HicksBiz Blog

Hicks on Biz: That Edmonton airport bus service By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, June 8, 2018

The ETS bus to Edmonton International Airport shown at the start of service in 2012.Bruce Edwards / Bruce Edwards By GRAHAM HICKS The ETS (Edmonton Transit Service) 747 bus route – from the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Century Park southern terminal to the Edmonton International Airport – is an evidence-based, practical measurement of the city/region/provincial commitment to urban transportation, tourism, and general efficiency. Any city worth its salt has user-friendly, inexpensive and modern public transit between its airport and downtown. Toronto is a North American leader for airport-to-downtown options. The very modern and efficient UP Train leaves every 15 minutes and provides 25-minute service from Pearson International to the downtown Union Station transport hub. The $12 fare ($6 for seniors and students) is heavily subsidized. Or, for $3.25, you can take a regular Toronto bus from the airport to the Kipling subway station, hence to downtown – about an hour and a b ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The bureaucratic delight of cannabis regulation By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, June 1, 2018

NewLeaf Cannabis is one of a number of companies that plan to open locations in Edmonton.AL Charest / Al Charest/Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS (Third of a three-part series on the ramifications of legal pot) So it was Saturday night on the acreage. Around the campfire a few joints were circulating. Your pals in halter-tops, tank-tops and ball caps were talking about the impending legalization of pot. Hey, they said, blinded by their brilliance. Let’s open a pot shop! I suppose … if among your pals was a lawyer, an accountant, a government-relations expert, a cannabis expert, a realtor, a seasoned retailer and plenty of investors. In reality, this horse has long left the barn.  The regulations surrounding the upcoming growing, distribution and selling of pot in Alberta are so complicated and laborious that amateurs need not apply — regulations by the federal government, regulations from the provincial government through the Alberta Gambling Liquor Cannabis ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Manor Bistro offers quality, atmosphere By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 29 2018

Daily specials, such as this goat-cheese crusted salmon filet, are a highlight of the Manor Bistro's offerings. GRAHAM HICKS/PostmediaEdmonton Manor Bistro 10109-125 St. 780-482-2577 Themanorbistro.com No advertised delivery Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Mondays Food:  3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two (excluding beverages and tip): Basic, $45; loaded, $80 By GRAHAM HICKS If you are a fan of Old World ambience — of finishing carpentry from a bygone age, plank floors built to last for centuries rather than decades, of solid, ornate wood-carved tables, of big  heavy windows that slide up and down — you will adore the Manor Bistro. Built at the turn of the 20th century in what was then Edmonton’s far west end, one block beyond the curve of Jasper Avenue into 124 Street,  the lovely old home that is the Manor Bistro somehow survived the wrecker’s ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: This gold rush is green By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 25, 2018

Trays of newly introduced mother plants at the Aurora Sky facility on February 5, 2018 at the Edmonton International Airport. Shaughn Butts / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS (Second of a three-part series on the ramifications of legal pot) Welcome to the green gold rush. In just a few months, Canada will be the first developed country in the world to fully legalize the growth, distribution and consumption of all cannabis products. A Deloitte study suggests recreational marijuana sales alone could be as high as $8.7 billion per year in Canada – like the sale of all alcoholic beverages (besides beer), and that’s just a start. Add all the support business (security, transport, processing, research) and the potential economic impact “approaches $23 billion.” Everybody’s speculating in this market which, other than medical marijuana, has yet to sell a penny of government-approved pot. The numbers around Aurora Cannabis, soon moving its headquarters from V ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: JOEY Bell Tower continues tradition of great, upscale-casual cuisine By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 22, 2018

JOEY's signature lettuce wrap is a delicious, nutritious starter. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN JOEY Bell Tower 10310 101 St. 780-990-5639 Joeyrestaurants.com 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. seven days a week (Sundays, 11 a.m. to midnight) No advertised delivery Food:  3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience:  4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding beverage and tip: Basic $50, loaded $80 By GRAHAM HICKS They remain the best of breed. Nobody does casual, up-scale and comfortable like the four JOEY restaurants in town. Of the four, the downtown JOEY Bell Tower gets extra marks as the latest and most chic. Nobody else … other than Earls (six locations in town, the flagship being Earls Tin Palace) and Cactus Club (two locations): They may have different “brands” and slightly differing ownership, but all three chains have more-or-less the same menus and the same commitment to quality.  The three restaurant groups are intertwined, owned or influenced as they are by th ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: On legalized weed, sky-high's the limit for consumption options By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN May 18, 2018

File.Getty Images By GRAHAM HICKS Baby, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Pot – marijuana, cannabis – will be legalized in Canada in a matter of months. Over a few pints of our current mood-altering drug of choice, the old guys’ drinking club was discussing whether we’d try pot again, once it was legal.  In the late ‘60s, we took a toke or two … maybe a thousand. But that was 40 years ago! To a one, we said no thanks, not at this point in our lives. Nathan Mison, VP of stakeholder relations for the Edmonton-based future marijuana retailer Fire & Flower, gives a wry chuckle. Mison’s point?  The unwashed Canadian public hasn’t the least notion how wide-ranging the uses, and choices, of recreational, medical and therapeutic cannabis will be. “Let’s start with two active cannabis ingredients, CBD – cannabidiol oil – and THC – tetrahydrocannabinol,” says Nathan.  “THC gets you ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Bodega adds to flavour on 124 Street By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN: May 15, 2018

The paella at Bodega 124th Street is packed with the freshest of seafood. Bodega Tapas & Wine Bar on 124th Street 12417 Stony Plain Rd. 780-250-6066 bodegayeg.ca/124 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week (1 a.m. Friday and Saturday) Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience:  4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding beverage and tip: Basic $50, loaded $80 By GRAHAM HICKS There’s always room for another (good) restaurant. Ten years ago, on or close to 124 Street, from Jasper Avenue to 108 Avenue, perhaps three restaurants were around of any quality. Today, there’s 20 or more. Yet good new restaurants in the area still quickly fill. The Bodega/Sabor/Urbano Pizza restaurant group, headed by executive chef Lino Oliveira and operations man Christian Mena,  has opened its third Bodega tapas bar, Bodega 124th Street. Bodega 124th Street is every bit as interesting, tasty and unusual as Bodega Downtown (sharing space with the seafood-specialty Sabor) and ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: ATB's Dave Mowat — Yes he did! By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 11, 2018

ATB Financial president Dave Mowat.Codie McLachlan / Codie McLachlan/Edmonton Sun By GRAHAM HICKS Dave Mowat has been ATB Financial’s CEO and President since 2007. Retiring in June, Mowat is unarguably Alberta’s best-known and most visible CEO. Mowat is that rarest of beasts:  A well-liked, amiable, even humble corporate and community leader, yet likely the most dynamic CEO that ATB, a venerable government-owned financial institution, has ever seen. ATB Financial’s marketing department took advantage of Mowat’s media-friendly personality.  His smiling mug advertised ATB’s services in newspapers, billboards, TV and all over social media. Who can forget Dave smiling at the camera, pointing his finger and saying “Who banks on Alberta’s future? We Do!” Most of ATB Financial’s excellent long-term performance (from $20.3 billion in assets in 2007 to $49.6 billion in 2018, from 600,000 to 750,000 customers, currently 5,000 employ ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Corso 32 continues to offer some of Edmonton's best food By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN: May 8, 2018

Corso 32's chicken skin is both crisp and balsamic in a pomegranate sauce. GRAHAM HICKS/ EDMONTON SUNEdmonton Corso 32 10305 Jasper Ave. 780-421-4622 corso32.com 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week (11 p.m. Friday and Saturday) No advertised delivery service Food:  5 of 5 Suns Ambience:  3 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding beverage and tip: Basic $60, loaded $120 By GRAHAM HICKS This is Corso 32’s third Weekly Dish review in the Edmonton Sun, both the restaurant and this column having debuted in 2011. In a remarkable tribute to hands-on executive chef and owner Daniel Costa, for the third time the Weekly Dish has awarded Corso 32 with an unprecedented five out of five Suns for its food.  Believe me, there has been no special treatment. Reservations are made through regular channels months in advance, under a different name. The bill is presented and paid in full.  I barely know Costa. He barely knows me. Yet, after another perfect re ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Is Big Oil slip-sliding away in Alberta? By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN: May 4, 2018

Stacks from the Petro-Canada Refinery rise above the Enbridge Oil Tank Farm in Sherwood Park, Ab.Colleen De Neve / Calgary Herald, file By GRAHAM HICKS There will be no dramatic cleaning out of Enbridge or TransCanada’s Calgary corporate headquarters, no fleet of moving vans heading down the American I-25 highway in a near straight line from Calgary through Denver to Houston. But until Canadian governments realize wealth creation is as important as the environment,  gender imbalance and social justice, Alberta’s major pipeline building companies will slip-slide away to the U.S. It won’t be dramatic. It never is. Corporations don’t want bad-news headlines. But Enbridge and TransCanada build pipelines. Major pipelines are not being built in Canada. Pipelines are being built in the U.S. Funny thing about doing business.  You go where the work is. Both TransCanada and Enbridge are going where the work is, via major acquisitions. In 2016, TransCan ... Read the rest of entry »
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