West Kelowna couple take the plunge into entrepreneurial dream

Changes of circumstances in their personal lives is often why people choose to become new venture creators.

Changes of circumstances in their personal lives is often why people choose to become new venture creators.

Recent research adds that entrepreneurs are 40 per cent born and 60 per cent made through the blending of their circumstance and abilities.

So let me introduce you to a young married couple in West Kelowna.

They arrived at a crossroad in their new journey with belief that the magic that brought them together has subsequently inspired their entry into entrepreneurship.

Nicole Kelly and Devon McCubbin are the new owners of Alexis Art & Framing, located in the Vintage View Mall off Highway 97.

Nicole was born in Surrey and her family moved to Westbank when she was about nine years-old.

The family settled on a farming operation and her parents also ran a tire business together in those early years.

Nicole began her business learning curve very early when at age 16 she began working at the Home Hardware store in Westbank Town Centre, where she would work for the next 12 years, advancing to the assistant manager position.

So let’s shift a bit and meet Devon McCubbin, Nicole’s life partner whose personal circumstances reads like a novel.

Devon’s mother was a farm person from Saskatchewan and his step-father worked with a prominent window manufacturing company based in Regina.

After high school, Devon was ready to attack his personal journey of adventure. With a school friend, the two drove to Prince Rupert to join a crab fishing boat season.

Here is where Devon made his story of personal circumstance very real to me. In total, Devon made three expeditions to the Prince Rupert crab fishing grounds where he not only made significant money, but learned an abundance about interpersonal relations, the fishing industry and self-sufficiency.

As he described it to me, it was a task learning the crab fishing, the sailing skills and trying to interpret the foreign languages that were often an integral part of the work environment.

Devon’s life took a rebound when after returning to Regina with a view to re-establish himself on a forward motion path, he discovered by chance, our beloved Okanagan and moved with a new vigour to Kelowna.

Once he oriented himself to the Central Okanagan, Devon went to Okanagan College and obtained a diploma in business, which made him ready for the next plateau in his young life.

He joined Cintas, the well-known uniform company in 2007. Today, is one of their senior managers in the region.

Meanwhile, Nicole, nurturing a life-long desire to be her own boss and one day operate her own venture, met Devon around 2007-08 through mutual friends in the Kelowna area.

As the two became  a committed couple, they began discussion about acquiring their own venture. For about one year, Nicole ran a home-based gift basket venture, and although she enjoyed the versatility of that business effort, she longed for something that would embrace both her and Devon.

On a short trip to Vancouver with their immediate family, the couple visited an art gallery where they met the female owner. Through the sharing of her story with Nicole and Devon, it lit a spark for the couple that placed them on the track they both had long awaited—entrepreneurship was for them.

When they returned to West Kelowna from their coastal trip, they discovered that the Alexis Art Gallery & Framing shop was now up for sale and teasing themselves. Here was their opportunity and they embraced it.

Nicole worked for the former owner of Alexis for a month to hone her skills in the industry including her goal of becoming a master picture framer. In October 2011, the gallery was theirs.

On Nov. 1, 2011, they moved the gallery to Vintage View Mall and are tremendously excited about the future of their enterprise.

Devon will continue with his managerial position with Cintas while Nicole runs the gallery.

As the new owners, the couple reinforced to me how they’re investigating new avenues of products and service for their gallery.

Check out what their art gallery has to offer online at the website www.alexisarts.com.

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