Young couple buying sweets
There'll be some added sugar and spice in the aisles of a large Quebec City grocery store this Friday night.
The IGA Extra de Lebourgneuf will play host to Panier Dating (or shopping cart dating).
Organized by a Quebec City dating service for millennials called Celebitaires sans critères, the event will feature specialty food, beer and wine tastings put on by local manufacturers, as well as quizzes and other dating-related games.
Every 20 minutes a limousine will also whisk away groups of six willing participants for a quick speed-dating drive around the fast-growing Lebourgneuf neighbourhood in the north end of Quebec's picture-perfect provincial capital.
"It's an original idea that should generate some buzz about the store and be a lot of fun," said Dany Paquet, manager of the Sobeys-owned corporate store, which will remain open to the public during the event.
Paquet said he was immediately taken with the idea when first approached several months ago by Mélanie Turmel, owner of the Quebec City company that specializes in organizing events for single people 25 and older.
He said marketing officials with Sobeys were equally enthusiastic, and gave the green light for the event.
"Our employees are really excited about it," said Paquet. "Some of them who are off tomorrow say they plan to come in and check it out."
In addition to his store, Paquet said the event will also provide a boost for the dozen local specialty food companies that will be setting up and manning tasting booths. They include Fumoir Grizzly, Firebarns Hot Sauce, and Archibald Microbrasserie.
According to Turmel, who has staged roughly one event per month since she founded her company two years ago, more than 120 people have registered online for tomorrow night's event.
Participants pay $15 apiece. That buys them five tasting coupons and a name tag.
"We might take 50 more people at the door, but no more than that," said Turmel, who came up with the idea after hearing about the singles night that was held last year at a Metro store in downtown Toronto (an event that was itself inspired by an earlier event in Winnipeg).
She said she wants to avoid a repeat of an event she organized at a popular bar on the Grande-Allée during Quebec City world-famous Carnaval in February. It attracted nearly 700 of the more than 2,000 people who have registered for events since she started organizing events.
"We don't want too many people because you lose a lot of the fun and the intimacy," said Turmel. "After all our goal is to help single people find that special someone."