amenities and assets of a metropolitan area of over 1.3 million people. You will also find a city that is anxious to work with you to support the success of your business.”
The City of St. Albert
“The City of St. Albert is a versatile and resilient community that satisfies business needs and employee quality of life, and it has placed a strong emphasis on both sustainment and growth of business,” says Mayor Cathy Heron.
She continues, “St. Albert is an ideal destination to do business because it provides the best environment for both business growth and talent acquisition. With a population of over 65,000 people, St. Albert is adjacent to the Northwest side of the City of Edmonton and has approximately 1500 businesses. It has two key industrial parks that have direct access to Anthony Henday Drive, the perimeter highway around Edmonton that connects to the Trans-Canada Yellowhead Highway and primary provincial highways as a gateway to the North. Economic development is a strategic priority of city council.”
In 2015, St. Albert created the Smart City Initiative and is now one of the leading Smart City programs in Canada. The initiative supports all industries that provide technology innovation and technology partners that are looking for growth.
Mayor Heron points out, “The City also works closely with the Northern Alberta Business Incubator (NABI) located within St. Albert and with the local Chamber of Commerce. This partnership focuses on accelerating start-ups and business growth. With its diverse industries and competitive land prices, the city is somewhat insulated from the dramatic swings that are experienced by the predominant petroleum industry in the province, as noted by continued growth through the economic downturn in Alberta.
“We have a large small business community, and the City of St. Albert is a strong proponent of entrepreneurship and business growth. The City of St. Albert has a downtown business center called The Collective. This facility provides a low-cost retail front for retail startups, and it provides entrepreneur training.
“The franchise community is strong as the city has a very strong retail presence. We feature many of the well-known North American franchise companies, which operate in all the key retail sectors.”
The Town of Stony Plain
“Located just 17 kilometres west of Alberta’s capital, the Town of Stony Plain is where businesses come to grow, where families start, and where futures are made,” smiles Mayor William Choy. “Stony Plain is invested in supporting business, which means faster permits and less red tape for those establishing here. Taxes and operational costs are consistently lower than anywhere else in the region, and the population that has expanded by almost 80 per cent since 2001. The town offers an unparalleled quality of life, which attracts a skilled workforce with strong values to the community.”
He tells potential investors, “Stony Plain has an abundance of economic drivers, including competitive land rates, proximity to major trucking routes, and a vibrant culture. The Town also places a keen emphasis on providing resources for their entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
Mayor Choy concludes, “The community here is thriving and on the pulse of innovation. Businesses support each other, and working here means working with a network of cross-promoting colleagues that are committed to the success of Stony Plain as a whole. There are rich opportunities for entrepreneurs, and a community that is hungry for growth yields tremendous business potential.”
Looking to Invest in a Community? Look Around.
Edmonton and its surrounding communities are growing fast in all aspects of business, culture and innovation. With the stark reality of the volatility of oil that we have seen time and time again in Alberta, many entrepreneurs are looking to diversity and bring new industries into the Capital Region. The potential for new businesses is at an all-time high; with so many great locations in and around the city to choose from, it’s just a matter of finding your perfect fit and starting your journey.