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.

Howlin Coyote Motorcycle Campground

Les and Dianne Anderson
Range Road 141 and Hwy 652 south of Vilna, AB


The Howlin’ Coyote Motorcycle Campground is a unique camping experience exclusive to motorcycle enthusiasts.

Dianne and Les Anderson envisioned a campground designed and built specifically for motorcycle riders. After travelling across Canada on their bike their suspicions were confirmed that that this type of service for motorcyclists was virtually non-existent.

They began their search for the ideal piece of property in 2005 and in 2009 they found it in Smoky Lake County they knew that their small business venture was finally going to happen.

Their work began determining the cost of creating the businesses. Roadways, campsites a shelter and a Store/Shower building would be required for the vision they seen. They had saved for many years with this project in mind but it just wasn’t going to be enough! After being politely refused by one of the major Banks they spoke to Mr. Paul Pelletier, General Manger at Community Futures and submitted a business plan for his consideration for financing their business venture. After the Board considered and approved the venture they were on their way!

The business is now in its third year of operations. Motorcyclists from as far away as England and of course motorcyclists from our vast Country as far as PEI have visited the campground. The comments have all been positive and as the third year ends prospects are good for success of their Business venture.

An annual “Biker Bash” is held in August as a fundraiser for the Fallen Rider Monument that will be erected in Two Hills, Alberta. This event not only recognizes the fallen rider but it provides an opportunity for motorcyclists to show off their skills on their rides in the rodeo! The evening entertainment is great and a good time is had by all of the campers in attendance and many new friendships are struck.

Howlin’ Coyote promotes the many beautiful lakes, museums, and other tourist attractions within touring distance from their campground. The campground boasts a country store for all the necessary food and camping supplies.  They have a horse- shoe pit and the store holds several other games that are available to registered quests for their enjoyment.

This summer the campground provided a venue for a very special couple as they said their special vows during their wedding ceremony hosted by Howlin’ Coyote. A small rainfall happened about an hour before the wedding but the sandy soil saved the day and the wedding went off without a hitch! They say a little rain on your wedding day brings good luck – ask Les and Dianne.

Les and Dianne continue to build the business. Marketing is crucial when starting a business like this when there are few examples across the country in which to model a new business. The success is dependent on the motorcyclists that visit the site and of course the media.

They are both involved in the local community groups and are always willing to lend a hand to make a venture successful. The Chamber of Commerce was the first group to benefit from their personal life experiences in the legal formation and the many ventures undertaken under the leadership of Dianne. They take an active role in community events not only to promote their campground but to encourage travellers to the north east sector of Alberta.

This unique business, like many others, comes with unique challenges and opportunities!  Community Futures was the one place where their idea was provided serious consideration and the organization was bold enough to finance a new idea and concept in tourism geared towards the motorcycle enthusiast!

Play2Learn Daycare Services

Melanie Poulin
Elk Point, AB


Early 2009 began the vision of my venture.  I am a local born and raised community member of Elk Point.  I grew up here, moved away to ad to my life experience and returned to my “home town” to raise my 4 children. I come from a strong family of entrepreneurs and knew that there was a community need that needed to be filled. It was never a thought that any project I decided to do would fail….. It was just the HOW was I going to make it work!

Along with a grant for a “Making Space for Children” provincial government initiative, I put my business plan together and came to Community Futures for support and guidance and the BUSINESS LOAN that was crucial to proceed forward.  The first stage of my “small business” venture became a reality!  But my team and I soon realized that expansion was necessary to continue to grow at the fast rate we were (and still are) growing today!

Community Futures was there again for advice, help with documentation and mentorship! Jody was calm and when my excitement for the project needed some “sensibleness”, he prevailed! The daycare has continued to make our small community stay that much more vibrant as Play 2 Learn Daycare has purchased an existing town building (thanks also to The Elk Point Elks Lodge #460). We have done renovations with Community Futures Loans and continued the growth of Early Childhood Development in Elk Point!

The potential for additional business has also been seen!  We are able to provide space for smaller group activities such as First Aid Classes, Ukrainian Dance Club, or various club meetings. We have built a permanent home for our towns Jack and Jill Preschool program. We host initiatives with Norquest College and support community members with availability of English classes right here at Play 2 Learn so that community members need not travel far to get to these needed classes

I appreciate Community Futures. As a young business person with drive and motivation to put business initiatives together YOU are an important catalyst as everything comes with a price tag. You were (and are) the help I needed and Community Futures has done just what the title implies…… helping build a community’s future!!

by Melanie Poulin, owner/operator

Vilna True Value

Gisela Klauke
Main Street, Vilna, AB


Running a business in a small village means that you need to provide a number of services to your customers. That is exactly what Gisela Klauke does in the Village of Vilna in Northeast Alberta.

Gisela started her small business in 1997. She owns and operates a hardware store that has hardware, farm goods, paint, household supplies and fishing supplies that meet the wide variety of needs of her rural customers. On top of that she is also runs the local Alberta Registries office from the store. With these services under one roof, she if busy with customers looking for one service or the other. Gisela is also an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and she took the opportunity to renovate a room on the side of the store to rent to the Chamber for their office. This provided the Chamber with a downtown office that was easy for people to access and had all the space necessary for them to hold their meetings, keep their office equipment and supplies.

The Village of Vilna completed a “Boomtown” style renovation of their downtown a few years ago and the Hardware storefront was done to match the theme. It has a historical look and with it’s high profile location on the first corner of the main street, the store adds to the overall theme of the Village. The wooden sidewalks and the old town flavour of Vilna’s main street continue to bring visitors and shoppers to the store.

Today, Gisela keeps busy in her business. She is an active member of the community and can bring a personal touch to her business. She knows most of her customers by name and as a small business, she has the ability to be able to accommodate special requests and services that her customers appreciate.

A step into the Vilna True Value Hardware takes you back in time. It brings back memories of a time when life wasn’t quite so rushed and where a friendly and familiar face meets you behind the counter. Where the question “How are you today” is asked because the owner truly cares and a place where you can relax and take a few minutes to chat about the weather, the crops, or an upcoming event in the community.

? Top

Get in Touch

Community Futures St. Paul - Smoky Lake
Box 1484
4802 - 50 Avenue
St. Paul, AB T0A 3A0

780-645-5782

Message Us

Communities Served

Abilene, 
Ashmont, 
Bellis, 
Boyne Lake, 
Brosseau, 
Elk Point, 
Foisy, 
Goodfish Lake, 
Goodridge, 
Heinsburg, 
Horseshoe Bay, 
Lafond, 
Lindbergh, 
Mallaig, 
McRae, 
Saddle Lake, 
Smoky Lake, 
Spedden, 
St Brides, 
St Edouard, 
St Lina, 
St Paul, 
St Vincent, 
Vilna, 
Warspite, 
Waskatenau, 

Share

Facebook icon
Twitter icon
Google icon
Pinterest icon
LinkedIn icon
e-mail icon