When the world was affected by a global pandemic in 2020, Community Futures Entre-Corp offered the Medicine Hat Business Innovation Grant (MHBIG) to support local business owners in pivoting their business and keeping their doors open.
Owners of DANTA Interiors, Dan and Taneill Selinger, knew how they could contribute their services to help remote workers during COVID-19, and the MHBIG allowed them to complete and launch this new service for their clients.
“When Covid hit, we built an elaborate playhouse for our client’s grandkids. We thought to ourselves, why don’t we take this idea and build office units for parents who work from home, then they can work without being in the middle of what’s happening in the household,” says Dan.
The company started to build a mock version and planned to use it as their office space for clients to visit and experience in person, but the funds weren’t there to finish the project. Using the MHBIG, DANTA Interiors officially completed and introduced their outdoor living unit that allows remote workers to work in a quiet and comfortable environment close to home. It can also be customized to work as a classroom, home gym, tv room—the possibilities are endless.
“The grant has launched us in a totally different direction. We are now getting ready to build these units for our clients. It wasn’t just a financial boost in the areas we needed it, it was an emotional boost that gave us the chance to see opportunity—there’s hope attached to it,” says Dan.
The grant also allowed for Dan and Taneill to purchase a cargo trailer they can use as onsite storage while working on their clients projects. Before, when DANTA was renovating a residence, they would take over a large portion of the household with all their equipment. The trailer now holds a lot of the equipment, keeping everything out of the client’s way.
“When the grant was being delivered, it was a breath of fresh air because it created a lot of tangible opportunities that we didn’t have,” says Dan. “It was also valuable for us at the end of the day, because this grant also created significant equity for our business. This grant wasn’t just money spent and now it’s gone; the majority of the money was invested in items that have given our business equity that exists to this day.”
DANTA Interiors has been open since 2006, and along with the office units they specialize in home renovations, kitchens, bathrooms, safe rooms, wine rooms and entertainment rooms. They work directly with local trades to complete these renovations.
“The best way I would describe our business is that we're sitting with an orchestra. Our role is to conduct each instrument, or trade, on what our client is wanting to create. With our experience, we personally have the capability to play most of the instruments,” says Dan. “This gives our team more of an understanding of what each of our trades need to execute their craft. We generally have nine to 11 different trades show up on site with us.”
DANTA is the lead communicator between the clientele and the trades, and they only work on one main project at a time to ensure high quality projects.
“It is just phenomenal meeting the needs of the client and providing a service on what the client needs, while also being a contractor. If there’s a local business who does good work and has integrity, we get to invest in them,” says Dan. “That’s been the best part — when you get a team of people on board who are passionate and investing heavily in what they’re doing, it’s crazy the energy that’s in the room.”