They say that a successful business can be measured by the amount of repeat customers they have. If that's the case, Community Futures Lakeland is doing just fine and Norm Youngchief of Eagle's Nest Tent Rentals is one happy customer.
Like many of Community Future's entrepreneurial clients, Youngchief turned to Phyllis Maki and her team at the Lakeland office after the traditional funding avenues turned cold. After first launching a commercial janitorial company in 1996 with CF's help, Youngchief was back in the office nine years later to bring Eagle's Nest to life. With financing from Community Futures, Youngchief purchased his first three event tents and hasn't looked back since. Eagle's Nest’s inventory now includes a wide array of special event rentals including tables and chairs, staging, lighting, sound systems, heaters and generators.
Youngchief's summertime calendar is booked solid with weddings, corporate functions and other special events all over the Lakeland region. Nowadays, Youngchief’s growth plan has less to do with financing and more to do with staffing - an issue all businesses in northeast Alberta seem to be facing due to the booming energy sector.
Youngchief makes no bones about it, Community Futures certainly played a key role in getting him to this point: "they have provided quite a bit of support," said Youngchief, noting the assistance goes well beyond the simple cash injection, with CF staff always willing to provide input and advice on how to better build and manage the company. Eagle’s Nest has since gone on to win several business awards in the region, providing some "good recognition" in the community and in turn, keeping Youngchief’s phone ringing.