The Alberta Government defines small businesses as those that have between one and 49 employees, and excludes businesses that cannot be classified into an industry. With that definition and using statistics from the Alberta Government Regional Dashboard for Edmonton, more than 90 per cent of companies in the city are classified as small businesses, and that number is holding pretty steady. Edmonton has seen an average year-over-year decline of just -0.08 per cent and increased growth of 0.07 per cent in small businesses between 2013-2018. It has long been said that Edmonton is the embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit – and these facts prove that thought.
Small businesses are celebrated in Edmonton and across Canada every year through BDC Small Business Week™. Although this year’s event will look a little different with COVID-19 protocols in place, the hard work, risks, and contributions of our small business community will still be celebrated. For information on Small Business Week 2020 as it evolves, visit www.bdc.ca/en/small-business-week.
Kristin Krysa, customer experience manager, TELSCO Security Systems, knows a thing or two about growing a locally owned and operated business. This year the company celebrates its 50th anniversary.
“Our main objective is to provide home and business owners with an amazing security experience. There are several elements to consider when it comes to security: quality hardware, thoughtful design, professional installation, responsive monitoring and reliable support. If just one element is missing, the security experience suffers, and so we make it our mission to ensure that each one is delivered in a way that will create loyal customers and allow us to keep growing,” explains Krysa, before adding, “While we are excited to be celebrating 50 years in business this year, unfortunately our original celebration plans have been put on hold due to COVID-19. We are looking forward to commemorating this milestone when the time is right. In the meantime, we are grateful for the ability to continue offering reliable and responsive services to our customers in a time of uncertainty.”
Being a local business has given TELSCO the ability and agility to quickly adapt to a changing and challenging environment.
Krysa says, “As a local full-service security provider, we have the unique benefit of owning all aspects of the customer experience. Sales, installations, service, customer care, and monitoring are all supported by our team here in Edmonton. This structure allows us to be nimble and respond quickly to challenges. There is no red tape standing in the way of improvement and the goals of all teams are strategically aligned to promote teamwork. Whether we are introducing new technology, developing new services, facing a challenging economy or navigating a pandemic, it is a true team effort and incredible team members that have allowed us to thrive.”
She explains why supporting local businesses is so important.
“Shopping local strengthens our community. The dollars you spend with a local business support local employees, suppliers and charities. This re-investment enriches our city, promotes growth and creates new opportunities for everyone. In addition to the larger economic benefits, choosing to work with a local business can offer an enhanced level of service and support for the consumer. Many local businesses rely on word of mouth and repeat business, so we work hard to provide the kind of personal and responsive service that will turn our customers into promoters.
“We want our customers to know that we are incredibly grateful for every opportunity we are given to protect a home or business in our community. We do not take the responsibility lightly and we are committed to providing each and every customer with the best possible security solution that is backed by unparalleled service and support. When you choose a security partner, you are choosing much more than a company to install hardware; you are choosing a relationship that will last several years. Many of our customers come to us from other security providers because they are dissatisfied with their relationship, and it is very disheartening when they realize they are locked into a long-term contract and can’t make a change. Whether you have a security system already or are starting from scratch, our team of local experts would love to help with your project.”
Another local business in Edmonton is helping residents get out and be social in a safe, sustainable way. Track ‘N Trail provides quality outdoor gear with exceptional service to the Edmonton region while still maintaining its core roots in the outdoor community as a locally owned family business. In operation since November 1984, the company was pleased to open their second location in St. Albert last year.
Aron Schilf, general manager, discusses how Track ‘N Trail has evolved and thrived during changing conditions.
“It’s been a group effort!” says Schilf. “First and foremost, our loyal clientele has come out in droves to support us as they go explore the Alberta Rockies and the Edmonton river valley, so that has been a tremendous help. Additionally, we have attracted a lot of new business because as a small business we were nimble enough to pivot and re-order on our equipment and footwear, which has enjoyed exponential growth during COVID-19. While a lot of our competitors have been sold out and lean, we’ve been able to make sales by having the product available. Finally, we want to give a huge shout out to our staff who have been tremendous in stepping up during what has proven to be a challenging time with new protocols in place and still maintaining their great service with a sense of humour.”
He also makes a great case for shopping local and supporting small businesses now, and in the future, saying, “We’ve seen the big box stores struggle and fail while small business fights for every dollar earned. At the end of the day, we have to pay our staff, our suppliers and ourselves and if we can do all of that and make a profit, we’re doing pretty well. We always try to be on the cutting edge of what’s new and exciting in the outdoor industry. We know our products and we also participate in the sports we sell. We’re passionate about what we do. In addition to all of that, there’s the adage that 50 per cent of money spent in a small business stays in the local economy versus 14 per cent with the chains.”
Edmonton’s small businesses are hardworking risk takers that love our city, our province, and take an active part in growing our local economy. When shopping for goods and services, don’t hesitate to look to at all the options, including small businesses, and be sure to check out the link above and participate in this year’s small business week to help celebrate and support our local entrepreneurs.