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.

Just Purl Crafts and Gifts

Leahann Rottierr
Westlock, AB


Just Purl Crafts and Gifts serves the Westlock area by providing a wide selection of fine yarns and wools to the local community. In addition they also provide a variety of crafting classes as well as an outlet for local artisans to sell their wares.

Just Purl Crafts & Gifts on Facebook

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

Providence Salon & Spa

Rosanna Higginbotham
Pincher Creek, AB


All of the wonderful goods and services that we enjoy are due to the efforts of entrepreneurs such as Rosanna Higginbotham.

Rosanna purchased the Providence Salon & Spa in the Spring of 2009 with the emotional support of her family and the help of Community Futures. Providence Salon & Spa is a full service salon that has been in business since 2007, offering advanced hairstyling and coloring, pedicures, manicures, massages, waxing, body wraps and facials as well as makeup applications and a vertical tanning booth. The majority of the salon clients are female, while the massage therapy clientele are evenly split between men and women.

Rosanna had started working at Providence Salon & Spa during the previous winter. When informed by the then current owner that the business was for sale, discussions were soon underway. A hard worker and someone who is not afraid of risks, Rosanna was looking for a new career as a business owner.  Rosanna had gained her business knowledge through her College education and her previous involvement in managing family owned businesses.

Rosanna’s entrepreneurship supports the jobs of an esthetician and massage therapist as well as three stylists and a part-time receptionist.

Rosanna works in a management capacity, doing the bookkeeping, scheduling and payroll, dealing with suppliers and making sure that the clients enjoy their experience at Providence Salon & Spa.

As long as there is a market available, entrepreneurs like Rosanna find a way. They see opportunities others don't. They take carefully calculated financial risks.

Community Futures is ready to help.

From Kicks to Kids

Deborah Thompson & Kristine Smith
Camrose, Alberta


The idea came to them in 2008 when Kristine was expecting her first child.  As with any family expecting their first child or grandchild, you want to find the most perfect gift.  A shopping trip to Camrose opened their eyes that an opportunity was presenting itself. 

They went to work in the fall of 2008 developing an extensive inventory of high quality, child safe and unique products.  By June, 2009, their west-end location had officially opened.  As with any eager entrepreneurs, they used their current means available to finance the undertaking.  Deb’s keen business sense then kicked in and an evaluation determined that a financial restructuring was necessary.

They approached CF East Central Alberta in November of 2011 to help with some financing. CF East Central Alberta was able to come thru with a $150,000 loan enabling them to attain their business goals.

In November of 2012, they found themselves moving from a lease location to their own building in the heart of downtown Camrose.  According to Deborah, the increase in floor space has provided several positive advantages. They’ve been able to increase their product line, maximize cash flow by renting out under-utilized floor space and offer product information sessions for customers.

Both Deborah and Kristine are community minded individuals.  They believe in promoting small business whenever possible.  They are involved with the Camrose Chamber of Commerce; Deborah is currently a director, and they are also involved with City Centre Camrose.

Jennie's Diner

Jennie Hamel
Bonnyville, AB


Their incredible story is soon to come!

www.jenniesdiner.ca

 

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.

 

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