Entrepreneur Spotlight: Ruth Veitch, Avani Wellness Centre

Even with her flexibility as a yoga teacher, launching the Avani Wellness Centre in Lockport was a stretch for Ruth Veitch.

“I had contemplated opening up a yoga studio but wanted it to be more about full body healing with services such as acupuncture, massage and nutritional counselling,” recalls Ruth. “There wasn’t anything like that in this community.”

In 2012, Ruth purchased a building and approached the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba (WECM) for a start-up loan so that she could complete renovations and create the environment she had envisioned. “To be honest, I wasn’t even sure that a woman with no business education or experience could even get a loan.”

WECM did provide Ruth with a loan and worked with her to create a business plan. “They were fantastic to work with and helped me to think through what would be needed to make this business a success. This was new territory for me and they brought up things I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. For instance, they helped me understand the importance of marketing, something I’ve needed to be very focused on, particularly in the first year.”

For Ruth, the challenges and the learning curve have been steep and steady.

“I’m learning everyday – I think I learn more here in one day than I ever did in a month at school.”

For her, the most difficult part as a new entrepreneur has been having the courage to tackle the unknown. “There are so many leaps and obstacles that I face everyday. As the business grows one way, then another new situation comes up that I need to handle. I regularly tell myself ‘Yes I can do this!’ and I do.”

For this busy Mom of three young children, finding the right balance is something she strives for. “In my first year of starting the Centre, I was really missing my kids because the business took up a lot of my time. In those early days I wondered if I was doing the right thing.”

Today, those doubts have been vanquished by a business that continues to  grow at a progressive and manageable pace and now operates with a staff of 15.

“My favourite moments come when people walk in and tell us that they are so happy we’re here. All of that positive feedback really makes my day and I’m thankful I did this!