By Alleah Boisvert
Sustainability, innovation and determination have been key in keeping one new Edmonton business afloat going into the new year with a focus on community and local produce.
The founders of City & Soul Wellness Collective were committed to building a community of wellness practitioners to help and heal people.
As the world began changing due to the pandemic, Tanjeryne Hoffman, Denise Walker and Amy Quist maintained course and expanded their business to adapt to the changing needs of the community.
“The idea was born in February, so it took us almost nine months – full childbirth from conception – and we actually did it all ourselves,” said co-owner Hoffman.
During the building process, the founders of City & Soul reused materials, hired local tradespeople and installed flooring using renewable resources. One of the sustainable products used was Hempcrete, a building material made from leftover hemp stock.
They held their grand opening in October and have continued to provide services such as yoga and group meditation through online classes.
“We’re lucky to have the internet, although it doesn’t replace true human interaction,” said Hoffman. “People are enjoying taking classes from the comfort of their own home, especially right now.”
Along with yoga classes, City & Soul offers a number of other products and services. Hoffman has started making sustainable and locally sourced products such as candles, sold online and in-store and says that it’s been a surprising way to sustain the business.
“It’s hard to find quality candles that aren’t just pouring toxins into the air and are made of waxes harvested sustainably. For me, it’s important that things come locally, usually in my community or somewhere else in Canada because then I can count on it being made with fair trade labour,” she said.
Hoffman uses mason jars to create her candles because they are easily reused. She is planning on launching a recycling program for them so that her customers can participate even further in practicing sustainability and waste reduction. She explained that although it is sometimes difficult, consumers should be aware of their values when shopping.
“[Shopping sustainably] is a lot more expensive and takes more time because the systems just aren’t in place to guide those choices. It’s hard to put that responsibility on the individual and individual businesses,” said Hoffman.
She said that community engagement is a driving factor when it comes to developing new innovative ways of thinking and living.
“If you want to contribute to ending poverty and houselessness and creating more equality and diversity in the community, then shop local. Support local music, support local art, support local makers,” she said.
Hoffman’s hope for the new year is that people see their values like cultural appreciation, and embody these values themselves to better the community.
“This is going into your consciousness and subconsciousness; whether it’s meat, media, or the people you’re hanging around with. Whatever you are consuming, you are embodying, so what do you want to embody in 2021?”