When Caroline and James Hewson see the right opportunity, they jump on it. A chance to move to a rural community? Done. So when the prospect presented itself to be rewarded for their hard work instead of “just running harder without seeing results,” they didn’t hesitate—the couple became entrepreneurs.
That’s just the way that they have always been: dedicated to pushing their limits and building something that they could be proud of. “Both of us had parents who were incredibly hardworking, successful people—not necessarily in the financial sense, but in terms of striving to be the best they could be,” she explains. “This instilled in us a strong work ethic and appreciation for integrity, which led to a life of entrepreneurship. We love being able to control our own career and lifestyle!”
Although Caroline and James have run several businesses in past years, their latest and most heartfelt venture is Hewson’s Enterprises, Inc. A comprehensive repairs and service shop for everything mechanical, Hewson’s Enterprises addresses the varying needs of the community: car repairs and maintenance, servicing of agricultural equipment, tire changes, welding and fabrication, and more.
Thanks to focusing on meeting their customers’ needs within the market, Hewson’s Enterprises has been successful enough to build out a second location. James and Caroline are also in the process of expanding its line of services to include total waste management using gasification technology. The aim is to eliminate landfill usage—a dream come true for the Hewson’s Enterprises team.
“Waste management and recycling was something that we had wanted to do since we moved to Manitoba,” Caroline says. “Now the dream of eliminating landfill waste is coming to fruition, thanks to Tom Barnett and Community Futures. The plan would’ve never gotten off the ground without their help, not to mention that we wouldn’t have been able to open our second location. Community Futures really does specialize in turning dreams into reality!”
It is this kind of community spirit that brought Caroline and James to the Manitoba area in the first place. “The support in rural areas is so very special. When we moved from Scotland 6 years ago, we were welcomed by many wonderful people. They, in addition to the staff at Community Futures, have become great friends who support everything we do.”
Plus, it turns out that Manitoba presented the ideal business landscape to cultivate Hewson’s Enterprises. Caroline explains, “The surrounding area was sorely lacking in tire and repair shops—Angusville didn’t have a single one! We recognized the opportunity to address a local need while also enjoying the entrepreneurial life, so we jumped on it.”
Caroline credits some of their success over the years to one simple lesson: learning when to say no. “I wish that I’d learned how to do it sooner. It seems so simple but it can be an incredibly powerful strategy for small business owners. At Hewson’s Enterprises, we have said yes to almost everything at certain points in the past and lost focus on our most essential goals. Learning when to say no stops the distractions that ‘constant yes’ brings so you can identify ideal opportunities when they arise, such as jumping when the right building became available for our second location in Birtle.”
Now that James and Caroline have their sights set on the right things, there is no stopping Hewson’s Enterprises. Their second location has enabled them to deliver much-needed services to an even greater area and the company is rolling steadily toward its sustainability goal, looking to open a new business line to support it.
However, the hardworking couple is careful not to overextend the business. “If we had any advice for other small business owners, it would be to borrow money strategically. Avoid going into debt for short-term payoffs; small business loans should be part of a long-term strategy. Also, accept the lengthiest payment plans and keep as much operating capital on hand as possible—you never know what’s around the corner!”
Armed with that knowledge, an unquenchable enthusiasm for entrepreneurship, and the helpful Community Futures team at their backs, Caroline and James are on the road toward solidifying Hewson’s Enterprises as a household name across Manitoba.
Congratulations to Caroline, James, and the Hewson’s Enterprises team on your small business success!