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.

Accessible Accessories

Don Doonan
Medicine Hat, AB


Accessible Accessories Ltd.(AA) is an Application Service Provider (ASP), meaning it provides computer-based services to customers over a network. The interactive program has been designed to provide dealership customers and employees with the ability to look up “Dealer Specific” accessories and prices for any vehicle. This information can be accessed from any internet capable computer, without having to call Parts or Service departments for pricing.

Some of the features that Accessible Accessories offers in the software include accessory pictures, internal pricing, multiple user access rights, printable quotes including customer and vehicle information, user activity logs, parts and labour overrides, installation pricing incorporating up to 3 labour rates and shop supply charges, linked accessory websites to Dealership websites and the ability to add dealer specific custom accessories – such as paint and rust protection, under coatings, clothing etc.

Don has seen his clients increase their accessory sales as much as 500% when the dealership implements a solid process supporting the usage of the program by all employees.

Story by Elizabeth Blair

Pandora's Boox & Tea

Jason Moody and Lesley Winfield
Olds, AB


Pandora’s Boox & Tea is a literary oasis in Central Alberta. Entrepreneurs Jason Moody and Lesley Winfield realized their dream when they opened the store in October 2013. The quaint book store and tea shop serves hot and cold beverages and sells loose tea, tea ware, used books, games and other exciting products to help bring people together. With over 100 varieties of tea to choose from, customers are sure to find a tea that’s perfect for them.

Lesley and Jason have been avid book lovers for years. Lesley has also been the head librarian in Olds for over twelve years, and has been writing for even longer. Opening a book store/tea shop was a dream that both owners thought they would have to wait until retirement to realize, but when the perfect space, a beautiful historical building in Uptowne Olds, came available, they jumped at the opportunity to make their dream a reality.

The name of the business is inspired by the tale of Pandora’s Box. Also, every time we open a book, we open up a new realm of possibilities, the two ideas were merged and Pandora’s Boox & Tea was born. Since opening, the store has been home to several tea blending workshops and book clubs, including a weekly get together of the Divine Goddess Circle. There is also a weekly board game night, and the store has already grown to become a home to Magic the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons leagues by Wizards of the Coast, as well as an official Games Workshop location. With meager beginnings, the games night has grown to take up every seat in the house on most Friday nights.

One of the most exciting new accomplishments was becoming one of the top 35 book stores across Canada to visit according to BuzzFeed (http://www.buzzfeed.com/sarahaspler/canadian-bookstores-to-visit-before-you-die). Jason and Lesley are honoured to be listed alongside some of the great bookstores that inspired their dreams to begin with including Munro’s Books and Russell Books in Victoria BC. Because of this exposure, they’ve even been host to international bestselling authors from across the world.

Because of Lesley’s passion for writing, Pandora’s Boox celebrates local talent. The only new books in the store are written by Alberta authors from across the province. They have hosted author talks, book launches, and events for traditionally published and self-published authors. The business continues to grow with each week, and both Jason and Lesley are happy to be a part of a supportive community that has embraced them and their cozy little shop. The words of C S Lewis sum things up nicely, “You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

Canada Tire Doctors

Robert Eden
Chestermere, AB


For Robert Eden, it was the urging of his son, Bryan, that inspired him to venture into the field. After much research, the Eden's decided there was a need to provide 'the convenience of home shopping with complete tire services at your doorstep" within the larger Calgary region. Canada Tire Doctors - a family-owned and operated business - was born.

Their services are targeted for those who may not have time to go to a traditional tire shop to have their tires serviced, those who prefer the convenience of having tire services performed at another location or those who need emergency tire repair while on the road; their business does it all.

The need for start-up capital brought them to Community Futures Wild Rose, where our advice, guidance and financing fit what the Eden's were looking for.

"We met a couple of times...they gave us really good guidance and sent us what we needed to look at so we knew what we should be doing."

With financing in place, a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van and equipment were purchased to enable Bryan to work with regular- and high-end (such as Jaguar, BMW and Cadillac) - vehicles. Specialized mounts, "no-touch" tire changers and advanced wheel balancers allow Bryan to work on virtually any vehicle, in virtually any location. Financing was also arranged to help cover early operational costs.

Thankful for the resources and local support offered through Community Futures Wild Rose, Robert Eden shares, "I'd like to see how far we can take it. Instead of my son working for someone else, technically he's working for us...but it's going to be something that he's going to take pride in because it's also something of his. He's helped create it and in the future he'll be hoping that it'll eventually become his."

Ed's Roofing

Paul Frechette
Fort McMurray, AB


We are a family owned and operated business serving Fort McMurray, available seven days a week to serve all of your roofing needs. We are re-roofing specialists at Ed’s Roofing-- we perform residential and commercial contracting for services that include eavestroughs, new roofs and soffit and Fascia metal capping. We also install water management systems. Our trained roofers pride themselves on their quality work and are happy to answer all of your questions.

Don’t spend another day with a leaky or worn out roof, call us today.

The Hair Lounge-Relax Your Home

Wendy Bates-Wiebe
Airdrie, Alberta


 

 

“Please make sure you emphasize how important the Airdrie community is to us,” says Wendy Bate-Wiebe, owner of one of the hottest hair salons in Airdrie. “Without their support, my business couldn’t have grown by 40% each year.” This civic-minded Airdrie citizen has nothing but good things to say about her journey from a start-up operation in 2008 to employing 20 people in 2015 at her thriving business, The Hair Lounge. “The business community welcomed me with open arms and since Airdrie itself has an amazing sense of community, I felt at home here from the moment I arrived.”

After graduating top of her class in 2004, Wendy spent three years learning the business aspect of running a salon while working for another establishment. When a small house became available, it was as if her 5 year plan, written while still at school, was destined to become a reality. “I had written that within five years after graduation, I’d have my own salon, operating from a house, and here was the chance to do just that.”

Unfortunately two local banks didn’t agree, so on the recommendation of a friend, Wendy approached Community Futures Centre West for financing help. “Right from the start, they believed in me”, recalls Wendy. Armed with renewed confidence and a loan, she spent several months renovating, then opened her doors in December 2008. A second loan three years later enabled her to expand, and Wendy was able to pay them both in full within five years. She credits hard work, great staff, a sense of purpose and most of all, support from the community, as keys to her business growth and success.

“I was scared when I first started out, but I worked twelve hours a day, interacted with every client and slowly built a loyal group of women. My staff is phenomenal – nobody leaves, so we have a solid group of stylists who are just like me – genuinely interested in providing great experiences. We know hair really matters to people and is a sensitive issue. That’s why walking in to our salon is like walking into our home – we want it to be a fun, relaxing environment.”

The winner or runner-up of Readers’ Choice Awards every year since the salon opened, The Hair Lounge is also an Airdrie Winning Edge award winner, earned the Family Friendly award in 2014 and most recently, received the 2015 Eco Edge Business award.  A strong supporter of the local food bank and meal programs for local school children, the salon holds several events each year to promote awareness and raise money for these causes.

“My advice to any new entrepreneur is to engage yourself in your community. Get out there, make yourself known and become involved. It all comes back to you.” Wendy smiles as she adds, “And be yourself. Come see us at The Hair lounge - we’ll make you feel at home.”

 

Photo by Bruce Tannas

Story by Patricia Alderson

 

Collison Solutions

Joel Cannon
Okotoks


Joel Cannon, owner of Collision Solutions, & his team offer high quality auto body repair services in Okotoks and surrounding communities.

Joel’s family has been serving the Okotoks and surrounding area for over 3 generations.   They opened the first body shop in Okotoks back in the 60’s and now, with Collision Solutions, Joel continues that trend and has no plans on stopping. Joel and his team believe that customer service is a huge part of the success of Collision Solutions.

Opened in January 2015, the main goal at Collision Solutions is to provide customers with a positive experience during the repair process to go along with our professional auto body repair & paint. At Collision Solutions you are not just a customer. You become a member of the family. We fix every vehicle as if it was our own. This is what separates us from the rest!

Starting a new business can be a difficult process according to Joel.  “Community Futures Highwood gave us the tools and support we needed to get going.  We have the security of knowing that they always have our back. If we have any questions or run into issues, we know the staff at Community Futures is there to help us get through it.”

Since opening, Collision Solutions has been privileged enough to have had the opportunity to work in the TV/Film industry by producing over 20 vehicles for the TV show “FARGO SEASON 2”. As well as working on the Bowness Train project for the City Of Calgary and restoring the 4 train cars that were washed away in the floods. 

Collision Solutions believes in giving back to the community by showing support to local charities, schools & sport teams by donating services as well as multiple sponsorships. Such as the 2016 Rotary Golf Tournament and the annual Soap Box Derby. Collision Solutions are also members of the Okotoks Chamber of Commerce and Okotoks Rotary Club.

www.collisionsolutions.ca

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