Edmonton’s historic Italian Bakery reopens 3 years after fire destroyed business – Edmonton

Edmonton’s Italian Bakery celebrated its grand reopening Saturday, more than three years after a fire destroyed the Chinatown landmark.

Customers packed the store to celebrate the bakery’s return with a lion dance, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and free samples of pastries and meals.

“I just want to say ‘Edmonton this is for you. This is for you,’” owner Renato Frattin told Global News.

The family-run store business is now operating out of a new and improved space with more to offer.

“We never had pizza before. We never had fresh pasta and now we have opportunities to do that,’ Frattin said. “We never had produce, now we have that, too. So we kind of got the full package here.”

The Italian Bakery temporarily ceased operations in April 2020 after a fire ripped through much of its old building. Edmonton police confirmed arson was to blame.

Story continues below advertisement

This was the family’s second encounter with a fire-related incident. Back in February 2016, a blaze tore through their 118 Avenue location.

Between construction delays and family circumstances, including the deaths of Renato’s parents and brother-in-law, the Chinatown location stayed closed longer than originally anticipated.

The bakery soft-launched about a month ago. Frattin is not only thrilled to make a comeback, but excited to see patrons waiting for the bakery’s return.

“I am so happy to see all the people here. The turnout is unbelievable,” he said.

“There were at least 100 people outside before the store even opened today. We’re so happy.”

Frattin’s parents, Antonio and Aurora Frattin, first opened the Italian Bakery in 1960. Frattin is grateful to see the business pass down through the generations.

“If you work hard, and you have good quality and consistency… time passes, and the next thing you know you’re like ‘Oh, I’m here,’” he said.

Anne Stevenson, city councillor for the O-day’min ward, was in attendance Saturday morning, saluted the bakery for its courage.

“This is a great example of how, as a community, we can go through exceptionally hard and challenging times and come through even stronger than before,” she said.

Story continues below advertisement

Several other community partners were in attendance, including Chinatown Business Improvement Area co-chair Christina Trang and Edmonton police chief Dale McFee.


Read more

Edmonton business owner calls for more commercial tenant protections

An Edmonton business owner says stronger protections and clearer rules are needed for small businesses in commercial lease agreements.

Nylla Moroziuk said she got notice this summer that she’d have to move her store, Rain Clothing and Fashion Accessories, from its current spot in Phase 1 of West Edmonton Mall.

She knew it was a possibility — a relocation clause is part of her lease, letting the mall give her 60 days’ notice to move to another spot. She said she was told that a larger retailer would be taking her space, plus some neighbouring stores.

But Moroziuk said she’s just one year into her five-year lease agreement, and she’s frustrated that she doesn’t see a way to guarantee more stability for her location. Shops are often subject to 30-day relocation clauses, and she said that uncertainty can put independent business owners at a landlord’s mercy.

“When you’re looking at a small business … that 30 days could completely change somebody’s life,” she said.

West Edmonton Mall didn’t respond to a request for comment from CBC News.

Moroziuk said the issue isn’t her current landlord, but the broader leasing system. She started a petition this month to call for the Alberta government to create a commercial leasing act, with guidelines and standards for lease agreements.

Nylla Moroziuk has run Rain Clothing and Fashion Accessories for a decade, first in Bonnie Doon Mall, and now in West Edmonton Mall. (Submitted by Nylla Moroziuk)

Moroziuk argues it could help correct what she says is a power imbalance between commercial landlords and small businesses.

“I don’t think a lot of Albertans understand what small business owners have to go through to be able to lease in our shopping centres, or lease at all,” she said.

“With rising prices and job instability, small retailers are already facing so many struggles that this has just definitely come to the forefront.”

Alberta’s Residential Tenancies Act sets the framework for the residential landlord-tenant relationship, but there isn’t equivalent legislation for businesses renting space for a brick-and-mortar shop.

Alberta isn’t the only province where this is the case, but in Ontario and B.C., there are laws that specifically govern commercial tenancies, outlining some of the rights and obligations on both sides.

In a statement to CBC News, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction said the provincial government isn’t looking to follow suit.

Read more

Downtown business association launches programs, grants to revitalize Edmonton’s core – Edmonton

The Edmonton Downtown Business Association is working with partners including Avison Young, the University of Alberta, the city and province to support business growth, retail and dining in the core.

On Monday, the DBA announced three programs: the Downtown Retail Project, the Downtown Patio Grant and Business Adaptation and Revitalization.

The programs include a total of $1.8 million in funding for downtown businesses.

Downtown Retail Project

Applications are open for this program that will help remove barriers and reduce risk for opening physical storefronts in the downtown core.

Up to six retailers will receive up to $250,000 each to help offset the costs of building out a new downtown location.

Businesses will also receive three months’ free rent, marketing and other operational supports once stores are up and running.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more:

Downtown Edmonton looking up: business association

It’s a partnership with commercial real estate advisor Avison Young, which will lead site selections, lease negotiations, permitting, store design and builds for six successful applicants. Avison Young will also help retailers retain tenants and landlords.

“When we talk about downtown vibrancy, high retail vacancy and a lack of shopping options are among the most frequently brought up frustrations from downtown residents, visitors, workers, and business owners,” DBA executive director Puneeta McBryan said.

“We’re committed to help bring back a much-needed fresh and diverse retail mix to downtown Edmonton and support business owners who see the potential of our downtown by removing some of the high start-up costs and financial risk, which are often a barrier to entry.”

Click to play video: 'Converting empty office space in downtown Edmonton to residential units'

Converting empty office space in downtown Edmonton to residential units

The provincial government provided funding through the Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Northern Development. The City of Edmonton will also provide funding through the provincial government allocation towards downtown vibrancy efforts.

Story continues below advertisement

“We are proud to support this creative initiative led by the Edmonton Downtown Business Association that will attract more retailers to Edmonton’s downtown core and ensure it continues to thrive as the economic and cultural heart of the city,” UCP Minister Brian Jean said.

Interested businesses and property managers can read more about the project and apply online. Applications are due May 31 and applicants will be chosen June 15.

Downtown Patio Grant

Restaurants, bars and cafes within the DBA borders can apply for this grant.

Up to $5,000 is available per business, per

Read more