Incentive for Long-term Investment

Owner, Mike Waskalik, LOCAL Public Eatery.September 8, 2021

In 2010, LOCAL Public Eatery (LOCAL) opened in the heart Medicine Hat when Mike Waskalik and his business partners envisioned a brighter future for the downtown core. They invested in the high-end franchise and opened a location at 579 Third Street S.E, which has remained a community hotspot.

Known for its spacious and inclusive patio, LOCAL, recently renovated its outdoor space after 11 years under the Medicine Hat sun using the Waterfront District Vibrancy Incentive.

The incentive offered up to 50 per cent matching investment, up to a maximum of $50,000 for commercial property improvements, and Waskalik repainted the building and the patio flooring, refurbished the wooden booths, fixed the entrance gate and plans to upgrade the bathrooms.

“The Waterfront District Incentive was a compelling piece to continue with this project, because it mitigated the risk by 50 per cent,” says Waskalik. “I am thrilled to have received this support from the City that will now allow us to offer a new fresh space for our guests while we continue to serve our community.”

In 2013, the City asked the owners of LOCAL if they wanted to be the pilot project for a boardwalk patio. This boardwalk added 40 seats to the eatery, making the outdoor seating area larger than the one indoors. Using the Waterfront District Vibrancy Incentive, Waskalik has replaced the propane heaters with electrical heaters to extend their patio season.

“We want to enhance the guest experience and we’re trying to create warmth so everyone can enjoy the patio season for as long as they can,” says Waskalik. “So far the response has been well received - we’re having a great summer!”

When Waskalik and his business partners initially wanted to purchase the property, it was owned by and had the same address as the Gaslight Plaza. They needed to separate the building, so it had its own utilities, and create a new physical address for the space. They applied for the Downtown Development Incentive, which helped for the costs of this process.

This step was needed to be done before they could purchase the property. He says the support helped immensely, because afterwards he and his business partners could continue with the purchase of the property themselves.

Waskalik has always loved the downtown and wanted to be a part of the revitalization when he opened over a decade ago. He commends the City and Invest Medicine Hat with the vibrancy incentive, Medicine Hat Business Innovation Grant, and the Waterfront District project to support local businesses and new investment for the community.

“It feels good to put money back into the business knowing when I open the door, I’m going to see a sea of smiling faces from the community and people walking and enjoying downtown,” says Waskalik. “I would strongly urge any of the downtown operators to look at those incentive opportunities and make those small investments in their business. It has been extremely worth it for us and our 65,000 residents who want to experience unique amenities in their community.”

LOCAL Public Eatery is located at 579 3rd St SE, and found at