Self-Employment Success Story

Proof positive that effort and attitude gives the best chance for success are Meloney Waddell and Clay Edghill; owners / operators of the Port Alberni Serious Coffee franchise, located in the 10th Avenue “Fairway / Shoppers Drug Mart” plaza. When asked what they think has been the key to their business’ development they are both quick to respond that: “If you work hard enough and keep the vision in the forefront of your mind, you can make it happen. Most times, not focusing on ‘how’ something will get done but staying focused on the end result you want is all you need to bring things to a reality.”
With the decision to purchase one of the 25 Vancouver Island locally owned and operated Serious Coffee franchises the Meloney and Clay decided to take advantage of their professional expertise and sincere desire to contribute to their community while keeping family and work- life balance a close and high priority. Professionally, Clay was a chef for 15 years (thus many of the yummy, healthy treats available in the Port Alberni Serious Coffee) and has direct industry experience having managed a Starbucks for five years. To assist with the business’ financial needs Meloney is an accountant with 25 years experience. Meloney’s vocational expertise and direct involvement in the business is an obvious luxury not usually available to most entrepreneurs. Both Clay and Meloney recognize their mutual skills and experiences as definite assets to the business’ operations…and their own sanity!
In 2008, following Meloney’s successful battle with cancer and a period of physical and mental recovery the family of five decided to move to Port Alberni in search of a fresh start and the ability to capture a new lease on life. Both Clay and Meloney give credit to Community Futures’ Self-Employment program for helping them achieve the new life they were seeking to achieve. Clay honestly recounts that “without the SE program, we would have had no way to prepare and purchase our business. Community Futures was instrumental in making that happen.” Clay took full advantage of all the workshops, seminars, one-on-one expert consulting and financing options as well as ongoing support available through Community Futures in order to give his business the best opportunity to succeed under his and Meloney’s management.
Port Alberni has a proud reputation of community involvement and volunteerism among its citizens. This pride also includes an inherent expectation that businesses also support community activities that are important to their customers, staff and owners; this suits Meloney and Clay just fine. “The community is a huge focus for us,” Clay explains, “we get involved with as many community events and fundraisers as possible. In turn, we know the community will support our business.” A recent example of community involvement was the Guest Barista Week for Relay For Life. During the Week of May 31st Serious Coffee donated 10 cents from every beverage sold and all tips earned by the guest baristas.
Clay and Meloney also prove that it’s easy to be proud of your community and what you contribute to it if you are proud of your business. Both agree that “there is a lot of pride in owning your own business.” Drawing from their own personal experience with purchasing and operating their own business the Meloney and Clay advise those interested in pursuing a similar journey to “expect the process to be long, detailed hard work and very worth the effort!”
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