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Celebrate Small Business Week highlights the success of local business owners

Owning a small business takes perseverance, strength, trust, and passion. On Wednesday, Oct. 19, local business owners gathered in Cold Lake to share stories and network at the annual Celebrate Small Business Week event.
Kathryn Hotte of the Cold Lake RABC hosted the third annual Celebrate Small Busienss Week event, in partnership with Benjamin Dyck and Associates.
Kathryn Hotte of the Cold Lake RABC explained to Cold Lake council how the future of the local program is in danger.

Owning a small business takes perseverance, strength, trust, and passion.

On Wednesday, Oct. 19, local business owners gathered in Cold Lake to share stories and network at the annual Celebrate Small Business Week event.

The Rural Alberta Business Centre (RABC), in partnership with Benjamin Dyck and Associates, hosted the evening in order to celebrate the hard work and determination required to own, operate, and start a small business.

Business owners were encouraged to make connections, spread the word of their business, ask advice, and get to know other businesses in the Lakeland. Over 108 people registered for the event.

This is the third year the celebration has been hosted for local businesses, rotating between Cold Lake and Bonnyville each year.

A common topic throughout the night was the recession, and how small businesses are surviving even at the toughest of times.

"That perseverance and that belief that you will find a way and get through it, it's tough yes, but it is not impossible... you have to get creative and innovative, and you have to think outside the box," said RABC small business advisor Kathryn Hotte.

Creativity and innovation were reflected throughout the evening, with businesses such as Staples, Mecell Pilon Reflexology, and Octopus Creative sharing how they began thinking outside the box to help survive the economic downturn.

"(New businesses) are happening even though the economy is in the doldrums," said Mayor of Cold Lake Craig Copeland, adding he sees the community expanding within the next few years.

One of those businesses is Madame Nadine Jewelry, which has seen eminent success since it's implementation.

Fifteen years ago, Nadine Deslauriers-Friesen started creating jewelry as a hobby. A few years ago she was approached by someone interested in her jewelry, who recommended she try making steam punk-themed pieces.

"I had no idea what that was. I had never heard of it before," explained Deslauriers-Friesen.

Steam punk jewelry is created using lace, gears, and clocks, and is described as "Victorian and steam inspired old days."

From there, her business boomed. She was approached by the Golden Globes to offer her jewelry at the gifting suite to some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

"I was so stunned," she said. "I went and gave my jewelry to the stars... and I have to tell you I met so many stars... That was the most amazing experience I have ever had. Something that you don't live everyday."

Madame Nadine Jewelry has now taken the step and is beginning to work with RABC to create a business model in order to help grow her business further.

Deslauriers-Friesen said she is a prime example of the importance of networking.

With the help of Christie Couture Photography, Deslauriers-Friesen has been involved in photoshoots showing off her work, and hopes to continue working with the company in the future.

Bonnyville-Cold Lake MLA Scott Cyr emphasized the importance of small businesses and shopping locally.

"We are seeing that as we go through this hard economic oil time, that really it's supporting our small businesses that will get us through this," said Cyr, adding by doing this Cold Lake will be known for its "beauty that Cold Lake and Bonnyville and our whole area brings."