Grow Airdrie

BLOG 14- Katherine Gillan of From the Pear Tree

Katherine has an interesting niche that her business caters to, a papoose or Moses basket for dolls as well as clothing for dolls and most recently added branded vendor (human kind) solutions in the form of aprons as seen on Katherine in the above picture. When asked what she does she says she creates quality custom handcrafted items that stimulate imaginative play and support learning and communication between you and your kids. In this digital era, I can see the value of what she is doing, an alternative to screen time in needed. Katherine launched back in February 2011 almost 8 years ago, she had recently become a single, first time mom and created a part-time income through her business. Her connection within a doll community encouraged her to take on making doll clothing specifically for the Bamboletta doll because of the need and her talent, she caught the attention of Fig & Me doll producer and when they released the proprietary pattern, they gave Katherine permission to make the ever-popular papoose, as seen in the picture.
  She recently attended many markets to get her face and brand out there, quite effectively I might add. Most of her business stems from her website and social media. If you have a doll lover (18” style like American Girl) that would appreciate some accessories and clothing, please see her listing in Airdrie Exchange to explore what From the Pear Tree can do for you.

BLOG 13 Lindsey Coyle of Airdrie Exchange

Lindsey Coyle - Airdrie Exchange
It’s December 19th and I’m writting this blog but it’s also the point in time where we start to accept that the rest of the month is a write off as productivity during these holidays is almost futile. We interviewed two business owners to write about in our blog but based on timing for their promotions and such we pushed their write ups for the coming weeks. So you’re stuck with me. We further delayed publishing this post to sync up with the release of the Here’s the Scoop contribution printing. We’ve been in business 3 and a half months and we can confidently say, this is the hardest thing we’ve ever taken on. I personally was sick for a solid 3 weeks with a flu turned bronchitis and I’m currently sitting with a killer viral sinus infection. I don’t half ass anything. During this down time of not going to events, meetings or anything really, we put our heads down and did some major reality checks. Up to this point we were of the mindset that the business is slowly growing and will build momentum once the tipping point occurs. Now we’re seeing a need to do better. We’ve read books, taken courses and asked experts the questions and everything points to us not being clear in our message, our branding and our website. Kind of a hard pill to swallow but so is failure and that is not an option. We’ve decided to strip the website down to bare necessities in an effort to keep our message simple and clear. We have a vision of what we want Airdrie Exchange to be and we’ll use our blog to articulate that but as far as a stranger that jumps on our site knows, Airdrie Exchange is a business directory that looks at how the business serves the community rather that what they do. What do we mean by that? A great example of this would be Healthy Meals Made Easy, this company does healthy meal preps for you to buy. However we thought of all the times we would think to use the services would be when a new mom just gets home from the hospital with the baby, or for a recently widowed senior or when a child is sick and the family is rallying around them at the hospital. These are moments when we want to help them and we think we’ll just make them a meal. At this time we’re not afraid to admit we’re struggling to get meals on the table for our own families between activities and our new business, so taking on making another family meals isn’t really in the cards without putting ourselves into a tailspin. So a gift card for them at Healthy Meals Made Easy and they can pick what they like and fits their dietary needs. So when you look at postnatal care in our directory you will see doulas, physiotherapists and meal prep. We think when you start browsing a directory it’s for ideas and by seeing all the businesses that collectively serve in the area you’re looking you may find your answer.
We’re looking for the website to do all the heavy lifting so we can keep costs down as long as we can, as we are currently a business of one. We are rebranding site and really looking to capture all the information during the listing process. We want to have space rentals captured so we have a compiled list to use down the line. We want this site to be resource for families and businesses and non profits. At this point we are going to focus on making it the best local business directory and we will do everything we can to see the businesses that participate in it to see value and feel supported. We’re firm believers while Airdrie Exchange is young and running financially lean, we can create the value through out efforts, sweat equity in essense.
We feel very intune to the struggles of small businesses as we are one and we committed this business to helping the business community overcome those challenges based on our very own needs and financial realities. When we roll out ATown Syndicate you will see the most innovative way local companies can customize and budget their marketing plan for the year using any and all of the local advertising mediums. Airdrie Exchange’s ATown Syndicate is going to increase business for all, including all the advertising mediums of paper, radio, billboards, bus wraps and innovative cutting edge technologies not even used yet. Prepare for 2019, it’s setting up to be mindblowing!

BLOG 12 Kerrie Collingham of Kre8ing Waves

I have met Kerrie numerous times over the last year at markets and events and finally at a recent event through Gypsiella I was able to connect with her and get to know more about what she does. I found what she does so intriguing I referred my mom, she now takes her great Pyrenees Milah to Kerrie for Magna wave treatments. Big dogs are famous for arthritis and joint issues and poor Milah has already had an ACL tear and reparative surgery 3 years ago and she is only 6 years old now. I jealously call Milah my little sister, as my mom makes all pets instant family, but this big fluffy polar bear sized sweetheart is a show stopper. The magna wave therapy that Kerrie offers is a chance to offer Milah pain relief, reduced inflammation so healing can occur. I recently tore my achilles and going through the healing process so this therapy as I learned would help me as well.

Kre8ing Waves started in June of this year and Kerrie Collingham the owner listed in our directory back in October, if you want to explore PEMF therapy for yourself or your four-legged family members. Kerrie works from home and is mobile with her PEMF device which essentially increases circulation at a cellular level using magnetic waves being aimed at pain affected joints (arthritis and ACL tears). This therapy is a drug free alternative for pain control and allows the natural healing process to occur when the inflammation is reduced.

In speaking to Kerrie her passion is for pets based on her experience with supporting her own dog’s recovery from a knee injury, she wished she knew about magna wave back then. The vision for her company is to someday open a pet rehabilitation pool, in conjunction with the current magna wave therapy, could provide a fun alternative to pain relief and healing. I’d love to see her successful in this vision, many owners would do anything to offer relief from pain for their loved fur babies.

BLOG 11 Christelle Hitimana of Healthy Meals Made Easy

I met with Christelle over a year ago when I was researching for my first business idea, Exchange of Presence (details of that business are discussed in my first blog). My husband and I had “dates” with our kids doing meal prep with Christelle, it was fun and the kids ate their creations with so much pride, I believe we did a pasta free meat lasagna and a stickly lemon chicken.
When I sat down with Christelle and found out how her business came to be I quite literally got goosebumps. Christelle was a youth worker in mental health among teens. She encountered suicidal teens and worked to support them on their journey to finding their way. Rather than be on the end of helping teens already suicidal, Christelle learnt through a study that families that eat healthy meals together often reduce teen suicide by 70% (see source link below). So Healthy Meals Made Easy provides busy families taxed on time and running to activities the means to still sit and eat a nutritious healthy meal together. Is this not a beautiful why? Meeting people like Christelle and seeing how she is doing her business for all the right reasons makes it very easy for me to want to support her and champion her for success. Success for Christelle when asked was to see her business franchised out to other communities so more families and individuals can be reached with healthy, unprocessed meal options at home.
Healthy Meals Made Easy offers some great favorites like the Cauliflower and bacon Ravioli that Christelle concocted and many customers have on repeat as it’s a hit. She also offers many low carb and gluten free option to fit any lifestyle, they are affordable and freshly made.  You’ll find her commercial kitchen and retail space on Main Street between the Urgent care facility and The Shoppers Drugmart across from the Towerlane Center. You can find Healthy Meals Made Easy in our directory for your online shopping options or go in and see what’s in the freezers. The other option is to set up a visit where you and your family can do the meal prep together like we did, you just pay the cost of your meals.  It really is a fun thing to do, my kids were 6 & 8 at the time and I highly recommend it. source for quote of link of increase weekly family meals decreases the likelihood of teen suicide by 70%

Blog 10 Rob Cadwell of CADCO Rentals

Rob was the first to add a business in the directory and he took advantage of the 30 days free option. He was operating a trucking company in Spruce Grove and he changed gears(yep totally intended) and started CADCO Rentals. In April of 2018, Rob brought his family owned business CADCO Rentals and the impressive inventory to Airdrie in an effort to be closer to his home and family that had moved to Airdrie over 2 years ago.

CADCO Rentals machinery inventory available for rent can cover your home jobs to commercial, from skid steers, mini backhoes and small to medium loaders, dump trucks and more, with free delivery and pick up. YES free delivery and pick up so that means no truck, no problem. No straps or tarps to rent as well, so their value to homeowners and small operations is huge. However they can accommodate large commercial and industrial outfits with their equipment needs as well. I was told that you can put a rider on your home and auto insurance for the equipment rental to extend your liability and add fire theft and loss. 

Rob has a huge desire to give back to the community especially to young kids. I couldn’t help but think of my little brother that was infatuated with loaders and dump trucks and how he would have been absolutely gobsmacked if he got to explore one at that peak interest age. We discussed the possibility of creating just such an opportunity in the community for our littles that love the machinery that Rob has. Both Rob and I grew up with trucking and heavy machinery, we both discussed sitting on our parent’s lap “driving” or in my case scooping and dumping sugar beets. So how does that shape you as you grow up? I couldn’t help but think that we both are business owner… Hmmm, I wonder? We’re happy Rob listed with, this spring our backyard project seems much more feasible with the equipment we now know is available to us. 

Blog 9 Pamela Jarosz and Cody Fitzsimmons of Fitzsimmons Brewing Co.

Airdrie welcomed its first microbrewery just over a year ago when Fitzsimmons Brewing Co. opened their doors. The seed of owning a micro brewery was planted 6 years ago for Pamela Jarosz and Cody Fitzsimmons when they saw how common they were in BC. Three years ago, they started to research and found due to Alberta laws it wasn’t possible until recently the laws changed and it was! Talk about great timing. Being one of the first wave of micro-breweries in Alberta is a bad-ass thing, it’s paving the way for others and we will start to see more and more pop up and this is a great thing! 

You know you are on the right track when crazy coincidences occur to help you. When Pamela and Cody were sourcing quotes for the equipment needed for a microbrewery they were pleasantly surprised that their aunt sat beside a man on her flight to Kelowna and he happened to be a microbrewery equipment dealer… Say what?!  Yep not only are they ecstatic to have found exactly what they needed for great value but a friendship was forged. The universe is friendly.

When at Fitzsimmons you see people sampling a pint and chatting with friends seated cozily on couches, you see families with their kids and friends meeting for a quick brew after kid’s sport practice. With AGLA minors are allowed in micro breweries, as long as they are accompanied by their legal guardian/ parent.  Kind of cool as I was able to attend a Rotary meeting with my 7 year old daughter in tow, enjoy a cranberry pomegranate sour and letting her enjoy my phone so I could be present for the meeting. I mentioned how many events I’ve attended at Fitzsimmons lately and they beamed as they were happy to see the community adopt them as a hub. Other than always abiding by the AGLA laws, Pamela and Cody are committed to giving back to the community by accommodating non-profits the best they can, provide a space for events and in turn they are turning themselves into a venue for Airdrie as a whole.

The biggest challenge is to get the word out to the masses of Airdrie that they exist. If you attended Airdrie Fest this year you may have seen our first beer garden, hosted by none other than Fitzsimmons Brewing Co. and Main Street BBQ. Is it me or are all our events just getting better and better? I love watching people doing what they love as they have a childlike enthusiasm about concocting new beers, the creativity and craftsmanship to do it well is a by-product of pride. Cody and Pamela have every reason to be proud, one year later their business is growing and growing and who knows what next year will look like. Celebrate their first birthday with them this Saturday the 24th of November at their Brewery, there’s food trucks, games and ways to give back to Airdrie Food Bank. The pictures in the is blog were taken by the local talented photographer Cassia Davy from Davy Photography, and the cupcakes were purchased locally at Avenue Cakery and Bakeshoppe. The photo shoot was a lot of fun and it was easy to see Pamela and Cody are happy where they are at, take time to connect with some friends and sample some fine beers and check out Fitzsimmons Brewing Co.

BLOG 8 Kelsey Davidson Alive Fitness & Wellness

I met Kelsey online when she was running a 30 Day Facebook Fitness challenge through her business Alive Fitness and Wellness over two years ago. Not only did I complete numerous months of workouts through her app, I also attended a workshop where I finally met her face to face, where she introduced me to numerous powerhouse entrepreneur women. Brandy Corcoran was collaborating with Kelsey for the workshop as a trained counsellor and she also just happens to be a Norwex National sales director. Lenora Collins a spiritual coach and healer and all around amazing person you’d love to be around, her energy is contagious. Three valued relationships formed in one last minute decision to say yes to attending a women’s empowerment workshop. Kelsey tends to be a catalyst for bringing women together and now I see her encompassing tweens and teens under her wings of care. This is something I completely support as Kelsey is a great role model of being competitive and compassionate, together, these two things create a healthy sense of confidence. Don’t be fooled by her soft voice and kind smile, she is a fierce badass that picked up and moved to Costa Rica with her family because she wouldn’t let fear hold her back. That is something I admire about her. Kelsey’s approach to wellness is not about just exercise and nutrition but to play outside with your kids and feel good. She adds a soft and subtle element of accountability that works, and I personally appreciated it, I attribute that to her being a good read of what a person needs or likes to remain motivated. That’s kind of a key element to creating a healthy lifestyle. Kelsey brought Airdrie the first Breast Cancer Live, Love, Run this past month out of sheer dedication to her community. We are so glad she is participating in our directory, she’s a health influencer in Airdrie so keep an eye on her!

Blog 6 Airdrie Exchange Your Business Connection to Tania Hryciuk

Tania Hryciuk is the owner, operator and talent of A Tisket a Tasket Basket and Blooms a local home-based gift basket and arrangement company. With Tania’s design background, passion to be creative and provide personal touches with exceptional local quality items, she is a great resource. Her husband is in the middle of building the cooler in their basement to house the blooms

 for this new addition to the business. Daisy her dog was with us as we chatted and loved the attention. Tania was the first to participate in the directory and an avid cheerleader, I am ever so grateful for. Although we are a relatively new budding friendship I see such a warm, caring woman that would be a hoot to go out and have drinks with, Funny that the goal of Airdrie Exchange is to connect the community and I feel I have exponentially connected with more quality people since its’ inception than ever before. As a mom, wife and friend, Tania has dedicated her attention to making her talent a means to making people happy. The smile and reaction when people see the final product is the reason why she does what she does. When you are struggling with how to say thank you, congratulations and I love you through a personal gift, Tania is the answer.   

Connect with Tania through Airdrie Exchange or through her Facebook page with her company namesake.  Next week I will introduce you to Beckie Lower of AWIN Insurance Airdrie West.


I’m all that and a bag of chips…

Blog #5

I have been sweating thinking about writing this blog, I said I was going to write about things about myself that I’m proud of. I think I must write how uncomfortable I am writing this to offset the pompousness I think bragging about yourself I feel. You know how you judge others for things that you have an issue with in yourself? When someone brags, I poker face and try not to roll my eyes. I am not familiar with what amount of self praise is appropriate or healthy so I think I avoided it all together. Alright 5 things I’m proud of and things that have set me up to succeed in life.

  • I am stubborn and tenacious, I do not get knocked off task easily nor would I stay down if I was. My commitment to seeing Airdrie Block Parent established in our community is a good example that if I am committed, I am committed.  My husband with whom I’ve been with for over 24 years can attest to this sentiment as well.
  • I know who I am, what I stand for and my worth and don’t feel the need for anyone’s approval. I am so grateful for this and I thank my parents for instilling this in me. My dad gave me some great insight into the male psyche as a young tween and it enabled me to see boys are humans with insecurities and fears just like I had. I related to boys and eventually men with more compassion and my affinity for the sisterhood of women was influenced by all my aunties that were present and a part of my circle of influence growing up.
  • I feel a responsibility in the world to do my part. Apathy is the bane of my existence. I believe I am either a part of the solution or I am a part of the problem, so I choose my course of action accordingly. My grandma was an avid recycler and composter well before the green movement took, her example impressed upon me that you have to put your action behind your mouth on what you claim as important to you. That means I have to step into leadership as needed to see things through.
  • People know where they stand with me. I am an open book, I say what I think and don’t judge. I accept the vulnerability that comes with sometimes taking the unpopular stance and can openly admit my fears and limitations. Some people might call this not having a filter, but I’d like to point out that I have yet to swear in this blog not because I don’t swear but because by the time the curse leaves my brain and I am typing I am able to curb it. In person I am not as G rated, so be forewarned.
  • I am accountable. I am responsible for my life, the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ve become much more aware of my ego and the havoc it can wreak on my choices.  I am in tune to  the emotions I feel and I respect them as they are felt and I remain curious and brutally honest with myself on why that emotion showed up. Someone once said something to me that really helped me be more self compassionate when I failed to do something I said I would as this used to be in my mind a lack of integrity. I am human, so I will fail to keep my word at times, but I can 100% honor my word by acknowledging, accepting responsibility and making right when I fail to keep my word. I essentially redefined integrity and the level to which I hold myself which is forgiving in itself by new definition but always accountable.

No bonus as I am maxed out on this subject. It was a challenge and I feel the need to add a caveat, I’m human so nothing stated above is 100%, as perfection is not a part of my genetic makeup.

I feel I have adequately exposed myself in my first couple blogs, so now I will move on to others and discuss their why’s in their business.


It’s Tuesday evening and I’m writing my blog with a glass of red wine and kids so freshly put to bed I can’t get a bag of chips yet because the crinkle of the bag will create a reason for them to come to the top of the stairs to ask what I’m eating. I started writing blog earlier but it was not flowing out of me by any means, so I left it and when I came back to it tonight, I deleted the page I wrote… I may regret that since I need to finish my blog tonight.  I don’t want to just write for the sake of writing and if I feel something needs to be said I am rarely at a loss for words, so I will exercise some self compassion and do my best but not beat myself up if I miss my mark.  This self compassion thing is relatively new to me, it seems like this elusive thing we chase our whole and say we have because we don’t throw ourselves in front of the guilt bus. Who needs the throw themselves in front of the guilt bus, that freaking thing was tethered to my ankle. I like to call myself a recovering people pleaser, I kept my mouth closed to keep the peace and fought a war inside and I decided no more. I speak my truth all the time and I do my best to deliver it with kindness and tact. Honesty without tact is just cruel and that is not how I like to operate. So that being said, this post is going to be a soul bearing dose of honesty because I believe once you talk about what you are afraid of it’s a little less scary. Plus, if I tell you and it’s brought up down the line like it’s my little dirty secret, jokes on you. Here is point form are all my top 5 fears about starting this business.

  • Let’s get the most obvious out of the way, FAILURE. I promised my family that once I have built this business, we will travel extensively. I am telling businesses that a local business directory will help their business and provide focused exposure to the market they serve. I believe connecting the community is possible, what if I’m wrong?
  • I don’t have a university degree, I went to U of M for two years and studied languages (I speak two fluently and two as a tourist with charades that could get by) I ended up working for the provincial government with Driver Licensing offices as a student(STEP student term employment program) and was kept on full time after my 2nd summer with them. I guess this is called feeling like an imposter without the credentials, most days I know this isn’t the case but catch me after a rough day and this is close to the surface.
  • What if I attract more negative attention than I bargained for by speaking my truth? During the election I got a small taste of what it’s like to be seen and become a target for mean spirited crap online. I’m relatively thick-skinned and I am somewhat sensitive to being seen as unintelligent. See fear #2, but really nobody likes to feel dumb.
  • I am afraid of impacting my family negatively with my success or failure. I don’t want to forget my priorities as I chase my dream and be absent and miss being there for my family over the next couple years nor do I want business to be a financially drain and cause stress to my family as I struggle to get business off the ground. Will I know when to hold’em and know when to fold’em?
  • What if I screw up along the way so royally and I impact others negatively? I have always tried to live by the motto of “do no harm” so this would be a devastating blow. You don’t know what you don’t know and although it’s not an excuse it’s a reality I have to accept as I’ve never ran a business before.

Bonus fear)        I had some interesting comical past jobs and evoke a bit of embarrassment, I tree-planted in NW Ontario to pay for university, I sold vacuums and Cutco knives for living expenses during university as well, I literally had to bang a gong if I sold a vacuum, so cheesy.  I left my unionized provincial government job to become an independent financial planner with Primerica Financial Services, I did this for 2 years and then left for Calgary when my then boyfriend now husband got a job offer from the Fire Department. In the first month in Calgary I took a job as assistant manager of a Roger’s Video, if that doesn’t age me I don’t know what will.  These aren’t all my jobs but they are the ones that I get squeamish admitting to.

To be honest this wasn’t very hard to write, I think we could all come up with our fears without too much soul searching.  Fear insidiously invades our thoughts every day and causes us to doubt and question our every move sometimes.  Next week’s blog is going to be challenging as I am committing to writing what I’m proud of and believe has set me up to be successful. I’m already uncomfortable thinking of it. I’m not one to toot my own horn but I feel like I need to write it out for my own psyche after spilling my guts on my fears.  New fear just popped up, who would want to do business with someone that has fears 1 thru 5? Hit post anyways.