Eight New Businesses to Serve the Region
Park Plaza | High Level, AB
People from far and wide have shown support and appreciation for the various businesses in Park Plaza in High Level—a new addition to the town offering big-city franchises in a small-town setting.
In 2021, Park Plaza Liquor Store and Dairy Queen opened. So far in 2022, Denny’s Restaurant, Bar One, Park Plaza Fitness Centre, Pharmasave and Starbucks have all been added. Coming soon will be Arcadia, an arcade and family entertainment spot, which will officially complete the Plaza.
Martin Park, 32, is the Co-Founder, shareholder and Chief Operating Officer. He is the son of Daniel Park, the Owner, Co-Founder and CEO.
“We’ve filled our space and utilized as much of it as we could. Every square inch has been used and the arcade is the last piece of the puzzle,” said Martin.
Ten years ago, Daniel Park and his wife, Jane, moved to High Level and opened the Esso Superstation, which paved the way for the start of Park Plaza.
Three years ago, Daniel approached Martin and his wife, Esther, to gauge their interest in opening the plaza with him. Daniel had recently purchased a plot of land in High Level and had ambitious goals and high expectations for it.
“My dad had a big vision for the plaza, which was kind of scary at first, but after some long discussions, we decided to invest everything we had into it. Together, we’ve made it into the plaza it is today,” said Martin.
When the Dairy Queen opened, it was a major highlight for the region.
“Our Dairy Queen was the first new concept store of it’s kind and the first in all of Canada to showcase the new design,” said Martin. “It was even spotlighted in the Dairy Queen franchise community, which was an amazing feat.”
The Park family wanted to make a positive impact in the region, and they know bringing these businesses into the community has created more convenience, growth and employment opportunities.
“People in the community don’t have to drive 6-8 hours anymore to access these kinds of businesses, which is huge. Plus, the plaza has provided so many local jobs, which is exactly what we wanted to accomplish,” said Martin.
Over 100 employees work at Park Plaza, and several people work in more than one business onsite, so cross training has become the norm.
“A lot of our employees like to stay within our umbrella and work for us, which we are extremely grateful for,” said Martin.
To further encourage and promote growth, Park Plaza invests in the community, something Daniel strongly believes in and has instilled in Martin as an important aspect of operating a business, especially in the North.
“We offer scholarships and bursaries to graduates every year. Plus, we sponsor local events, teams and anything to help the growth of High Level,” said Martin. “We want everyone to know there are people here willing to invest their time and money into the town, so there will continue to be fun events and activities for everyone to enjoy.”
Bringing new franchises to High Level was an easy choice for the Park family. They are proud to provide employees with a great working atmosphere, so they can happily serve fellow community members in well-known businesses that are fun to frequent.
“Franchises are fundamentally rooted in high-quality food, safety and service standards. Everything is regulated from top to bottom, which creates an overall better experience for everyone involved,” said Martin.
Park Plaza patrons can expect a one-stop-shop. Whether they’re local or just travelling through, it has something for everyone.
“It’s a great travel stop. We have a diner, a bar, specialty coffee, ice cream, a liquor store, and if kids need a break, they’ll have the arcade and fitness centre to move around in,” said Martin.
The patios are one of Martin’s favourite features.
“We have three patios throughout the plaza. It feels great to see people coming together and connecting with their family and friends. It’s honestly the best sight. It creates a sense of community and belonging,” said Martin.
Martin cherishes the many connections he has made while managing the plaza.
“Creating connections with people through work has been incredible. We have so many different people from different walks of life working alongside us, either as employees or vendors, and I’ve come to appreciate the friendships I’ve made along the way,” said Martin.
Bringing a piece of the city to High Level has always been Martin’s biggest dream, and now that Park Plaza is nearly complete, he feels he has finally achieved it.
“The most common feedback we receive from customers is they feel like they’re in the city when they visit one of our businesses, which is exactly what we are striving for,” said Martin.
Martin, Esther and Daniel are excited for what’s ahead and can’t thank the community enough for supporting Park Plaza every step of the way.
“It’s so cool to see it all come together. High Level deserves it, and I’m so grateful for the community’s patience,” said Martin. “We appreciate the community, our staff and all the support they’ve given us. It’s truly been an amazing experience.”
By Dani Wearden | Photography by Trent Schlamp