Last year, Evan and I moved to the lake full time. I knew I could work from home on my blog no matter where we lived as long as I had a decent wifi connection. We loved our lake life and he loved his new school. Fast forward a year, though, and I questioned how long I could work from home while living in an isolated community (we are 15 minutes from the closest grocery store, 45 from Starbucks, etc). I loved our life but needed something a bit more stimulating.
One day I decided to leave the laptop behind and visit a neighbouring town. I needed to take some things to the dump and there were cute stores there so I decided to make a day of it. While visiting one of my favourite little shops to look for a dresser, I noticed a big for sale sign. The owner mentioned she was selling so that she could retire and spend more time with her grandkids in Calgary. She said, “You should buy my store!”. I thought “I totally should!”
You see, I’ve always wanted to own a store or maybe a little coffee shop. In Calgary, though, that dream seemed unlikely to ever happen because of rent prices and a host of other things that make owning a small business in a large city difficult. In Central Alberta? It all seemed a bit more doable.
Dewey and I discussed the positives and the negatives. I would have something to sink my teeth into and make my own but I would also have a lot less flexibility for things like travel. We also talked it over with Evan. He just turned 12 and while he still needs me, he needs me much less than he did a few years ago.
We decided to go for it. There were some stops and starts along the way as I learned how to read small business balance sheets and figure out whether the business was healthy and something that could be sustained long term. I brought in much smarter people than me and researched all the angles. Then I realized that no matter how much I angsted and analyzed, it was still a risk so I either needed to close my eyes and JUMP or not.
I take possessions of Past Connections Emporium on the main street of Bentley, AB on August 22nd. The current owner, Helen, has been awesome about showing me the ropes, helping me take inventory of the store and introducing me to the vendors she works with. She has an amazing store and I’m excited to step in and run it just like it is for a while. So many people ask me what the first thing I want to change is. Well, it is doing just great how it is so I’m going to learn the business the customers before I change anything.
I’m learning all about the world of business bank accounts, GST numbers (tho I already had one of those), business credit cards, business insurance and more. I never knew how much I didn’t know! I quite enjoy doing business in Bentley though and I’m trying to support as many locals as possible. It’s fun to walk up and down the street to visit your bank and your insurance provider within a 2-minute walk.
I’m hoping to keep going with Merry About Town but lately, it has been difficult to make time for everything (especially with a particularly bad summer cold hitting me hard the last week). I’m sure once I’m in the swing of things, it will all get easier.
If you make a trip to Central Alberta, please stop in to see me. The store will be closed for a few days while we switch ownership. I will be opening the store back up on August 23rd as the new owner.
Bentley is 1 hour and 50 minutes from Calgary and 1 hour and 30 minutes from Edmonton so no excuses! I can’t wait to see you there!
Oh, and I did buy a gorgeous blue cabinet from the store to use as a dresser the day I visited. Dewey now calls it the world’s most expensive dresser. Went in for a dresser and bought a store so I’d say he’s right!
More fun things to do in Central Alberta when you come to visit!
Restaurants to try in Lacombe, AB (about 20 minutes from Bentley). If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve seen tons of pictures from my favourites Cilantro & Chive and Eastside Eatery.
Want to eat in Bentley? Visit the local Monkey Top Saloon that is next door to my store. It’s adults only (sorry young ones) but they have fantastic Caesars and wings. It’s a favourite biker hangout too.
Saturdays are a great day to visit. Bentley hosts a fantastic Farmer’s Market from 1:30 to 4 during the summer. I also have a ton of other suggestions for places to visit when you are in Central Alberta in the summer.