By Mike Gauthier

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This is a story of how a meeting one person can turn in to work if you keep that connection going.

My name is Mike Gauthier from Cranbrook BC. I do custom scroll saw work. I work with blade that is about 8 inches wide.

I specialize in making wildlife hanging wooden art. I’ve done bears, wolves and cougars and other designs.

I’ve also made a coffee table out of West Coast yellow cedar. It’s hard to make a living as an artist in Cranbrook.

People like what I do, but don’t want to pay for it. It’s been frustrating trying to start a business.

My wife, Jo-Anne, and I are hoping to move to Vancouver to improve sales.
A good thing happened at the end of May when I was at a BC People First Conference.

I met a man named Gerry from Community Futures http://www.communityfutures.ca/ Gerry made a presentation about how Community Futures helps people to start their own business. I showed him my portfolio.

We started talking and he told me about a Community Futures conference happening in my area that might be interested in my art as gifts.

When I got home to Cranbrook I called Gerry and he gave me the phone numbers of the Community Futures office here in Cranbrook.

All this time I never knew about this organization that could help me with my business.
I was connected to Shawn. Shawn told me about an idea for the gift bags and door prizes for the conference.

He asked me to make 120 small wood maple leafs to put in the gift bags.

They also ordered 3 door prizes; one is called End of Trails, another Wolf Head and the third Killer Whale.

I made everything over the summer and was paid for my work just before the conference in October!
I’m really glad I followed this connection. I hope it will lead to more work in the future.

Community Futures is also helping my wife with her photography and providing some frames to make her photos look their best.
There are programs out there for people if you have disability.

Having my portfolio on me and following up with call with Gerry from Community Futures got me this contract.

It’s important to make connections and keep those connections going.

If you are trying to start your own business and you live in a small community in BC check out http://www.communityfutures.ca/