Mary Campbell

Mary Campbell is a board member of Community Futures (CF) Sagehill and loves to contribute to meetings by being full of questions and ideas. She brings her experience as an innovative businesswoman to the board.

Mary has a unique business where she and her team grow fresh shoots (microgreens) and leafy greens in an organic aquaponic facility. It was one of the first of its kind in Western Canada. She hopes that her ability to think outside of the box is a benefit to CF Sagehill.

She first found out about CF Sagehill and the support they provide to rural entrepreneurs when she herself was struggling to get a bank to provide funding for a piece of equipment she needed in the construction of her facility.

Because of the uniqueness of her business, the major banks would not commit to offering her any funding. A contractor and small business owner who was working for her was a member of Community Futures Sagehill himself and informed her about the support that was available to her through the CF office.

Mary called them thinking that she would be turned down yet again and was surprised by the interest they had in her project. She brought her business plan into the CF Sagehill office and the staff saw value in the project and in her plan. As such, she was able to secure a loan to get her business going.

Not only did this funding help her small business move forward with construction, but the loan from CF Sagehill provided legitimacy to the business plan and she was able to secure further lending from the credit loan.

Mary credits CF Sagehill with helping her rural business get up and running, and hopes that by participating on the board that she is able to give back to small businesses who need it.

The metaphor that comes to Mary’s mind when describing the work that CF Sagehill does is

“It takes a village.” Although this usually applies to raising children, she applies to starting and running a business. Mary remarks, “We all need the help of partners in our community from customers, to suppliers, to business advisors and Community Futures helps entrepreneurs to raise up their businesses and grow.”

Her motivation to voluntarily give her expertise to building small businesses in rural communities comes from a desire to help maintain a thriving rural business community.

Mary believes that the stronger the community is as a whole, the stronger her own business will be. By helping to build up the business in an area CF helps to strengthen the whole community.

Her grandfather has influenced her business philosophy. He worked for Caterpillar Tractor and worked with dealers to help build their business up. He was quick to identify needs for certain items that would help different industries and he started his own company that serviced customers from the shrimping industry in the Gulf of Mexico to the oil industry in the far North of Canada.

Mary wishes more rural businesses were aware of the support Community Futures provides, not only for lending but for rural business advice. Her goal is simply to participate and be part of the team. Over the years CF has developed great programs and she just wants to help in bringing the important program to the community.

2020 has been challenging for Mary. The COVID-19 pandemic forced her business to shut down during their peak sales time. In addition to a forced shutdown, they also ran into serious supply issues. It also changed the way that they marketed their products to new customers both on the wholesale and retail levels.

They were also hoping to roll out a new business with a new product line and that was put on hold because of the pandemic. Her business is now working to overcome the challenges by doing the same thing that they have done in the past when presented with challenges: by pivoting and being flexible with a new way of doing business.

Mary is also on the board of the SPCA in her community. She is a self-proclaimed AFOL: Adult Fan of Lego! She has quite a large modular Lego city that she fiddles around with when she needs a distraction from work.

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