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.

Bonnie’s Vision & Eye Care

Bonnie & Barry
Taber, AB


Bonnie & Barry started their Vision care business in 2000 which is located in Taber, AB. Bonnie and Barry’s son has also joined the business after finishing schooling as an optician.  Bonnie’s Vision & Eye Care are now able to make their own lenses, and have also been able to hire an optometrist to come in once a week to bridge the gap in services to their clients. With increasing demand from her clients, one day a week was not enough time for all the eye care needed.  The optometrist soon started her own business right next door with adjoining doors and this partnership is still strong today providing quality full service to their clients.  We congratulate them on their efforts to provide this service to our area.  It is only through endurance and good planning they are still successful today.

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

Top Hand Western Shop

Duane Warren and Katherine Balbar
Claresholm, AB


One of the goals of the entrepreneur is to earn your living doing the things you love. Duane Warren and Katherine Balbar started the Top Hand Western Shop in Claresholm to do just that.

“Top Hand” is a saddlery and western wear business and much more. The business provides for all of the needs of participants and fans of the various horse and rodeo events taking place at the Claresholm Agriplex and in Nanton. Duane is well known having 43 years within the industry and has superior knowledge of quality, style and fit in tack and saddles. People will come to Top Hand just to watch him work customizing saddles and harnesses. Top Hand’s customers come from all over Alberta as well as British Columbia, Saskatchewan and the USA.

Top Hand Western Shop opened in the Spring of 2010 with the help of Community Futures to serve as the source for everything equestrian having a large and unique selection of horse tack, including saddles for roping, reining, cutting, barrel racing or ranching; bridles, bits, pads, stirrups and more. You can find the best cowboy gear, shirts, jeans and outerwear along with belts, hats and boots that can be customized on site. They also carry a great selection of horse supplies such as supplements and grooming supplies.

Duane and Katherine’s entrepreneurship supports the jobs of two more employees that make sure that the customers enjoy their shopping experience.

It is the lucky few that get to earn their living doing the things they love to do. It still requires a strong plan and the marshalling of resources.

And for that, Community Futures is ready to help.

Power Train Savers

Nowal Pierson
Vauxhall, AB


Power Train Savers is a company that is located in the small town of Vauxhall, AB. Nowal Pierson is the owner/operator of this company that manufactures and sells an after-market product for drive train protection.  Instead of replacing a complete drive shaft, differential or axle, you can install the torque fuses at a fraction of the cost and have a quarter of the down time.  The sales of this product have gone through the roof.  Nowal has his product being used in major cities (i.e.New York) and using his product on their entire fleet of trucks. (i.e. garbage, gravel, sweepers etc.)  The Power Train Saver also has application for much larger vessels.  It is currently being used in ferry systems as well as ships and barges.  Nowal invented this product and it is fully patented.  Nowal has been able to increase his sales staff allowing him to spend more time inventing new innovative products that we will be seeing on the market in the future.

Sonnax is a licensed distributor of Power Train Savers product. An example of the Power Train Saver product can be found here:

http://www.sonnax.com/downloads/catalogs/Sonnax-PTS-Catalog2011-Vol3.pdf

Nowal also has a sign post business that is much along the same line of the Power Train product. The sign would have an after-market joint in the post so that if it is hit, just the pins can be replaced not the whole post reducing all of the work of making a new hole etc.

Alliance Disposal Ltd.

Warren & Kendra Toews


When Warren and Kendra Toews were referred to CF, it was obvious that their business was poised for growth.  The books were healthy and they had identified several new opportunities available to them if they were to purchase another garbage truck, this one a roll off truck, along with 50 new garbage bins. Since receiving a loan for $150,000 in January 2012, Alliance Disposal purchased both the truck and the new bins. In the last four months all of the new bins have been placed with new or existing clients and another order has been placed for more bins, this time reinvesting company money for the purchase.

Howlin Coyote Motorcycle Campground

Les and Dianne Anderson
Range Road 141 and Hwy 652 south of Vilna, AB


The Howlin’ Coyote Motorcycle Campground is a unique camping experience exclusive to motorcycle enthusiasts.

Dianne and Les Anderson envisioned a campground designed and built specifically for motorcycle riders. After travelling across Canada on their bike their suspicions were confirmed that that this type of service for motorcyclists was virtually non-existent.

They began their search for the ideal piece of property in 2005 and in 2009 they found it in Smoky Lake County they knew that their small business venture was finally going to happen.

Their work began determining the cost of creating the businesses. Roadways, campsites a shelter and a Store/Shower building would be required for the vision they seen. They had saved for many years with this project in mind but it just wasn’t going to be enough! After being politely refused by one of the major Banks they spoke to Mr. Paul Pelletier, General Manger at Community Futures and submitted a business plan for his consideration for financing their business venture. After the Board considered and approved the venture they were on their way!

The business is now in its third year of operations. Motorcyclists from as far away as England and of course motorcyclists from our vast Country as far as PEI have visited the campground. The comments have all been positive and as the third year ends prospects are good for success of their Business venture.

An annual “Biker Bash” is held in August as a fundraiser for the Fallen Rider Monument that will be erected in Two Hills, Alberta. This event not only recognizes the fallen rider but it provides an opportunity for motorcyclists to show off their skills on their rides in the rodeo! The evening entertainment is great and a good time is had by all of the campers in attendance and many new friendships are struck.

Howlin’ Coyote promotes the many beautiful lakes, museums, and other tourist attractions within touring distance from their campground. The campground boasts a country store for all the necessary food and camping supplies.  They have a horse- shoe pit and the store holds several other games that are available to registered quests for their enjoyment.

This summer the campground provided a venue for a very special couple as they said their special vows during their wedding ceremony hosted by Howlin’ Coyote. A small rainfall happened about an hour before the wedding but the sandy soil saved the day and the wedding went off without a hitch! They say a little rain on your wedding day brings good luck – ask Les and Dianne.

Les and Dianne continue to build the business. Marketing is crucial when starting a business like this when there are few examples across the country in which to model a new business. The success is dependent on the motorcyclists that visit the site and of course the media.

They are both involved in the local community groups and are always willing to lend a hand to make a venture successful. The Chamber of Commerce was the first group to benefit from their personal life experiences in the legal formation and the many ventures undertaken under the leadership of Dianne. They take an active role in community events not only to promote their campground but to encourage travellers to the north east sector of Alberta.

This unique business, like many others, comes with unique challenges and opportunities!  Community Futures was the one place where their idea was provided serious consideration and the organization was bold enough to finance a new idea and concept in tourism geared towards the motorcycle enthusiast!

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