By James Rose

Special to the Pioneer

Change is afoot in Canal Flats. As the villages economic sands relentlessly shift from the resource industry to the tourism industry, people choosing to visit and make Canal Flats home are now finding ways to capitalize on this shift.

Kate McLean and Kelly Kask are two of those people. Just recently, they became the new owners of Base Camp Coffee Shop (the duo also own and operate the Flats RV and Campground). With the caf located centrally in town, they saw a great opportunity to take over the business from the previous owner and expand upon the coffee shops operations.

With Canal Flats already a mecca for Alberta minor hockey tournaments (weekend tournament bookings throughout the late fall and winter are said to be booked five years in advance), having Base Camp operational year round on weekends instead of only for the summer made perfect sense to the new owners.

Even though Base Camp was an existing business, the opportunities in Canal Flats are amazing, said Mr. Kask. We thought, this coffee shop should be open twelve months of the year instead of only two months and really focus on catering to the hockey families while they are in Canal Flats.

By further catering to hockey families, and all customers in general, the duo plan to offer free WiFi service, an adults only lounge room (to be a refuge from hockey parenting), a healthy and progressive food and beverage menu, live music, and much more.

With the closure of the mill, the timing is right for new economic opportunities, said Mr. Kask. There has been considerable investment in the future of Canal Flats and now it is ripe for new entrepreneurs like us to come in and help build a new economic base.

Base Camps atmosphere can best be described as that of a rustic coffee shop. We serve coffee ranging from high end espresso drinks to good ol kick ass cowboy coffee, said Mr. Kask. Food options include breakfast sandwiches, homemade baked goods, soups, and chilis and homemade chicken pot pies to name just a few.

Hours of operation for the winter season are Friday to Sunday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information find Base Camp on social media or visit