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.

Oasis Trailer Manufacturing Inc


Rolling Hills, AB


Heinrich Friesen and Bernhard Krahn bought Oasis Trailer Manufacturing in 2013 which is located near Rolling Hills, Alberta. The company builds their own trailers and sells them to clients throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan. Community Futures Chinook and Entre-Corp partnered with FCC in order to provide enough financing for them to purchase the company. Since Henry and Bernhard have owned the company they have expanded their operations which has created a number of new jobs as well. They have gone from 23-35 employees in the past year all of which are hired locally. Henry and Bernhard have not been in business that long but what they’ve been able to do so far has been a great success in our region and has a very positive impact on rural Alberta.  

KCP Energy

Geoff Domenico
Canmore , Alberta


When he started KCP Energy in 2007, three factors motivated Geoff Domenico: to be able to tell his children he was part of the answer to climate change, a desire to start his own business, and support from his wife Kendra. “Without her encouragement and understanding of the effort required, it wouldn’t have happened,” says Geoff. “It’s one of two pieces of advice I share with anyone who asks about starting a business: make sure your life partner is on board 100% and knows they are along for an interesting and sometimes bumpy ride. The second thing I share is that although I knew it would be hard to start up and grow a business, it was even harder than I imagined.”

KCP Energy focusses on renewable energy systems and has witnessed increased awareness and need for their products over the last few years. “Back when we first started, we talked about global warming,” says Geoff. “Now, it’s full-fledged climate change. Starting a new business and introducing a new product at the same time was quite an eye opener. I chose a service the market was not quite ready for, but one I believed in.  You learn how to adapt. We pivoted to different services that still aligned with our goal of helping customers use less and save more.  Residential energy assessments and home heating kept us going, while the idea of renewable solar energy was developing. Now that climate change is more widely acknowledged, the demand is growing for residential and commercial rooftop solar electricity solutions and that’s been our focus over the last 24 months.”

Community Futures Centre West (CFCWest) helped when the banks could not. “The standard retail banks would only lend based on history, not on future potential. CFCWest was willing to look not only at our potential, but at the sales and partnerships we had worked so hard to establish. They considered who we were as individuals and also took into account my engineering and project management background. It was a much different financing experience,” recalls Geoff.” They were also an excellent sounding board on how to optimize our sales process.”

KCP Energy is a Canmore based company, although there are an increasing number of employees serving the Calgary market. “I never felt that moving in order to start my business was necessary. We like the smaller setting and sense of community here in Canmore, so that’s our base.”

“I was once told a story that sums up starting a business:  in year seven you get to go to Hawaii. Now I know what that means. I was sure it wouldn’t take that long before we had a solid business, but there are no overnight successes, it just looks that way sometimes. It takes hard work and motivation to get to where you want to be. And for us, that’s to be part of the climate change solution.”

 

 

Photo by Bruce Tannas

Story by Patricia Alderson

Ry-Dan Strathmore Glass

Dan & Ryan Belanger
Strathmore, AB


Originally focused on home renovation services, when the opportunity arose to purchase a local glass business and merge it with their existing construction enterprise, Ry-Dan turned to Community Futures Wild Rose for help. By providing business guidance and financing for the purchase and merger of Strathmore Glass, Ry-Dan Strathmore Glass was created. From window and door installations to complete home renovations (and everything in between), Ry-Dan Strathmore Glass has since seen an uptake in their services and is poised to grow - and they are quick to acknowledge it was all made possible through the support of Community Futures.

In business for over a decade and an accredited Better Business Bureau member, Ry-Dan Strathmore Glass was recognized by Strathmore & District Chamber of Commerce as the 2010 Small Business of the Year.

Zayfti Inc.

Karl Gartly
Head office is in Stony Plain, Alberta


Zayfti Inc. is a mobile first solution for companies dissatisfied with the inefficiency associated with paper or web based methods used to distribute, complete, transport, file, audit and store regulatory paperwork. Unlike other solutions that require technical expertise, Zayfti Inc. is a mobile first tool so simple that it increases employee productivity. Not only does Zayfti Inc. increases the amount and quality of data but they also provides a real time picture of the activities of people, assets, and sub-contractors that is used to cut costs, impress clients, build business intelligence and make money.

Zayfti Inc. is operated and owned by Karl Gartly and the Co-Founders are Ray Yip and Ray Belisle. The head office is located in Stony Plain, Alberta.

CFCR allowed Zayfti Inc.to expand their service offering in Oil & Gas sector. CFCR lending allowed them to build out and complete a very successful trial in water and waste tracking. In technology, start-ups, there is very little to leverage. No equipment, no land, and as a start-up they didn’t have the revenue to secure traditional debt financing. With the help of CFCR Zayfti Inc. were able to continue the rapid development pace that is required in technology.

Zayfti Inc. are on track to grow at 500%+ per year for the next 3-5 years as companies are made aware of the ability to track people and maintain a seamless record of compliance based paperwork without the typical costs of paper, administration and operational time.

CFCR looks forward to seeing Zayfti Inc continue to grow and succeed as a small business.

http://youtu.be/CAr6BVkdUSI

 

Go Technologies

Greg & Angela O'Hare
Kitscoty, AB


Go Technologies is a shop business located in Kistcoty in the County of Vermillion. They have three hardworking employees; Angela and Greg O’Hare, and Scott Pratt. It began with Greg O’Hare’s vision, with trying to solve a problem, capturing off gas, and utilizing the results to generate energy to use elsewhere.

Go Technologies approached Community Futures Lloydminster and Region in their developmental stage, approximately eight months into planning through the CFLR website, in late 2011.

Go Technologies regards Community Futures as a great starting point, “[We] believe [we] could not have started without CFLR’s support… the loan was instrumental in changing our lives, allowing to start the business and reduce our dependence on external resources.”

Go Technologies have found success in their community, withsales  and vendor contracts being almost all within a 50km radius, and with an ncredible 300% growth rate in the last two years. They foresee a bright future that includes increasing staff, and business growth.

www.gotechnologies.ca

Edo Japan

Mike and Chrysline
Lethbridge, AB


Mike Esquivel knows the importance of hard work to get ahead.  He started working for his grandfather at the age of twelve and as soon as he was of legal age to get into the fast food industry, he took the first position he could get as a dishwasher.  He worked hard, taking extra shifts, volunteering to do more and he soon graduated up the ladder until he was working as a waiter in the upper end restaurants in Edmonton while supporting himself through college.

He took no holidays or extra time off and was no stranger to receiving the employee of the month award.  “My focus was to learn and train so I could move up the ladder within the corporation,” says Mike.  He wanted to understand this industry and all aspects of the micro business systems.  His hard work paid off and he was recruited by Planet Hollywood to train to be one of the site managers.  “I watched my managers and learned what not to do and my efforts paid off.  I trained in San Diego then finally got my own restaurant to manage in Vancouver.”

Mike spent four years in Vancouver before returning to Lethbridge to help his parents with a new business venture they started.

“Everything I learned about a responsible work ethic came from my parents”, explains Mike. “I watched my mom and dad work sometimes as many as three jobs so I could have the educational opportunities and a career of my choice.  So when I had an opportunity to help them, I was glad to come back to Alberta.”

However he missed the fast pace of the restaurant business and in 2008 when an opportunity came for his wife Chrysline and he to purchase EDO Japan in Park Place  Mall, they branched out in a new direction. “I had a clear understanding of my capabilities in the restaurant environment so when the opportunity came our way, we didn’t hesitate.”

Mike stated, “I know what customers want and I know how to give it to them.  They want to experience good taste, a clean environment and excellent service.  So that was our intention.”  Soon their success with the first store developed into an opportunity to purchase a second and eventually a third EDO Japan location.  “Our first location had been open about a year when the head corporation offered us the second store.” 

“I had no idea of how to go about the financial implications of purchasing a second store when I learned about Community Futures.  The people there were so easy to work with and taught me the ins and outs of the financial world of growing your business.”    Mike described how the people at Community Futures believed in him and in his business succession plan, offering sound business advice and the financial assistance to reach his future business goals.

The past six years have been a whirl wind for Mike and Chrysline, Not only has their businesses grown by three but so has their family, with a daughter and then a set of twins.  “I am busy in all aspects of my life, but the most important thing I have learned these past few years about owning a business of my own is that life is about balance.  My life has to be balanced between business and family.  I only have so much time, and I want some of that time to be about memories for my children.”   As dedicated as Mike’s work ethic is, he fully understands through experience that time is what a family really needs.

Mike describes himself as a happy man and he believes life is about happiness in his business world; happy family, happy staff and happy customers.  It is a formula that works for him and the high expectations he places on himself.  He is definitely a young entrepreneur who is serious about his work, understands his business, enjoys life and has lots and lots of energy.

Park Place Mall
L04, 501 - 1st Avenue South

Lethbridge, Alberta  T1J 4L9


Coulee Creek
3703 Mayor Magrath Drive South

Lethbridge, Alberta  T1K 8A8


West Lethbridge
#23, 550 University Drive West

Lethbridge, Alberta  T1J 4T3


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