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.

Country Hair & Body Salon

Edie Mason
Onoway, Alberta


Edie Mason had been working as a hair stylist for Country Hair & Body Salon for approximately 9 years when the owners decided to sell the business. At the time, Edie tried to secure financing to purchase the salon but was unsuccessful. The business sold and the new owner gave Edie the opportuntiy to manage the salon as she was away most of the year. After 3 years of managing the salon, the business was again for sale. This is when Edie discovered Community Futures!  With our assistance, she was able to purchase the business and her dreams of owning her own business came true!

Since then Edie has really made the space her own. She has completely renovated the salon and added a number of services. She has gained even more repeat customers, some of whom travel quite a distance to come and see her. In Edie's own words "I am lovin' every minute of it!"

Sinister Sports

Brian Gallant
Crowsnest Pass


Brian Gallant, owner of Sinister Sports, successfully applied for a Business Improvement Loan with Crowsnest Pass Community Futures to renovate the front of his building in Bellevue. Originally, Coupland's Meats and Groceries, more recently, the building was used as a rental shop and the front had fallen into disrepair. The goal was to bring it back to somewhat of its original look while keeping with the current structure.

The main changes were:

  • ●  replace four damaged windows with white vinyl framed windows and white trims;

  • ●  remove vinyl and metal siding mish-mash, and replace with white painted wood or Canexcel; this will replicate the flat front siding that was typical of the original construction instead of the bevelled vinyl that had later been installed;

  • ●  refinish or change existing door and transom;

  • ●  restore existing vent;

  • ●  replace damaged fascia;

  • ●  add parging to approximately 24” below the siding in order to protect from damage (someone tore up the siding with an ATV and blade this winter);

  • ●  Paint the Couplands Grocery Store sign onto the siding; this was a part of the original building and will be done later.

  • "The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

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

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.

A & M Auto Tec

Allan & Mildred Stewart
Taber, AB


Allan and Mildred started their small mechanic business A & M Auto Tec in 2001. A & M Auto Tec is located in Taber, AB. Allan was a technician at a local company and decided that it was time to get out on his own and start is own business.  With the cooperation from his wife and 3 girls, they took the plunge. They have been very successful in maintaining quality workmanship and local retention of clientele.  They have since expanded into wheel alignments and exhaust work. They are still looking for ways to add to their business to include their growing family. Congratulations on your success!

The Grow Zone

Sharon and Dennies Vierboom
Red Deer, AB


 

The Grow Zone isn’t your typical retail business. With a focus on various types of hydroponics, this innovative company exists to help consumers transition into a more sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyle by enabling them to grow their own vegetables and herbs indoors. Put simply, hydroponics is the practice of growing plants without soil. More specifically, with hydroponics, plants are grown with their roots suspended in water containing all of the necessary nutrients.

The Grow Zone was started in August of 2013 by Sharon Vierboom, with assistance from her husband Dennies. With a wide variety of experience in multiple industries, Sharon and Dennies are the ideal team to run this type of business. From Sharon’s background in bookkeeping and healthcare, to Dennies being a triple-ticketed journeyman with a focus on plumbing and refrigeration, the couple has their bases covered and is able to handle the technical and financial matters of the business on their own.

When it comes to operating the business in terms of sales and customer service, one of The Grow Zone’s best assets is their employee Shawn.  “Customers gravitate towards Shawn and he really believes in all the products and he educates our clients on all their requests” says Sharon.  She adds that “Shawn frees up time for us to plan the next phase of the business.

While Sharon and Dennies were able to start the business on their own, when it came time to expand the business in the fall of 2015, they decided to reach out to Community Futures Central Alberta in search of the funding that they needed to increase their marketing efforts and website capabilities, as well as relocate to a larger location across the street. They had their hearts set on this larger location as it would provide space for more displays and a classroom to help educate consumers on how plants grow. The thought was that the displays and education classes would help to smooth out the sales process and show customers how their products work to grow plants. Sharon and Dennies also wanted The Grow Zone to become more of an online presence and open themselves up to the world of e-commerce, where they would be able to reach a broader group of people through selling on their website.

“Without Community Futures, The Grow Zone would not be where it’s at today”, says Sharon. “The funding we received through their organization was instrumental in expanding our business and preparing for future growth.”  If you are looking for help with starting up a business, or are looking to expand or purchase an existing business, contact Community Futures at 403-342-2055 to see what they can do for you.

For all of your growing needs, visit The Grow Zone in person at #7 6850-52 Avenue in Red Deer, online at http://thegrowzone.ca/ or give them a call at (403)356-9663 or toll free at 866-401-9663.

 

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Success stories

Community Futures Network of Alberta

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