Ritchie Market set to transcend the ordinary

Business owners in the southside Edmonton Ritchie Market are on the verge of opening the neighbourhood retail space at 96th Street and 76th Avenue after nearly three years of planning and preparation.

Innovative collaboration in southeast Edmonton opens for business

A rendering of Ritchie Market shows Edmonton's next brewery, Blind Enthusiasm, expected to open in May. (Ritchie Market website)

"Beers, bikes and brew." That's how Transcend Coffee owner Poul Mark describes the motivation behind the new Ritchie Market south of Whyte Avenue.

Mark and building owner Greg Zeschuk are on the verge of opening the upscale commercial space at 96th Street and 76th Avenue in the Ritchie neighbourhood, after nearly three years of planning and preparation.

"The whole point of this really was to bring back to the community things that had sort of dissipated," Mark said. "We wanted to bring the production of goods back into the neighbourhood."

Besides Transcend Coffee, the market includes Acme Meat Market — moving from its old location across 76th Avenue — and Creekside Cyclery, opening on Tuesday.

Parts of Zeschuk's brewery, Blind Enthusiasm, and accompanying restaurant/brew pub, Biera, are still under construction. The brewer-in-training and BioWare founder has two brewmasters and plans to concoct European-inspired stouts, lagers, saisons and sour beers.

Zeschuk describes the Ritchie Market launch as something between a soft and a hard opening.
Transcend Coffee is one of several shops opening in the building at 96th Street and 76th Avenue. (Poul Mark)

"It's sort of like a poorly-kept soft opening secret," he said. "We're really actively figuring it out as we go."

Transcend will be open on Tuesday but Mark is waiting for a key piece of equipment.

"The roaster is still somewhere between here and Montreal," he said in an interview on Edmonton AM.

The cycling store won't have rentals yet but when the market is fully open, Creekside Cyclery will rent mountain bikes, fat bikes and swan cycles for kids.
Greg Zeschuk is the brains and the brewer-in-training behind Edmonton's next brewery, Blind Enthusiasm and brew pub, Biera. (Greg Zeschuk)

There's an education component to Ritchie Market. There are plans for after-school care and to teach kids how to ride bikes.

The collaboration will include a space upstairs where Mark said the business owners plan to hold wine, coffee and beer tastings and do innovative things like teach people how to make butter and cut meat.

"It's going to be this place, this hub in the community that I think has been missing for such a long time because of the dispersal of retail to the suburbs."

Eighty parking spots at Ritchie Market will be reserved for bikes.