“I think everyone who's an optimist is a senior-to-be. We all hope to grow old. We might not like the idea of aging, but it's a fact we accept, and we all want to live a good long life.”
With this mindset, Jeff Gaye established “Respect”—a newspaper for the seniors and would-be seniors of Cold Lake and area. While working his previous job as editor of the weekly newspaper at CFB Cold Lake, Jeff felt he could do more, especially for the largest demographic that still actually read and enjoyed newspapers: senior citizens.
Seeing the excitement that the old boys at their morning coffee congregation would express when he would deliver the military newspaper, he was determined to give them a top-notch quality paper geared towards them and their concerns. In the process, he would “make [his] own mistakes and take [his] own risks” as he put it, and with his newfound independence, deliver his best work to these folks.
Respect is a biweekly community paper covering the ins and outs of small-town life and all that affects it. This includes seniors’ sports, the arts, community events, and some politics, with a focus on seniors’ affairs. The paper is written from seniors’ perspectives, and is tailored towards them with things like a crisp, clear, larger font, as well as containing a full two pages of the activity elements of a regular newspaper (crosswords, sudoku, word search, etc.) that senior citizens tend to enjoy, rather than relegating that to the dusty back corner of the last page. This is a paper where seniors can see themselves and their stories, and all that pertains to them, in an important spotlight. It is very warm with its attractive full-colour display and high-quality editing, with high-quality material physically comprising the paper to match that.
A particularly special section of the paper is one titled “Your Stories,” which is composed of reader-submitted anecdotes, poems, snippets, and thoughts. This holds a special place in Jeff’s heart, as it harkens back to the more personal side of why he launched Respect. When he served as bandmaster at CFB Cold Lake, he received several requests each year to play The Last Post at the funerals of veterans in the area.
While he would carry out these honours for those who served before him, he never actually knew the people in whose honour he played. That is, until he listened to their stories as told by their families, at which point he came to realize that the stories of these veterans were also the great stories of the area’s history. Stories not quite recorded in any official capacity, but those inspiring stories of homesteaders who put in the back-breaking work to settle the area, who as Jeff said “found a home and found love and built a family”.
And while the target readership of Respect is the senior citizens of Cold Lake, Bonnyville, and St. Paul area, anyone can read this paper, for “everyone who's an optimist is a senior-to-be.” In printing this newspaper, Jeff modestly does his part to help the senior citizen, veteran, builders of this province and indeed, the nation, live an optimistic, honoured old age.
Author: Issam K. - Reporter
The financial side of the business environment is one of the most dreaded aspects of running a business anywhere in the world, and here in Alberta it’s no different. Yet it is one of the most essential aspects of business survival.
“I help your business say goodbye to the financial chaos.” That is how Kirsha Campbell, cashflow maven and founder of The Cash Lab, a boutique accounting and financial services firm in Leduc, Alberta, succinctly described her business.
Establishing the firm almost three years ago, Kirsha helps small businesses to set up effective processes, that drive efficiency and cash flow in your business. She helps your business become cash positive. In addition to reducing the risk of bankruptcy and increasing the overall value of your business.
The Cash Lab provides tailor made financial services to small businesses. Customizing their services to fit any special need, and goals. The firm also offers training courses to help support business owners in the various accounting and financial management areas of their business.
Kirsha considers a business as a human anatomy, each part serves a vital purpose, and every part is essential to the overall health and wellness of the whole body.
The hardest part of running a business in today’s world is maintaining a positive cash flow. In their pursuit of sustainability, many business owners focus mainly on selling and closing deals. They are constantly running after that next project or closing that next sale. However, cash flow is the lifeblood of the business, and just as we humans can't survive without air and blood, in the same way, your business will never survive without cash flow.
One of the biggest pitfalls of small business is the false impression that they only need accounting services at tax return time. In reality they need to have their eyes on their cash flow, they need to be vigilant of not spending too much, they need to watch their bank account, and they must consider all the various parts of their business. For example, accounts receivables should not be that high, it should not take too long to be paid, and constant bank overdrafts are not normal. Simply put, it is crucial to fathom the many levels and dynamics of operating a business.
Building long lasting relationships with customers is Kirsha’s forte and what distinguishes her in her field. in fact, her relationship building goes above and beyond the service contract. When she takes on a new client, she takes it on as her own business. Your wins, your struggles become hers as well. She listens well to your needs and pains and works with you step by step to design and develop the most appropriate solutions that suit your unique needs and aspirations.
Concluding our meeting, Kirsha gave the following sage advice to other small business owners:
“As a small business owner, realize the importance and the value you're bringing to your community. It's not just about your completion of a project or closing of a sale; It is much deeper than that. Your small business is the backbone of your society, and your country. Take a step back and realize the importance and the value that you're bringing to the table, do not take it lightly.”
“I connect people with an awesome cup of coffee.” That’s how Michelle Phillips-Nystrom, co-founder of Clearwater County Coffee Company aptly describes her business.
This lovely boutique coffee wholesale and retail business is located in a quaint hamlet in the Province of Alberta.
Michelle and her husband Mark Nystrom established the business two years ago, in order for her to be independent from the grinding 9-5 work schedule, be her own boss, and create a sustainable source of income for their family.
Michelle has a great passion for coffee and for sharing coffee culture with people and telling them all about the multifaceted aspects of what it takes to make a great cup of coffee. In fact, her passion for coffee drove her to travel around the province, before covid-19 disrupted our lives, and visit different markets to display and sell her gourmet coffee while telling people the fascinating stories of coffee life, the many different tastes of coffee, and the various strengths and boldness of great coffee.
With covid-19 going on full force, Michelle and Mark resorted to promoting and selling their gourmet coffee online as ecommerce retail to individual consumers, in addition to selling it wholesale to few coffee shops and boutique gift shops.
They also offer their quality gourmet coffees to help with community causes through fundraisers and special events, as well as a private label wholesaler to businesses that would like to give out the coffee under their own branding as corporate promotional gifts, A.K.A SWAG.
For Michelle this is not just another business, this is a family legacy. A legacy that she would love to hand over to her children one day. This is a proud family run business of premium quality coffees offered in competitive prices, and provided with great customer service.
One day in the near future, Michelle is aspiring to open an eclectic little coffee shop where you can go and enjoy the atmosphere while sipping a great cup of premium quality, tantalizingly tasting hot coffee, and while the fantastic smell of great coffee being roasted in house.
Michelle’s sage advice to fellow small business owners: “Just keep going. Sometimes it's a little tough, sometimes you can't see your next step. it's easier to change direction for a ship that's in motion than it is to get it started. And, hang out with people who are successful and now how to build a successful business.”
Clearwater County Coffee Company is always open for a ‘virtual cup of coffee’, so go and try out their premium coffee today.
Nowadays, everything seems to be moving so fast with the use of technology, shifting policies and opinions, and an overwhelming amount of information coming at us, thus making trusted advisors a necessity for business owners. But most people, especially small and medium-sized business owners, can’t afford the legal help they need when it’s needed as typical firm rates are simply out of reach. So, if one of your closest friends isn’t a lawyer, how do you find and access a trusted legal advisor for your business who is well-versed in the legal needs of Canadian business?
Enter Goodlawyer, an online platform that not only connects you in just a few minutes to the perfect Canadian lawyer, but also maximizes your focused time with that lawyer.
Practice areas include general business, commercial real estate, employment, intellectual property, landlord/tenant, privacy/terms & conditions, startup and more. In fact, if you’re not sure what kind of lawyer you need, they’ll help you figure it out and make the connection for you. And because Goodlawyer isn’t a law firm, they offer clear, upfront fees and access to experienced lawyers who are approachable and invested in you.
“I’ve always been passionate about entrepreneurship,” says Brett Colvin, co-founder of Goodlawyer. “We support independent lawyers with administration and marketing to streamline legal service access for the benefit of new entrepreneurs, and especially for business owners across Canada, making legal services more tenable and affordable. When lawyers are more productive, they can offer lower prices. We see this as a win/win for the market”
Another benefit for clients is the diverse range of services offered - everything from advice sessions, contract reviews, legal health checks, incorporation, stock option plans, shareholders’ agreement, employment and services agreements, trademark registration and more.
With friendly and approachable service, Goodlawyer is a business that believes in giving back in many ways. One example of how they’re helping Canadian business is through their remote advice session promotion - 15-minute blocks of time with a lawyer free of charge (normally $39).
If you are a Canadian small business that would benefit from these sessions, simply contact them via their website at www.goodlawyer.ca.
We’ve learned to do a lot more remotely during COVID, and the Goodlawyer online legal service platform has seen tremendous growth across the country. It’s comforting to know that the Canadian spirit of serving others with a friendly and helpful nature is not only alive and well,
but also thriving through our legal system.
Get connected easily to the legal help you need. Contact Goodlawyer.ca.
Author: C. Tracy Williams
Editor in Chief, Alberta Business Review
What do you do when someone says they love something you’ve done - and can they maybe buy it from you? Well, for Kevin Chow and Jamie Mason, founding partners at Rawry and Pohly, their stylish minimalistic, hand-painted pop-art canvases morphed from being a talented hobby into a business partnership in early 2015.
Although they’re currently in the process of migrating the business from Regina to Calgary, their core purpose remains the same - to create art that resonates with your inner child. Bold and thoughtful shapes with primary colours that ignite humour and happy memories created through the imagination of youth. Even their business name, Rawry & Pohly, derives from the name of his childhood teddy bear, Pohly, and his wife's same teddy bear, Rawry. According to them, “Pohly (aka Kevin) is the super excitable, creatively limitless bear who believes anything can happen and always sees the best in everything. Rawry (aka Jamie) is the quietly grounded and rational bear with deeply penetrating talent.”
As a couple they are sharing their journey so future entrepreneurs, crazy risk-takers and teddy bears can learn from them and laugh right along with them. Some of their challenges in creating original hand-painted canvases as affordable art included expanding quickly, going on long-distance trips and stretching their limited resources, mostly with human hours to get everything done. Thankfully COVID has helped them regroup a little to sell more online and share time at home.
We often ask what you’d do differently if you could do this all over again. Our champions of youthful spirit simply respond that their business growth and evolution was an organic process so they wouldn’t change anything from their journey. Everything that’s happened has shaped them into who they are today with valuable experiences. As Kevin says, “We’d be reluctant to take away something from our past to avoid some temporary discomfort and not be where we are now.”
All businesses need to ensure the paperwork is up to snuff and for these memorable artists that can be less than appealing. As Jamie says, “I just want to make art.” The adults in them though ensure that their business runs smoothly and they make sound decisions as a team. Decisions that include a stronger call to action for their audience to move them from loving what they see online to purchasing what they see online. Kevin and Jamie have travelled extensively and sold globally. They know their client base who delight in reconnecting with nostalgic memories and want to give them more.
“Most people buy art not because of the price per se but because it speaks to you as an individual,” says Kevin. Personal expression is certainly alive and well as they continue helping others to awaken their own inner children through original keepsake art pieces. In fact, just viewing their stylistic art kinda makes me want to go outside and play for a bit now with my friends.
Author: C. Tracy Williams
Editor in Chief, Alberta Business Review
Courtesy of Alberta Chambers of Commerce