The Common was established in 2008 on Edmonton’s 124 Street. The owners wanted to create “a gastro-lounge where typical pub and comfort foods are elevated to refined dining heights.”
The Common is owned by local entrepreneurs, Kyla Kaziel and Stacie Boruk of Bamboo Ballroom and Justin Der and Rob Clarke of Foosh. Having worked in the hospitality industry for a number of years, they decided to make The Common their reality.
“We were all working in the industry already, and we just decided that we wanted to do something for ourselves,” says Kyla. “If we are going to work for other people doing this, when we all had successful businesses already, why not just start our own thing?”
The original 124 Street location gave them a great start. “This was five years ago, before downtown Edmonton was coming around, [so] there was lots of opportunity,” says Rob. While the owners are passionate about the success of their business, they also believe that slow, sustainable growth is the way to go.
“We like to be hands on, and community based,” says Rob, “so it takes a lot of time to be there and do that.”
The owners always had their eyes on their current location on 109 Street. It seemed to be the perfect place to bridge Downtown and Whyte Ave, where their other businesses were located. The restaurant’s open-concept space is an inviting mix of vintage and modern decor and decidedly modern entertainment.
“With the expansion, we’ve been able to introduce a full culinary program, which is what we always wanted to do,” says Kyla. “We were only open three nights a week in the old location, so we couldn’t really sustain a full food program.”
The Common hosts weekly music events with local artists, offering top notch food and drinks. Joint owner Rob Clarke shows off records from the permanent DJ music shelves.
The owners have been heavily involved in day-to-day operations. “The advantages are that we can see things that are needed as they happen,” says Rob. “We can grow and change.”
It can be a bit of a challenge at times for the four of them to juggle three different businesses. “You really have to be able to put trust into the people who work alongside you,” says Kyla, emphasizing how important it is to find a good team.
“We don’t have a very high turnover,” says Rob. “People grow with us. It’s an opportunity. A good, warm environment, and everyone has a lot of respect for each other.”
No strangers to small business accounting, the owners of The Common have had their fair share of bad experiences with accountants that didn’t understand or care about their needs. They’re happy with the fit they’ve found with Origami Accounting. “Origami is so hands on,” explains Rob. “When we have questions, they take the time to explain things.”