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.

Jennie's Diner

Jennie Hamel
Bonnyville, AB

Their incredible story is soon to come!


Grande Banks Seafood Market and Bistro

Evan & Nathan Whalen
10302 67 Ave., Grande Prairie

In 2016, two brothers from Prince Edward Island decided to bring a taste of the Atlantic to Grande Prairie. Evan and Nathan Whalen, both who have made Grande Prairie home, found that they missed the taste of fresh seafood living so far from the coast, and figured that there was a way to share that taste with our city. They settled on opening Grand Banks Seafood Market and Bistro, a one-of-a-kind experience in shopping and dining for Grande Prairie.

Every spring, they return to P.E.I. to fish for the product they know and love. Lobsters in May and June, scallops over the summer, and mackerel and herring through the fall. The brothers take great pride in the food they serve and sell. They can tell you where the fish was caught, and if they didn’t catch it themselves, they can tell you where it was landed, from another fisherman in P.E.I. or in Nova Scotia.

This relationship to food is not unknown in our region, and is something our love for the Peace Region appreciates. We know our producers, we know where our food comes from, and adding a market for seafood that has the same love for ‘local’ that is so dear to Grande Prairie only makes sense.

Purple Turtle Design

Cindy McKenzie
Cochrane, AB

Cindy McKenzie is a designer specializing in the creation of kitchens and bathrooms.  McKenzie, a long-time Cochrane resident, started her own business in 2010 because she couldn’t imagine doing anything else. “I wanted to work in the industry I love, plus be a mom as well,” says Cindy, a talented designer and certified member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA.) “I needed to find a way to run my own show so I could have the best of both worlds.”

The result was Purple Turtle Design, a full service interior design business specializing in the creation of wonderful kitchens and bathrooms. Her firm also offers 3D renderings, basement development and space planning, plus assistance with material selection and colour consultations.

“Although many of my clients are in Calgary, we choose to live in Cochrane,” she says. “Our family loves the small town atmosphere and sense of community, and to be just a little closer to the mountains is fantastic. Cindy moved here fourteen years ago, met her husband Jason and they now have a son, Samuel, adored by Cindy’s two older boys, Matthew and Eric.

“Starting my business was not easy,” Cindy admits. “I knew design, but didn’t have a strong knowledge of the other side of running a business – how to handle accounting and legal issues, and market my services.” She turned to Community Futures Centre West for help, and joined their Self Employment Program. “I’m still not an expert in everything, but don’t think I will ever be!” she laughs. “The program gave me the confidence to move forward and the tools to stay on track and grow my business. I also met a network of people to draw from whenever I need support or advice.”

Cindy adds, “Business is great and I’ve gotten what I hoped for – an income earned by doing what I love, well balanced with family time. I’m fortunate to have a wonderful support system here in Cochrane. When anyone asks me for start-up advice, I tell them: don’t hesitate to look for assistance, especially at the beginning. It’s important to admit what you don’t know – help is definitely out there!”

Visit her website at

AltaMix Concrete Ltd.

Krystal and Colter Hutton
Didsbury, AB

Altamix Concrete

AltaMix Concrete Ltd. is a family owned and operated ready-mix concrete company based out of Didsbury, Alberta. The company was founded in May 2013 by Krystal and Colter Hutton. After running the business for over a year, the couple then approached Community Futures Central Alberta in August 2014 in search of a business loan to purchase the equipment they needed to expand their business. Krystal and Colter, who live in Didsbury themselves, are proud to be a part of strengthening their community and building for the future. They do so by providing quality ready-mix concrete for your residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural needs. The company has three volumetric concrete mixers and they pride themselves in their customer service and relations, making the customer’s job as easy as possible.

AltaMix can provide concrete for services such as footings, foundations, floors, driveways, piles and specialty mixes, in addition to supplying pump trucks, finishers, cribbers, and a prep crew.

AltaMix delivers quality ready-mix concrete differently than most ready-mix companies in that they use volumetric concrete mixers. These trucks are unique in that the product is hauled to the job site all separately, and mixed on site as it is needed. This benefits the customer in several ways:

·         It ensures that the concrete is always fresh

·         Distance of travel time does not affect the concrete quality

·         The customer only pays for what is metered off the truck

·         Multiple kinds of concrete can be poured with one truck

·         Slump can be increased or decreased throughout the pour

The company also specializes in precast concrete items. AltaMix first got into precast a few years ago with Jersey barriers, and Colter has now designed a precast bin pad for grain hoppers, which is a new innovation in the ag industry that is becoming increasingly popular throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan. AltaMix has also recently started producing precast products for the electrical sector. With the increase in precast production, AltaMix has had to expand their yard by purchasing more land, and they are currently working on building another building to accommodate for this increased production.

As said by owners Krystal and Colter, “we provide a convenient, easy and cost-effective way to supply ready-mix concrete on site, anywhere, anytime!” Prices vary by location, so contact Colter at 403.415.5502 for an estimate on your job. For more information on this ever-growing company, visit their website at

EC Bar Ranch

Lyndon and Denise Dreff
High Prairie

EC Bar Ranch offers a variety of outdoor acitivities that take advantage of the beautiful surrondings in a sustainable fashion. The suite of avialable adventures caters to many individuals and groups, with too many activities to experience in just one day. EC Bar Ranch is an excellent example of how a local business can creativly engage the local community and create a destination that can attrract travelers far and wide.


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Success stories

Community Futures Network of Alberta


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