Calgary entrepreneurs thriving in hard economy honoured at event

Some Calgary businesses are going gangbusters despite the downturn, and several of them shared their tips for success in a tough economy at an event Tuesday.

ATB and Calgary Chamber of Commerce showcase businesses that are beating the downturn

Scott Crockatt of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce says many businesses are finding innovative ways to stay competitive in a tough economy. (CBC)

Some Calgary businesses are going gangbusters despite the downturn, and several of them shared their tips for success in a tough economy at an event Tuesday.

The showcased entrepreneurs were winners in the Calgary Chamber of Commerce's small business awards this year.

Wes Farnell, whose company won the breakout business award, says doing what you have a passion for is the key.

He and his wife operate Eight Ounce Coffee Supply, which started as a labour of love in their townhouse basement.

"People who remember me from when we started the business remember me as the person who would drive around and sell them things out of the trunk of my car."

Cissy Chen's innovative business on 17th Avenue S.W., Rumble Boxing Studio, earned the emerging growth award.

"We just came up with a concept that doesn't exist already and just went for it," said Chen, whose club-inspired boutique boxing studio features a boxing ring right in the front window.

Rosso Coffee Roasters started out 10 years ago with one location in Ramsay. Now there are seven, including this one on 11th Avenue southeast. (Google)

Cole Torode, who set up Rosso Coffee Roasters 10 years ago and now operates seven locations, was also honoured at the event, jointly hosted by the chamber and ATB.

Torode says he understands how tough it is to make it in business and every time someone else closes up shop, it affects his company.

"Those businesses closing down, that's our customer base. So our shop downtown has 30 per cent less people downtown to now pull from," he said.

Rosso Coffee Roasters won the small business of the year award.

According to the chamber, about 5,500 new business licences were issued in 2017.

Scott Crockatt, the chamber's director of marketing, says many local business owners have found ways to beat the economic slump.

"They are either creating new experiences at their store or new products or just whole new types of businesses," he said. 

With files from Elissa Carpenter