What it takes to start a business


November 1 is a special day in our home. It’s the anniversary of Janice opening McKenna Funeral Services in 2008 and McKenna Funeral Home in 2010. She started with a pen. No, really. She took the funeral directing course from Mount Royal College (now University) in Calgary in the winter of 2008. Together we worked on a business plan, a challenging exercise neither of us had done before. We did a lot of research about the need for the services, the projected costs and the income. We had some great support from Raymond St. Arnaud of Akaitcho Business Development Corporation.

In the summer, with some trepidation, Jan left her government job and its benefits, to do a two-month apprenticeship at Foster McGarvey Funeral Home in Edmonton. When she got home, she started work, providing funeral services out of the morgue and small visitation room at the hospital. Jan quickly captured the whole funeral services market by providing excellent service to grieving families.

She wanted to provide families with a more comfortable place to meet than the hospital. So in 2010, she purchased the old Jehovah’s Witness church on Forrest Drive and had it renovated to operate as a funeral home. A wonderful grand opening featured prayers from many faiths and well-wishers. Janice’s business continued to grow by serving the needs of families out of town.

Today while I was canvassing, a voter wanted to know why it had taken so long for the new NWT Brewing Company to get off the ground. I don’t have any special knowledge of their situation but I have read about their trials and tribulations in the media. I can certainly relate. I’ve seen firsthand that starting a business takes a lot of grit and determination. I’m proud of Jan’s success and the excellent reputation she has developed. I wish the Fletchers all the best with their business too.