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.

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.

 

 

 

Gaz Exhibits

George & Pamela Ziwani
Chestermere, AB


Seeing an opportunity to assist businesses, schools, agencies and other organizations with tradeshow and event installations, George and Pamela Ziwani approached Community Futures Wild Rose with their idea.

Providing step-by-step business counselling as well as start-up capital to get their business off the ground, the Ziwani's believe the planning and financing support provided by Community Futures Wild Rose was key to making their small business dreams a reality.

Through hard work and strategic decisions, Gaz Exhibits has grown to include five full-time employees, two company trucks and a 5800 square foot facility to house their inventory and equipment.

"Thank you, Community Futures Wild Rose, for putting our dreams on the right path and staying with us for the long haul."

Belle Marketing Agency

Toni Antonietti
Peace River, AB


Toni and her staff run a large event centre which hosts a variety of things throughout the year, including corporate parties, meetings, live music events, and more. The building also houses the Tapas Room restaurant open Monday to Friday for lunch and they are the newest outlet for Purolator. 

Pink Tie Events

Ashley Walker and Whitney Christensen
Lethbridge, AB


Ashley Walker and Whitney Christensen are two young, vibrant women who have the passion to pursue their entrepreneurial dream. They love business, they love helping people and they love creating happiness.  So when they identified a niche in the wedding planning market in Lethbridge, starting Pink Tie Events was an easy business decision for them.

“Wedding planning is stressful; there are so many ideas, so many opinions and so many choices. We just wanted to remove the anxiety and save some tears by offering a ‘one-stop shopping’ storefront for the bride,” says Whitney.  When the two friends were planning their own weddings, they found there was a lack of selection and availability of everything décor wise under one roof. 

They started small, renting decorations from their home basements but the demand for their services required more space. So they left their marketing and accounting jobs and took the entrepreneurial risk, moved to a storefront and increased their services to include rentals, decorations, gifts, wedding and special event planning, and event setup and takedown.

Even though both women had Business Management degrees, Ashley and Whitney thought they could benefit by registering for the 8-week business training offered by Community Futures Lethbridge.

“Each week there was a new topic taught by a professional from the community,” states Ashley. “We were eager to learn and excited to do the classes. Meeting other people starting their own business was priceless.  We learned from others.  The experiences, the feedback, the advice from the other participants helped us improve and define our business plan and clarify our vision, ” advises Ashley.  “It opened up a whole new direction for us to go,” explains Whitney. “The program helped us improve, helped us validate our plans and gave us confidence.”

The pair is creative and embraces innovation to keep their market fresh.They are often the same age as their clientele and nurture the business relationship. Every event offers a new experience, a new challenge as the little hiccups on the event day are certain to happen.  But the strength of the partnership brings a sense of calm for this “take charge” duo, and the laughter and fun pulls them through the intricacies.

In less than a year, the business expanded to incorporate event planning for fund raising, bridal showers, and a variety of other special events.  When asked if they feel successful, Ashley and Whitney replied in harmony “Yes we do!”  When asked what has contributed to their success, they agree networking and being involved in the community is key.  “And you have to have the passion for what you are doing.”  

The two women are definitely passionate about their business, and passionate about creating happiness.  And yes, most importantly they both agree ‘they are passionate about the color pink.’

Website: pinktieonline.com

Westlock North Country Market

Wendy Lister
Westlock, AB


Founded in 2012, the Westlock North Country Market has been welcomed by local residents and tourists alike. Boasting 20 individual 'shed' style stalls, as well as space available for individual tables or tents, this market has something for everyone. Community Futures Tawatinaw Region has been privileged to assist Wendy in making her dream a reality.

Kindred Companions

Janet Fitzgerald & Colleen Best
Strathmore, AB


After caring for their own elderly parents, cousins, Janet Fitzgerald and Colleen Best had experienced the ebb and flow of the time constraints of giving their all to ensure that Mom or Dad were content and comfortable, spending quality time with others, etc. "You learn a new appreciation for age and illness and your level of compassion seem to just grow. I guess when it's meaningful like that, it's just something that you keep coming back to, something that you want to do because it feels right, it feels good."

From these experiences, the concept of Kindred Companions was realized. Spending time with another whose family may be far away by offering companionship. Helping clients go grocery shopping, going to appointments with them, maybe cook a meal together, etc.

Their business idea was to offer a non-medical companionship service to seniors and persons with disabilities. The ladies made an appointment with Community Futures Wild Rose to discuss their idea and based on the information received, they decided to venture into this field. A lot has happened over the course of twelve months.

Mention was made of the 'Chinook Entrepreneur Challenge' being an annual program that offers eight weeks of free business training. Kindred Companions were participants in the '9th Annual Chinook Entrepreneur Challenge' who entered their completed business plan into the competition. Submitted entries are scored and the top three finalists are chosen, one being Kindred Companions!

Janet and Colleen were runners-up receiving $2500 cash and in-kind services including business coaching, media assistance and radio advertising, to mention a few.

"We are well on our way to establishing ourselves in the community. You and your staff provide a top-notch service which has been critical to us in moving forward with our business plan. Thank you all so much."

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Community Futures Network of Alberta

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