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.

Power Train Savers

Nowal Pierson
Vauxhall, AB


Power Train Savers is a company that is located in the small town of Vauxhall, AB. Nowal Pierson is the owner/operator of this company that manufactures and sells an after-market product for drive train protection.  Instead of replacing a complete drive shaft, differential or axle, you can install the torque fuses at a fraction of the cost and have a quarter of the down time.  The sales of this product have gone through the roof.  Nowal has his product being used in major cities (i.e.New York) and using his product on their entire fleet of trucks. (i.e. garbage, gravel, sweepers etc.)  The Power Train Saver also has application for much larger vessels.  It is currently being used in ferry systems as well as ships and barges.  Nowal invented this product and it is fully patented.  Nowal has been able to increase his sales staff allowing him to spend more time inventing new innovative products that we will be seeing on the market in the future.

Sonnax is a licensed distributor of Power Train Savers product. An example of the Power Train Saver product can be found here:

http://www.sonnax.com/downloads/catalogs/Sonnax-PTS-Catalog2011-Vol3.pdf

Nowal also has a sign post business that is much along the same line of the Power Train product. The sign would have an after-market joint in the post so that if it is hit, just the pins can be replaced not the whole post reducing all of the work of making a new hole etc.

Country Hair & Body Salon

Edie Mason
Onoway, Alberta


Edie Mason had been working as a hair stylist for Country Hair & Body Salon for approximately 9 years when the owners decided to sell the business. At the time, Edie tried to secure financing to purchase the salon but was unsuccessful. The business sold and the new owner gave Edie the opportuntiy to manage the salon as she was away most of the year. After 3 years of managing the salon, the business was again for sale. This is when Edie discovered Community Futures!  With our assistance, she was able to purchase the business and her dreams of owning her own business came true!

Since then Edie has really made the space her own. She has completely renovated the salon and added a number of services. She has gained even more repeat customers, some of whom travel quite a distance to come and see her. In Edie's own words "I am lovin' every minute of it!"

MICANN Ventures Inc.

Michael & Anne Muyres
Rocky Mountain House, AB.


Partners Michael and Anne Muyres started their business in 2000 as a small welding and fabrication shop just outside of Rocky Mountain House.  A few years later, Michael had gained considerable experience and knowledge to weld on and repair vehicles that transported dangerous goods but was limited to what he could do without proper certification.  “Customers started encouraging me to obtain our certification with Transport Canada,” says Michael.  After carefully assessing the needs of potential customers, it became apparent that Rocky Mountain House needed a facility to provide ‘one stop’ services to customers that hauled dangerous good.  At this point, many had to go to the cities for work to be completed.

It was at this stage that Community Futures Central Alberta met the husband and wife pair in 2011.  They had applied to become a registered facility with Transport Canada.  “We needed a bit of help to get us there,” said Anne.   “Community Futures really helped us to gain the financing we needed to bring our business to the next level,” Anne stated.  In October 2013 MICANN Ventures Inc. became a registered facility with Transport Canada in accordance with CSA Standard B620.

Since then the company has been growing quickly and continues to add to their current employee base. “Right now we are looking for someone who holds their journeyman welding ticket or a third year apprentice welder,” says Anne.  If you or someone you know is interested in these positions, or if want to find more out about MICANN Ventures Inc., call them at (403) 845-3040 or go online to www.micannventures.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.

 

Isis Geomatics

Steve Myshak and Owen Brown
Lethbridge, AB


Steve Myshak had an idea; he shared the concept with a fellow University of Lethbridge classmate, Owen Brown, who agreed the idea could work.  So with a great deal of tenacity, brainstorming, feedback from associates and encouragement from family, the two young men built a multi-faceted company that focuses on aerial imagery data to employ in various industries.

Isis Geomatics Inc. was founded in 2011, and uses a Quadcopter, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone, to fly into the designated area to gather the specified data using a variety of sensor packages.  The gathered data is compiled to give a detailed visual aid providing a site record at the time of the image capture.

The sensory packages include infrared, thermal, visual, HD video and zoom video.  The process employed captures imagery data traditional survey techniques would not. “It’s like building a mosaic,” explains Owen. “We set the flight plan for the drone, define the area coverage and slowly stitch the pieces of imagery together to create a digital surface model through photogrammetric processing.”

The variety of services offered by Isis has attracted companies from the agricultural, oil and gas and transportation industries, both locally and internationally, so far.  Brown further states, “We have completed vegetation health mapping, livestock head counts, stockpile inventory imagery and even snow dune imagery required for a recent research project at the University of Calgary”.  The businessmen get excited when they discuss the possibilities as endless from accident reconstruction to environmental disaster management.  They see the solutions offered by Isis Geomatics as timely, cost effective and a safer response alternative for company personnel.

The two young entrepreneurs share similar working backgrounds in agriculture, oil and gas, surveying and geographic information systems (GIS) making them a dynamic partnership, who are confident in each others strengths and skills. They both desired a career that would allow them to be independent and to work outdoors. Forming Isis Geometrics Inc. seemed like the next natural step for their career paths after their Master’s degrees. Steve expresses he likes the great feeling you get when you know the business is your own. “With your own business you have the freedom to pursue new ideas and push your learning curve well beyond your knowledge base. ”

“Working with Community Futures Lethbridge was a benefit to help us get started,” the young men explained.  “They believed in us” said Myshak, “and when we told them ‘to trust us’, they did.”  Community Futures was willing to listen to the technical concepts, assist with the ever changing business plan, secure funding opportunities and provide support.

Steve Myshak the Chief Executive Office of ISIS Geomatics acknowledges that he knew at the beginning of his educational pursuits, he wanted to start his own company; he just wasn’t sure what it would be.  While Owen Brown, Vice President of Isis says he is able to fulfill his love of the outdoors.

It all started with an idea, shared with a friend.

Coffee, Art and Music

Eugene and Betty Jean Cleland
Medicine Hat, AB


Imagine how interesting you could make a camping trip if you could make an espresso for your friends. That’s just the kind of guy Eugene Cleland is – he was the one who brought along his espresso machine to camp. For Eugene, making coffee is an art, from the choosing of the roast, to the making of the shot, the careful steaming of the milk, and finally, the art he creates with the foam. It is common for friends and family to gather at his home for a great coffee – many have told him he should open his own coffee shop. After much dreaming and consideration, that’s exactly what he did.

Eugene and his wife, Betty Jean, began the journey to entrepreneurship in 2016 when they enrolled for the Community Futures Entre-Corp Self Employment program. During that training, they had time to learn about business ownership, tackle the challenges in understanding business, develop their ideas, and create a viable business plan which would allow them to turn their passion into reality.

A year or so later, they are the proud owners of Medicine Hat’s newest coffeehouse, Café Verve

Eugene and Betty Jean have carefully planned their space for live music and to support local artists on their gallery style walls. There is usually live music every Friday night. Local art continually changes and adorns their walls. Café Verve has already hosted many musicians and artists since they opened their doors May 5, 2017. They employ 4 full-time staff and 6 part-time staff.   

They invite you to visit and enjoy the great service!  http://www.cafeverve.ca/

Eugene and Betty Jean both shared that they are so thankful for their wonderful staff who work with them to make the cafe a reality - they emphasized that they could not have come this far without them.

Story by Elizabeth Blair

 

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