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.

Java Domain

Daniel Ducharme & Jessie Krushel
Peace River, AB


Daniel and Jessie have been in business since 2012 and are the 5th owners of Java Domain. Jessie bakes bread every morning and the coffee shop boast a large fresh menu full of tasty homemade soups, sandwiches and specialty coffees. 

 

Flag Five Inc.

Melissa Chinski
Medicine Hat, AB


Melissa Chinski grew up in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, moved to Medicine Hat in 2002 and studied at the Medicine Hat College.  She obtained her degree in Visual Communications in 2005. The Visual Communications program provides students with an in-depth knowledge of design through courses like typography, drawing, marketing, video and applied design. Shortly after graduating, Melissa secured a position with the City of Medicine Hat, working as a graphic designer in the Communications Department.

Even with a full-time job, she was driven to entertain graphic design work after hours and on weekends with a plan to save enough to eventually open her own business.  Melissa obtained a business license in 2005. As she began to explore the possibility of running her own business full-time, she did an online search and found out about Community Futures Entre-Corp and how their services might be able to assist her with the questions she had about starting a business. After meeting with a Community Futures Entre-Corp business advisor, she was able to collect valuable information and resources to help in the process of putting together a proper business plan, which she admits would ultimately be the groundwork to help guide her through everyday operations.  Melissa shared how that visit with Community Futures Entre-Corp helped her understand how there was so much more to consider in running a business than just everyday client work.

12 years later, Melissa is enjoying a successful business with a store front and one full-time employee.  Her business is called Flag Five Inc. located in downtown Medicine Hat on 4th Ave.  Flag 5 has serviced a growing list of clientele, some of them, as far away as Boise, Idaho.  Melissa’s target market is medium-sized businesses who have an understanding of design and who want to market their business with a consistent and professional look.  Melissa explained how her number one principle at Flag Five is customer service. They strive to get to know clients businesses on a personal level, ensure each client feels like they are part of the team and that their goals are achieved.

Story by Elizabeth Blair

 

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.

Grizzly's Cafe & General Store


Jasper, Alberta


With the help of Community Futures West Yellowhead, we decided to purchase the Grizzly's Cafe & General Store in January 2010 as an already well-established business with a consistent customer base and a strong revenue growth every year.

The business is and always has been a comfortable and relaxing escape for the employees of the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and local visitors from the Jasper town site. Our success stems from offering a full kitchen menu (eat-in or delivery) of homemade and pre-prepared items, a grocery section and most importantly a warm inviting atmosphere.

Our first year in business exceeded the previous year-end figures by about 6% and we accomplished this by having a focused business plan and a vision to work hard. The success came from us tailoring our menu offerings to meet our customer's needs. Increasing the hours of operation from 12 pm to 1 am (FREE delivery to all resort colleagues from 4 pm to 1 am) and being open all year round instead of seasonal. Thank you to the staff at Community Futures for being patient and providing us with valuable and professional advice.

 

 

 

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.

Bikram Yoga Lethbridge

Liana Suriano
Lethbridge, AB


“You asked for it; we built it” is Liana Suriano’s promotional statement when talking about her beautiful Bikram Hot Yoga studio located on WT Hill Blvd. South Lethbridge.  You can hear the pride in her voice when she explains the in-depth planning and preparation completed to make the space a state of the art facility.   The studio opened in April 2013 and has already had over 1500 patrons come through the door.  The Studio employs three full time instructors and two part-time receptionists.

It took two and half years for Liana to find a landlord who would work within her design parameters and modify the building structure to exactly what she wanted for her patrons. 

“I was told by Community Futures I had an excellent business plan and I had done all my market research to back it up so I knew my vision was attainable,” Liana explains.  It was her clear vision that kept her focused through the continuous search for the right location.

 “Others had tried to open a hot yoga studio in Lethbridge and gave up when met with the studio design challenges, and their stories simply motivated me to continue.  I knew I was going to create exactly what I wanted and what the community asked for,” she ardently explains.   Her passion for her business is captivating.

Liana was introduced to ‘hot yoga’ while attending the University of Alberta completing her teaching degree.  She speaks of the stress of working part-time while being a full time student. “I have experienced my product and I know the lifestyle health benefits that can happen.”

Not only is Liana passionate about the yoga, she also loves teaching.  She came from an entrepreneurial background, “My parents owned a restaurant in Lethbridge and I remember sitting on my mother’s knee as she did the books.” Through her parents, she learned what it takes to run a successful business although being a small business owner was not her initial intent while completing her education.  However, the concept of the studio brought all three of her passions together and she considers herself fortunate.

Her family history taught her about business finances and her introduction to Community Futures Lethbridge Region helped her obtain the financial security to move her business plan forward.    With financing in place, planning, commitment and determination brought the long-awaited vision to fruition.

Her business journey was challenging, but she was never disheartened.  “My goal was to create an environment for all levels of ability, to create exactly what my patrons were asking for,” she states. 

Liana’s commitment to her community comes from her heart.  “I have done all I can possibly do to get the business going.  Now I have to let the business take its course.”

She lives what she teaches; be calm, breathe and be in your own stillness. 

Website: bikramyogalethbridge.com 

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