Success stories

Call toll free in Alberta 1-877-482-3672

Success Stories

Community Futures is pleased to showcase some of the many good news stories in rural Alberta. Everyday we help people like you start and grow successful small businesses.

Umami

Patricia Luu, Alex Luu and Sven Roeder
Lethbridge, AB


The ideas for the Umami Shop developed over time between siblings and friends while all were living abroad as young professionals working in the fast paced corporate world.  Although their work histories were diverse, they all agreed they were good at one thing – food; they all loved food!  But they wanted the concept to be different; to challenge the norm, to be original and eventually in 2009 the UMAMI Shop concept was first born in Chalon-sur Saône, France. And then in 2013 Umami Shop Canada, in Lethbridge, AB.

“Everybody eats”, states co-owner Patricia Luu as she described the thought process around the business concepts. “We grew up with organic, natural food that we cooked for ourselves.  Our parents owned the Asian Supermarket in North Lethbridge and they ensured we knew how to cook, to understand ingredients and mostly the importance of freshness and that is what we bring to UMAMI Shop.”

Umami is used to describe food that is “delicious” and was discovered by a Japanese professor, explains Patricia. “It expresses the deliciousness of food; the pairing of food to please the palette.” “We focus on fresh healthy products. We broke the global norm, and placed our kitchen at the front of the store. The Chef prepares the food; show cases the ingredients while the client watches. It is completely transparent, open and visual,” explains Patricia. The menu incorporates local ingredients, the customer observes, tries the flavours and can buy the ingredients at the store and then can go home to recreate, to play.”

“Our mission is to offer our customers a world food experience that supports our philosophy of eat, play, and laugh. Together.”  At UMAMI Shop the happiness is bringing people together to enjoy food.

The Umami Shop offers a lunchtime menu, a bakery, a deli, fresh local produce, a global grocery boutique, catering, as well as cooking classes in the evening.  The business caters to fresh food, prepared daily.  There are over 6,000 products in the shop with a diverse ethnic variety.

The three partners of UMAMI Shop, Patricia Luu, Alex Luu and Sven Roeder bring their own unique experiences to the business and the group has learned to leverage their skills to complement the success of the commercial adventure.  The opportunity arose to work with Community Futures and the business partners chose to take it.  Patricia stated “Community Futures took us seriously, they believed in us and helped us with the perspective of local business.  The business sessions help us understand the process of financially starting our business and the people were easy to work with.”

Umami Shop Canada employs a staff of ten.  “Our crew is amazing” beams Patricia. “They know all aspects of the business and are motivated by the everyday activity.”  Everyone believes in eating fresh, being healthy, understanding food and educating others about the food products in the shop.  “At first, one of our biggest business challenges was the hiring, but once we were open, people came to us.  They loved the new concept and wanted to be part of it.”

Patricia’s advice to young entrepreneurs is to seek and understand the opportunities in the community and take advantage of them for you never know where they may lead you.  “Then duplicate yourself” emphasizes Patricia. “Share what you learned and success comes back in folds.  It is about community and bringing people together.”

UMAMI Shop creates a space to eat, play and laugh while you enjoy fresh food, wonderful aromas and even a café latte if that is what your palate desires.

A new concept, new experiences, new adventures combine to make a savory taste of success by three young entrepreneurs doing what they love. 

UMAMI Shop
814-4 Ave South
Lethbridge, Alberta

Cheap Smokes & Cigars

Rob Klein & Jeremy McPhee
3815 Caxton Street


In mid-2015, experienced entrepreneurs Rob Klein and Jeremy McPhee started considering partnering to bring the Alberta-based tabacco franchise Cheap Smokes and Cigars to the Whitecourt area. They approached Community Futures Yellowhead East with their business plan and their application was approved in the fall, leading to the October 2015 opening on Caxton Street. 

 

 

Manufacturing Cluster Project

Central Alberta Rural Manufacturers Association
Red Deer


Project was awarded $120,900 in Rural Diversification Initiative (RDI) funding & $295,000 from the Rural Alberta Development Fund (RADF) for the development of manufacturing business clusters in Central Alberta. 

Community Futures East Parkland partnered with the already established Central Alberta Rural Manufactureres Association (CARMA) to achieve the project goals of expanding the manufacturing sector & diversifying Central Alberta.

Cluster development & educational opportunities have been pursued through networking events & workshops that bring industry appropriate information to the businesses.

EC Bar Ranch

Lyndon and Denise Dreff
High Prairie


EC Bar Ranch offers a variety of outdoor acitivities that take advantage of the beautiful surrondings in a sustainable fashion. The suite of avialable adventures caters to many individuals and groups, with too many activities to experience in just one day. EC Bar Ranch is an excellent example of how a local business can creativly engage the local community and create a destination that can attrract travelers far and wide. 

http://www.ecbarranch.ca/

Enduratek

Paula & Paul Watson
Cowley Alberta


No profit grows where is no pleasure taken-Shakespeare

What the Bard of Avon is really saying is that there is nothing to be gained from things we take no pleasure in. So if you are the former North of England dirt bike endurance racing champion, having raced all over Europe, B.C. and Alberta, how better to earn your living than starting your own business with your wife, selling and repairing off road and on road vehicles.

 

Paul and Paula Watson are the entrepreneurs behind Enduortek, in Cowley, AB, just off Highway #3. Endurotek, which opened in May of 2010, is a retail and maintenance business supplying dirt bikes as well as spare parts. They also do repairs for dirt bikes, road bikes, snowmobiles and ATVs plus a range of specialized clothing for those activities. Attached to the retail shop is the work shop equipped to service and maintain most motor vehicles. Paul and Paula developed a business plan to expand their business and Community Futures was there to help them make building modifications and grow Endurotek's inventory. 

 

Besides being a champion racer, Paul has been a mechanic for over 20 years holding the red seal for auto mechanics and morotorcycle mechanics. Paul's better half, Paula, runs the retail and administrative side of the business. Paul still finds time to race on occassion and enjoys helping the growing number of individuals and families derive the most pleasure from the different off road activities available in the Foothills and mountians of Alberta. Entrepreneurs, like Paul and Paula Watson take pleasure in raising their family in Southwest Alberta and in growing their business.

 

Community Futures is ready to help entrepreneurs start, purchase or grow their business with finiancing, advisory services and training.

 

Pandora's Boox & Tea

Jason Moody and Lesley Winfield
Olds, AB


Pandora’s Boox & Tea is a literary oasis in Central Alberta. Entrepreneurs Jason Moody and Lesley Winfield realized their dream when they opened the store in October 2013. The quaint book store and tea shop serves hot and cold beverages and sells loose tea, tea ware, used books, games and other exciting products to help bring people together. With over 100 varieties of tea to choose from, customers are sure to find a tea that’s perfect for them.

Lesley and Jason have been avid book lovers for years. Lesley has also been the head librarian in Olds for over twelve years, and has been writing for even longer. Opening a book store/tea shop was a dream that both owners thought they would have to wait until retirement to realize, but when the perfect space, a beautiful historical building in Uptowne Olds, came available, they jumped at the opportunity to make their dream a reality.

The name of the business is inspired by the tale of Pandora’s Box. Also, every time we open a book, we open up a new realm of possibilities, the two ideas were merged and Pandora’s Boox & Tea was born. Since opening, the store has been home to several tea blending workshops and book clubs, including a weekly get together of the Divine Goddess Circle. There is also a weekly board game night, and the store has already grown to become a home to Magic the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons leagues by Wizards of the Coast, as well as an official Games Workshop location. With meager beginnings, the games night has grown to take up every seat in the house on most Friday nights.

One of the most exciting new accomplishments was becoming one of the top 35 book stores across Canada to visit according to BuzzFeed (http://www.buzzfeed.com/sarahaspler/canadian-bookstores-to-visit-before-you-die). Jason and Lesley are honoured to be listed alongside some of the great bookstores that inspired their dreams to begin with including Munro’s Books and Russell Books in Victoria BC. Because of this exposure, they’ve even been host to international bestselling authors from across the world.

Because of Lesley’s passion for writing, Pandora’s Boox celebrates local talent. The only new books in the store are written by Alberta authors from across the province. They have hosted author talks, book launches, and events for traditionally published and self-published authors. The business continues to grow with each week, and both Jason and Lesley are happy to be a part of a supportive community that has embraced them and their cozy little shop. The words of C S Lewis sum things up nicely, “You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

Pages

? Top

Success stories

Community Futures Network of Alberta

Share

Facebook icon
Twitter icon
Google icon
Pinterest icon
LinkedIn icon
e-mail icon