Friday's Featured Businesses

Meet
Successful Local
Businesses from the Summer Company Program

The Summer Company Program in the London area is facilitated by the London Small Business Centre, in partnership with the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

Celebrate Small Business Week with the entrepreneurial community! Share your business tips, struggles or your success story on social media with #SmallBizLdnOnt

Introduction

Jessica Simas McHugh, Client Services & Program Assistant


What is the Summer Company Program?

The Summer Company Program provides students with training and grant money to start and sustain their business. Students ages 15 to 19 who are returning to school in the fall are eligible. Training includes business planning classes, one-on-one support with a Business Advisor, and round table discussions with their peers and mentors in the community. Students can receive up to $3000 to put towards their business. It's an excellent alternative to a summer job for individuals who aren't afraid of hard work, and are interested in being their own boss. It really allows students to manage their own chances of success, and gives them a whole new sense of responsibility and life skills.


How would you describe the entrepreneurs you work with?

The entrepreneurs I work with are very eager to learn and are appreciative of the resources available.

They are very determined and optimistic about starting their businesses. They also have creative ideas that play to their strengths. 


Why are small businesses so important to our community?

Small businesses spend much of their profits where they live. This helps other local businesses thrive, and makes for a strong economy. Our unique business help puts London on the map, which opens our city to more possibilities, e.g. new investments of money and services.
Many small businesses begin in response to something that is missing in the community. Innovative ideas better our quality of life, and inspire generations to pass the torch.  A successful community of small businesses is a powerful motivator for young people. Fostering the idea that creativity and hard work will produce the opportunity to build the life they want. Getting the younger generations involved in small business helps to diminish the idea that business success and the ability to make a difference in the world is not only for those of a certain age.


What lessons have you learned working with small businesses?
I've learned that business owners assume a lot of risk to do what they love. And those who assume the risk without playing it smart and making a plan can easily fall short of the success they might have otherwise had.

Sayers Heritage Storytellers

Thomas Sayers

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Allure Bath and Body Bar

Odessa Olyfveldt

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Buechler Decking & Design 

Ben Buechler

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​Thomas Sayers

Sayers Heritage Storytellers

Tell us about your business

Sayers Heritage Storytellers creates digital media for heritage sites and non-profits that want to better connect with their communities. We work with audio & audio walks, videos, and photography to tell those stories.

What does being a small business owner mean to you, and why did you become one?

My father ran his own graphic design company, so I have fond memories of watching him work while I played next to his desk. Being a small business owner means having the flexibility to choose what I want to work on and decide how often I want to work, all while continuing to learn new skills.

What is the biggest hurdle you have managed to overcome?

The biggest hurdle I've had to overcome has been finding the perfect balance of work, life, and play. This summer I took part in the summer company program & started my own business, applied for grad school (and got in!), AND tried to virtually see my friends. It took some time to balance it all out, but I couldn't be happier with where I am today. 


What is the most important lesson you have learned in business that has served you well and has helped shape who you are as a person?

I've learned that having a strong support system, both personally and professionally, is the key to staying afloat when times get tough and stressful.


Who has been your greatest inspiration in business and why?

My first inspirations are my parents, as they've both been entrepreneurs before and after I was born. 


As you forge ahead, what is it that excites you?

I'm thrilled to be continuing my education at the Master's level, where I'll learn new approaches to creating performances, audio walks, and more. We may be meeting through Zoom, but I'm so thrilled to be a part of this year's cohort of new students.


Small Business Week recognizes the importance of people like you. Do you have anything special planned to celebrate?

I'll have to find some time to celebrate now! I'll probably just walk a few blocks and get myself a falafel from Appletree Burgers Fries & Snacks between classes.

Connect with Thomas!
Odessa Olyfveldt

Allure Bath and Body Bar

Tell us about your business

I operate Allure bath and body bar which provides natural, artisan bath and body consumers to environmentally conscious consumers

What does being a small business owner mean to you, and why did you become one?

The freedom to execute my own vision is what led me to create my own business. Being a small business owner gives me the opportunity to be my own “boss” and be in total control of all decision – making processes.


What is the biggest hurdle you have managed to overcome?

Perhaps, the greatest hurdle, I have managed to overcome is being confident in my products especially as it pertains to attempting to entice customers through weekly markets and arts fairs.


What is your greatest business accomplishment to date?

My greatest business accomplishment thus far is being featured on the Londoner.


What is the most important lesson you have learned in business that has served you well and has helped shape who you are as a person?

Time management was definitely one of the most important lessons that I have learned so far. Being the head of human resources, marketing, finance and accounting has taught me the importance of being able to multi- task well.


Who has been your greatest inspiration in business and why?

My greatest inspiration is Oprah Winfrey. Her ability to reach that level of success, despite her background inspires me greatly.


As you forge ahead, what is it that excites you?

Growing my business is what I am currently looking forward to.


Small Business Week recognizes the importance of people like you. Do you have anything special planned to celebrate?

I don’t have anything planned but I am excited to see all the new successful business leaders being highlighted.

Check Out Their Website!
Ben Buechler

Buechler Decking & Design

Tell us about your business 

Buechler Decking & Design (BDD) is a local student run property maintenance company. We were founded in 2018 with the help of Ontario’s Summer Company Program via London’s Small Business Centre. BDD strives to provide the highest quality services to our community. Our current services include, deck restoration, lawn maintenance, and coming this winter will be snow removal. 

What does being a small business owner mean to you, and why did you become one?

Being a small business owner has meant a lot these past few years. Not only do I look to it as an accomplishment from the past but I also think of it as a dream for the future. I am constantly thinking of new ways I can do 

things or how my company and I can help the community. But as a small business owner these thoughts don’t have to be thoughts anymore, they are becoming my reality every day. 


What is the biggest hurdle you have managed to overcome?

My biggest hurdle I have managed to overcome is being able to purchase my first work truck this past winter. Beginning from practically nothing and trying to slowly grow bigger and bigger is something I think all small business owners deal with. But using small victories like my truck or whatever it may be in your business is what leads to bigger things down the road.   


What is the most important lesson you have learned in business that has served you well and has helped shape who you are as a person?

The most important lesson I have learned in business is that people are what’s important. Be kind, and helpful when you can. Something so small to you can impact another persons life dramatically, good or bad. So take the extra bit of time and do what you do to the best of your ability. In the end all those little things will add up and either help you succeed or it will be the thing that brings you to the ground. 


Who has been your greatest inspiration in business and why?

   I can’t say I have a single company or person which all of my inspiration stems from but I tend to look up to people or companies who are striving for change in the world. It may be more sustainable production, or supporting human rights policies, etc. These are the kinds of companies who I share beliefs with and strive to exemplify. 


As you forge ahead, what is it that excites you?

As I move ahead there are many things that excite me, but I think the number one thing is my graduation from Western University. Although I enjoy my time at school, it can become very difficult to juggle school and the company. At times I have to push the business aside because I know my education is my first priority. What I am most excited for is to finally take the reins of the business in both hands and forge ahead. 


Small Business Week recognizes the importance of people like you. Do you have anything special planned to celebrate?

Although we are in some very difficult times right now I still try and celebrate the small victories in both life and the company. Right now I am just grateful to have had the ability to celebrate this past Thanksgiving with my family and remain safe. I know as COVID-19 passes us I will be planning many more celebrations for milestones. 

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Connect & Inspire During Small Business Week!

#SmallBizLdnOnt

If you have business tips or would like to share your business success story, connect with our entrepreneurial community on social media with the hashtag #SmallBizLdnOnt