Success stories

Success Stories

Community Futures is pleased to showcase some of the many good news stories in rural Alberta. Everyday we help people like you start and grow successful small businesses.

Thorium Crane Ltd.

Phillip Thomson

Thorium Crane Ltd. provides on-call crane and hoisting services to residential, commercial, industrial, and petroleum based companies. Owner Phillip Thomson launched the company in October 2007 and has been operating in Central Alberta ever since.

Prior to 2015, Thorium Crane was heavily invested in supplying services to the energy sector. With the downturn in the local economy starting in 2015, the company was met with some challenges and had to diversify their client base in order to continue to thrive in the midst of changing economic conditions. In order to diversify and obtain new clients in different industries, and with the help of Community Futures Central Alberta, they were able to upgrade their equipment, strengthen relations with some of their key clients, open opportunities in new markets, and cut their monthly expenses.

Although the economic conditions in 2016 were still slow, Thorium Crane was able to make the most out of an unfavorable economic climate. Specifically, in 2016, Thorium Crane was able to:

·         Reduce their monthly expenses by 40%

·         Enter and serve the green energy and recycling markets such as solar energy, farm reclamation, barn-board and antique salvage

·         Strengthen and add key clients within the energy sector to position themselves for success when the economy picks up

Overall, Thorium Crane has a positive outlook and with a lot of hard work, upgrading their skill set, and venturing into other aspects of business, they have a lot to look forward to in the years to come and are excited to see what the future brings for their business. Community Futures is proud of the hard work that Thorium Crane has displayed and wishes them continued success with their business. Business inquiries can be directed to Phil at 403-357-4533.

EDP Success Story - The Maby Studio

Ruby Cole
Sylvan Lake, AB

“Don’t be afraid to dream big. Our circumstances just mean we have to take a different route to our goal than what traditionally you would have to, not that we will not get there.” Ruby Cole 

Click HERE to read more about Ruby and her experience with the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program. 

Find The Maby Studio on Facebook and view their website for more info!


Express Employment Professionals

Curtis and Jen Debogorski
Red Deer, Alberta

Express Employment Professionals is a franchised business model offering a full range of employment solutions for Red Deer area businesses and job seekers, including professional searches, temporary and contract staffing, and onsite services. On August 11th, 2014 Curtis and Jen Debogorski opened their first Express Employment Professionals office in Red Deer, Alberta. Curtis worked with Community Futures Central Alberta throughout the start-up phase of the business and secured a loan to help with marketing and start-up expenses.
The Debogorski’s and their dynamic team help good people find jobs and local businesses find the talent and human resource services they need.  Curtis states, "We believe small business is the vital spark to growing the Canadian economy and thus are committed to helping small and mid-size businesses in Central Alberta increase employee retention and reduce turnover to enable leaders to remain focused on core business objectives. Being locally owned but part of a network of 800 offices and growing, we’re large enough to serve you completely, yet small enough to move quickly and act independently.  Our client base continues to grow and includes many industries, such as: public service, accounting/finance, oil and gas, information technology, sales and marketing, manufacturing, construction and medical." In 2017 their Red Deer office ranked #26 out of 800 offices and #3 in Canada in Professional Search/Direct Hire revenue, a very significant accomplishment for a newer office to achieve and a niche they intend on continuing to grow in Central Alberta. 
As a local business the Debogorski’s are actively engaged with giving back to the community, the World Champion Express Employment Professionals Clydesdales have been a headliner at the 2015 and 2016 Westerner Days Parade in Red Deer to raise money for Kid Sport Red Deer. Our office was the presenting sponsor of the parade for both 2015 and 2016.  The Clydesdales will be returning to the Westerner Parade again in 2018!  In May of 2016 the Red Deer office raised over 2000 pounds of non-perishable food and $1000 for the Red Deer Food Bank as part of our Brand it Blue Day.  In 2016 and 2017 we were also proud sponsors of the 2016 Red Deer Hospital Foundation Festival of Trees and sponsor the U-14 A Red Deer Rush Ringette team.    
Express Employment Professionals offers the following four service lines:
Temporary Staffing: Provide short-term / temporary employees for client companies
Evaluation Hire: Employees are provided on a probationary basis to ensure that only the best employees are moved to their core workforce
Direct Hire / Professional Search: Express Employment recruits, screens, and selects hard-to-find talent and places them directly on a client company’s payroll
Human Resource Solutions: Express Employment can provide solutions to human resource challenges, including an HR hotline, employee handbook development, HR compliance audits, organizational effectiveness surveys, onsite client training programs, and affirmative action plans.
To inquire about any of the services that Express Employment Professionals offers, visit them online at or phone the office at 403-356-9695.

Small Business Spotlight - Twenty-One Stitches

Natasha Ghostkeeper
Rocky Mountain House, AB

When Natasha Ghostkeeper When she was 21, she started on the path to sewing, quilting and teaching. She started Twenty-One Stitches to share this love of quilting.  Every aspect of this craft is exciting and engaging to Natasha and she she loves to share everything she learns with others who also enjoy it and with those who are learning. 

In 2012, Natasha moved to Rocky Mountain House with her two children, Aurealia and Oliver. Her daughter shares similar interests in the craft as well and they love teaching and learning together.  Natasha's interests are to design her own quilts and fabric line and to one day become a certified Judy Neimeyer instructor and store.

Twenty-One Stiches opened in June of 2019 and offers, fabric, notions, classes and much more! For more information, visit Twenty-One Stitches on Facebook or

Check out Natasha speaking about her entrepreneurial journey HERE.



Small Business Spotlight - Open Range Saloon

Trevor Scott and Heather Jones
Sylvan Lake, AB

With the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 still being top of mind for everyone, we'd like to share how one Sylvan Lake business is changing, persevering and adapting. 

Speaking with Heather Jones, co-owner of the Open Range Saloon, she had this to say about adapting to the changes as a business and as a community, " As COVID shut down many businesses, we adapted by looking closely at our community and the needs of our neighbours.  In a terrifying and unknown time, people needed comfort in both food and home.
Business wise, we adapted by changing our hours to dinner time only, offering more comfort food and family sized portions and starting curbside pickup and delivery. Community wise, we started a breakfast program to provide for those students who no longer had their School breakfast program to rely on. We had an enormous amount of support from other local businesses, churches and even B94 radio out of Rocky Mountain House.
Going forward, I think people have realized that their spending choices really do have an impact. Locally owned businesses need YOU, not only for survival but for employing your neighbours. We have 12 staff and every late night brainstorming was with them in mind, we have to come back from this! That's 12 families needing us, and when exhaustion would come, knowing our staff needed us to be strong was enough to wake up again and push forward. We were lucky enough to have every single team member come back to us. 
Our actions make us better people. Better people make a stronger community."

Visit Open Range in Sylvan Lake and stay up to date with them on Facebook and on Instagram.

Hearing Loops Canada

Duane Melchert
Red Deer

Hearing Loops Canada (HLC) was founded in September of 2016 by Duane Melchert and is a Division  of X-cel Communications Inc. HLC is proud to be an authorized/certified supply and install company for Contacta loop systems and products. HLC brings clear communication and enhanced sound quality to the hard of hearing in all walks of life, from shops and offices, to the largest theatres, auditoriums and sports stadiums.
What is a hearing loop?
A hearing loop consists of a microphone, an amplifier and, in the place of a loudspeaker, a coil of wire placed around the room. Sound waves from the speaker’s voice going into the microphone are changed into an electric current, amplified, and then sent through the coil which emits a magnetic field in the room. The field is picked up by the “T” switch of a hearing aid, amplified, and converted back into sound. Hearing aid users sitting within the loop system can pick up the speaker’s voice or other auditory stimulus with a minimum of distortion and no background noise simply by turning on the “T” switch on their hearing aids. The loop is fully adaptable to television, radio, stereo, tape recorder or movie projector.

According to CHHA – National over 4.3 million Canadians have hearing loss and is only growing.

Duane successfully completed the Community Futures BizStream Program in 2017, allowing his business to become SeCor certified. This certification allowed the business to meet the criteria and safety requirements in order to successfully bid on Government and large corporate contracts. In addition, Community Futures Central Alberta provided assistance and guidance in developing new licencing agreements and provided capital for Duane’s business to grow.

“As a small business owner being asked to participate in the BizStream Small Business Program by Community Futures Central Alberta is one of the best things that could have happened to me and my company. This program made me look at and understand my business in ways I never thought possible. It wasn’t an easy journey nor should it be. I am proud to say we are now SeCor certified and have produced policy and procedures we never had before. This has opened up new doors and opportunities. Thank You.” Duane Melchert


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Community Futures Central Alberta
5013 - 49 Avenue
Red Deer, AB T4N 3X1


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Communities Served

Burnstick Lake, 
Cline River, 
James River Bridge, 
Pine Lake, 
Red Deer, 
Rocky Mountain House, 
Spruce View, 
Sylvan Lake, 
Water Valley, 
Westward Ho, 


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