Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dean Smolicz, owner of Eclipse Coffee Roasters, located in Canmore, AB, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Eclipse coffee roasters is a specialty coffee roaster focused on quality and sustainability. We source coffee from unique farms all around the world, paying a premium for coffee that is not only exceptional but is also grown in an environmentally and socially responsible way. As well as the roastery, we have two cafes, both located in Canmore, with a third scheduled to open this summer.

Tell us about yourself

I moved to Canada just under 15 years ago after completing my master's degree in Engineering. Originally I was planning on staying for just the year, but the enjoyment of the mountain lifestyle changed that, and I decided to make Canada my permanent home. I had always wanted to run my own business. Coupled with a keen interest in coffee, I set about setting up a plan to open up my own coffee roastery in 2014. After navigating through the tough few years of starting up a new business, the company has continued to grow into a business that now has multiply locations.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Our coffee has won numerous awards in coffee roasting competitions across the continent. This is a result of our passion and focus on constantly improving our processes and the quality of the coffee we are sourcing. This passion for constantly improving quality along with great customer service drives the business forward.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The constant battle of balancing work and home life is one of the hardest things of being a business owner, especially in the first few years of operating. I am lucky enough that I now have a great team of employees who can take care of the day-to-day operations, which frees up my time to focus on looking after or taking time away from the business.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Having some financial knowledge to be able to track and make good financial decisions.
  2. Find ways to hire and keep great employees.
  3. Ensure you are offering a product or service that you and your employees can be proud of.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Running your own business is exciting but also a roller coaster evolving with lots of ups and downs. Building a great support network around you is super important in order to navigate those ups and downs and come out stronger as a result. The pandemic is a great example that resilient and adaptable businesses can make it through the toughest of times.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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