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Success Stories

Full Circle Movement Studios

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Lola Frost, the visionary behind Full Circle Movement Studios, had a clear goal in mind when she conceptualized her business: to create an inclusive movement space that encompassed physical fitness, wellness, and social well-being. Drawing from her previous studio experience and her passion for movement, Lola embarked on a remarkable journey with the support of Community Futures.

Full Circle encountered challenges while starting up. Lola acknowledges the obstacles she faced but emphasizes that they were met with innovative solutions. “I think the challenges that I came up against were important and timely. Finding appropriate space, with limited commercial space available in Okotoks, combined with the lack of functional commercial space and the cost of having to do the build would have changed the outcome.” However, Lola considers herself fortunate to have secured a location that was already well-suited for a business like Full Circle.

“I would also say that I did not have a great understanding of the depth of a business plan and the scope of financial planning. That was a big roadblock. Working with Community Futures and the EDP Program and utilizing the  expertise of business coaching, I was able to fully see the breadth of running a business and that it was not only working in your business, but also on your business.”

Overcoming the sense of overwhelm and discouragement was yet another roadblock for Lola. However, with the unwavering support of the community and her dedicated business coach, Lola found solace in knowing that she was fulfilling a genuine market need. The encouragement and enthusiasm she received from Community Futures and the local community played a pivotal role in helping her overcome obstacles.

Now, seven months into operations, Full Circle is thriving. The business is steadily growing, and Lola is gaining valuable insights into the dynamics of a smaller town compared to a city. Understanding the differences and formulating that data has been a key focus for Lola in her first year of operation. Full Circle offers classes seven days a week, with a robust schedule of 26-27 classes per week. While class sizes vary depending on time and style, memberships are strong, and the feedback from clients has been positive.

Evans Carpet Care

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Thomas Evans, the proud owner of Evans Carpet Care, has overcome numerous challenges to reclaim his passion for the carpet cleaning industry. His story is one of determination, family support, and the assistance of Community Futures. With renewed vigor and a deep commitment to providing exceptional service, Evans Carpet Care is thriving.

Thomas's journey began when he worked for Pro Kleen Carpet Care. After seven years, the owner sold the company to Thomas when his ex-partner and he parted ways. Thomas successfully ran the business for another seven years. However, when his mother fell ill, he had to leave jobs repeatedly to care for her. Eventually, he had to step away entirely. A setback came in the form of a head injury, which prevented Thomas from working. Nevertheless, a return-to-work representative informed him that he could still work for himself and continue the carpet cleaning profession he excelled at. The prospect of having control over his hours and workload led Thomas to reignite his passion for carpet cleaning and resurrect Evans Carpet Care.

Despite emotional moments in the van, with memories of his mother receiving cancer treatments at the Thomas Baker Cancer Center, Thomas found solace in hearing positive remarks about his work. His mother, overhearing strangers praising the amazing young man and the company he owned, couldn't help but giggle with pride, revealing that the young man they were discussing was her son. This emotional connection and the desire to excel for his family became a driving force for Thomas to return to his craft. “Now I have the push, the desire to get back at it. And it was something I was good at. I was able to do it in my sleep, my last two jobs have been a referral from one person I just did a job for that said it was amazing, so you know it’s stuff like that that really helps with my confidence and the whole situation with the injury.”

Financial challenges, equipment maintenance, physical limitations, and emotional hurdles all presented themselves. The equipment, which had sat unused for nearly a decade, required extensive repairs. Financially, Thomas needed significant support. Physically, he had to test his abilities and regain his stride. Emotionally, he faced ongoing hurdles that he continues to work through. Fortunately, the assistance of Community Futures played a crucial role in his journey. Their financial support enabled him to bring the equipment up to par and set the wheels in motion, as well as ongoing coaching and support through the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program. “I’ve used a lot of the [Community Futures] programs and everyone that I have had to deal with has been absolutely amazing!”

Today, Evans Carpet Care is flourishing. With a steadily increasing clientele and a growing reputation for exceptional service, the business is thriving as expected. Thomas receives daily calls, emails, and text messages from prospective customers eager to experience the outstanding service his company provides. The evidence of their success is reflected in the five-star reviews on Google and the positive referrals pouring in. “I try to be as perfect as possible, and sometimes you just can’t be. Carpets really are a finicky thing, and so are the stains.”

Timber Ridge Firewood

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In 2016 Steven Boivin spearheaded Timber Ridge Firewood during his final year of high school. Steven grew up being heavily influenced by his parent’s running of an arborist company. Juggling school and scaling a business that was rapidly evolving lead to Steven’s brother, Nicholas Boivin, partnering in the business. This partnership created huge growth for Timber Ridge Firewood and allowed the brothers to expand and outgrow their location. “We offer high-quality products. We want to create a good atmosphere and make sure our guys are happy working for us. There are more ways that you get gratification than just financial gain.”

Consistency, high-quality services, and having good systems is the backbone of Timber Ridge and has supported them through drastic economic changes and supply-chain issues. Wildfires, an influx of housing demands, and production issues created a unique barrier for Timber Ridge. “COVID brought a national wood shortage.” Nicholas said, “Now inflation has completely changed the landscape as well. Our systems and operations had to change so that we could weather through the craziness. This is going to be a generational company, if you can make it through all of this you can make it through anything.”

Financing was an ongoing barrier for Timber Ridge Firewood as the demand for products was quickly outgrowing the capacity of their facility. “You can easily get a little bit of start up funding, but it ends there. When you are creating something to this capacity you need more, and the banks look at young people and instantly shake their heads. Community Futures is the reason the new space was possible for us. Without them we wouldn’t have been able to move here.”

The future is incredibly bright for the Boivin brothers, including an upcoming partnership with a sawmill. Future plans for further expansion of the ‘Firewood Experience’ include items that are more than just wood, such as artisan metal and wood products and “the aesthetic of the real comfort that firewood brings. We are aiming to be involved in our community, get our employees involved, and engage in positive initiatives!” Steven says.

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