Success Stories

Firebrand Glass

Firebrand Glass


In the heart of Black Diamond sits an amazing glass blowing studio called Firebrand Glass. Julia Reimer and Tyler Rock are both award winning artists that studied at the Alberta College of Arts and Design and later went on to create their studio together as a partnership. Firebrand Glass is known for creating exceptional custom glass pieces that you can’t stop staring at.

Before the pandemic Firebrand offered comprehensive workshops, team building events, and was open to the public. Restrictions created a challenge for the studio followed by the large increase in supply costs. During the pandemic Community Futures Highwood offered the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund that was directed towards businesses that were impacted by ongoing restrictions and economic changes. “We knew that if it came to the worst-case scenario, it was there, and we would be able to use it.” Said Julia. “It’s a sigh of relief when the rug gets pulled out from under you and you’re grappling with how you’re going to make it with lost income. We were able to plan more and figure things out and that was helpful. As a small business you’re always wondering how you’re going to deal with those larger impacts, and you don’t always have access to financing.”

Firebrand also felt the pressure to pivot as the digital world evolved. “We knew we needed more of a digital presence. The world has changed.” Julia says that the vision and guidance received from the Digital Service Squad was impactful for the future of their studio. “I knew that the advice and work you were doing was unbiased. It was nice to have people that I could trust, working with me.”

“We’ve had a positive shift coming out of the pandemic. We are working more with people, organizations, and individuals, and it’s something that we really enjoy doing,” Says Julia, “We’re connecting with clients and it’s fantastic. Having the website has put us in a very good position to set us up for the future and promote these aspects of our business.”

Hub Town Brewery

     Mark and Lisa Watts, the power couple behind Hub Town Brewery, have created an astounding beer haven complete with two outdoor patios, an internal tap room, and endless memory making. When driving through Olde Towne you will often see Hub Town Brewery with their lit-up patios, in house brews, and all-around good vibes.

     Recently Hub Town Brewery has gone under intensive renovations to open up two new outdoor patios. “The patio was a big project for us, originally we were just this little 58 seat tap room then we had expanded to the outdoor patio that is out front. Then we expanded to build out the upper level taproom and the upper level patio.” Lisa Watts commented on the renovations the brewery has undergone, “So you could say we have been pretty busy. Literally on Father’s Day we had finished construction on all of the renovations. That was what we have been doing during COVID. We have fortunately opened up another 150 seats as well as the 100 seats that are out front. We were pretty fortunate.”

     When asked about the funding Community Futures Highwood has provided Mark commented “The start up funding that we received from Community Futures was super important and without that it would have been a lot more difficult to get going in the first place.” 

     “We were needing more money than one singular office was able to offer so of course they combined efforts and had gotten three offices on board to support funding us in the beginning of our business. That was pretty big for us.” Lisa said, “That was a lot of funding that we would have struggled to get otherwise.”

Kanata Aviation Training

Kanata Aviation Training

Pedro Hernandez and Kevin Lowe are the diverse duo behind Kanata Aviation Training, located at the High River Airport in Foothills County. Pedro comes from the Dominican Republic with a background in industrial and commercial aviation. He owned a manufacturing company and imported housewares. Kevin on the other hand started off in the UK working construction and flying helicopters. Pedro and Kevin’s paths crossed at Integra Air and business started over a simple ‘let’s get coffee’. One coffee turned into a year of coffee.

“Here in Canada, it is hard to get a hand when you are a start up.” Pedro explained that they had a hard time procuring start-up funding. Kevin noted that it was not just being a start up that was hard, it was being a start up in aviation.

“We knew the market was there, we knew it was the time to start a company and grow it. There are easy ways of doing it, but we decided not to go with the easy ways.”

“We wanted to do it the right way. If you don’t get things set up right from the start to try and change things when you’re already running it is hard.” said Pedro.

Life with Marv & Community Futures

Life with Marv & Community Futures

Black Diamond

Marv’s began its life in Black Diamond in 2000 as Diamond Treasures Antique Mall. This operated for several years and the antique business began to slow. The store slowly graduated from antiques to a candy store and ice cream shop. From there it started to become more food oriented. I needed to expand the kitchen and was on town council at the time. I had heard of Community Futures Highwood through council so I thought I would give them a try.

Our business now has become a staple of Main Street Black Diamond, attracting tourists from around the world. Because of our dedication to preserving mid-century history and our authentic soda fountain has become known in many countries. A steady customer for us is someone that makes the trip here once every year or two. 11 years ago, we started a car show, Marv’s annual Rock & Roll Classic that has grown that from 35 cars to over 300 this past year and attracting crowds of two to four thousand every year.

Collison Solutions

Collison Solutions

Joel Cannon

Joel Cannon, owner of Collision Solutions, & his team offer high quality auto body repair services in Okotoks and surrounding communities.

Joel’s family has been serving the Okotoks and surrounding area for over 3 generations.   They opened the first body shop in Okotoks back in the 60’s and now, with Collision Solutions, Joel continues that trend and has no plans on stopping. Joel and his team believe that customer service is a huge part of the success of Collision Solutions.

Contact Us

14 McRae Street
PO Box 1599
Okotoks, AB  T1S 1B5
P: 403-995-4151


Communities Served

Aldersyde, Black Diamond, Blackie, Carmangay, Cayley, De Winton, Foothills County, High River, Kananaskis Improvement District, Lomond, Longview, MD of Willow Creek, Millarville, Milo, Mossleigh, Nanton, Okotoks, Priddis, Turner Valley, Vulcan, and Vulcan County.