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.

The Rose Peddler

Hayley Strandquist
Crowsnest Pass


The Rose Peddler offers a wide variety of fresh flowers from all over the world and clients can select beautiful arrangements, centrepieces, baskets, wreaths, corsages and boutonnieres. The business sells tropical and blooming dish gardens, planters and terrariums as well as Chalk Paint, an American Paint Company product that can be painted on any surface. Workshops and private lessons are also available.

Seizing an opportunity, Hayley purchased an existing flower shop in 2013 and relocated her store a year later to a bigger facility.

With the help of Community Futures Crowsnest Pass, Hayley turned The Rose Peddler into a thriving business. She undertook extensive renovations in the new building, buying new signage, furniture, lighting, doors, and a large cooler for flowers. They also installed a tanning salon where community members can chase away the winter blues or get a head start on tanning.

Hayley says the new shop has given her more space to showcase her products and increased The Rose Peddler’s services. In addition to herself, Hayley’s entrepreneurship supports three part-time staff. Community Futures Crowsnest Pass provided support to make sure Hayley could realize her dream.

"Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right." ~ Henry Ford

T.J.'s Lawncare

Todd and Marina Jordan
Penhold


Todd and Marina Jordan have been operating T.J.’s Lawncare since 2010. Since then, the company has constantly been expanding the services that they offer, as well as increasing the number of clients that they serve.

In early 2015, T.J.’s Lawncare was approached by the owners of another landscaping business in Innisfail to purchase their assets and assume their commercial contracts, as the owners of this business were ready to retire. It was at this point that Todd and Marina approached Community Futures Central Alberta looking for a business loan to help with the cost of purchasing the businesses assets. Community Futures was able to provide T.J.’s Lawncare with the financing they required, enabling the company to acquire these new assets and commercial contracts.

T.J.’s Lawncare offers the following services to acreages as well as residential and commercial properties:

 

Spring/Summer/Fall:

  • Lawn mowing
  • Spring start-ups
  • Weed control programs
  • Hedge and shrub trimming

Winter:

  • Snow removal 

As T.J.’s Lawncare is based out of Penhold, it allows them to conveniently service both Innisfail and Red Deer, and anywhere in between.

Contact T.J.’s Lawncare at 403.886.5880 for all of your lawn care and snow removal needs!

Curious Owl Daycare

Alyssa Shaw-Letouneau
Lethbridge, AB


Alyssa Shaw-Letourneau was a teacher about to begin working on her second degree when she ran into a slight glitch; there were no childcare openings available. So what was she to do with her youngest child?  Her improbable response was to open up her own daycare to fulfill the demand for good quality childcare required within the City.

The mother of four has her Bachelor degree in Elementary Education and thought it all made sense.  She became curious about business and started attending the Community Futures Chinook Challenge sessions to learn about business plan development and opportunities for financial support.   The sessions started the ball rolling and it never stopped.  “The Staff at Community Futures were great to work with” Alyssa explains, “They answered my questions, supported me as I worked my way through the learning process.”

And there was a lot to learn about the business side of owning a daycare.  Child care licensing, government regulations, health codes, building inspections and the list continued.  Alyssa thought that operating a daycare would be a lot like teaching, but it felt more like taking on the role of a school superintendent as she wrote policies, developed budgets, retained staff, made projections, generated her marketing strategy plus created a healthy menu of hot lunches with a morning and afternoon snack for the children in her care.

Once a viable location was found the business became a community affair. Parents and staff previewed the location, offered suggestions, and helped with moving and set-up.  Her two teenage children also helped paint, clean and move furniture into the new location.  “We have all made contributions to make this business a success,” Alyssa proudly states.

In May 2013, Curious Owl Daycare opened its doors at 1206 - 3 Avenue South, to provide childcare for 38 children while the parents go to work.  The daycare employs six full time childcare workers and a part-time cook.  The children range in age from 12 months to five years.

Alyssa explains, “I saw the need and it became the focus.  I wanted to create a childcare experience like I would want for my own children. I wanted a clean facility with professional staff.  I wanted to provide age appropriate development opportunities for the children and I wanted to focus on literacy so I incorporated a lot of reading, singing and language skills into the daily program. “

Alyssa is grateful for the opportunity to work with Community Futures Lethbridge Region as she transitioned from teacher to entrepreneur.

“I have no regrets; I enjoy playing with the children and fostering their creativity.  We build block towers; play with flubber, sing, read, and laugh.  It’s a busy place, but when nap time comes around things are calm and peaceful.”

Alyssa smiles with satisfaction as she reflects on the journey she has begun.  The only thing she is sure of at this stage of the game is “it’s never the same day twice.”

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. 

 

The Cake Company

Grant Canning
Canmore , Alberta


When is a cake company not a cake company? When it’s the Cake Company Café in Banff. The history of this spot, popular with local residents, goes back to 1988 when the first bakery/coffeehouse opened in Banff. “It pre-dates all the big chains, so when I bought the business in 2010, it made sense to keep the name – it’s a tradition!” says Grant Canning, owner.   No longer just a bakery, this popular spot now offers sandwiches and wraps, some desserts and a full range of coffee and teas. “It’s the kind of place that tourists stumble across, but all the locals know about,” says Grant. “I like being able to greet people by name and sometimes, we have their favorite beverage ready by the time they reach the counter.”  Grant’s journey in entrepreneurship was a natural progression of his solid education, including an MBA and Bachelor of Commerce degree with specialties in Tourism and Marketing. Fueled by his experience in marketing while in the ski industry, he knew business ownership was in his future. When the Cake Company Café became available, he was confident he knew what it would take to run a successful operation. “When the idea of owning a coffeehouse first started to percolate, I had the desire, but lacked two things – experience and capital.” That didn’t go over well with traditional lenders, he recalls. “I understand why they are governed by numbers, but decisions are often made by people you never get to meet.”

“My experience with Community Futures Centre West was much different. I was actually referred to them by a bank who turned me down. Community Futures was remarkably helpful and I was given a very specific outline of what I need to do to move forward. They worked with me to find solutions, so I didn’t hear the word “no” very often. Instead, I heard alternatives and great suggestions, such as how to mitigate the financial risk. They listened to my ideas, understood my vision and most of all, they took into account who I was as a person.”

“The best advice I’ve received about business ownership is that every decision made should add value to my business and if it doesn’t, then I need to rethink it. I tell aspiring entrepreneurs to always believe in yourself. Owning a business comes with lots of stress, but success or failure is always predicated by you. Have confidence that you’ll do well.”

Now in its sixth year under Grant’s ownership, The Cake Company Café is a haven for locals, many of whom either work in the professional building where it’s located, or walk through to and from appointments in the building. “They are my mainstay, what keeps me going. Sure visitors to the area find their way here, but we really try to be a local oriented place and want to stay that way.”

Story by Patricia Alderson

Photography by Bruce Tannas

 

    

 

White Rose Construction Services Ltd.

Matthew Ashton
Cochrane, AB


White Rose Construction Services provides management for renovations and new construction - residential and commercial.  Matthew Ashton and his wife Emma moved to Cochrane four years ago with their two week old daughter, Sophie. “The small town atmosphere was just what we wanted,” says Matthew. “We love being close to the mountains, like to ski, hike and camp. And the idea of canoeing on the Bow River was especially appealing.”  With their newborn in tow, the Ashtons were quickly welcomed into the community.

After working for a general contractor for 3 years (6 months of which was spent commuting back and forth to Fort McMurray), Matthew was handed a pink slip. The company was cutting back.

Not one to sit still, he decided to act on a plan he had been mulling over for some time – to start his own construction consulting business. Cochrane was the perfect location. He wanted to stay in town and promote local trade in the area. “There’s enough renovation and new building going on here to keep a guy busy,” he remarks. “I started up in February 2010 with a slightly different concept than most renovation businesses.

One of Mathew’s recent projects was the renovation of the Parent Link Centre on behalf of the Town of Cochrane. “It’s a great facility where parents and kids can socialize, play and develop skill sets. We increased the square footage, upgraded the flooring, and installed specialized equipment - including a new climbing wall. This new space will be enjoyed for a long time.”

What was Matthew’s key to success? “I felt confident with my own technical skill sets, but managing a new business seemed daunting and a bit overwhelming. I looked for help and found Community Futures Centre West. I was blown away with the programs and services available – the Self Employment program taught me the basics of new business start up and I was able to confidently move ahead and open White Rose Construction Services Ltd.

“My advice to anyone moving here or already living in Cochrane who wants to start up or grow a business is to not be afraid to ask for help and guidance – it’s out there.”

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