The July 9th 2015 Best of The East Stampede Breakfast Pancake Breakfast

3am that’s when I got to sleep, 7am that’s when I woke up. I didn’t dare close my eyes, not even to blink, until I was standing. I have been trained for 4 years by my two wonderful daughters to operate usefully, if not super quick, on reduced sleep. My hubby who was going to drive me down woke up, then fell back to sleep. I let him sleep. He had watched our girls the entire day before and they tuckered him right out.

A quick bath, make-up to cover my dark circles, and I was out the door. I arrived later than I would have liked and as I was opening my trunk, Kate pulled in behind me. We loaded ourselves up and Kate proudly held up the box holding the toy cars, commenting on how it was great that such a sturdy box had a second use. I’m guessing you know what happened next. Whoosh, the bottom of the box opened up and over one hundred little cars spilled out onto the curb. Kate handed off the rest of what she was holding, and set to recovering the toys, while I hurried up to the breakfast site.

The breakfast had not started yet and I got to set down the boxes right next to where we ended up setting up. By the time I got my set up instructions, Kate had arrived. We shared a table with two ladies who were informing the public about the Calgary transit initiative to add bus lanes to improve transit in the area.

The mini parking lot out in the sun

The mini parking lot out in the sun

The little parking lot took form and the cars looked great! My pitch was sloppy though and I felt so unprepared without any of our posters, and printed material. I didn’t have any contact cards printed (and when checking on this site that night, discovered the contact me page was not auto populated, oops). I was trying to get people to fill out the survey I had printed while they were waiting in line… but like I said before, my creativity slows down when I’m a bit tired. Super Kate to the rescue. She was a spectacular advocate, survey gatherer, and all round champ. I went and got the coffee and breakfast.Survey filled

Kate working hard and looking goodI listen to her pitch and adopted it for my own. Making kids happy, by giving them little cars, and fridge magnets, and adults happy the same way, I soldiered forward. By the end of it, there were not enough surveys done(just over 50), but I met some more great contacts!

Rebecca holding flowersDuring clean up, Alison brough us beautiful flower bouquets and I realized how long the day had been. New boots, were killing my feet. My body ached and Kate had left to make an appointment. I trekked back to the car, loaded it up and came home.

When I got home, my hubby sent me off for a bath and bed after helping me take off my boots. He unloaded the car for me, put the flowers in water, and brough me brunch in bed. So I’m feeling spoiled and happy, while I write this.  I hope you enjoyed the breakfast as much as I did.

Classic Tailgate Sale

Classic Car Fridge Magnets

Classic Car Fridge Magnets

There I was at the International Ave BRZ office (Business Revitalization Zone),  picking up the check I was awarded. Woot! $300! I also ended up being able to get in a bit of a meeting with Alison, the Executive Director of the International Ave BRZ. She made some great suggestions, and I almost immediately rejected them. This was a mistake, I know because after a restless night I emailed her humbly and asked to take her suggestions, to do a survey at a pancake breakfast, and look into a ‘car boot sale’. Of course the next day was Canada day, and I had to wait… waiting again.

She said “Yes!” and off I go writing up a survey then two, then splitting one so it looked like three, asking all sorts of information for me and others. I was typing like one possessed, and I submitted my proposals, for all of my fantastic concepts of how the future International Ave could look… So Alison didn’t say I was possessed, however she made some suggestions, and I calmed down reviewed my goals and striped away anything not immediately relevant.

The first objective is to make a memorable impression at the pancake breakfast. The second is to get awareness and support for a car boot sale. When looking into the history of car boot sales, wiki had mentioned that trunk sales from Canada had inspired the events. I asked my husband if he knew about them. He let me know that, of course, he had attended tailgate sales in the area when he was a kid. So in keeping with the history of the ave, I want to call it a tailgate sale, but to add a historical reference, Classic Tailgate Sale. To further the feel I want to be able to invite classic car owners to come and show off their automotive masterpieces. I intend on offering classic car pricing to help encourage people to polish up their garage gems and bring them out to shine!

To get people in the know about my project, I’m passing out over 100 vintage mini toy autos, and some fridge magnets, featuring some lovely pics of classic cars, with this blog address on them. This will be the swag incentive to fill out my little survey. The back of some of the magnets have pieces of orange pin stripes on them so I can create a little parking lot. This will give a bit of a visual, though I didn’t get my little people and their sale items made, it will still be pretty cool.

Mini parking lot and mess

Mini parking lot and mess

I was inspired the day before the pancake breakfast and have been spending the entire day and some of my funding (or most of it), getting my display ready. I made a call for help, and was rewarded with a small army of volunteers. Ayu is a genius at the detailed well organised manufacturing. Kate is on board for table and crowd walking. Forest was a machine at the card peel and stick. So everything important actually got done!

Kate sharpening the midnight pencil

Kate sharpening the midnight pencil

I’m not great in the heat and made a mistake with the ink purchase, and got two color inks for the printer instead of color and black, so we ran out of ink before all of my posters and stuff were printed. This could be a pretty bad mistake, if we end up running out of cards, which seems likely at this event. Having said that I’m gonna have to go with plan B, and just give‘er.

Now I’m just finishing this blog for posting in the wee hours of the morning before my early day tomorrow, filled with pancakes and much coffee. So big smiles and fun for the pancake breakfast, and did I mention coffee?

So I had this crazy idea… International ave could really use a farmers market.

There I was looking at the box store building that was a Zellers, then a Target, and now stands empty, lonely and waiting for the next store that wants to sell us cheap goods, at a mid range price. The Greater Forest Lawn area is filled with people who leave the area to find better prices elsewhere, and we know where to look.

Now it doesn’t have to be that building. A market space that we can be proud of is a better goal. Experiences on the front end, of having a table at a couple of different events, and markets, and visiting plenty more, have filled me with ideas. I have seen the strengths of these different places, and the community it creates.

Being a restless spirit, I am driven by building, and creating. When I went to the BRZ GREAT in Greater Forest Lawn Lunch(June 23 2015), I didn’t expect much. My friend told me about it, the Friday before the event, only a week after I started looking into the market concept. The Great in Greater Forest Lawn, is an ideas lunch and you sign up for five minutes to pitch your idea for a citizen-led funding project and can be awarded up to $2500 to fund your idea. It is sponsored by The International Avenue Business Revitalization Zone, The United Way of Calgary & Area, and International Avenue Arts and Culture Centre.

Late, with two small kids, in tow, and without the index cards I had prepared, I ended up being the last entry in the hat (entered after the first speaker had been pulled), and the second person to speak.

At this point I have to inform you that I’m a weirdo, and actually enjoy public speaking… When I know what I’m talking about, which I didn’t really. So I went with honesty instead of facts. Only asking for $300 to set up a nice website, and get some expert advice on it (I have a talented social media pro for a friend, but want to be able to at least entertain her while I pick her brain). This will lead into my crowd funding the project hopefully. The whole experience keyed me right up. While there were many great ideas, I was mostly focused on trying to contain my kids, and replaying what I did right and wrong compared to the other pitchers.

The pitchers were asked to leave the building while our ideas were being judged and then invited back in. Four ideas were funded, and mine was one of them. FTW! (For the win, for all you not yet gamers) That night I eagerly emailed all my new contacts, and stirred myself up into a tizzy, trying to become as ready as possible, to sound more prepared then I ever feel.

This adventure has been more like rush hour traffic so far; Sudden openings, spurts of speed and sudden stops, then slow moving, with that vehicle just ahead of you belching black exhaust into your window on a hot day when you don’t have air conditioning, and all you can do is think of your destination.

So I finally met with my social media guru, at Pie Cloud (so very yummy), and she told me to start up a blog at wordpress.com, and cleaned up my project name, International Ave Market. While I’m computer literate, I’m not social media savvy. Any great things I do here are her work, while the blunders are all on me, lol.

My plan is to do an honest blog (the blood sweat and tears, without the foul language) about my attempt to make all this really happen, whether it is a cautionary tale, or my story of victory! After all, you may be the one who decides how it ends.