Valley First

Helping Small Business Grow

Persistence, local knowledge and partnerships help small business grow
July 11, 2013

Penticton, B.C—When Brian and Jane Casavant wanted to grow their business they were faced with the same challenge as most small business owners – finding the right financial partner.

As the owners and operators of two Great Canadian Oil Change locations in the Central Okanagan and a Canadian 2 for 1 Pizza outlet, they understand business. They also understand the importance of sound business partnerships.

After dealing with the big banks for many years, the Casavants found when it came time to add a third lubricant location it was evident they needed a new financial option. On the recommendation of a friend, they visited Valley First.

“We’ve dealt with the big banks for a long time,” says Brian Casavant. “While they’ve helped us get so far, we needed different support to continue to grow. After talking with Valley First, we were really impressed by their flexibility and understanding. They were more personal and open-minded. The process was easier. It was just a lot simpler to do business with them.”

Clear vision brings business to life
The Casavant’s contact at Valley First was Shelley Zieske, a 25-year financial services veteran. For Zieske, two things really stood out for her when dealing with this successful couple were their clear vision for their company and their strong track record.

Brian and Jane have been in business for many years,” says Zieske. “They know the market, they know their business and they know where the growth opportunities are. Even better, they knew how they wanted to grow their business and came to us with a solid plan. It was clear from the outset Brian and Jane wanted to partner with someone who understood their vision.”

Persistence pays
Brian Casavant makes no bones about the fact that building a successful business is hard work. His top piece of advice for any budding entrepreneur – don’t accept no for an answer.

“All business people and entrepreneurs have heard the word, no,” says Brian. “Sometimes, over and over again. When you’re starting out you can face a lot of rejection. But, if you have a good idea and you believe in it, you can’t be discouraged or let others steer you the wrong way. You have to keep banging on doors, keep asking and keep searching until you create the right opportunity.”

Do your homework
That isn’t to say just because you have an idea, it’s a good idea. Brian stresses the need to be smart about your business venture.

“The formula is simple; you’ve got to offer the right products and services when and where people want them,” says Brian. “The hard part is working out what people want and when and where they need it. You really have to do your homework and, in most cases, be prepared for some tough work ahead. Rushing into things can lead to some really costly lessons.”

About Valley First

Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 40 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has $7.1 billion in assets under administration, more than 171,000 members and close to 1,300 employees.

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