Success stories

Call toll free in Alberta 1-877-482-3672

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.

The Bra Lounge

Cortney Murphy and Sheena Johnson
Red Deer, AB


Sisters, Cortney Murphy and Sheena Johnson, decided to open their business over six years ago in downtown Red Deer.  The Bra Lounge's concept is simple - make sure every woman feels comfortable and sexy in the lingerie they wear.  The responses has been overwhelming.  Due to a great social media presence, a new easy to navigate website, many networking opportunities and creative marketing campaigns business is thriving. 

Community Futures Central Alberta (CFCA) has worked with Cortney and Sheena from the beginning to help start and expand their business to the clients of Red Deer and Central Alberta.

For more information visit www.thebralounge.com

(Photo courtesy of The Red Deer Advocate)

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

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.

Reliance Telecom Consulting

Cheryle Renwick
Cochrane, AB


Cheryle Renwick is on a mission to save small businesses money through negotiating better cell phone contracts.  Through her company, Reliance Telecom Consulting, she analyzes cell phone invoices, investigates billing errors and renegotiates better rates on behalf of her growing client base.

“People don’t realize there’s a whole world of unadvertised pricing potentially available to them,” says Renwick. “Since opening my business in June of 2009, I’ve saved my clients anywhere from 25 to 67 per cent on their billings.

“I recently worked with a client who didn’t think I could save him any money,” she says. “The business owner had spoken with his service provider on numerous occasions looking for better rates and even threatened to cancel – he was so frustrated. By looking at his total account usage with an objective perspective, I was able to renegotiate his rates with just over 60 per cent in savings,” Renwick glows. “That’s a lot of money for a small business.”

How did this inspiring entrepreneur make the leap from employee to running her own business? “I’ve worked in the telecommunications industry for many years,” she explains. “My customers sometimes joked that I should branch out on my own, but I didn’t have the business skills or faith in myself to pursue the idea. After the company I worked for moved my job east, I joined a small consulting company, but was eventually laid off again.”

“I guess the self employment seed was planted because I realized I had knowledge, skills and expertise in my industry, but just needed some guidance to get started,” Renwick continues. “I was at a Chamber of Commerce lunch and happened to mention my business goal [to] another entrepreneur. He was enrolled in the Self Employment Program offered by Community Futures Centre West and suggested I speak to them.” 

Renwick says the financial and marketing training she received through the Program has been a key to her success. “The necessary evil – writing a business plan – was a challenge, but I learned how to do it properly,” she says. “I’m thankful for the tools I learned as my business plan is now the backbone of my operation – it’s easy to see how people fail without one.”

“I’ve been able to help businesses right here in my own community by doing something I’m passionate about,” says Renwick. “And I get to spend time with my children. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

As published in COCHRANEConnects Spring/Summer 2010

View her website at http://reliancetelecomconsulting.com/index.php

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

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.

 

Pages

? Top

Success stories

Community Futures Network of Alberta

Share

Facebook icon
Twitter icon
Google icon
Pinterest icon
LinkedIn icon
e-mail icon