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Armstrong general store wins Enterprize Challenge, days before opening day

Fieldnotes Market hasn’t even opened yet, and now its owners have start-up capital to grow their business
The 2023 Enterprize Challenge wrapped up at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Thursday, May 18, and Armstrong’s Fieldnotes Market was named this year’s winner. (Submitted photo)

Nearly 200 people sat on the edge of their seats, waiting to find out who would be crowned the 2023 Enterprize Challenge victor.

After a Dragon’s Den-style round of pitches at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Thursday, May 18, a panel of judges had made their decision. The house lights dimmed and the spotlight illuminated the centre stage. Then, the crowd erupted in applause as Hannah and Pamela Janek of Fieldnotes Market walked into the spotlight.

They’d done it; they’d won the Enterprize Challenge and the more than $35,000 in prizes that comes with it — and all before Fieldnotes Market’s opening day.

“We’re running on adrenaline right now, because we open our store next Saturday, May 27,” said Pamela, owner, alongside her daughter, Hannah. “It’s been super crazy busy, but such a great experience and a great team both at Community Futures and with all of the other contestants.”

Presented by VantageOne Credit Union and Community Futures North Okanagan, the 2023 Enterprize Challenge was the culmination of months of preparation and a night of nerve-inducing pitches in front of friends, family and volunteer judges.

Fieldnotes Market is Armstrong’s soon-to-be newest general store, founded on a love of nature. It provides a curation of quality European-inspired home goods, local arts and crafts, pre-loved housewares and specialty local and European pantry food.

The Janeks took home start-up capital, a year of free business banking, a free radio and print campaign, business consulting and mentoring, a chamber of commerce voucher, tuition credits and legal, accounting, video, graphics, marketing and web packages.

“We’re just really thankful for Community Futures for this amazing experience. Because it was so aligned with our store opening, we were really able to hone our business idea and what we could really do to serve the Armstrong community,” Hannah said. “We’re working with local artisans and we can just feel that there’s a lot of room for growth.”

Fieldnotes was one of seven finalists and 28 participants in the challenge.

“We have such a wide variety of businesses here, and we applaud you all for stepping up and taking on this challenge,” said Michele Hill, chair of Community Futures’ board of directors. “Best of luck to each of you today and in the future.”

PV BLVD Coffee — Armstrong’s newest coffee shop that blends the comfort of a local hangout with weekly arts and yoga classes — claimed second place. Chef Lauren Vincent, a Red Seal chef creating custom meal prep for her clients, scored third.

“The Enterprize Challenge gave me the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs, talk to other people and learn how to grow my business,” said PV BLVD’s Kristy McLennan. “I’m super happy about the opportunity and excited for the future.”

McLennan and Vincent each took home a year of free business banking, a chamber voucher and several business packages.

“I can imagine how difficult it was to be a judge for this competition. The innovation we have seen this evening both at the showcase and in the final pitches is very impressive,” said Dianne Grebinski, VP of commercial banking at VantageOne Credit Union. “The display of entrepreneurship in the program is to be commended and we congratulate all of those who participated as well as all seven of our finalists.”

The public voted PV BLVD Coffee as this year’s People’s Choice Award winner.

“Thank you to all who came through the challenge for having the ambition and courage to put yourselves forward for this competition,” says Beach Radio’s Brian Martin, emcee. “We wish you great success in all your future businesses.”

READ MORE: Seven finalists in the running for North Okanagan Enterprize Challenge

READ MORE: Armstrong wedding enthusiast says ‘I do’ to Enterprize invite

Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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