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Coronavirus: Calgary bar brings celebrations to patrons amid closure

Coronavirus: Calgary bar brings celebrations to patrons amid closure
WATCH: Greta Bar staff have been donating their time and talent to make cakes and assemble gift bags to bring to worthy Calgarians who have been nominated by others to receive a little bit of joy during isolation. Deb Matejicka reports.

They expected to spread a little joy and to bring some attention to their restaurant during the COVID-19 lockdown — but what staff at Calgary’s Greta Bar didn’t expect was that by giving, they too would get something back.

“We’re trying to figure out what do we do here [during lockdown]?” said Greta Bar managing partner Chris Jamieson on Tuesday.

“We realized, we don’t sell food and beer; we sell experiences.

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“We realized one of those main experiences was celebrations so we tried to export that.”

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Jamieson said staff volunteered their time and talent to make cakes and assemble gift bags for people who had been nominated by others for various reasons.

Whether it was to celebrate a milestone birthday or anniversary or rejoice in beating cancer, Greta Bar staff has spent the last few weeks pouring over hundreds of nomination stories and choosing 20 to 30 people each week to deliver goodies valued at over $100 to.

“This was a marketing initiative. This is promotions,” Jamieson said.

“One hundred per cent unabashedly saying that this is part of what a business does, but the wonderful by-product of this has been that I leave work… feeling like I actually did make a difference.”

By all accounts, Jamieson and his crew have made a difference in the lives of the unsuspecting nominees they’ve been surprising over the last few weeks.

Alli Rego and Marc LeBlanc were among the hundreds whose story made its way to Greta Bar. The couple should have been on a beach in Mexico celebrating their May 7 nuptials but had to cancel due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

“[It’s a] pretty unique surprise and very nice of them to do that for us,” said LeBlanc.
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The couple said they plan to reciprocate the thoughtfulness and generosity they have received when the bar opens later this week.

“Absolutely,” laughed Rego, adding that LeBlanc would probably “be the first one there.”