Small Business Spotlights

Tidy Lube Expand/Collapse


Name: Kiley & Jennie Whelen

Business: Tidy Lube

How did you get started in business?

I (Jennie) was working as a teacher and Kiley was working in the oilpatch. Business ownership was never something I saw in my future, but Kiley spotted a need for a drive-thru oil change in Bonnyville, and here we are!

What is the most rewarding part of business ownership?

Coming to work is energizing. I feel satisfied, accomplished, and grateful for the business and our staff. I can see the results of our efforts and I love interacting with the customers.

What is the most challenging part?

When business slows down, it's very difficult having to lay people off. Also, it's tough seeing a large part of the revenue go toward taxes. But through the challenges, I've always had faith that things would work out.

Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Talk to an accountant before you do anything else and speak with other business owners in a similar industry.

Double D Bobcat Expand/Collapse


Name: Dean Dube

Business: Double D Bobcat

How did you get started in business?

My dad had a dream and he started the business with one bobcat 39 years ago.

What is the most rewarding part of owning your business?

There's always something to learn. I enjoy finding new technologies and other ways to improve. For example, we've branched into concrete and asphalt recycling, and we're experimenting with using GPS units to help reduce the human error aspect of the job.

What is the most challenging part of owning your business?

Finding qualified employees, weathering economic ups and downs, and managing cashflow on big jobs with long invoicing periods.

Tellier Bar Ranch Expand/Collapse

Name: Luc Tellier

Business: Tellier Bar Ranch

How did you get started in business?

My grandparents started this homestead when they came to Alberta from Quebec in 1929. It was raw, untouched land when they arrived. My parents took it over in the 1960's and now it's my turn. I think they'd be proud to see what they started.

What is the most rewarding part of ranching?

It's nice to be close to home and close to my family. We take pride in putting food on people's tables. They say a farmer is the only professional you need three times a day, every day.

What is the most challenging part?

Unpredictable weather and unpredictable worldwide markets.

Do you have an overall "ranching philosophy"?

Like my father and grandfather before me, I approach the ranch as a business first and foremost. If it doesn't provide income, it's a hobby and not a business. And like other businesses, we've had to adapt to changing markets. We started out as a dairy farm, but now we raise beef and grain.

Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

A good business requires a good team. Surround yourself with positive people, have nerves of steel, and a backup plan.

Yoga for You Expand/Collapse


Name: Tracy Koluk

Business: Yoga for You

How did you get started in business?

I had struggled with persistent back and neck pain and headaches resulting from a car accident when I was 16. I tried other therapies with limited success. A friend suggested I try yoga and I was skeptical at first, but then the aches and pains went away! Then my instructor moved to Paris, and I saw a void that needed filling, so I took my yoga instructor training.

What is the most rewarding part of owning a yoga studio?

Sharing the love of yoga. It's great hearing students say their aches and pains have diminished or gone away completely. I didn't open a yoga studio thinking I was going to make a pile of money, but sharing my passion and seeing how it helps others is its own reward.

What is the most challenging part of small business ownership?

Having to wear many hats, often at the same time. I teach yoga but I also do the cleaning, ordering, scheduling, bookkeeping, phone answering, etc.

Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Put yourself out there, follow your passion, and be persistent. It can be tempting to try to please everyone, but you have to remember to be kind to yourself too.


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