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.

Vilna True Value

Gisela Klauke
Main Street, Vilna, AB


Running a business in a small village means that you need to provide a number of services to your customers. That is exactly what Gisela Klauke does in the Village of Vilna in Northeast Alberta.

Gisela started her small business in 1997. She owns and operates a hardware store that has hardware, farm goods, paint, household supplies and fishing supplies that meet the wide variety of needs of her rural customers. On top of that she is also runs the local Alberta Registries office from the store. With these services under one roof, she if busy with customers looking for one service or the other. Gisela is also an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and she took the opportunity to renovate a room on the side of the store to rent to the Chamber for their office. This provided the Chamber with a downtown office that was easy for people to access and had all the space necessary for them to hold their meetings, keep their office equipment and supplies.

The Village of Vilna completed a “Boomtown” style renovation of their downtown a few years ago and the Hardware storefront was done to match the theme. It has a historical look and with it’s high profile location on the first corner of the main street, the store adds to the overall theme of the Village. The wooden sidewalks and the old town flavour of Vilna’s main street continue to bring visitors and shoppers to the store.

Today, Gisela keeps busy in her business. She is an active member of the community and can bring a personal touch to her business. She knows most of her customers by name and as a small business, she has the ability to be able to accommodate special requests and services that her customers appreciate.

A step into the Vilna True Value Hardware takes you back in time. It brings back memories of a time when life wasn’t quite so rushed and where a friendly and familiar face meets you behind the counter. Where the question “How are you today” is asked because the owner truly cares and a place where you can relax and take a few minutes to chat about the weather, the crops, or an upcoming event in the community.

Style Ryte Cleaners

Jill Cairns
Peace River, AB


Jill Cairns has been in the cleaning business since 2001, she is the third owner of Style Ryte Cleaners which has been in operation for 50 years! She recently upgraded all of the equipment to meet industry environmentally friendly standards. They offer commercial and retail cleaning, as well as tuxedo rentals and seamstress services. 

Berm Saver


Site 1 Comp. 265 RR1 Dapp AB T0G 0S0


Alberta 1680900 Ltd has designed and patented a new product called the Berm Saver. The Berm Saver is a 6 inch high 4 foot long roller system with a 15 degree angled hose holder.  ​This product addresses at least three primary concerns when transferring fluid from storage tanks. Safety, Environment & Equipment Life.

(780) 307-8171

www.bermsaver.com

The Hair Lounge-Relax Your Home

Wendy Bates-Wiebe
Airdrie, Alberta


 

 

“Please make sure you emphasize how important the Airdrie community is to us,” says Wendy Bate-Wiebe, owner of one of the hottest hair salons in Airdrie. “Without their support, my business couldn’t have grown by 40% each year.” This civic-minded Airdrie citizen has nothing but good things to say about her journey from a start-up operation in 2008 to employing 20 people in 2015 at her thriving business, The Hair Lounge. “The business community welcomed me with open arms and since Airdrie itself has an amazing sense of community, I felt at home here from the moment I arrived.”

After graduating top of her class in 2004, Wendy spent three years learning the business aspect of running a salon while working for another establishment. When a small house became available, it was as if her 5 year plan, written while still at school, was destined to become a reality. “I had written that within five years after graduation, I’d have my own salon, operating from a house, and here was the chance to do just that.”

Unfortunately two local banks didn’t agree, so on the recommendation of a friend, Wendy approached Community Futures Centre West for financing help. “Right from the start, they believed in me”, recalls Wendy. Armed with renewed confidence and a loan, she spent several months renovating, then opened her doors in December 2008. A second loan three years later enabled her to expand, and Wendy was able to pay them both in full within five years. She credits hard work, great staff, a sense of purpose and most of all, support from the community, as keys to her business growth and success.

“I was scared when I first started out, but I worked twelve hours a day, interacted with every client and slowly built a loyal group of women. My staff is phenomenal – nobody leaves, so we have a solid group of stylists who are just like me – genuinely interested in providing great experiences. We know hair really matters to people and is a sensitive issue. That’s why walking in to our salon is like walking into our home – we want it to be a fun, relaxing environment.”

The winner or runner-up of Readers’ Choice Awards every year since the salon opened, The Hair Lounge is also an Airdrie Winning Edge award winner, earned the Family Friendly award in 2014 and most recently, received the 2015 Eco Edge Business award.  A strong supporter of the local food bank and meal programs for local school children, the salon holds several events each year to promote awareness and raise money for these causes.

“My advice to any new entrepreneur is to engage yourself in your community. Get out there, make yourself known and become involved. It all comes back to you.” Wendy smiles as she adds, “And be yourself. Come see us at The Hair lounge - we’ll make you feel at home.”

 

Photo by Bruce Tannas

Story by Patricia Alderson

 

Pixedust Photography and Design

Agnes Guminy
Redcliff, AB


Co-owner of Pixeldust Photography and Design, Agnes Guminy, completed the Self-Employment Training program atCommunity Futures Entre-Corp in April of 2009.  This service-based small business located in Redcliff, AB is an incorporated partnership between Guminy and her daughter Jen, and offers its clients the duo’s expertise in photography, web and graphic design, and cinema and mixed media collaborations.

Aside from Guminy’s $16,000.00 personal capital investment into the business, CF Entre-Corp approved Pixeldust for a $50,000.00 loan in March of 2009, which would go towards general start-up costs including equipment and lease-hold improvements. Guminy also recognized the need for proper business training to further operations, which she received through the SE Program.  According to comments made by Guminy towards the training, she felt the program met her needs, beyond expectations.  In relation to the program facilitators, Guminy commented that overall, each seminar leader had thorough knowledge of the subject they were presenting, which enabled her to better understand essential business matters such as financials, marketing, and the overall business experience.  Furthermore, the program’s outsourced presenters including insurance specialists, accountants, and CRA representatives, were an essential part of the learning process, commented Guminy.

Since its inception, Pixeldust has reached a very large demographic, including a Facebook page with over 1200 fans and an interactive website. In May of 2009, tragedy struck the owners’ studio when most of their inventory was perished in a fire.  The team made a quick recovery and was able to continue providing assistance to their large market.  Special services the company offers is their recent implementation of modeling classes, where clients are able to enjoy an interactive setting, learning how to build self-confidence and esteem in front of the camera, while learning how to use lighting and pose effectively.  The last segment of the class includes a photo shoot for each client to contribute to their growing portfolio.  Moreover, Pixeldust offers web and graphic design and cinema and mix media services.

A highlight for the company last year was their contribution as the lead in the CFB Suffield Firefighters charitable calendar project, donating photography services to the campaign.  They also do the photography for the Terrific Kids program through the Kiwanis Club of Medicine Hat Gas City, and are working with the Medicine Hat College, providing photography needs towards rebuilding the website and corporate branding.

Achieve Wellness Spa

Alethea and Tom Austin
Fort McMurray, AB


Achieve Wellness Spa is a luxury day spa located conveniently in Stoneycreek Village in Timberlea, Fort McMurray. This new high-end location provides guests with the option of underground parking so that they never have to step foot outside. Elevator access takes you directly to our second floor location where you can enjoy the views while taking a relaxing manicure or pedicure. The facility has 14 separate treatment areas plus a 500 square foot plush waiting room, reception room and change rooms with showers. There is a dedicated couples massage room complete with large effervescence healing tub to let the stress melt away. There are two dedicated body treatment rooms one with a steam shower to pull out and wash away toxins. a steam shower to pull out and wash away toxins.

http://achievewellnessspa.com/

 

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