Business success stories
Information for businesses regarding COVID-19
Strathcona County recognizes COVID 19 could have a significant impact on our business community. Economic Development and Tourism is providing information on business and economic response recovery tools.
Strathcona County is where entrepreneurs come to succeed.
We are proud of those who have chosen our municipality as the base for their business. With the numerous opportunities found in the municipality, from lower taxes to a location that can’t be topped, there are endless possibilities for industries to grow and find success. Our local business community is celebrated and supported by our residents with an emphasis on shopping local and reinforcing those within our community. Find out more about local entrepreneurs who continue to find success in Strathcona County and find your place among them.
In Strathcona County, you can.
Featured business success story
Q. What sets Behrends apart from other foundry-based sign companies?
Even though everything is a sign, not everything is the same. Everything that comes to us is unconventional and so unconventional is our conventional. We always seem to go a little further because we know that cast plaque is going to be there for centuries.
Q. How does Behrends continue to be an exciting place to work?
Our company has always been at that level of quality, right from our founder, John Behrends. Some of the projects that we’ve done have become landmarks across Canada and being able to be part of that legacy is what keeps staff coming here every day.
Q. What are some of the reasons why you appreciate doing business in Strathcona County?
We worked collectively with Strathcona County on a recent office and shop expansion. Strathcona County gets involved with the community and that’s what makes it such a great place. It’s a large group but they treat you like they’re not a huge corporation. You have a little bit of a smaller town feel and it’s nice to step out of the hustle and bustle of downtown and have that here.
Q. What does Behrend’s future in Strathcona County look like?
We came here in 1979, and 41 years later we’re still here. It’s home, and our future is here. We’re not leaving.
Recent business success stories
What was it about the municipality of Strathcona County that convinced Roasti to open in Sherwood Park?
Strathcona County has really embraced us. The County is really involved in getting everything together for you – to make sure you can really succeed as a business. That is why we chose to stay here and why we want to run our business here.
And what about your customers and the community support?
Strathcona County goes to great lengths to support businesses and ideas – they treat everyone like family. We have become more than a roastery. People come in, buy what they want, and stay to hang out. Our customers have really embraced us and have enabled us to expand the way we have. It is such an inviting place to open a business.
Roasti grew from a home-based (garage) business to the current brick-and-mortar location, why the shift?
We thought that our early customer base, knowing that everything was made out of a garage, wouldn’t consider us as being a legitimate and serious coffee roaster. Moving into our current retail location was a huge step in the right direction. Customers love the space!
What attracted Roasti to its Sherwood Park location?
Initially, we had looked around in Edmonton. Either the location(s) or the cost(s) we’re not right. Sherwood Park had the perfect space which was ideal in both location and price.
What makes Wow! Factor Desserts different from other dessert manufacturers?
We don’t compromise on quality - we produce our products with ‘real’ ingredients: real cream cheese, real dairy cream, real butter, and premium Belgian chocolate. We consider ourselves a ‘scratch bakery’. An example of this is our home-made caramel and cream cheese icing that gives our desserts that WOW Factor. We are home-made recipes and hand-made desserts.
What are some other interesting facts about Wow! Factor Desserts?
Wow! Factor Desserts has been producing decadent desserts for over 38 years and yet most people are unaware that our products are made right here in Sherwood Park, Strathcona County, Canada! We employ over 80 people, and distribute nationally (with a retail location in Sherwood Park). We are all about sustainability, natural ingredients, and supporting our community.
What do you think the advantages are to opening and doing business in Strathcona County?
A unique area of difference is that Strathcona County has no business licencing fees – for a business, that is very attractive. And as we grew, we discovered a close-knit business community that is very supportive of one another. It’s home.
Give an example on how Wow! Factor Desserts gives back to the Strathcona County community?
There is a part of our company that we cherish, rather, a practice that we’ve continued for over 28 years that we can’t seem to give up. We employ people from the Robin Hood Association, a local organization that provides assistance and job opportunities for people with disabilities. They hand-fold each and every box our desserts are packaged in. While this could easily become an automated and cost-effective process, we feel we make a difference in our community and that is something that matters.
For over 20 years, Inter Pipeline has partnering with Strathcona County, and is now building a polypropylene facility in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. Tell us more about what these means for Alberta and for Canada.
On average close to $1 billion of polypropylene is imported into Canada each year. Inter Pipeline is about to introduce a home-grown alternative – Inter Pipeline’s new Heartland Petrochemical Complex will be the first of its kind in North America when it goes into service in late 2021.
Basically, the Complex will utilize Alberta’s abundant supply of low value propane as the fundamental feedstock to produce one of the most widely used polymers in the world, a durable plastic resin that can be recycled. It’s known as polypropylene, which is the recyclable symbol 5. Over 70 percent of the $3.5 billion investment to build the plant is being incurred right here in Alberta creating over 10,000 jobs during the four-year build and more than 200 quality, full-time jobs for the long-term.
As a major petroleum, transportation, storage and natural gas processing business, what have been the biggest benefits for Inter Pipeline doing business in Strathcona County?
Inter Pipeline has been operating in Strathcona County for more than 20 years. It’s a home to hundreds of our employees, and positions our business in convenient proximity to many of Alberta’s most skilled oil and gas experts and service providers, not to mention the amenities that make it a great place for our people to live and raise their families, and provides a relatively convenient hub for employees to live and work in relation to many of our offices and assets.
Existing infrastructure has played an important part for moving large equipment in and around this region. How has Strathcona County assisted Inter Pipeline in making things happen?
Strathcona is clearly proud to be a partner to the energy industry and the County has endeavoured to make it an attractive space to do business. Whether enhancing road infrastructure to support the transport of large vessels, logistics planning for employee bus programs and collaborating to make the permitting process as efficient and effective as possible, Strathcona has been an ideal place to do business. Not to mention, it’s proximity to the Alberta Industrial Heartland and our facilities. All in all, it was the ideal location for us to build the Heartland Petrochemical Complex.
Safety is an important aspect to industry and the community. How does Inter Pipeline manage the aspects of safety?
Safety is the top priority at Inter Pipeline. We want and expect all of our people and those working with us to go home safely each and every shift. We have an outstanding safety record as of the time this interview was conducted with more than five million hours worked without an employee lost time accident. But the reason we have achieved that milestone is because at Inter Pipeline, safety is more than a number – it’s a culture. Our people care about each other and look out for each other; we hold each other accountable, and the family like atmosphere at Inter Pipeline plays a big role in that culture.
Mud Sweat and Gears is a locally owned bike, skateboard, ski, snowboard and accessory shop. For over 13 years, they have grown into industry leaders – with a network of four stores in the Alberta region. They love the connection to the Strathcona County community and the lifestyle found here.
Strathcona County is the perfect community for you to do amazing things. Home to innovative entrepreneurs, business leaders and boundless opportunity. In Strathcona County - YOU CAN.
Tell us about Troika Foods. You have a unique product produced right here in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region of Strathcona County.
Troika Foods is a family owned and operated business that has been in business for the past 15 years. We are a HACCP approved facility that is inspected and audited by the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency). We specialize in the production of Ukrainian cabbage rolls, as well as many different types of pastas (tortellini, ravioli, spaghetti, and lasagnas) and sauces. We have been able to make high quality products using fresh locally sourced ingredients since our inception. We work closely with our customers to develop products and flavours that are timeless as well as delicious.
Troika has experienced growth and diversified over the years, please provide more details.
When we first acquired Troika, things were done the hard way. Our cabbage rolls were supplied to retail customers in and around the Edmonton region. Fifteen years later, we have over 50 products that we supply across Canada. When we acquired Pasta Time eight years ago, we incorporated state of the art technology and cooking techniques to specialize in manufacturing different types of pastas as well as gourmet custom sauces. Over the fifteen years of being in business, our product mix has adapted and responded to changes in the market. As our customer’s tastes and requirements have changed, we have modified our products to keep up with the changing consumer demands, whilst still staying true to our roots of providing traditional food that people enjoy.
Being in Strathcona County and close proximity to the Edmonton metropolitan region - how has this been a benefit Troika Foods?
The Edmonton metropolitan region and Strathcona County are the hub for Northern Alberta. We have found that many of our clients love the fact that we are local company and use local products. By being in Strathcona County, we have access to the best ingredients. Alberta has some of the best producers of farm-fresh vegetables as well as cheeses, eggs, and flour. The proximity to various hubs has made reaching vendors and clients very easy for us and has allowed us to grow our business. Further to this, our products can reach all parts of the province because we are so centrally located.
Troika Foods supports other suppliers in the making of their products. How important is it to use local ingredients?
Local ingredients are the freshest source. We strive to help our fellow Albertans anyway we possibly can. By using local ingredients, not only does this help our business stay competitive, but it ensures our customers are receiving the freshest ingredients in our products. Our purchase of Durum Semolina for example, comes from Southern Alberta; considered to be one of the best sources of Durum Semolina in the world. When shops in Italy are importing Alberta products, you know that we are doing something right!
Imperial has been working in Strathcona County for over 70 years. What milestones have been achieved over this period of time?
From the discovery of oil at Leduc No. 1 in 1947 to “oil-in” day at the refinery on July 17, 1948, Imperial has a long, rich history in Strathcona County. We’ve come a long way from the early days of a small 6,000 barrels/day operation to become the main refining hub in Western Canada and one of the safest, most reliable refineries in North America. We’ve continued to make strategic investments to grow our business in a competitive market. Our partnership in the Edmonton Rail Terminal to help move crude, our significant investment in a cogeneration unit to make our operations greener, and our ongoing investment to upgrade facilities and equipment are a few examples of our vision for our long-term future in Strathcona County.
How is Imperial diversifying/expanding for future energy needs?
We know we provide a valuable commodity and that people need the products we produce, but we’re also conscious to make sure we continue to improve and enhance our operations to be more safe, reliable and environmentally responsible. Planning for the future is also important, and we continue to look for ways to grow our business. A good example is asphalt. We started with a small pilot project in 1975, which has now grown into a profitable part of our business with high future potential. Imperial is the asphalt market leader in Canada, and our customers are as close as right across the street from the refinery and as far away as New York and Texas. A little known fact is that one in every three kilometres of Canadian highway is made with Imperial asphalt produced at the Strathcona Refinery.
Strathcona County is western Canada’s largest petrochemical refining cluster. How does this benefit a major energy provider such as Imperial?
Having access to high-quality infrastructure, a strong-post secondary system and a skilled work force definitely benefits our operation. We have the resources we need to effectively run our business and have established a great working relationship with Strathcona County and our industry peers over our 70-year history in the area.
In what ways is Imperial involved in the community?
Being a good neighbour and investing in the communities where we operate is important to us. We are proud of our 22-year relationship with the Strathcona Library and the summer reading program as well as our support of National Volunteer Week with the Information and Volunteer Centre and programs like Linking Generations. For us, it’s more than just providing funding, it’s about working alongside organizations we support to truly make a difference in the community. This extends beyond a corporate philosophy as our employees are just as passionate about community involvement as the company. In 2017, we launched a monthly “Day of Caring” program where employees and family members, contractors and retirees supported different community programs on their days off throughout the year. From sorting coats, to packing school supplies and serving lunch and snacks to those in need, to building food hampers, we’ve had hundreds of volunteers making a difference in the community.
Previous business success stories
Watch this space for other local entrepreneurs sharing their business success stories in Strathcona County.
In Strathcona County, you can.