Once a homeless couple, now a growing business
Charles and Sophie were once a happily married couple, until the company they worked for went bankrupt. Unable to find new employment and without any sources of income, they soon ran out of money and were left homeless on the cold streets of Leduc. The two of them managed to survive, but realized they can’t go on like that forever. And then, one day, Lady Luck smiled upon them.
“A friend of mine came by and told me that my aunt Marie had passed away recently. Apparently, she knew about our troubles and decided to leave us an old real estate she owned and some money she saved over the years”, Charles explains. The couple used all the money they had and traveled to Edmonton, where the store was located.
“It was an old grocery store. The place was falling apart. However, out of respect and gratitude towards aunt Marie, we decided to renovate it and try to turn it into a successful business”.
The two of them had a rough time in the beginning, having to do all the work by themselves. However, after a couple of weeks, several neighbors showed up and volunteered to help them. “It turned out many people from this part of town loved aunt Marie and once they found out who I was and what were our plans for the place, they gladly offered us help.”
Motivated by his new neighbors, Charles called his old crew with whom he once worked on construction sites. Together, they transformed the place and finally opened their very own grocery store and moved into the rooms on the upper floor.
“We put in a lot of work but eventually it paid off”, Sophie says. “We started making money again and felt great. However, we decided not to let bad things happen again so we started thinking how to expand our business”.
After talking to their neighbors and customers, they came up with the idea to introduce a special type of service which will allow their customers to order some products that are usually unavailable in local grocery stores.
“To be honest, we were skeptical at first. We grew up in the old days, without internet and online shopping. But after some consideration, we decided to give it a try”. Charles did the paperwork and Sophie hired a team of young graduates and together they created a website for ordering and reviewing different products.
Within weeks, news spread around the neighborhood and people started ordering all kinds of stuff they couldn’t get in their local markets. “I remember the first day we tried it, it was only a couple of orders. Then, just two weeks later, we found ourselves flooded with orders. It was incredible”, Sophie recalls.
Together, the two of them came a long way from being homeless to owning an enterprise within just three months. However, their business plans aren’t over yet.
“We recently bought another vacant grocery store to expand our business. We are currently renovating it and hoping to have it open by the end of the month. We’re also working on the new version of software, to attract more customers and allow more orders.”
Charles and Sophie continue to manage their growing business and hope that someday, they will find a worthy heir to follow in their path. “I’m sure aunt Marie would be glad to know that her lifelong commitment will continue to grow and thus cherish our loving memories of her”.