Success stories

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 region is launching an important business survey

Elizabeth Blair


We invite you to participate in an important business survey which can be completed from Monday, September 16th to Friday, October 4th.

The BREWD project encompasses Medicine Hat, Redcliff, Bow Island, Cypress County, and County of Forty Mile.  

Invest Southeast Alberta (ISA) is a collaboration of businesses, governments, and service agencies united to develop a Business Retention, Expansion and Workforce Development (BREWD) strategy to directly support businesses in our region.  The BREWD project encompasses Medicine Hat, Redcliff, Bow Island, Cypress County, and County of Forty Mile.

By taking this confidential online business survey, you will have the opportunity to share what is and isn’t working in our local business environment. Your participation will provide valuable information needed to formulate an action plan and strategies to support the needs of our business community.

The process also allows you, as a business owner, to voice your needs and concerns and have them addressed.  Upon completion of this survey, the BREWD Leadership Team will respond to issues that require attention to provide you with alternatives and potential solutions. 

It will take approximately 15-25 minutes to complete, with options to stop the process at any time and restart it using the same electronic device.  A summary of results and list of prioritized actions/projects for future economic development will be shared publically at the end of the project.

You may access the business survey at the following link:    www.investsoutheastalberta.ca

A journey to entrepreneurship

Trevor Eichelbaum
Medicine Hat, AB


Trevor Eichelbaum has a unique skill.  He can fix things, take them apart and put them back to together with relative ease.  After all, it is what he did for many years growing up on a small farm where fixing things was necessary all the time.

“I grew up in farming,” he says. “I didn’t know what I would ever become in life. I tried on several jobs, in many fields. I had a job as a farmhand, and got a small injury in 1999. This ended up leading me into my career path, though I had no idea at the time.” 

Soon after the injury, Trevor found a job at a local company that supplied mobility equipment.   He started as a Service Technician in January of 2000 and worked all the way up through the ranks from service repairs to eventually managing the company. 

Trevor’s passion for fixing things pours over into his personal life too.   A busy and proud husband and father of 3, he manages to squeeze in some time for his favourite hobby project. Restoring his 1973 Ford Gran Torino Sport which in its current state, has a completely re-built motor with high performance parts.  He plans to keep this classic car red, which was the original colour when it was purchased locally from Glanville Ford.

Even though Trevor indicates he wishes he had more time, he spends every Thursday evening leading a group of cadets.  The goal is to train them to eventually become effective leaders and good citizens. Trevor is a Cadet Instructor Cadre with the 2313 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps.  Though he wasn’t looking for extra work, he found himself intrigued when his son turned 12 and wanted to become an army cadet.  As a Cadet Instructor Cadre (CIC) and Second Lieutenant with the Canadian Forces Reserve, Trevor shows how important it is to give back to his community by investing in youth.

On December 2016, after 17 years as an employee of a local Home Medical Equipment company, Trevor’s hand was forced into considering opening his own business.  Trevor visited the Community Futures Entre-Corp office (CFEC), in downtown Medicine Hat, to discuss his thoughts and plans.  After his initial consultation with CFEC’s business advisor, he was encouraged to complete the business plan template that was provided to him.  With confirmation of his CFEC approved business loan, Trevor was able to begin the search for a building in a suitable location.    The building was leased and interior renovations began.  Finally after 2 straight weeks of 16-hour work days, the location was ready for move-in.  The business officially opened on March 6, 2017.

Trevor gives credit for his entrepreneurship to many of his friends and family, most of all to his dad.  His dad was a farmer and Trevor learned through his father’s example the value of hard work.  He is sure his father helped him see and value entrepreneurship in the farming lifestyle.

Starting out as a “fixer-of-things” at the farm, then to a 17-year faithful employee, eventually to become the proud Owner and Operator of Adapt Mobility.  Trevor Eichelbaum is confident his journey was meant to be.  

His passion for customer service shines through when you first meet Trevor.  In fact, it might be the compelling reason why he was able to open his doors and grow his business so quickly.  He stressed that his customers are not customers, but rather he refers to them as clients. The difference is the relationships that are built over years and last a lifetime.   Trevor also gave tremendous praise to his team who he said, “are like family to me”.   Trevor emphasized that he has an incredibly cohesive team and that they work well together because they love to help clients succeed, which in turn brings success to the business. “No individual on the team is better than any other. We all work together, in our own ways.”
There is no doubt that Trevor and his incredible team have a perfect recipe for growth and success.  Whole-hearted commitment to serve clients will go a long way in a town where word-of-mouth is still how many people find you here.

When asked what 3 pieces of advice Trevor would offer to entrepreneurs starting out today, here is what Trevor had to share: 

1.Know your product and your clientele or market well;
2.This is the biggest roller coaster ride of your life, so just close your eyes for the low ones; and
3.Treat your employees as both your biggest asset and your biggest liability.
Adapt Mobility serves anyone with a disability by providing solutions and helping people adapt with the right equipment and accessories so that they can maintain the lifestyle that they want.  

You can visit the Adapt Mobility website at:       adapt-mobility.ca/

Story by Elizabeth Blair

 

An existing business is the answer for a local family

Brian Tkachuk and Renee Gaudreault
Medicine Hat, AB


Brian Tkachuk and Renee Gaudreault moved to Medicine Hat from Edmonton in 2016.

Brian worked in the oil and gas industry which meant long periods of time away from home.  

After commuting to work in the oil and gas industry for 12 plus years, Brian  decided it was time for a change.  Although the industry paid very well, it would never replace the precious time he was losing with his young family because of the long commutes to and from work.  Brian and Renee have 3 children aged 6, 3 and 7 months old.

Brian started a search and found a local established sandblasting shop that was for sale in Medicine Hat.  The owner presented an offer to Brian to purchase the shop.  
The timing of the offer was perfect. As they assessed their situation, they both realized that purchasing the shop might be exactly what they needed to help them achieve greater balance in their family life.   Going into business together also made sense in other ways.   Brian had the skills and technical background to run the shop.  Renee had the tools to run the administrative side of the business (she obtained a certificate in entrepreneurial studies from Mount Royal University in Calgary).

After securing a small business loan from Community Futures Entre-Corp, Brian and Renee had the money they needed to buy the business.  Purchasing an established business with a client base meant Brian was able to start work almost immediately.

By April 2018, Brian and Renee were the new owners of Sandstorm Coating Industries in Medicine Hat. 

The sandblasting process has been around for a very long time.   It was discovered around 150 years ago, by Benjamin Chew Tilghman. It was formally patented in 1870.   The sandblasting process has been refined over the years and further patents and developments have since evolved.

Sandstorm Coating Industries in Medicine Hat works with many industries and projects.  Their portable sandblasting unit has opened more doors allowing Brian to travel directly to the customer.   It is one of the reasons this particular business caught their eye.  It is the only portable sandblasting unit in town.  That extra advantage has allowed them to expand their work to locations outside of the shop. 

Some examples of sandblasting and coating work that Brian has completed include work on Grain Bins, Trailers, Dump Trucks, Equipment, Rims & Tractor Rims, Guardrails / Handrails, Pipe Racks, hitches as well as residential projects.  Sandblasting can strip paint, rust and even remove certain imperfections from various materials.  Sandblasting is most often used as a preparation process to clean and prepare a surface prior to applying a protective coating. 

Renee described Brian’s incredible dedication to the business. “He works 6 days a week, and 12 hours per day”.   Even though being self-employed has meant long hours for Brian he can go home to his family at the end of each work day.

When I asked Renee to describe what the most important goal is for the business, she replied “We want to make customer service our main priority because we know that happy customers are loyal and this will grow our business.”

Here are two pieces of advice that Renee and Brian would give to entrepreneurs starting out today:

1.Take the leap, but look where you are jumping and have your jumping gear on!
2.Things happen, keep cool, and plan for it.

To learn more about Sandstorm Coating Industries, you can visit their website at sandstormcoatingindustries.ca

Story by Elizabeth Blair

Design is passion for a local entrepreneur

Bailey Tucker
Medicine Hat, AB


When Bailey Tucker graduated from high school, she always knew she had an aptitude for design. 

She remembers the urge to redesign room layouts, process possible layout possibilities, good colour options and even fabric options.  These were designs she imaged for her bedroom, even at a young age. 

Bailey indicates that she is sure her artistic talent came from her mom, a talented painter and crafter.

Bailey shared a bit about herself, “I love nature, exploring and camping.  I enjoy doing things spontaneously but also appreciate structure and routine.  I have always enjoyed working with my hands and creating, whether it is interior design related or not.”  

When I asked Bailey what gives her the greatest joy?  “My son”, she says, “he has kept me laughing for the last ten years!”   Bailey’s favourite things are great stories that are unique and meaningful.   She loves to find a place with a beautiful view and knows this helps her get re-energized.

Today Bailey is the proud owner of Bailey Nicole Interiors + Design.  It is a boutique studio that offers professional interior design expertise for both residential and commercial design.
She explains how she started her journey to entrepreneurship.   “I completed decorating courses at Mount Royal College.  Many of the program instructors were Interior Designers that ran their own firms.   I started to wonder if this could also become my own full-time business. I continued my studies and completed an Interior Design diploma as well as an architectural class to learn design and drafting at Lethbridge College.”

In 2018, Bailey enrolled in an intensive entrepreneurship training program.  This classroom program, offered by Community Futures Entre-Corp, helped her acquire the skills she needed to launch her own business.

Bailey explained that she is capable of taking on projects that are big and small.  Clients are directed  through the design process from idea creation to a final cohesive and beautiful interior designs.

When I asked Bailey what she thought sets her apart from her competition, she had this to say, “Because of my training and educational background, I am qualified to be a part of various phases of the build and renovation cycle.  As a certified Interior Design Technologist, I can also complete drafting services which is not a typical service offered by interior designers. “
I also discovered that Bailey is new to Medicine Hat.  She explained how she has already met so many contacts.  She said that it is only a matter of time before her network of contacts will turn into growth and success in her future.

When I asked Bailey what guides her, she explains, “I think it is about staying true to yourself, who you are and your brand.  If a customer loves what you do, they will use your service and refer you to others”.  

Bailey can see a bright future for her business as she explains how new industries and real estate expansion in Medicine Hat will create more demand for the services that Bailey Nicole Interiors + Design offers.

Bailey also shared that,  “ The entrepreneur training I received at Community Futures Entre-Corp has helped me understand small business operations”.

Bailey Nicole Interiors + Design can be found on the web at:    baileynicoleinteriors.com

Story by Elizabeth Blair

 

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Community Futures Entre-Corp
202 - 556 4th Street SE
Medicine Hat, AB T1A 0K8

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