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.

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

Edo Japan

Mike and Chrysline
Lethbridge, AB


Mike Esquivel knows the importance of hard work to get ahead.  He started working for his grandfather at the age of twelve and as soon as he was of legal age to get into the fast food industry, he took the first position he could get as a dishwasher.  He worked hard, taking extra shifts, volunteering to do more and he soon graduated up the ladder until he was working as a waiter in the upper end restaurants in Edmonton while supporting himself through college.

He took no holidays or extra time off and was no stranger to receiving the employee of the month award.  “My focus was to learn and train so I could move up the ladder within the corporation,” says Mike.  He wanted to understand this industry and all aspects of the micro business systems.  His hard work paid off and he was recruited by Planet Hollywood to train to be one of the site managers.  “I watched my managers and learned what not to do and my efforts paid off.  I trained in San Diego then finally got my own restaurant to manage in Vancouver.”

Mike spent four years in Vancouver before returning to Lethbridge to help his parents with a new business venture they started.

“Everything I learned about a responsible work ethic came from my parents”, explains Mike. “I watched my mom and dad work sometimes as many as three jobs so I could have the educational opportunities and a career of my choice.  So when I had an opportunity to help them, I was glad to come back to Alberta.”

However he missed the fast pace of the restaurant business and in 2008 when an opportunity came for his wife Chrysline and he to purchase EDO Japan in Park Place  Mall, they branched out in a new direction. “I had a clear understanding of my capabilities in the restaurant environment so when the opportunity came our way, we didn’t hesitate.”

Mike stated, “I know what customers want and I know how to give it to them.  They want to experience good taste, a clean environment and excellent service.  So that was our intention.”  Soon their success with the first store developed into an opportunity to purchase a second and eventually a third EDO Japan location.  “Our first location had been open about a year when the head corporation offered us the second store.” 

“I had no idea of how to go about the financial implications of purchasing a second store when I learned about Community Futures.  The people there were so easy to work with and taught me the ins and outs of the financial world of growing your business.”    Mike described how the people at Community Futures believed in him and in his business succession plan, offering sound business advice and the financial assistance to reach his future business goals.

The past six years have been a whirl wind for Mike and Chrysline, Not only has their businesses grown by three but so has their family, with a daughter and then a set of twins.  “I am busy in all aspects of my life, but the most important thing I have learned these past few years about owning a business of my own is that life is about balance.  My life has to be balanced between business and family.  I only have so much time, and I want some of that time to be about memories for my children.”   As dedicated as Mike’s work ethic is, he fully understands through experience that time is what a family really needs.

Mike describes himself as a happy man and he believes life is about happiness in his business world; happy family, happy staff and happy customers.  It is a formula that works for him and the high expectations he places on himself.  He is definitely a young entrepreneur who is serious about his work, understands his business, enjoys life and has lots and lots of energy.

Park Place Mall
L04, 501 - 1st Avenue South

Lethbridge, Alberta  T1J 4L9


Coulee Creek
3703 Mayor Magrath Drive South

Lethbridge, Alberta  T1K 8A8


West Lethbridge
#23, 550 University Drive West

Lethbridge, Alberta  T1J 4T3


Tri Land Welding & Machine Ltd.

Tim Sawarin
Lloydminster, AB


Tim Sawarin wanted to take control of his future, and create a promising future for his family.  Since 1992 he and his wife Susan have owned and operated Tri Land Welding & Machine LTD. Tri Land Welding & Machine LTD. is a maintenance, repair, and fabrication, and CNC production shop. They cater to the oil, agriculture, trucking, and construction industries. They design new, and modify old equipment for higher production at a lower cost. Tim began as a journeyman mechanic and moved to shop foreman and eventually to owner. When he is mot machining he volunteers as Vice Chair or the Community
Futures Lloydminster and Region Board and the Investment Review Committee.

Tri Land proudly employs a 3rd year apprentice, Matt, and Daniel, a 3rd year engineering student at University of Alberta. As well as his children Katharine, a Journeyman Machinist (recipient of the John A. Mery Memorial Scholarship as a 4th year student for her 100% practical exam, outstanding grades and attitude), and Adam, an Apprentice Mechanic and “Jack of all Trades”. They are located in Lloydminster and soon will be located at 5316-51st Street (down from the Greyhound Bus Depot) in the fall of 2013.

Tim utilized Community Futures Lloydminster and Region for advice and tools on how to run a business. He credits CFLR with giving him the outline on how to run a business, advice on organization, finance, and business planning. He came across CFLR’s services by a referral from a bank. Tri Land did not acquire a loan from CFLR, but rather utilized the tools and programs available for entrepreneurs.

B & B Bins


Lethbridge, AB


“Retirement is not for everyone” explains Leslie Weisser about her husband Blain, “he just wasn’t as content sitting at home as he was going to work”.  Kim Workman noticed her dad seemed bored most days as he transitioned from the work force.  “I just thought he wasn’t satisfied without something to do all day and Mom and I were trying to keep him busy.”

Meanwhile, her husband Brandon Workman was running his own roofing company (Workman Roofing) and identified a lack of service in the industry when it came to getting waste bins for disposal material.  One night while doing a Kijji search, he found a truck and 17 “roll off waste bins” for sale in Northern Alberta. It was the perfect solution for his roofing business and he thought it just might be the answer to all the fuss and worry about his Father in law’s boredom.

So a family conspiracy to keep Blain busy took roots and the Weissers joined the generation of  “maturepreneurs”, people who launch their first business after reaching 60.

They went to Community Futures to learn about perspectives, business plans and financial assistance for this new adventure.  They found the answers to their questions and the assistance they needed. With complete support from their daughter and son-in-law, B & B Bins became a reality in 2009.

B & B Bins is a disposal system that delivers waste bins to job sites for refuse material and once the bins are full, the service extends to disposing of the waste material at the landfill.

 “Service is our Motto” is boldly printed on their business card and service is the primary focus of the business.  A delay in delivering or picking up waste bins has a domino effect for the entire renovation/ construction industry.  “No bins for waste disposal can stop an entire crew from being able to get a roofing job completed”, explains Kim.  

Word of mouth about B & B and the quality of service they provided soon resulted in an increase in the demand. People started calling for the roll off bins for extensive yard cleanups, renovations, estate cleanups, storm damage, flood damage cleanup, etc.

Leslie states “We are busy all day long”. The need was greater than anticipated and soon there was also a need for another truck and more bins.  Calls for bins started to come from all over Canada and the United States for jobs in the area and soon B & B Bins Inc. was serving throughout Southern Alberta. By 2014 the business has expanded to three trucks, 32 bins, and employs two full time drivers and one part time driver just to keep up.

The small business has turned into a full time family operated business mainly operated by Blain, with Leslie managing the office duties.  Kim and Brandon offer support when needed.  The business doubled within the first year and has kept on growing.  “Blain is loving the business.  He loves being outdoors and has a different adventure every day.” Leslie says with a smile.  “Our challenge now is not keeping Blain busy, it is getting him to slow down.”

Mother and daughter laugh and their voices fill with pride when they speak of the men in their lives who work hard at their businesses and about Blain who is never, ever bored any more.

Howlin Coyote Motorcycle Campground

Les and Dianne Anderson
Range Road 141 and Hwy 652 south of Vilna, AB


The Howlin’ Coyote Motorcycle Campground is a unique camping experience exclusive to motorcycle enthusiasts.

Dianne and Les Anderson envisioned a campground designed and built specifically for motorcycle riders. After travelling across Canada on their bike their suspicions were confirmed that that this type of service for motorcyclists was virtually non-existent.

They began their search for the ideal piece of property in 2005 and in 2009 they found it in Smoky Lake County they knew that their small business venture was finally going to happen.

Their work began determining the cost of creating the businesses. Roadways, campsites a shelter and a Store/Shower building would be required for the vision they seen. They had saved for many years with this project in mind but it just wasn’t going to be enough! After being politely refused by one of the major Banks they spoke to Mr. Paul Pelletier, General Manger at Community Futures and submitted a business plan for his consideration for financing their business venture. After the Board considered and approved the venture they were on their way!

The business is now in its third year of operations. Motorcyclists from as far away as England and of course motorcyclists from our vast Country as far as PEI have visited the campground. The comments have all been positive and as the third year ends prospects are good for success of their Business venture.

An annual “Biker Bash” is held in August as a fundraiser for the Fallen Rider Monument that will be erected in Two Hills, Alberta. This event not only recognizes the fallen rider but it provides an opportunity for motorcyclists to show off their skills on their rides in the rodeo! The evening entertainment is great and a good time is had by all of the campers in attendance and many new friendships are struck.

Howlin’ Coyote promotes the many beautiful lakes, museums, and other tourist attractions within touring distance from their campground. The campground boasts a country store for all the necessary food and camping supplies.  They have a horse- shoe pit and the store holds several other games that are available to registered quests for their enjoyment.

This summer the campground provided a venue for a very special couple as they said their special vows during their wedding ceremony hosted by Howlin’ Coyote. A small rainfall happened about an hour before the wedding but the sandy soil saved the day and the wedding went off without a hitch! They say a little rain on your wedding day brings good luck – ask Les and Dianne.

Les and Dianne continue to build the business. Marketing is crucial when starting a business like this when there are few examples across the country in which to model a new business. The success is dependent on the motorcyclists that visit the site and of course the media.

They are both involved in the local community groups and are always willing to lend a hand to make a venture successful. The Chamber of Commerce was the first group to benefit from their personal life experiences in the legal formation and the many ventures undertaken under the leadership of Dianne. They take an active role in community events not only to promote their campground but to encourage travellers to the north east sector of Alberta.

This unique business, like many others, comes with unique challenges and opportunities!  Community Futures was the one place where their idea was provided serious consideration and the organization was bold enough to finance a new idea and concept in tourism geared towards the motorcycle enthusiast!

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

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Success stories

Community Futures Network of Alberta

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