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success stories

HEAR WHAT OUR CLIENTS HAVE TO SAY

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Naomi Nyuli, a former Communications Consultant, left her high-stress career to pursue her dream of building a small ranch. Together with her husband, she purchased 35 acres of land near Smithers, BC and for the past seven years they have been hard at work turning their vision of a working farm that integrates sustainable agriculture, horsemanship, animal husbandry and community engagement into reality.


Combining her passions as a yoga teacher, event organizer and natural skincare formulator, Naomi manages her business from her farm studio. She is the founder of

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Yoga Cowgirl Co., a wellness company that facilitates dynamic retreats and workshops through an innovative fusion of yoga, outdoor adventure, therapeutic activities and nutrition. She is also the driving force behind Little Lamb Lavender and Cowgirl's Friend, a clean and simple skincare collection focused on supporting the health and well-being of middle-aged and mature women.

 

In 2023, Naomi received business coaching from Community Futures Nadina. "With their support, my business received a significant boost. The one-on-one mentoring sessions provided practical advice and a trustworthy space for honest discussions. Their guidance helped me secure the Competitive Consulting Rebate through

 

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Northern Development Initiative Trust, refine the business plan, develop financial projections and reach a broader audience. The growth I experienced was not just in numbers but also in confidence and knowledge.  As an entrepreneur you often feel alone but having a mentor to discuss ideas with has been invaluable and an anchor I looked forward to every week.

 

Community Futures Nadina has been a cornerstone in my entrepreneurial journey. Their coaching program provided the expertise, resources, and connections I needed to take my business to the next level. I am immensely grateful for their commitment to helping local businesses succeed," says Naomi.

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Eva and Jeff Harden relocated from Ontario to the Bulkley Valley in 2021. With a strong background in catering, cooking, baking, and business entrepreneurship, they ventured into selling German-style apple fritters and beaver tails at the Smithers Farmers Market, pop-up locations, and special events in 2022. Their delicious treats quickly gained a loyal following of "Fritter Fans" who are willing to travel long distances for a taste of their mouthwatering treats.


As demand for their products soared, Eva and Jeff saw an opportunity to fulfill their ultimate goal of introducing authentic Craft Mexican food to their menu. Their current setup with pop-up tents, tables, and portable fryers was inadequate as it was weather-dependent and limited their selling season from spring to fall.

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Recognizing the need for expansion, they realized that acquiring a mobile food trailer would be the key to realizing their vision.

 

By collaborating with Community Futures Nadina, Eva and Jeff secured a food trailer, enabling them to launch their new Craft Mexican menu while continuing to serve their popular fritters. 

 

“CF Nadina was a pleasure to collaborate with for our entrepreneurial development loan. They coached us through the process and created some very useful tools for our sales forecasting and budgeting.” – Jeff Harden

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Operating a business amid the Covid-19 pandemic posed a considerable challenge for entrepreneurs worldwide. Launching a new restaurant in the small town of Houston, BC during the pandemic brought about several hurdles for the new owner, Kayla Simmons. Luckily for Kayla, her determination and drive propelled her towards her goals with unwavering strength.

Employee shortages, the closure of a mill, and the completion of a pipeline installation were additional challenges that Houston business owners had to deal with. Despite these obstacles, Kayla remained determined and focused.

 

 

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Kayla jumped into learning all aspects of her business and bookkeeping was no exception. Through the coaching support of CF Nadina, Kayla dove deep into the world of bookkeeping, and discovered the power of financial data in guiding her business decisions and setting long-term goals. Through her dedication and hard work, Kayla not only mastered the art of bookkeeping but also gained valuable insights that propelled her business to new heights of success.

“Community Futures Coaching Program has helped me take my business from "start-up" to "steadfast" in my goals as a local, small business owner in our community of Houston, BC.” - Kayla Simmons, Mixers Bar and Lounge.

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While Liz Watson worked in a cafe as a high school student, she dreamed one day she’d have one of her own. It was quite a few years later when she moved to Houston when that dream was awakened. 

Watson’s experience leading a painting business paired well with her passion for traveling and cafe culture, and she was inspired to make the big step alongside her husband Kyle. Together, they opened Palisades Cafe. “I told one of my closest friends I wanted to start my own business,” she recalls. “The bank was hesitant to support the food industry right after the pandemic. It just so happened that my friend worked for Community Futures so she set me up with a business analyst who helped me to get the ball rolling.” 

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Together with Community Futures, Liz and Kyle found a way to confidently make the dream reality. “Truly understanding all the numbers behind the scenes was important to me,” Liz says. “The accountant helped me with my bookkeeping and legal questions. My cafe wouldn’t have happened if Community Futures wasn’t willing to invest in my operations and financial management.”

 

Expansion to Shop Local

Palisades Cafe celebrates its two-year anniversary in 2024, and Liz recently worked with Community Futures on an expansion of the business: in the form of a loan for a coffee truck. “I was impressed by the many questions the Community Futures team asked. There were a lot of logistical pieces I didn’t consider. We also had a look at my year-end numbers and any areas for improvement. Now, I have all of that captured in my business expansion plan.”

The cafe has become an integral part of the growing small business community in Houston. “It’s exciting to see more business activity here,” Liz adds. “The access to Community Futures loans has helped a lot to promote activities to shop local.”

Community Futures has helped Houston’s small business community for decades, and Liz believes its network is a key to local success. “The team has a huge network of local connections that you can tap into as a small business owner. They are an integral part of Houston's community.”

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I am writing this testimonial with heartfelt gratitude towards Community Futures of BC (Nadina), and the professional guidance and assistance they provided during a challenging year for my small business. As sole proprietor of a successful dog boarding and training facility for the past decade, I was in uncharted water when the boarding business dried up overnight due to Covid-19.

 

Shannon, our local representative was remarkable in her approach to my situation. She guided me through the entire process of applying for assistance through the RRRF loan program offered through Community Futures of BC, and even did house calls to my rural location for signatures on the paperwork!  The availability and rapid response of aid was a major relief.  It allowed me to meet my obligations while continuing to develop new strategies to keep my business viable, and my employees working. Otherwise I may have faced losing all I have worked for during the past 10 years.

 

Sincerely,

Cheryl McRae

Dog Digs Kennel

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Based in Burns Lake’s Southside Region on a beautiful ranch bordering Ootsa Lake, Ursa Minor Brewing’s motto is “Wild Taste from a Wild Place.” This brewery and 12-person tasting room is the brain child of Nathan and Gwyndolyn Nicholas. Nathan brings a life-long passion for flavour, growing and beer making.  Gwyndolyn brings business expertise from owning and operating a successful health food store for 10 years.  Together they have a love for inspired taste, a dedication to sustainable farming, and a wish to create a product that celebrates our North. 

 

In addition to beers which can be enjoyed on site, ordered online and bought from Houston to Prince George in pubs and liquor stores, Ursa Minor Brewing are also manufacturing Kombucha and Botanical sodas. Flavours are inspired by the North such as haskap, raspberry, juniper, spruce, cottonwood, potatoes, small grain crops, and rhubarb.  Small consistent batches, made with state of the art technology designed in B.C., are being used to produce a truly unique and high-quality flavour.

 

Community Futures Nadina began working with the couple in early 2019 and supported them through the writing of their business and finance plan. Their loan approval for brewery equipment purchases and final renovations came in October of the same year, which set them up to begin producing in early 2020. Be sure to include the Ursa Minor Brewing tasting room as part of your spring or summer plans.

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In the spring of 2018, Bryanne came to Community Futures Nadina with a desire to become an entrepreneur specializing in floral design. Receiving business coaching and startup capital from CF Nadina, Bryanne’s dreams of owning her own store front came true. Wildroots Flowers & Gifts opened its doors in 2019 in Burns Lake, BC. Bryanne brings over 18 years of experience in the floral industry to the Bulkley-Nechako region.   

 

In 2020, Bryanne worked with CF Nadina to secure Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) supports.

The Government of Canada RRRF is designed to support small and medium size businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

“The RRRF that I received with the help of Community Futures Nadina was such a huge help. The process was painless, and it was nice to have support throughout the entire process. With all the uncertainty these days, this was such a relief. I had initially attempted to qualify for federal assistance but being a new business, I was not eligible. The RRRF has offered me some security and a little breathing room while I navigate my business through this pandemic. I am grateful.”

 

– Bryanne White

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My name is Sven Riemann and I am the president of Northern Fire Apparatus, a company that specializes in the service, repairs and certification that keeps fire trucks in top condition so they are ready to perform when it counts.

 

A couple of years ago I was at a crossroads in my career as a technician in this field and was confident that I could make more of a positive impact by taking the steps to go into business for myself. I met Sarah Fitzmaurice at CF Nadina about that time, and we discussed my options. Sarah explained that this would be no easy road as I would be doing most of the work to get this off the ground. She was right, there was a lot of work to do, but it was not for an employer from here on in and that was what made all the difference. That day Sarah had me purchase a laptop and begin the process of putting together the financial framework and proposal for what would become Northern Fire Apparatus. That was in spring of 2019. I continued to work as a mobile Emergency Vehicle Technician for a colleague for the time being as Sarah worked closely with me and guided me through the development process and completion of all the administrative tasks that were being carried out. Sarah presented the board at Community Futures Nadina with our proposal and did an amazing job, as the proposal was accepted. Dreams do come true!

 

Fast forward to 2021 and we are poised to grow modestly but growing nonetheless considering the uncertainty that all of us have faced in the past year. CF Nadina has continued to support Northern Fire Apparatus through these times, and we are very grateful for that support. Future prospects look bright and it`s onward and upward from here.

 

We would like to thank Sarah, Natalie, and all the hard-working staff at CF Nadina for all the great things they do for aspiring entrepreneurs, as it takes a lot more than one would think to start a business nowadays.

 

Sven Riemann, EVT and President Northern Fire Apparatus

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     If you are from Smithers, Four Seasons Automotive is an automotive shop that is known to most. Being in the community for over 27 years has provided them the opportunity to serve their loyal client base, to be an excellent employer and a dependable partner for their suppliers. In September 2020, the original owners decided to pass on their legacy to new buyers. Community Futures had the honour to take on Carl Chad and Samuelle Simard as new clients to help make their dream become a reality. Here is what Carl had to say:

"I found Community Futures Nadina to be excellent and friendly! They were professional at every turn and helped us reach our dream goal of being our own bosses! Natalie and Sarah were always attentive to our questions and quick to answer any concerns we had. I would highly recommend them if you are thinking of starting or purchasing a business."

We as an organization are honoured to have been given the opportunity to help this essential business get passed on to new buyers. We wish Carl and Samuelle all the best in their new venture and look forward to seeing how they take Four Seasons Automotive to the next level.

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     Ana Stavast is a young entrepreneur who makes a variety of all-natural beeswax lip balms. She operates under their family business, Lychak Acres, located in Smithers, B.C. When Ana came to Community Futures Nadina, she was selling her product in a Smithers shop with the hope to expand her business across the Bulkley Valley. From there, she received a microloan from Community Futures and used the funds to purchase equipment and supplies to kickstart her expansion. Fast forward to today and her lip balms are being sold in Terrace, Telkwa, Houston, and Burns Lake locations! We love to see youth ventures succeed, and this young lady has proven to be a major success in the community.

 

Make sure you check out Lychak Acres on Facebook to follow along Ana’s impressive journey.

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