Accessibility Tools

Success Stories

Alliance Disposal


Alliance Disposal 

Warren Toews 

“My wife Kendra and I started Alliance Disposal in 2010. We built it up slowly with the help of 2 Community Futures loans to get rolling. In November 2020 we became share holders of an up-and-coming national company Environmental 360 Solutions. Starting up a garbage and recycling business is a lot of hard work and dedication. We were told by some of the bigger companies that we would not make it 3 years. But we are both stubborn.” 

-Warren Toews 

Warren first learned about Community Futures when he met Holly, our executive director, at a Chamber of Commerce mixer and has been building a strong relationship with the organization ever since. With Community Futures, he created a business plan and was able to secure 2 loans of $150 000 each for his business. This allowed him to grow and diversify his business. Alliance Disposal won the Grande Prairie Chamber of Commerce “Small Business of the Year” award in 2013 and was a finalist in 2018, and they are proud to be the only waste company in Grande Prairie to have that honor. 

Warren says the best part of being an entrepreneur is having the ability to manage his own time as he sees fit and having the financial security to create better value of life for his family. His advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs is to “look, listen and learn. Always talk to as many people as you can and continue learning different areas of expertise. Stay at it, it’s hard running a company. It’s not easy, and be prepared to sacrifice some things for long term gains.” 


Warren is also currently serving as the chair of the Community Futures Grande Prairie & Region board and as the Vice Chair of the Community Futures Network of Alberta. He is heavily involved in the community through both of these roles and as a member of the Swan City Rotary Club, and is constantly working to improve our community.  

The Off Season

Nick Darke

The Off Season 

Nick Darke  

My names Nick Darke, I’m 33 years old and I’ve grown up in Grande Prairie my entire life. Since I can remember I’ve been a part of sports teams and associations from baseball to soccer, hockey to slow pitch. Sports are my life.  

I decided to open Grande Prairies first ever indoor batting cage so I could not only provide a home to such a large ball community in town but be able to come to work everyday knowing I get to do something I’m beyond passionate about. I make the joke that I couldn’t make the Blue Jay’s so this is the next best thing. Getting to coach and mentor our up-and-coming athletes is a dream come true for me. What makes us unique is we’re 1 of a kind and the first facility like this in our area.  

Nick was recommended to Community Future by a good customer of his, at his last job. He was talking about his plans to open the cages and he said that I should be going to Community Futures as this is something they would love to hear about. After meeting with Barry, he was very confident that they believed in not only his business plan but him as a person. Nick said the best decision he made was going to Community Futures.  

 Nick says he decided to work with Community Futures, because the fact that Barry and the whole board believed in him and supported his ideas 100% was all he needed to hear. He said they reassured him that the business plan was going to be very successful, and he was the right person for the job.  

 Nick also says from the day he started speaking with Barry and Community Futures he knew he came to the right place. He said they made things very easy and straight forward for him. They told me what I would need to do in order to achieve my loan and mentioned a few tweaks I should make to my business plan. The rest was history! 

From working with community Future Nick learned that they want to see businesses like his succeed and provide the community of Grande Prairie more things to do. Especially in our long winters! They told me the board gave me 100% approval which is a fantastic feeling and just shows how excited everyone is about the business.  

Nick says his business was just a dream before going to Community Futures. And that the best part of being an entrepreneur is the freedom that comes with being your own boss. It’s life changing. 

Nick’s advice to entrepreneur is to be patient and go after what you believe in. The only thing holding you back is yourself.  

A business won’t grow or succeed without the right mindset. If you show up everyday and set goals for the company, you’ll always be working towards something special.  

Supreme Diesel

Ernie Kiim

Supreme Diesel

Ernie & Kim Doble

“My name is Ernie Doble. I am a licensed auto technician, and I started in the auto industry in 1991. I have lived in the area for 39 years. My wife, Kim has been in the automotive industry for many years; in parts, service, administration, and accounting.  We met over the phone when I was ordering transmission and driveline parts from her.  We joke saying she has always been giving me the gears!


Before Supreme Diesel, I was a journeyman automotive technician. Then, my wife and I had our first shop in Grande Prairie. Our first desire was to give honest, and good quality work to everyone. We then partnered with a diesel performance shop from Edmonton to start a shop up here.  Little did we know that was to become our niche; I’m a “truck whisperer”, some have said, because I have a deep understanding of diesel engines and performance. So, we closed that partnership and opened the doors to Supreme Diesel starting in the wonderful small town of Sexsmith.”

-Ernie Doble

Ernie and Kim first heard about Community Futures from another small company that operated in Sexsmith. They began attending classes and workshops where they learned a lot of tips and tricks that forwarded the trajectory of their business’ growth. They were also able to secure operating funds to get started.

They say that their favorite thing about owning their own business is “meeting new people and seeing them return, even to only visit. We love giving to our community by supporting jobs, sponsoring events, and participating in important concerns. We also really enjoy bringing people here from all over. We have met so many of our industry leaders and enthusiasts from neighboring communities, provinces, and neighbors from the south in the USA and we proudly enjoy introducing them to our people, community, and lifestyle here”.

Ernie and Kim’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is “start with Community Futures. They will work with you to succeed, they open the doors to join the business community, and they share valuable knowledge. Always aspire to learn more, it is necessary to be able to continually adapt, improve and look for new opportunities. Always stay in tune with your customers and listen for their hints to improve your services. Your people are the most important, they need to believe in what they do and work together for success.  It is all about meeting the needs of others.”

Shade Tree Chocolate Studio


Shade Tree Chocolate Studio 

Celest Robinson 

#107 Tuscan Square, Resources Road 

Celest has been many things; a part of the film industry, and old school salsa dancer, and now – the owner of Shade Tree Chocolate Studio. She describes Shade Tree as a place that “creates moments worth remembering” and makes “damn good chocolate”. You can visit Shade Tree Chocolate Studio at #107 Tuscan Square, Resources Road, or check out their website at

Celest enjoyed working with Community Futures because it was a nurturing environment that made entrepreneurship approachable. She appreciated the fact that Community Futures recognized that not all entrepreneurs are the same and was able to be flexible to her individual needs. Celest explained that “there’s this idea of what an entrepreneur “should” be, and I never checked off the boxes” but after working with Community Futures, she was able to see herself as an entrepreneur. Her advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs is to stop worrying about being the “right type” of person to become an entrepreneur; and to let go of the big picture. She says that by taking a step back and allowing things to happen, better things will come to you. 

Cree8iv Ink & Alberta College of Body Art

Bobbi Jo

Alberta College of Body Art  

Cree8iv Ink Body Studio Ltd. 

Bobbi Jo Matheson

Bobbi Jo is a proud Status Cree First Nation serial Entrepreneur from Grande Prairie Alberta whose lineage began in Northern Alberta - Treaty 8 – Beaver First Nation.

She is a professional multi trained tattoo artist, a certified first aid instructor and a Commissioner for Oaths among others, who mentors, does guest speaking, been nominated for and won awards, and is very involved in the community.

“In the last 6 years, the industry has seen a boost in societal acceptance so the demand for competent artists increased but the supply of shop apprenticeships decreased, leaving learning alone the only option for career entry. And I can tell you from my own self-taught experience 11 years ago, that that is not an easy road. Because tattooing is not just ink and needles. Its health & safety, workmanship, customer service, sales, marketing & finance – all rolled up into a profession that also requires precision, focus, patience, and adaptability.

We created Canada’s first and only accredited post secondary tattoo training facility. Alberta College of Body Art assists future artists with accessible safe learning, with a team of artists and industry guest professionals. What sets us apart from any alternatives is the hands-on supervised and structured coaching format of our 6-month full time certificate program”.

– Bobbi Jo.

Bobbi Jo has accessed commercial loans and advising services through Community Futures and has continued to be involved with the organization through speaking at events and workshops for other entrepreneurs, and by supporting programs such as Lemonade Day.

She says she enjoys working with Community Futures because “the team at CF GP is an incredible one. Holly, Barry, and team are superstar supporters of small businesses, and their support has meant the difference between closing my doors and living to fight through another catastrophe ha-ha! They have helped me not only financially, but with encouragement and sound advice. I am eternally grateful.”

Bobbi Jo believes that the best parts of owning a business are the sense of accomplishment, making her customers happy, and seeing her students’ progress. Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to remember that nothing is set in stone, change is inevitable, and flexibility/adaptability is key to survival.

Elaines Unique Plants & Designs

Elaines Unique Plants & Designs

Elaine Mills
10001 101 ave 3rd Floor Grande Prairie, Alberta

Grande Prairie’s Newest Indoor Plant Shop

From Farmers Market to retail location, Elaine is sharing her love of plants.  The retail location opened in January of 2018 and has been a big hit!

"I wanted to make a place for people to go to find uniquely potted indoor plants and planters.  A feeling of being in a tropical atmosphere where people can come in, shop, hang out, discuss plants and share their love and passion for plants of all kinds.  I have been working with  plants & flowers for over 20 years and started at the Farmers Market 2 years ago with one small table and have progressed into a small plant shop where I can share my creations on a more regular basis.  I am very excited to say I now have a tropical plant heaven.

Want to see your success story here?

Give us a call, send us an email, or drop in for a chat.

Contact Us

Suite 170 214 Place South
10130-99 Ave Grande Prairie, AB  T8V 2V4
P: (780) 814-5340


Communities Served

Beaverlodge, Bezanson, Buffalo Lake, Clairmont, County of Grande Prairie, Demmitt, Elmworth, Goodfare, Grande Prairie, Grovedale, Horse Lake First Nation, Huallen, Hythe, La Glace, Lymburn, Sexsmith, Teepee Creek, and Wembley