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.

Achieve Wellness Spa

Alethea and Tom Austin
Fort McMurray, AB


Achieve Wellness Spa is a luxury day spa located conveniently in Stoneycreek Village in Timberlea, Fort McMurray. This new high-end location provides guests with the option of underground parking so that they never have to step foot outside. Elevator access takes you directly to our second floor location where you can enjoy the views while taking a relaxing manicure or pedicure. The facility has 14 separate treatment areas plus a 500 square foot plush waiting room, reception room and change rooms with showers. There is a dedicated couples massage room complete with large effervescence healing tub to let the stress melt away. There are two dedicated body treatment rooms one with a steam shower to pull out and wash away toxins. a steam shower to pull out and wash away toxins.

http://achievewellnessspa.com/

 

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

Grizzly's Cafe & General Store


Jasper, Alberta


With the help of Community Futures West Yellowhead, we decided to purchase the Grizzly's Cafe & General Store in January 2010 as an already well-established business with a consistent customer base and a strong revenue growth every year.

The business is and always has been a comfortable and relaxing escape for the employees of the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and local visitors from the Jasper town site. Our success stems from offering a full kitchen menu (eat-in or delivery) of homemade and pre-prepared items, a grocery section and most importantly a warm inviting atmosphere.

Our first year in business exceeded the previous year-end figures by about 6% and we accomplished this by having a focused business plan and a vision to work hard. The success came from us tailoring our menu offerings to meet our customer's needs. Increasing the hours of operation from 12 pm to 1 am (FREE delivery to all resort colleagues from 4 pm to 1 am) and being open all year round instead of seasonal. Thank you to the staff at Community Futures for being patient and providing us with valuable and professional advice.

 

 

 

Image Crafters

Fred Makowecki
Drumheller, AB


In 1982 Image Crafter Signs was incorporated with an initial investment of $12,000.00. With that capital Image Crafters was able to purchase a state of the art computerized vinyl cutting machine, turning that investment into $125,000.00 per year working out of his garage, until 1995 when the company leased a building downtown. Within five years the company had outgrown that building and moved to their current building which he had purchased in 2004. Image Crafters then came back to Community Futures for another $30,000.00 investment to purchase a bigger vinyl cutting machine, inventory and for manufacturing. This machine was able to produce products within 24 hours for delivery of signs for corporate and industrial. With this technology Image Crafters has been able to secure sign orders from larger commercial companies outside of town.

To date Image Crafters generates over a half million dollars in annual revenue, has seven full time employees and one part time employee and produced over 450,000 signs from billboards, commercial signs, banners and car wraps.

LA Chefs Catering & Events

Marcie Stickel
Lethbridge, AB


LA Chefs is the largest catering service in Southern Alberta, centering on larger events, between 150 and 5000 guests at a time.  "But that is not where we started," explains Marci Stickel.  "We began as a mom and pop operation serving beef on a bun out of our garage what seems like a long time ago." laughs Marci.

"I remember a day in May 2006; we had three weddings on the go and one minivan, which we had dubbed "White Lightning", to do the deliveries. It was a long day but we did it," she explains.  It was at that point and after too many 20 - hour days, that sparked the realization the business needed to expand. So Marci and then business partner Loren, started looking for a larger venue. As the business continued to flourish, even further expansion was necessary.  In November 2006, 'LA Chefs Catering & Events' was branded and implemented a strategic business move to partner with the Coast Lethbridge Hotel & Conference Centre in an exclusive catering arrangement.

"It was a hard decision," states Marci, "We wanted to stay loyal to our smaller clients, but knew the expansion was a smart business decision for the company." Now, LA Chefs handles multiple events on most days of the week, and during the summers up to ten weddings on any given weekend.

Community Futures Lethbridge Region was also a big part of the company growth.  "They were open-minded and willing to listen; they validated the ideas and understood the direction we wanted to go.  They saw our passion.  We were able to secure financing and re-invest in our business," explains Stickel." We grew so fast, once the decision was made."

Marci's background was in finance and accounting and she never had dreams of being in the catering business. However, with this new business direction and expansion, she realized she was a businesswoman. "I cared about business and I cared about people." It was the right combination for LA Chefs, who now employs seventy-five energetic people to help Marci the the various business functions in the day.

Her recommendations for business success are simple. "You must be passionate about your business and hire passionate people, then empower them. Do not be afrtaid of divesting control to your staff. The moment we decided to empower our staff and let them run with it was the moment our growth exploded. Instead of one passionate person trying to grow a business, we now had multiple passionate people trying to grow a business."

Talented employees, innovative ideas combined with passion and a sprinkle of risk, establish the vision needed for successful entrepreneurs. It seems to be a tried an true recipe for LA Chefs Catering and Events.

 

Lost Art Jewelry

Daniel Sommerfeld
Waterton, Alberta


Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. – Maya Angelou

Daniel and Lori Summerfeld opened Lost Art Jewelry by Daniel Sommerfeld in Waterton Lakes National Park in 1999. Daniel is a Master Goldsmith with 30 years of experience, who designs and creates by hand one-of-a-kind jewelry for the public, exclusively using time-honored direct metal working techniques. Daniel selects all of the inventory, consults with patrons about their jewelry selections, and designs and creates all the jewelry personally using direct metal working techniques.

The art of hand working a piece of metal to be light yet resilient, or even to design and construct a piece from scratch to a client’s exact specifications, is a lost art on the brink of extinction. Daniel takes great pride in exquisitely performing this lost art, creating sublime jewelry for the discerning clients who appreciate its unmatched look and feel.

Clients may select from a variety of existing items on display made from platinum, high karat golds, silver, palladium, Canadian diamonds, Alberta ammolite and other fine and very rare gems. They may also have the exceptional experience of meeting with the person who makes the jewelry, and even watch it being made for them.

Entrepreneurs are similar to artists because they both possess a vision for something new. In Daniels case, the artist is the entrepreneur. He is willing to do what no one else is, to create his masterpiece business. Daniel and Lori have built their business around their passion and values.

The true masterpieces are lives that are built around your passion and values so that every day you can wake up doing what you love and generate a profit doing it. It takes planning and sufficient resources to make the entrepreneur’s dreams come true. Community Futures is ready to help with advisory services, training, and financing for entrepreneurs and their businesses.

“This year I am returning to my roots and am creating jewelry mainly for pure inspiration.”

“My new line will mainly consist of the most beautiful diamonds set in Platinum and Gold to the highest standard of craftsmanship and coupled with some very beautiful and rare colored precious gemstones.”

“The process will be slow but be sure to check in frequently to check on my progress.”

Visit Lost Art Jewelry at:

301A Windflower Avenue
PO Box 157
Waterton Lake National Park, AB
Canada T0K 2M0
E-mail: infoatwatertonjewelry.com
Web: www.watertonjewelry.com
Tel: 403-859-2481
Toll Free: 1-866-820-2232

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Success stories

Community Futures Network of Alberta

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