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.

Obies General Mercantile

Peggy Dingreville and Bill Ullman
Lundbreck, Alberta


The force of his own merit makes his way – Shakespeare

What Willie is saying in the above quote is - You have to be good at what you do!

Owners, Peggy Dingreville and Bill Ullman, of Obies General Mercantile Ltd. in Lundbreck, have been good at providing great products, pricing and service to the local people since taking the reins of the business in 2008.

They provide gas, grocery and general items, prepared foods and an ice cream station, as well as being the local Post Office.

Obies employs a staff of eight for most of the year but in the busy summer months, as the local camp grounds get busy, two seasonal employees are added. Anne Molnar serves as the manager and keeps the staff and store working smoothly year round.

Sometimes sudden opportunities emerge in the business world, and if you are good at what you do, you seize those opportunities.

Bill and Peggy saw the paving crews and the fleet of trucks supplying the crews working on the regional roads, and realized that Obies General Mercantile could provide fuel and food for those crews. Such an increase in business requires capital and that is where Community Futures Alberta Southwest was able to help.

Peggy and Bill put together a good business plan that modeled increases in inventory and sales for the duration of the road paving crew’s work assignment. The crews were fueled and fed, and were able to pick up the items that make being away from home less of a burden.

Sometimes opportunity knocks, other times it just drives up and down the roads and you have to pay attention to notice. If you are good at what you do as an entrepreneur, you listen for the knock by paying attention to regional activity.

When you perceive the opportunity, as Obies General Mercantile did, and come up with a plan, Community Futures is ready to help

 

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.

 

Purple Turtle Design

Cindy McKenzie
Cochrane, AB


Cindy McKenzie is a designer specializing in the creation of kitchens and bathrooms.  McKenzie, a long-time Cochrane resident, started her own business in 2010 because she couldn’t imagine doing anything else. “I wanted to work in the industry I love, plus be a mom as well,” says Cindy, a talented designer and certified member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA.) “I needed to find a way to run my own show so I could have the best of both worlds.”

The result was Purple Turtle Design, a full service interior design business specializing in the creation of wonderful kitchens and bathrooms. Her firm also offers 3D renderings, basement development and space planning, plus assistance with material selection and colour consultations.

“Although many of my clients are in Calgary, we choose to live in Cochrane,” she says. “Our family loves the small town atmosphere and sense of community, and to be just a little closer to the mountains is fantastic. Cindy moved here fourteen years ago, met her husband Jason and they now have a son, Samuel, adored by Cindy’s two older boys, Matthew and Eric.

“Starting my business was not easy,” Cindy admits. “I knew design, but didn’t have a strong knowledge of the other side of running a business – how to handle accounting and legal issues, and market my services.” She turned to Community Futures Centre West for help, and joined their Self Employment Program. “I’m still not an expert in everything, but don’t think I will ever be!” she laughs. “The program gave me the confidence to move forward and the tools to stay on track and grow my business. I also met a network of people to draw from whenever I need support or advice.”

Cindy adds, “Business is great and I’ve gotten what I hoped for – an income earned by doing what I love, well balanced with family time. I’m fortunate to have a wonderful support system here in Cochrane. When anyone asks me for start-up advice, I tell them: don’t hesitate to look for assistance, especially at the beginning. It’s important to admit what you don’t know – help is definitely out there!”

Visit her website at http://www.purpleturtledesign.com/

Thorium Crane Ltd.

Phillip Thomson
Penhold


Thorium Crane Ltd. provides on-call crane and hoisting services to residential, commercial, industrial, and petroleum based companies. Owner Phillip Thomson launched the company in October 2007 and has been operating in Central Alberta ever since.

Prior to 2015, Thorium Crane was heavily invested in supplying services to the energy sector. With the downturn in the local economy starting in 2015, the company was met with some challenges and had to diversify their client base in order to continue to thrive in the midst of changing economic conditions. In order to diversify and obtain new clients in different industries, and with the help of Community Futures Central Alberta, they were able to upgrade their equipment, strengthen relations with some of their key clients, open opportunities in new markets, and cut their monthly expenses.

Although the economic conditions in 2016 were still slow, Thorium Crane was able to make the most out of an unfavorable economic climate. Specifically, in 2016, Thorium Crane was able to:

·         Reduce their monthly expenses by 40%

·         Enter and serve the green energy and recycling markets such as solar energy, farm reclamation, barn-board and antique salvage

·         Strengthen and add key clients within the energy sector to position themselves for success when the economy picks up

Overall, Thorium Crane has a positive outlook and with a lot of hard work, upgrading their skill set, and venturing into other aspects of business, they have a lot to look forward to in the years to come and are excited to see what the future brings for their business. Community Futures is proud of the hard work that Thorium Crane has displayed and wishes them continued success with their business. Business inquiries can be directed to Phil at 403-357-4533.

Cheap Smokes & Cigars

Krystel Leduc and Karl Sauvageau
Fort McMurray, AB


Cheap Smokes & Cigars carries the fullest line of cigarettes, various tobacco products, accessories and offers a huge selection of high quality Cigars.

KCP Energy

Geoff Domenico
Canmore , Alberta


When he started KCP Energy in 2007, three factors motivated Geoff Domenico: to be able to tell his children he was part of the answer to climate change, a desire to start his own business, and support from his wife Kendra. “Without her encouragement and understanding of the effort required, it wouldn’t have happened,” says Geoff. “It’s one of two pieces of advice I share with anyone who asks about starting a business: make sure your life partner is on board 100% and knows they are along for an interesting and sometimes bumpy ride. The second thing I share is that although I knew it would be hard to start up and grow a business, it was even harder than I imagined.”

KCP Energy focusses on renewable energy systems and has witnessed increased awareness and need for their products over the last few years. “Back when we first started, we talked about global warming,” says Geoff. “Now, it’s full-fledged climate change. Starting a new business and introducing a new product at the same time was quite an eye opener. I chose a service the market was not quite ready for, but one I believed in.  You learn how to adapt. We pivoted to different services that still aligned with our goal of helping customers use less and save more.  Residential energy assessments and home heating kept us going, while the idea of renewable solar energy was developing. Now that climate change is more widely acknowledged, the demand is growing for residential and commercial rooftop solar electricity solutions and that’s been our focus over the last 24 months.”

Community Futures Centre West (CFCWest) helped when the banks could not. “The standard retail banks would only lend based on history, not on future potential. CFCWest was willing to look not only at our potential, but at the sales and partnerships we had worked so hard to establish. They considered who we were as individuals and also took into account my engineering and project management background. It was a much different financing experience,” recalls Geoff.” They were also an excellent sounding board on how to optimize our sales process.”

KCP Energy is a Canmore based company, although there are an increasing number of employees serving the Calgary market. “I never felt that moving in order to start my business was necessary. We like the smaller setting and sense of community here in Canmore, so that’s our base.”

“I was once told a story that sums up starting a business:  in year seven you get to go to Hawaii. Now I know what that means. I was sure it wouldn’t take that long before we had a solid business, but there are no overnight successes, it just looks that way sometimes. It takes hard work and motivation to get to where you want to be. And for us, that’s to be part of the climate change solution.”

 

 

Photo by Bruce Tannas

Story by Patricia Alderson

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