Success stories

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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.

Celebrating 20 Years of Entrepreneurs with Disabilities



Homestead Firewood

Gerald Miller & Doris Austin
Innisfail, AB.


Ahhh that sound of a roaring fire keeping your fingers and toes warm on a crisp evening.  But where does that firewood bundle you burn come from?  It comes from local businesses like Homestead Firewood. 

In January 2013, Gerald Miller and Doris Austin, approached Community Futures Central Alberta with a plan to buy this Central Alberta based business.  It seemed like a perfect fit for Miller whose father was an avid outdoorsman and got his kids involved in the wilderness.  Miller states “It’s how I made extra money when I was younger and it’s a dream of mine to own my own firewood business.”

A short while later, with financing from Community Futures in place, Gerald & Doris took over Homestead Firewood and relocated it to their acreage near Innisfail.  Currently they supply gas stations and campgrounds with bundles of wood for campfires.  They also sell wood by the cord to home owners in Central Alberta.  Miller says, “We have four kinds of wood for sale; pine, birch, tamarack and spruce.  Some clients prefer one kind over the other.”

Currently the duo delivers to Sylvan Lake, Rocky Mountain House, Lacombe, Blackfalds, Delburne and Innisfail.  They hope to expand into the Olds, Trochu, Three Hills, Stettler and Ponoka areas.  If you are interested in contacting them, call them at (403) 304-6472.

Evolving Community Speaker Series


Bashaw and Delburne, AB


Community Futures East Parkland partnered with the BoomTown Trail to assist with the development of the Evolving Community Speaker Series. The project was aimed at bringing high-level speaker/researches to small rural communities to lead presentations on key local topics(climate change, local ecomony and food, sustainable community), to spark community conversations among each other to discuss new sustainable ideas & issues important outside the community.

Play2Learn Daycare Services

Melanie Poulin
Elk Point, AB


Early 2009 began the vision of my venture.  I am a local born and raised community member of Elk Point.  I grew up here, moved away to ad to my life experience and returned to my “home town” to raise my 4 children. I come from a strong family of entrepreneurs and knew that there was a community need that needed to be filled. It was never a thought that any project I decided to do would fail….. It was just the HOW was I going to make it work!

Along with a grant for a “Making Space for Children” provincial government initiative, I put my business plan together and came to Community Futures for support and guidance and the BUSINESS LOAN that was crucial to proceed forward.  The first stage of my “small business” venture became a reality!  But my team and I soon realized that expansion was necessary to continue to grow at the fast rate we were (and still are) growing today!

Community Futures was there again for advice, help with documentation and mentorship! Jody was calm and when my excitement for the project needed some “sensibleness”, he prevailed! The daycare has continued to make our small community stay that much more vibrant as Play 2 Learn Daycare has purchased an existing town building (thanks also to The Elk Point Elks Lodge #460). We have done renovations with Community Futures Loans and continued the growth of Early Childhood Development in Elk Point!

The potential for additional business has also been seen!  We are able to provide space for smaller group activities such as First Aid Classes, Ukrainian Dance Club, or various club meetings. We have built a permanent home for our towns Jack and Jill Preschool program. We host initiatives with Norquest College and support community members with availability of English classes right here at Play 2 Learn so that community members need not travel far to get to these needed classes

I appreciate Community Futures. As a young business person with drive and motivation to put business initiatives together YOU are an important catalyst as everything comes with a price tag. You were (and are) the help I needed and Community Futures has done just what the title implies…… helping build a community’s future!!

by Melanie Poulin, owner/operator

Bamboo Bistro & Blackrock Pizza

John & Erica Warlow
Crowsnest Pass


Black Rock Pizza opened for business on April 14 of 2011 after several months of preparation. Three months later, on July 9, Bamboo Bistro opened.
They moved locations in 2013 to a much larger and more appropriately designed space which allowed them to increase seating capacity and bring handmade baking to the Crowsnest Pass. 
After moving to the new space, two things happened: one was a significant increase in business and the other was improved efficiency of the space for the employees.
Bamboo Bistro/Blackrock Pizza generally have a staff of about 14 people with a slight increase over the summer months when tourist volume is the highest.
Owners John and Erica Warlow say Community Futures was more than just financial support for their business; they receive lots of guidance when facing hard decisions such as a move to a larger space. Staff at Community Futures are always there to talk over ideas and provide support for them.

"Don't let yesterday take up too much of today." - Will Rogers

R. Rinaldi Welding

Randy Rinaldi
Crowsnest Pass


Rinaldi Welding opened in 1981 and moved to its current location in the Frank Industrial Park in the early 1990s. As their business grew, so did the size of their customer base and by 2010 they had outgrown their original building.

Community Futures Crowsnest Pass was ready to help when Rinaldi Welding built an addition which doubled the size of their operation. The expanded building allowed them to take on more work with bigger jobs and diversification into servicing the mining industry. With the extra space, they now build off-road service trucks, mechanic trucks and pump-floats.

More work also meant the company needed to hire more employees and they soon doubled their number of employees. Increasing their operation led to an increased profile and Rinaldi’s is now exporting mining products across Canada and into the U.S. Randy saw the opportunities for his business and says Community Futures was very helpful in supporting his vision.

“Through the expansion, our name got out more and we now service communities from the Arctic to Newfoundland and south into the U.S.,” says Randy.

With over 35 years, Rinaldi Welding is going strong and proud to be part of the Crowsnest Pass community, providing service across the nation.

"It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up." ~ Vince Lombardi

 

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