There is a significant demographic shift happening in cities and towns across Canada. Baby boomers are retiring and looking for ways to transition their businesses. In some cases, family is the obvious choice, but not always. Selling a business to someone outside of family may be a preferred and cleaner option, with no strings attached.

At the same time, many young entrepreneurs and new business grads are looking to begin their professional careers. Those who may dream of owning their own business often get a harsh reality check from banks. With no collateral or credit history, they can struggle to secure loans from traditional institutions.

This is the situation Tia Cederstrand found herself in late last year when she explored the possibility of buying Kassie’s Jewelry. This Moosomin jewelry store was a mainstay in the town, in operation for almost 20 years.

Tia had been working at Kassie’s for the past four years and retiring owners Ross and Michele had discussed at length with Tia the possibility of her taking over the business.

With a diploma in fashion and business from JCI Institute in Vancouver, Tia knew she couldn’t pass on this opportunity – she says owning her own store was meant to be. She just needed to figure out how she was going to afford it.

CBA provides entrepreneur support

Part of our mission at CBA is to provide assistance in business retention, expansion and attraction. That can take many forms – recruiting entrepreneurs, offering training and mentorship and providing financial investment.

Tia had tried traditional lending institutions with no luck. She decided to approach the Community Builders Alliance with her idea.

“In addition to attracting new businesses to Moosomin, we also want to preserve existing business legacies,” says Tyler Thorn, President of the CBA. “Tia delivered a very comprehensive business plan and financial projections. We did our due diligence and four CBA members stepped forward to help her with the financing.”

It was a big step for Cederstrand, but she felt confident in her decision after being mentored by Ross and Michele and gaining relevant industry experience.

Tia has since changed the name of the business to Third Avenue on Main and added a floral service. It’s a thriving business and local consumers are happy too.

“Moosomin is a thriving community not only for newcomers, but also for those who grew up here. We, as a community, have the resources to make the changes and grow. But to do so, we must work together, support our current businesses and have entrepreneurs come forward with their solutions to make our community better!” says Cedarstrand.

“Not only were we able to help her realize her business goals but we were able to help long standing business owners retire without having to liquidate. We were able to keep a good store in town instead of having an empty building on Main Street,” says Thorn.

This is a great example of how cities and towns can get creative when it comes to keeping thriving businesses in operation and encouraging entrepreneurs to pursue their passion for entrepreneurship while living in a rural community. Business isn’t always better in the big cities.

Hats off to Moosomin for tackling the issue of business succession in a proactive and innovative way. These types of partnerships can drive economic growth, connection to community and provide a valuable service to local residents.

If you are an entrepreneur requiring support, mentorship and guidance, please reach out to the Community Builders Alliance.