Retirement for a business owner can be challenging. Not only do you have to re-envision your lifestyle, but you must decide what to do with the business itself.

When the former owners of Speedy Glass in Castlegar decided to retire, they had a plan. “My husband had been working for them for 12 years,” says Stephanie Syme, now co-owner of the business with her husband Lane. “They had already been working on a plan for him to take over the business, and that’s what he planned to do as well.”

One problem: traditional banks wouldn’t lend the Symes enough money to purchase the business, which repairs and replaces windshields. Although it had great sales and community support, the business didn’t have enough solid assets for the banks to use as collateral.

Knowing that business succession is a major issue in the region, and that this particular business created employment and offered an in-demand service, the Trust and the program delivery partners—Community Futures and the Heritage Credit Union—agreed to finance the purchase. “If it hadn’t been for them, we wouldn’t have been able to buy the shop,” Stephanie says.

Since the Symes took over in spring 2016, support for the business had continued to grow.

“We’ve had some record sales. It’s been going really well.”

As a thank you, Speedy Glass hosted a customer appreciation night at the Salmo Ski Hill last winter. It not only drew 500 people for a fun night on the slopes, but raised about $2,000 for the hill. The business also gives back to the community by supporting the hockey and baseball teams, Castlegar Sunfest and more.

Stephanie is very positive about the future. “The way things are going and how busy we’re getting, we’re probably going to have to expand within the next five years and hire a couple more employees.”