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.

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!

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.

 

Liquor Lodge Inc.

Marc LeBlanc
Jasper, AB


Our doors opened at around 1:30pm on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007. Marc LeBlanc, the founder of Liquor Lodge Inc. began developing the plan for the store in 2006 while still working in the sales department for Coca Cola.

With a vision for clean visual merchandising, the store was developed from scratch in a brand new building. Using modern shelving combined with rustic log woodwork, the store took on a unique look and quickly became a favourite with the locals and tourists alike.

Now after a few years Liquor Lodge has evolved into a full service store with free delivery, great hours and some of thebest staff you’ll find in the business. We work on the premise that to build loyalty you must continuously work on your selection and your service. We intend to be serving our great customers for many years to come

The Health Hub

Dr. Sarah Dash-Arbuckle
Crowsnest Pass


Now in its largest location, The Health Hub offers services of physical and mental health practitioners and a health food store catering to a growing population looking for natural products.

Naturopathic doctor and business owner, Sarah Dash-Arbuckle, says the clinic has the biggest team she has employed to date. This includes 11 accredited practitioners sharing six treatment rooms between physical and movement therapists, natural medicine professionals, mental and emotional therapists, and energetic and spiritual specialists. Four administrative staff round out the team.

Help from Community Futures Crowsnest Pass gave Sarah the opportunity to see what she was capable of and how to achieve her goals.

“Their support made me focus and identify more clearly where I was succeeding,” she says. “I needed to go through the process to see what I was capable of. They gave me the confidence to make the leap [to a larger location].”

Sarah says she began to sub-contract out space to other naturopathic professionals and began to see the revenue potential this would generate. Since moving to the current location, her business has quadrupled.

“Going through the smaller locations and the process of acquiring loans made me so much more aware of my business,” she says. “Community Futures helped clarify my vision, my goals and my financials. It allowed me to develop a clear plan. Otherwise, it would be like hiking without a map.”

Sarah also believes Community Futures organizations are essential to rural communities. Unlike traditional lending institutions, they look at small business in the context of where they are operating.

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." ~ Walt Disney

 

Truly Amish Inc.

Karen & Mark Weber
Lloydminster, AB


A letter from Karen Weber of Truly Amish:

My husband and I bought out business because we have a passion for real wood. We collected antiques for 21 years and I used to do all the refinishing. In today's society it seems all we do is throw away. Thus filling landfills more than ever. To be able to purchase real wood furniture that will last a lifetime and through the generations only makes sense to  me and my husband. When purchasing, with the choices a person has, you can personalize each piece as well as buy one piece at a time in a collection.

When I was offered to purchase the business I went to my husband. At that time he was working in the oil patch and had done so for the last 38 years. He was at he point in his life when change was well overdue. We discussed the money situation and of course, where we were going to come up with that kind of money to open the business. I decided I would try our bank. That was not a very good experience at all. I had done my homework and had all the numbers I needed to prove that this was a sustainable business, especially the fact that we have no nearby competition and the uniqueness of the store. Of course I was turned down and felt that just because you have no money and not a lot of assets I guess no one will give you a chance. After becoming frustrated, I decided to talk to our local Chamber of Commerce and see if they knew of any way, if at all, there was another direction I could go. I was recommended to Community Futures.

I walked in the door and asked if there was anybody I could talk to about want to open a business. I was directed to Janet Green. I told her the amount of money we would be looking at for purchasing the business and let her know a little more about myself. She gave me all of the information I needed to apply for a loan and the steps that I would have to follow to get that loan approved. Since I had most of the information already at hand from being at the bank, it did not take long to put my projections together for her to take to the board. I met Scott Kovatch and he seemed really excited for me that this opportunity came up and they both said they would try their hardest for me. It did not take longer and both of them took my information to the board, and I was approved for the business! I cannot say enough thanks to everyone at Community Futures, for without them there would be no Truly Amish.

During our second year of being open Community Futures were there for us again. We were wanting to borrow money from our line of credit to give to our suppliers in Indiana as a gesture of good faith. Janet Green jumped right up to the plate and got us the money in no time at all. When my husband was down there he received so many thanks, handshakes, and well wishes, it was overwhelming. Thanks again for being there for us.

Within the first year of our business we recieved from the Streetscapes Co. the Downtown Pride Award. This was given to us for best window display. But it did not stop there, in October the same year (2011) we received the Downtown Business of the Year Award. But even better yet, at the 2011 Christmas Trade Show, Truly Amish received the Boothsmanship Award. This award is for Most Unique and eye catching booth display and exceptional customer service.

During our first couple of years we worked closely with the Lloydminster Community in donating auction items to the Lloydminster and Region Health Foundation as well as the 100th Anniversary for Lakeland College at the first Annual Presidents Gala. Donating more than 40,000 dollars od products from out store, the following are just a few more organizations we have donated auction items to: SPCA, Lloydminster Social Club, Paradise Valley Fire Department, and 4-H Alberta.

Truly Amish INC. is exactly what the name means, We have about 78 builders that we work with in and around the Shipshewana Indiana and Ohio areas. Each builder works on their farms in a shop built just for building their products in. The craftsmanship is passed down through the generations. Each shop usually has anywhere from 16 down to one employee.

Everything in our shop is Amish made except for our weathervanes we get out of Michigan and our Wildlife pictures come from Golden Monuments out of Cochrane, Alberta. Within our first year of business we have worked on getting customers Custom Kitchen Cabinets. We have sold seventeen sets so far and are looking to customize kitchens all over Lloydminster. We sell log furniture, Hickory Furniture, Custom Kitchen tables, and chairs, bedroom suites, sofas, loveseats, and chairs. We also sell Primitive Pine and summer Patio Furniture that we get through Berlin Gardens in Ohio. This Patio Furniture will last a lifetime with no maintenance. Whatever you think of, the Amish will build it! Just envision something in your mind and they are more than happy to step up to the plate to please! We are slowly finding more and more suppliers for our gift wear in our store. Each year so far we have incorporated a few new suppliers. Our first year we incorporated Amish Country Popcorn, garden planters, and hand woven rugs. This year is very exciting for us and we have now had two more suppliers from Pennsylvania. We are now working with Edisonville Woodshop out of Strasburg PA, who is supplying us with beautiful Purple Martin houses with copper roofs. And most exciting of all, Christmas this year we will be introducing The Carolers from Buyer's Choice ltd. out of Chalfont, PA.

Our business is run by my husband Mark and Myself. Our two daughters help with the decorating and filling in when needed. It is a family business that we are very proud of. My husband travels down to Shipshewana and area every two months to pick up orders, as nothing is pre-built. All stock has to be ordered in as well. What is really nice about the custom build is that each person can pick their own wood, stain, measurements, and requirements. We do prefer to deliver to our customer’s door so we can make that they are happy with their product and we know it arrives safely.

Every time I see someone looking to open a business I always highly recommend Community Futures Lloydminster and Region. They give you a chance to succeed and help you out whenever and however help is needed. These are great people working very hard to see someone else's success.

http://www.trulyamish.ca

Lost Art Jewelry

Daniel Sommerfeld
Waterton, Alberta


Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. – Maya Angelou

Daniel and Lori Summerfeld opened Lost Art Jewelry by Daniel Sommerfeld in Waterton Lakes National Park in 1999. Daniel is a Master Goldsmith with 30 years of experience, who designs and creates by hand one-of-a-kind jewelry for the public, exclusively using time-honored direct metal working techniques. Daniel selects all of the inventory, consults with patrons about their jewelry selections, and designs and creates all the jewelry personally using direct metal working techniques.

The art of hand working a piece of metal to be light yet resilient, or even to design and construct a piece from scratch to a client’s exact specifications, is a lost art on the brink of extinction. Daniel takes great pride in exquisitely performing this lost art, creating sublime jewelry for the discerning clients who appreciate its unmatched look and feel.

Clients may select from a variety of existing items on display made from platinum, high karat golds, silver, palladium, Canadian diamonds, Alberta ammolite and other fine and very rare gems. They may also have the exceptional experience of meeting with the person who makes the jewelry, and even watch it being made for them.

Entrepreneurs are similar to artists because they both possess a vision for something new. In Daniels case, the artist is the entrepreneur. He is willing to do what no one else is, to create his masterpiece business. Daniel and Lori have built their business around their passion and values.

The true masterpieces are lives that are built around your passion and values so that every day you can wake up doing what you love and generate a profit doing it. It takes planning and sufficient resources to make the entrepreneur’s dreams come true. Community Futures is ready to help with advisory services, training, and financing for entrepreneurs and their businesses.

“This year I am returning to my roots and am creating jewelry mainly for pure inspiration.”

“My new line will mainly consist of the most beautiful diamonds set in Platinum and Gold to the highest standard of craftsmanship and coupled with some very beautiful and rare colored precious gemstones.”

“The process will be slow but be sure to check in frequently to check on my progress.”

Visit Lost Art Jewelry at:

301A Windflower Avenue
PO Box 157
Waterton Lake National Park, AB
Canada T0K 2M0
E-mail: infoatwatertonjewelry.com
Web: www.watertonjewelry.com
Tel: 403-859-2481
Toll Free: 1-866-820-2232

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Success stories

Community Futures Network of Alberta

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