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Community Futures Sagehill

Loans, Advice, Support

515 Mayer Street, Bruno, SK - Phone: (306) 369-2610

Andy and Cathy McAnally, Causeway Natural Health

     The fear of potentially losing his job before Christmas drove Andy McAnally to start thinking outside the box for what he wanted to do next as a career.

     With a long-time interest in health, starting Causeway Natural Health with wife, Cathy, was a way they could fill a natural health gap in Humboldt in 2003.

     “Cathy's mom was way ahead of her time, using supplements and stuff like that, and, since I was a teenager, I was always reading up on nutrition and stuff,” he said.

     Luckily, Andy had not actually been laid off, but it now meant he was able to work, take and pay for courses to become a nutritional consultant, and start setting up the store on 6th Ave, the same location where they are today.

     Starting their own business also meant that Andy was not going to be on the road as much as with his previous job, an important goal for the couple with their three young kids. With a family room set up in the back, most days they didn’t need a babysitter or someone at home looking after the kids, so they could work together on growing their business, says Cathy.

     While Andy had experience in sales with his previous job, looking back on the experience, he wishes he would have done more research on managing their cash flow and overhead before he and Cathy started the business. They wanted to help people, says Cathy, but they were making some bad financial decisions in order to do that.

     Even when shelves were empty and there was no money to buy new stock, the community wanted them to succeed, says Andy. In 2002 when the business ideas started to take shape, Sagehill Community Futures wanted that too, he says.

     “They were really good at getting us working on a business plan, so then that forced us to do some homework,” he said, including talking with other natural health food store owners in Saskatchewan towns to talk about products, mark up, and sales numbers.

     They have made some good friends during this process, especially when they were just starting out and had very few ideas of what they wanted to bring in for products. They just wanted to bring more health food options into the community.

     While that goal hasn’t changed over the near 20 years of Causeway in Humboldt, what has changed has been their range of products that they have started to offer.

     Cathy is always on the lookout for neat things to bring into the store, says Andy.

      “Inventory is a tricky thing but I'm surprised sometimes. I look in the shop and think, ‘Oh, is that ever neat.’”

     There is a shift towards more people wanting to buy natural products, he says, but it is a balancing act between offering popular products versus offering well-informed products.

     “[Customers] are looking at supplements, they want information. There's so much misinformation out there. Our job is to be a conduit, helping people decide what should be taken and what shouldn't be taken.”

     Staying informed on different supplements and products has been an ongoing process of research. From webinars to conferences, they are always looking for the newest information so they can best inform their customers. They are always learning, says Cathy.

     Success didn’t come easy but looking back, there are moments that made Andy and Cathy proud of what they’ve accomplished.

     And through low points of debating whether or not to keep going to the highs of the first profitable time back in 2013, Sagehill was there.

     “They were very free with the information and we're eternally grateful for that.”