Ep 3 – Andy Fennell – Gravity Espresso and Wine Bar

The Ambition Project – Calgary Entrepreneurial Podcast

The Ambition Project is a video series in which we interview successful and ambitious Calgary entrepreneurs and talk to them about their struggles, what they’ve had to overcome on their journey and valuable insights they have to share with up and coming business owners. The series will premiere on September 18th, 2018. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay updated or stream an episode on Spotify or iTunes.

Jonathan Hafichuk: Hi guys, my name’s Jonathan Hafichuk, and I’m here with Andy Fennell from Gravity Cafe. This is episode three of The Ambition Project.

Gravity Cafe is this really neat little cafe in Inglewood. It’s not a franchise. There aren’t a bunch of them. It’s an amazing place. They have really good coffee, wine in the evenings, live music on the weekends, and I’d highly recommend checking it out. Andy has an interesting history. You started out working for WestJet, correct?

Andy Fennell: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jonathan Hafichuk: And before opening the cafe for quite a few years, kind of all over North America?

Andy Fennell: No, in Calgary. And prior to that, working for a cruise line out of Miami. So yes, took me in good stead to open up a customer-centric business. And this is sort of where it led to.

Jonathan Hafichuk: So how did you start out working at WestJet?

Andy Fennell: When I was working in Florida, I ended up meeting a Canadian and moving to Canada, and did my research in companies that were sort of similar to that that I’ve been working in Florida. And WestJet seemed to tick all the boxes, so I vigorously went after them to get hired. I couldn’t work when I arrived here for many months, but I kept interviewing with them through that time. And then as soon as my residency came through, then I got a job working with them.

Jonathan H: And before that you worked in Miami for a cruise ship?

Andy Fennell: Correct, yeah, working for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

Jonathan Hafichuk: What did you do there?

Andy Fennell: Predominantly casino manager, and then some operations work for them as well. So yeah, tons of fun.

Jonathan Hafichuk: I imagine you have some good stories from those days.

Andy Fennell: Yeah, not to be told today.

Jonathan Hafichuk: How long did you work for WestJet for?

Andy Fennell: About nine years total, yeah. And then prior to that, close to 10 years working for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

Jonathan Hafichuk: So that 20 years of cumulative experience, how did that help you in running the cafe?

Andy Fennell: Well, when I was looking to do something as an entrepreneur, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. But a lot of my work had been desk work, and quite frankly wasn’t really … I wasn’t enthralled by what I was doing with my life, and I decided that I wanted to do something a little bit different. So even though I’d never even tasted coffee, I knew that what I needed to be was around people. A community of people is what makes me tick, and I enjoy life when I’m spending time in community with people. So it sort of made sense that I would do something in the service industry, so this is sort of where we landed.

Jonathan Hafichuk: So how did the idea for Gravity come about?

Andy Fennell: Well, interesting. I was sitting in a Starbucks. I was in my early forties. I’d never had a cup of coffee in my life, and I’m figuring out, well what should I do? And everything came back to doing exactly what I’ve been doing for the previous 20 years, and desk work, and it just didn’t ring true to me. So I’m sitting there, started to look around and wonder why people are there, what’s their reasons to be at Starbucks and what have you.

And I’m thinking, “Well, they’ve got a great brand, people love them and a very loyal customer base.” So I’d like to open up something similar but different. I’d never even drank a cup of coffee, as I’d said, and decided then that if I wanted to do something in the service industry that was on a similar lines, that obviously I had to taste coffee, but the first step for me was creating a responsible business plan that I thought I would look at and see whether it would make sense to do it.

So that’s where I started. I ended up with a rather large business plan. The numbers seemed to make sense. Then I tasted coffee and thought, “What the hell am I doing?” But now, that’s sort of where it started, sitting in the Starbucks drinking hot chocolate and dreaming about what to do with my life.

Jonathan Hafichuk: We talked briefly before about your business plan. You said it was something like 150 pages.

Andy Fennell: Yeah. The first iteration of it was over a hundred. I mean, I scaled it back down to about 70, but it had to be pretty detailed and thought out and the numbers needed to make sense. So I did a lot of research. Yeah, I mean, it sort of stood me in good stead. I would never suggest opening your own business without a solid business plan first.

Jonathan Hafichuk: You didn’t really come from an entrepreneurial background from the sounds of it. How did you learn how to make a business plan like that? Where did your knowledge come in that gave you that ability? And it seemed like it was a solid business plan, it worked?

Andy Fennell: Yeah. Well, I mean, working for businesses such as WestJet and Royal Caribbean, I mean, you get a good operational background. So that was a really good starting point for me. I’ve always been solid with numbers and finances, that type of thing. So it was just a case of doing the market research, more than anything, to figure out how this business would fit into the marketplace. So yeah, went from there. I used a lot of resources. There’s resources all over the place that you can use. So yeah, I just built it from there.

Jonathan Hafichuk: I think there’s been a few businesses where they don’t put a lot of thought into it or market research, and either have a product or a service that people don’t really want, and then they’re wondering why it’s not working. So what advice do you have for people who are thinking about starting a business on doing that research?

Andy Fennell: Well, I guess is what I’d say, there’s two things to start with. When you start your own business, you better be willing to work hard. Nobody’s going to make it successful but you. And secondly, if you don’t do your market research upfront and figure out how it’s going to fit into the business world today, then forget it. You’re on a loser. Anybody who comes to me and talks to me about starting a business, whether it be as small as a coffee shop or a bigger business, I ask to see their business plan first. And if they don’t have one, then I’m not that open to go in any further until they actually have one, in giving them advice on where to go.

So business is key. A business plan is key for anybody. And after six years of owning this place, the business landscape changes so much, that you better have a business plan in place to fall back on when times get hard.

Jonathan Hafichuk: With Gravity, I know we’ve talked about this a few times, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride over the last few years, because you kind of started out at a very good time in Calgary. Then the economy changed. Tons and tons of people lost their jobs, downtown emptied out. I don’t know how many businesses went under. It’s a huge number, right?

Andy Fennell: Yup.

Jonathan Hafichuk: How did you deal with that, and did having that business plan help you kind of ride that wave?

Absolutely. I mean yeah, it’s been a really strange five or six years in Calgary for retail. And as you mentioned, I mean a lot of businesses have gone out of business. Other ones popped up, and thankfully it looks like we’re sort of coming out of that funk. But yeah, I mean when we opened six years ago, we were new, we were fresh, we were different, we were sort of multifunctional. We weren’t just a coffee shop. I mean, we have a more extensive food menu than your regular coffee shop. And we have a wine and beer menu, and we have live music too.

So quite honestly, that multi-functional aspect to the business enabled us to see business through the recession. But I mean, I don’t kid myself or anybody else that is starting to look at opening a business like this. It was tough. I think we’re just seeing the upturn now, but there’s still aspects of spending. People aren’t spending as much as they used to on places such as this.

So the business plan was always there for me to look back on, know that it built the business by working through the steps in that plan, and it was always there to fall back on and know that I haven’t done anything different or anything wrong, despite how tough times were getting. So yeah, I mean hard work and a business plan, solid business plan, those are the things that got us through the recession.

Did you deviate over the years a fair bit from the business plan or improvise?

Andy Fennell: Yeah, I mean, I don’t think if you have a plan in place, you’ve got to be flexible and be able to move and change the direction of your business. I mean, who would have known we’d have gone through this massive recession. And then when you have added competition, you have political changes as well in the province that have had an impact on business too, you’ve got to be able to change direction to find ways to bring people in, to keep your revenue up, and to be able to pay your bills.

Jonathan Hafichuk: How have you dealt with that, with the stress of the ups and downs and the stress of the recession personally? What helped you kind of work through that? I know over the last year or so that we’ve been friends that you’ve talked about that a couple of times, and trying to maintain interest in the business, instead of just living in a van somewhere else.

Andy Fennell: I mean, ultimately when I started this place, if you’d have asked me after six years if I had one location, I’d have told you you were nuts. So the plan was to open many additional locations. And three years ago, we entered into a couple of lease agreements to open new places. Then just before I signed both of them, I pulled back on both of them and haven’t done another since, because of the way that I felt the economy was putting pressure on the service industry.

And I’m so glad that I did, because what I also have outside of this is a beautiful family, a wife and two kids. Both kids were born after the business opened. And they’ve really grounded me to enable me to think differently about my business. So having children that young may not … the reasons to be in business is not just to own and build a business and make tons of cash. It’s to be able to live your life in the moment too. So having those kids and grounding me and allowing me to be more present with my family, has been great.

Even though there are people around me opening more and more businesses in the same sort of sector, the retail sector, I find other ways to put things together. I mean, you don’t have to truly invest in retail business. I mean, it’s what I know, and I think I’m relatively good at it, but you can make your money work in other ways. I mean, I’ve just turned 50. My kids are important. My wife’s important. Our financial future is important, but why would I want to put that all on the line to open more stores, when quite frankly, the economy hasn’t been in support of that.

Jonathan Hafichuk: Yeah. You’re, I think, one of the most down to earth and authentic people I know. But to kind of put aside those other locations, opening those other locations, did it kind of … was it a little bit of a hit to your pride?

Andy Fennell: Yeah, I think so at the beginning, because I felt I could build more. And you never know, I might still do that, but right now is not the right time. If I’d have done it and if I did it right now, maybe I’d lose those other things in my life that I’ve got going for me right now. I mean, the time with my children, the time that we go out and spend time as a family. It’s more, my life is way balanced for me now. I mean, it’s so much better than it was a few years ago. And I don’t think if I dove straight back into that now as a solo entrepreneur with no debt, with no investors, and no partners, that I would be in such a good place that I’m at right now.

So yeah, most definitely, I often think maybe I’m a failure, but I choose not to see it that way because of the richness of the rest of my life. And ultimately, you only get one shot. And if more Gravities pop up in the future, it’s a result of when the time is right, as opposed to forcing it in right now. I often perceive myself as very vulnerable as an entrepreneur, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I’m not going to sit here and puff my chest out and say that I know it all and can do it all, at 50 years of age with two young kids, because it’s not reality.

I mean, everybody has different stages in their life where they’ve got different things going on. And this suits me just fine right now. So if Gravity ends up being one location, I’m totally fine with that. It’s operating. It employs people. It contributes to the economy. It’s a social and a community hub. And that, to me, can be the definition of success. It doesn’t have to be multiple locations.

Jonathan Hafichuk: Well you see entrepreneurs, and it’s such a common story where they sacrifice big sections of their kids’ lives. They miss their kids growing up, or they go through divorces, or they ruin relationships, or they lose their health. I think Brett Wilson’s book was about that. So I think that having that balance is really, really good, especially when you have two young kids.

I was really fortunate that my parents were always around when I was growing up, despite having a business. I was still pretty much with them there at the business. But what advice do you have for people on making sure that they don’t sacrifice those things that are important for potentially success in their business? Because you said you’ve gone up and down there.

Andy Fennell: When you’re first starting a business, for most people the reality is that you’ve got to work a hell of a lot. You’re in it seven days a week. You’re living and breathing it. And I’ve done that and still do to some extent. I mean, there isn’t a day goes by that I don’t do some form of work. But ultimately I mean, like I said, you only get one shot. And if you’re a family man, or even if you’re not, I mean there’s more to life than just work.

So you can build a successful business. But what are you doing it for? I mean, you can’t just be doing it to say at the end of the day that you are a great businessman, because that doesn’t define anybody. You’re defined by the type of person you are. And I’d rather be defined as a decent father and husband than as a successful businessman.

You can have both, but I’m not going to lay my personal life on the line and jeopardize it to be more successful in business. It doesn’t make any sense to me. In today’s fast-paced world where everybody’s busy and hustling, sometimes you lose sight of what you’re trying to achieve in your life. And I can’t do that. I’ve been there and I’ve done it. But it can’t happen again or it won’t happen, because I’m grounded to the point where my family and the things that I want to do with my life are equally, if not more important, than what I’m trying to achieve with this place.

Jonathan Hafichuk: So now more on the technical side of things, you guys do a good job with your coffee. But it seems like you’ve put a lot into that, into deciding roast, and you weigh your grinds and everything. How did that process come about? What did you do to try and perfect your coffee?

Andy Fennell: Well, I’m very fortunate that in this city we’ve got Phil & Sebastian. And when I decided to open this place was it was a no-brainer for me to work with those guys. They were professional but very accommodating and helpful in opening up Gravity. And as a couple of guys, I couldn’t have asked for anything more than what they offered me from a coffee perspective. I think it was only maybe three weeks before we opened that I started to make coffee through a program that they put together for me. Quite frankly, I mean, everything that I learned and we’ve learned as a business has come through those guys. So we didn’t have to reinvent the wheel. They’d already done it, so we were fortunate from that perspective.

Jonathan Hafichuk: What mistakes stand out to you that you made as you were building the business that you learned from? Is there anything particular?

Andy Fennell: Yeah, I think things got really good the first three years. I mean, we had massive growth. And then like I said, we were looking at expanding about three years ago. And I think after that first three years of working a hell of a lot, it was, “I needed a bit of a break.” And it wasn’t a break where you wouldn’t see me, but I needed a bit of time off just to recharge, spend a bit more time with family, and figure out next steps.

And I think I got a little bit lethargic. And then the economy changed. When I say lethargic, I mean as far as expenses in the business. Payroll ended up being too high, and my cost of goods were up. The deals I was getting weren’t as good for my cost of goods, and it needed a total reset. So I don’t know whether you can thankfully, but the economy changed, and that had to be addressed. So the great learning lesson from that is it will never happen again.

So even if we got back to that boon time three years ago where business was absolutely fantastic, I wouldn’t make those same mistakes again. It was a great learning lesson. The biggest aspect of a retail business is, as far as keeping your head above water, I mean, obviously you’ve got to have money coming through the door, but expenses are huge in this business. Margins are narrow, and you’ve got to maximize those to the best of your ability. So I think that’s the biggest learning I’ve had, is how impactful even small decisions can have on your margins.

Jonathan Hafichuk: So with a coffee shop, you obviously don’t pay people a high wage. There is no degree to work at a coffee shop that you get. So you, just because the way it works, work in an industry with a lot of turnover. So you have to do a fair bit of hiring. I remember before we talked about it being a little bit of a struggle, because people really liked you and you’ve built a good personal brand, so they come in to see you. And you need to somehow make those staff a reflection of that. So what have you learned over the years about staffing and hiring and all that stuff?

Andy Fennell: Honestly, I think I’ve been very fortunate with that. It is true, I mean when you own a place like this and you’re very social and you want to create community, people do come in to see you. I don’t think I appreciated that greatly the first couple of years we were open, and I didn’t see it for that. I just thought I was providing a service and an environment that people enjoyed. But I think, just organically, it’s created a real interesting journey for me the last few years. So there are times when you have turnover, but I’ve been really fortunate. Even now, I’ve got people who’ve been working with me since the first year we opened, and I’ve got several staff that have been here several years. I’ve been really fortunate in that respect to retain staff in an industry where, you’re right, people move around a lot.

I think organically at the beginning I just met people, young people, that were similar to me in a way. You couldn’t have a coffee shop staffed with people with my personality. It would be absolute nightmare. It’d be murder. You need a cross section of people. But what you do need is people that care and people that enjoy other people’s company. And I think I’ve been fortunate to have a core group of people that have stood the test of time with that.

So personally yeah, I mean, there’s been a lot of time where people come and I’m not here. Staff had told me they’re disappointed you’re not here. It’s a wonderful yet awful situation to be in, because you can’t be here all the time. But it’s great to think that your business is built on the back of people enjoying your company and wanting to come and see you. So in essence, I think without actually knowing it, that’s what I created early on.

But even with having conversations with people about it, I sort of learned to see what I’ve done by mistake, which is sort of pretty cool. From a staffing perspective, I mean, this province now is … and Canada as a whole with the minimum wage increases have been, it’s getting tougher. Expenses are going up in that area, but I’ve always been very fortunate to be able to pay people above the minimum wage.

That probably changes pretty soon. I’m aware everybody’s going to be pretty much at the minimum wage because of the level that it’s at. But I guess with that little extra money that they’ve been earning over the years, the tips are generally pretty decent here, and then the health benefits they can get with it, then all in all it just points to treating staff well. Having a brand that is not only just about me but about other people that care just as much as you do.

Jonathan Hafichuk: On the whole minimum wage thing, what are your thoughts on how raising minimum wage affects people’s quality of life? Because a lot of people who are maybe just starting out working, have this idea that, oh, if if the country raises minimum wage, their quality of life is going to improve drastically. What are your thoughts on that?

Andy Fennell: Well, today’s world is pretty expensive to live in. I mean, even as a father of two kids with a wife that works for full-time, and I own my on business, we don’t … I mean, we don’t spend a lot of money, and we don’t do a lot of lavish things. We’re quite frugal with what we do. And we don’t see a lot left at the end of a month. So I consider our family pretty successful, but to earn $14, $15 an hour doesn’t really give you a great deal in today’s world. This city, province, country, and elsewhere, I’m sure it’s as equally as expensive, so it’s not a lot of money to earn.

Now, some might argue, and I don’t disagree with them, that you shouldn’t rely on minimum wage to support you, and you should be looking to do other things to improve yourself. I don’t deny that, and I don’t think that’ll ever change regardless of what the minimum wage is. But it also creates a lot of other issues that we’re seeing in the news right now. For example, unemployment, the number of part-time jobs for people on minimum wage are decreasing. People aren’t hiring as many people. People are having, business owners especially small business owners, they’ve got to cut costs, and that’s one way they’re doing it.

So I get it a lot more resumes now than I did two or three years ago for people looking for work, and I’m always hearing stories about people out of work. Now, is that just a result of the minimum wage increase? I don’t think so. I think there’s lots of other factors too. We’re still not out of the woods yet, economic-wise, in this province. There’s so many things that sort of come to light as to why people are out of work. But I mean, maybe it’s one of them. I don’t know. I don’t think I know the full answer to that one.

Jonathan Hafichuk: Yeah, well you have people that don’t realize, I think too, that minimum wage, with it increasing, it’s harder for businesses like yourself to hire more people. So you’re going to have these jobs disappear, and then you have to raise your prices. So everything around you, it’s going to go up. So their money’s probably just going to go as far. And I think a lot of people don’t really maybe fully understand that concept.

But as an entrepreneur in Calgary, I was really surprised. I just hired two people, and I was amazed by the resumes I got on it for an $18-an-hour job. I had people who worked on editing major motion pictures, people who had their own production companies, that were just looking for work. So I think as, you can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think as an employer in Calgary right now, it’s a really amazing time, because of the talent you can potentially get with all the people looking for jobs.

Andy Fennell: Yeah, it’s great. It’s also pretty sad to think that people … I mean, I’ve had people … I had a scientist apply here to work in a coffee shop. And to me, that’s a sign that things aren’t where they should be. I mean, that’s a one-off, so it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s normal. But it’s sad to see that a lot of people with a lot education can’t get work in this province right now.

Jonathan Hafichuk: Yeah. Yeah, it’s tough. So I think with the economic downturn, you see more people going in to open their own business, more people wanting to start businesses. You see people going into MLMs and stuff like that as well. But obviously, there’s a lot of risk there, and not everyone’s ideas are good. So what advice do you have for people who are thinking about taking the leap into entrepreneurship?

Andy Fennell: I would say this, being an entrepreneur is probably the most wonderful thing I’ve done professionally. And apart from family, I’ve grown so much personally out of owning my own business, and it’s absolutely wonderful. Now, does that necessarily mean it’s for everybody? No. Does that mean it’s easy? Absolutely not. We talked earlier about business plans and having a solid business plan, but there’s so many emotional things that come along when people are thinking about going into entrepreneurship.

I’ve had I don’t know how many people over the years have come to me to talk to me about opening their own coffee shops. And I would suspect that about half a dozen people say they’ve always wanted to run their own coffee shop because they think it’s sexy and it’ll be a great little thing to do. And I’m like, “Whoa, stop there, bye.” If you think that owning a coffee shop is sexy, then you’re on a loser right away. I mean, there’s so much more that goes into running a small business than just the romance behind it.

If you’re going to get into it, look at all the other aspects of your life as well. Because if you want to be an entrepreneur, not all businesses are the same. The retail sector itself is very time consuming. It takes a lot of work. But think about some things you’ve already got in your life. Think about your family. Think about how much work you’re willing to put into it. Think about your finances, because opening up a business may not be cheap, depending on what you’re getting into.

If you’re leasing a building or you’re leasing equipment, you’re employing people, you’re on the hook for a fair chunk of cash. So think about that. Is it your money? Is it the bank’s money? Is it investor’s money? It doesn’t really matter. You’re still on the hook for either your or other people’s money, so you shouldn’t take it lightly.

So think about all those things. There is nothing to take lightly out of starting your own business. It’s a wonderful ride. And if you get it right and you’re successful, it’s going to be a beautiful thing for you. But if you’re not all in, and you just want to put your toe in the water, forget it. But think about all the life choices that you’ve got to make regards family, regarding finances, regarding what you want to do with your life, and just figure out whether it’s going to be right for you. And then if it is, start with a solid business plan.

Jonathan Hafichuk: What are some mistakes or misconceptions you’ve heard from people? Because it sounds like you’ve talked to a few people who want to start their own businesses. What are some mistakes or misconceptions you’ve heard?

Andy Fennell: Well, I think too many people get emotionally invested in in an idea. I’ve promised myself I wouldn’t do that. And I think that’s a huge mistake. Like we’ve just talked about it, family, money, lifestyle, you’re putting all that at risk if you’re just emotionally invested in something, if you can’t see or determine whether it’s a viable business to go forward with.

I’ll give you an example. A friend of mine decided, after I opened, decided to open a coffee shop of their own. Unfortunately, it went under, and it cost that person not only their house but a rental property and their credit for the rest of their lives. The place wasn’t open for more than six months, I don’t think. And I begged them not to open it. I saw some holes in the plan immediately, but unfortunately they did, and that’s the end result of it.

So emotional investment in something and saying that it’s going to work, won’t create a positive outcome for you, unless you’ve got a solid plan behind it and financially it will work. I did a lot of projections for this business. And I promised myself that if I didn’t think the projections would work, then I wouldn’t open it, and I’d walk away from it. And all I’d spent was a small amount of equity and a fair chunk of my time to arrive at that point. Why would I want to put the risk of my financial life at risk by carrying on with something that I didn’t think would work.

So for me that was a starting point. If I felt the numbers were going to work, and they bore out in the market research that I did, then I was going to move forward. But I think that’s the biggest misconception people have. “Oh, it’s going to be great. I’ve only got to sell this. I’ve only got to do that.” I mean, it’s a hell of a lot more than that.

Jonathan Hafichuk: Yeah. It’s kind of the whole build it and they will come isn’t always true.

Andy Fennell: Let’s be frank. I mean, this is retail. My experience is retail. You have a video business, and then there’s all sorts of different types of businesses. And then they all take different types of capital. They all take different amounts of time, different amounts of staff. But at the end of the day, they all come down to the same thing, an idea that is will it, one, work, finance that needs to go into it, and the passion and the hard work that you’ve got to put into it. The principles are the same regardless.

Jonathan Hafichuk: So maybe to just wrap up and kind of conclude things here, where do you see Gravity in the future, and where do you see yourself in the future? What does the next couple of years, or 10 years, look like for you?

Andy Fennell: You know what, that’s a great question. I’m going to sound really dumb now, because I have absolutely no idea, and I’m quite happy that way. I’ve got a business that’s sustainable, that employs people. I don’t lay people off when times get bad. But what I am reaching is things outside of the Gravity. So I’m looking more towards retirement than anything else, and that’s not coming in the near future. But the things that I do outside of life, outside of my business life, are so fulfilling right now, that I’m sort of living in that really eutopic state of not over-thinking business.

If the economy continues to improve, politically things stabilize a bit more in this province, and that doesn’t create so much mayhem that it has over the last few years, and from an expense-wise retail changes somewhat, then maybe I’ll wake up one day and decide there’s more to do with Gravity. But right now, I enjoy this place. It still needs to be built back up a little from the lows of the recession. And that’s sort of where I’m at, kids, wife, spending time with them, going out, doing activities that I like to enjoy. That’s the eutopic state for me right now.

Jonathan Hafichuk: Awesome. Thank you so much for your time, doing the interview. And thank you for letting us use this space.

Andy Fennell: Yeah, that’d be a million bucks, please.

Jonathan Hafichuk: Awe.

Our first sponsor is Symbol Syndication, which is a video production company that I started. We do video production and online marketing for businesses of all sizes, ranging from solo-preneurs to Fortune 500 Companies.

Our second sponsor is Gravity Cafe. They’ve been gracious enough to give us their space. The coffee’s awesome. They have live music three nights a week. The beer’s great. It’s an awesome place to come hang out.

Another sponsor of the ambition project is BusinessLink. BusinessLink is Alberta’s entrepreneurial hub. They’re a nonprofit organization that helps people navigate the steps towards starting their own businesses. Just because you’re in business for yourself doesn’t mean you’re in business by yourself. BusinessLink’s team of in-house startup experts are there to support you all along the way.

Our next sponsor is the Better Business Bureau. Your BBB helps businesses build visibility, credibility, savings, leads, and community through BBB accreditation, while funding free marketplace services with more than a million instances of service to consumers every year. Visit bbb.org/calgary to learn more today.

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