Event 56: Running Lean: Doing More With Less

Three local entrepreneurs tell us how they stay strong during tough times.


  1. It's no secret Alberta's in an economic slowdown, especially in the oil & gas industry. That's had a ripple effect on all kinds of enterprises. Capital Ideas is a resource for entrepreneurs to learn from other Edmonton business owners about how to deal with business issues, and our three panellists had a collective wealth of over 60 years experience in riding out tough times.
  2. Carol Logan has been running her Carol's Quality Sweets store for 26 years. It started as a hobby in Swan Hills. Unfortunately, a small town couldn’t support such a specific retail store, so they decided to move to Edmonton, opening a shop on Whyte Avenue.
    Then a tragic fire in 2003 burnt them right to the ground.
    Ever the Phoenix, they came came back to life, opening in the High Street area. This was considered one of the best shopping areas in Edmonton. Then 102 Ave. closed for bridge construction that went long over schedule, cutting off street traffic and drastically reducing walk-up customers. The bridge reopened this summer, but habits are hard to change and people have not returned to the former through-way. Adding to the slow recovery is the current recession.
    Nevertheless, Carol keeps fighting that good fight, and came to tell us what keeps her going after all these challenges.
  3. Trina Shipanoff started the Edmonton Night Market in 2013 after seeing successful night markets when she traveled overseas. She’s also a project management professional who's studied how these initiatives can be designed to improve quality of community and life, which was part of the underlying purpose of the Edmonton Night Market. But since the beginning she’s been battling outdated restrictions and red tape, as well as introducing a new concept, hoping to turn it into an established tradition. She has just wrapped up her fourth season, and came to tell us about how running lean has actually made her a smarter business owner.
  4. Curtis Way started working in construction management back in 1979 and gained a reputation for bringing in projects on time and below budget. He founded the RMS Group in 1996 to work in all areas of the real estate business, including building, developing and managing projects. As an entrepreneur, Curtis has survived and even excelled during 3 different recessions, and he came to talk about how he kept business strong through them all.
  5. The phrase 'running lean' can strike fear in an entrepreneur's heart. Many associate it with doing badly. But our panellists instead associate it with simply adapting to change, being more creative in finding solutions and just generally understanding more about their business.
  6. Trina said the process of running lean made her acutely aware of all aspects of her business, which made her a smarter manager.
  7. Theresa Clouston from our sponsor ATB Financial asked our question of the week "What's one thing you wish you could outsource?" on our Edmonton Journal page Oct. 13. This was a great opportunity to get our panellists' view. Carol said she outsources via tried-and-true methods that have always been available to her, during good times and bad:
  8. For Curtis, outsourcing is a double-edged sword. Some in the construction trade have saved money by obtaining supplies from cheaper overseas markets. But there are a lot of horror stories too. If you get a large shipment of granite cut to the wrong dimensions, you're in trouble; you can't stretch granite.