For this week’s Business Spotlight, we stopped into CanWest Travel Company. Located at 5018 50 St (Ross Street), CanWest Travel Company has been part of downtown for over 24 years! We sat down with, managing partner, Joanne Walokoff, to learn more.
What is your business?
CanWest Travel, a retail business agency.
When did you open?
What would you say makes your business unique?
We’re the only one downtown, I believe. We serve all of Central Alberta. We used to have a location in the south as well. We specialize in African travel, and we custom design any trip that people want—whereas other traditional travel agencies will sell packages that are already put together. But we love to customize plans for people, make it their own.
What are some products/services that you offer?
We are full retail, so we sell airline tickets, do hotel bookings, all-inclusive packages, cruises, coach tours, expeditions tours, expedition cruises, lots of niche products like polar bear adventures—that sort of thing. That is what full service is, I guess.
Why did you choose Downtown Red Deer as the location for your business?
Well my brother and I are partners here, and we are from Red Deer, so we just wanted to be in the center, in the heart. This is our third location in Red Deer, but we’ve always had a location downtown and we just love the people that are down here and want to see it thrive.
What do you think makes Downtown vibrant?
I think it’s the mix of people, and the mix of businesses—people coming for lots of different reasons; for hair, for groceries, for travel, for banking… lots of different services, shopping, dining. It just has a lot to offer and City Hall Park is a beautiful place to hang out, have some lunch. Ross Street Patio is always fun, the market is great. People are coming down if its once a week or once a month, there is still something to draw them to the heart of Red Deer.
I love Downtown Red Deer because… it is home for us. We don’t live downtown but we work downtown, and the majority of our time is here, and it’s been successful for us. And we do enjoy the diversity of people. We see a lot of the people from C.A.R.E. go by and have served a lot of them. We collect clothes and housewares for new immigrants and refugees in our basement, and we have volunteers at TGSL. We get a lot of those people that come in that we meet and welcome them, so they have a comfortable place in town. I just love a lot of things about it, even some of the street people are so awesome, it just makes it more unique. Lots of people are scared to come downtown and I am so shocked by that, really, people are harmless. So, I love downtown because it’s our home, and we’ve made it our home. It’s not big and concrete either, like downtown Edmonton. It’s big and busy—I like that it’s small and more cozy, intimate. And lots of small businesses, which is nice. If you look across the street you can see four other businesses.
Be sure to check out CanWest Travel Company for your next vacation! You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
Check back next week for another business spotlight! If you would like to see your Downtown business spotlighted, please contact us at 403-340-8696 or firstname.lastname@example.org.