A local Inglewood independent grocer is trying to help customers find more than fresh produce this spring.
Bite Grocer is trying to help its customers, and the customers of other Inglewood BIA businesses, to find parking along the busy 9 Avenue SE shopping district.
Until Jan. 27, the Bite Artistic Parking Project will be accepting submissions from Calgary artists to help communicate parking options near the Atlantic Avenue Art Block building where Bite is located.
“Our goal is to get people to Inglewood and let them know we have a great neighbourhood here,” said Philip Wong, general manager of Bite Grocer and Bea’s Cafe.
“It’s going to be a unique community engagement product with local artists of all media types to help us bring people to Inglewood in general, which will support our store,” he said.
Submissions from artists can be made online through this link.
The winning artist will be given Bite Grocer’s 9 Avenue SE windows as a canvas writ large, along with a $500 honorarium and compensation for design materials.
A committee of members from Bite Grocer and Bea’s Cafe, the Esker Foundation, and the nvrlnd. Art Foundation will select the winning entry.
Educating customers about parking options
Wong said that not all of his customers know about the free parking located behind the Atlantic Avenue Art Block building where Bite is located.
"We wanted to draw some attraction and educate people on where they can park in the back of the building," he said.
Wong said that while many of his customers will walk to the grocery and back with purchases. The lack of parking knowledge however deters customers from making larger grocery purchases like they would at other chain grocery stores.
"We have the ability to support larger grocery shopping, so we can compete against a Safeway," he said.
He said letting his customers know about the parking spaces behind Bite would go a long way to making them more comfortable doing larger cart shopping at his grocery.
The contest is aiming to educate travellers to Inglewood about the parking locations in the spring.
"So when people begin exploring local economy again, and begin socializing again, we are first and foremost on top of mind," said Wong.
Art a natural choice for community engagement
Bite Grocer is located in the Atlantic Avenue Art Block, home to art galleries, fashion, furniture, and media companies.
Running an art contest was a natural fit with building, and with the community.
"We're in the Atlantic Arts Building, we're supporting artists, we're using art, and we're creating something interesting as people drive by an avenue, which is a very busy street to look at," said Wong.
"So traditionally, I would just put up a sticker that said 'parking in the back', but we're trying to go beyond that to try to create something attractive," he said.
Making sure that the winning artist would be compensated for their work, and would receive recognition was also important.
"We're trying to create something that is portfolio worthy for the artist, and compensate for their time, so this is a very unique thing for us."
The winning entry will be announced after Jan. 27, and Calgarians will have a chance to see the design for themselves in the spring.