Food & Beverage Project

Case Study
Take a Hike market

Food & Beverage Project

Case Study
Take a Hike Market

CASE STUDY: How Take a Hike Market Brought its Vision to Life in a 3-Month Construction Window with ACS

Take a Hike Market - Canmore, Alberta - Logo
Ashton Construction Services (ACS) Projects - Take a Hike Market - Canmore, Alberta - 7

New entrepreneurs with a big dream

Amanda Winston and Jonathan Duguay are partners in both life and business. When they decided to launch their first entrepreneurial venture, Amanda joined the SMARTstart program where she met Steve Ashton, President & CEO of ACS. She and Jonathan later chose the firm to bring their vision to life.

A unique build in an open and operational space

The Take a Hike Market build involved a demolition of the existing space and a rebuild of the interior—all completed inside of a functioning hotel. The reimagined space now contains a 1,100-square foot kitchen as well as a 1,100-square foot area for retail, a deli and a cafe with seating.

A passion project realized

“This business is our passion project, our dream and our self expression,” Amanda says. “It’s everything in so many ways—our present and future, and how we want to facilitate living well in the Bow Valley, not just for us but for our team.”

AT A GLANCE

  • Unique 2,100 square-foot space constructed in an open and operational building
  • $700,000 budget with significant value engineering to save on costs
  • Tight 3-month construction window met on time

“ACS was excellent at planning and communicating, and involved us in the decision making process. Being able to build that trust and respect is important.”

Amanda Winston, Co-Founder,
Take a Hike Market

AT A GLANCE

  • Unique 2,100 square-foot space constructed in an open and operational building
  • $700,000 budget with significant value engineering to save on costs
  • Tight 3-month construction window met on time

“ACS was excellent at planning and communicating, and involved us in the decision making process. Being able to build that trust and respect is important.”

Amanda Winston, Co-Founder,
Take a Hike Market

A labour of love

Amanda Winston and Jonathan Duguay are partners in both life and business. On the couple’s first date, they talked about opening a restaurant someday. As an executive chef with a Red Seal designation, Jonathan is passionate about food and creativity. He’s worked in fine dining and high volume catering, while Amanda’s background is in project management and customer service.

“I was going to run the front of house and he was going to run the back,” Amanda recalls of their plan.

The couple’s vision came to life in October 2022—albeit differently than they initially imagined it—when they opened Take A Hike Market, located inside Canmore’s Solara Resort. Rather than being a full-service restaurant, Take a Hike Market is both a cafe and retail space.

“Finding the location was part of the inspiration for the concept,” says Amanda. “Being that it’s in an area with a lot of short term rental apartments, we thought, let’s go broader than a restaurant. We still have the dining aspect, but we also wanted to bring in other things we’re passionate about like a cheese counter. We’re comfortable trying different things. Food is about exploration.”

Today, Take a Hike Market is thriving with a team of 12 staff. In this story, you’ll learn how Amanda and Jonathan worked with Ashton Construction Services (ACS) to make their unique vision a reality.

Ashton Construction Services (ACS) - Case Study - Take a Hike Market - Canmore, Alberta 2

Seeking mentorship as new entrepreneurs

When Amanda and Jonathan decided it was time to start their business, Amanda signed up for the SMARTstart training program offered by the Town of Canmore. The program brings together entrepreneurs and mentors.

“I signed up because trying to figure out how to build a business was daunting and overwhelming,” Amanda says. “I’ve never done this before. My project management background isn’t in construction, so I knew very little about the process of building a market like ours. Not having that understanding makes it stressful, especially being in the middle of COVID when everything has changed.”

Amanda was certain about one thing: going into entrepreneurship thinking that you have all of the answers is the surest way to fail. She was looking for expert guidance.

“I believe that being open to listening and collaboration without ego is so important for entrepreneurs,” she says. “There’s always problem solving to do and there are always surprises. Finding safe spaces and people you can trust to talk to is hugely valuable.”

Amanda found exactly that in the SMARTstart program, where she was paired up with mentor Steve Ashton, President & CEO of ACS.

A trustworthy, experienced and well-connected partner

Having gotten to know Steve through the SMARTstart program and to learn about ACS’ values, Amanda developed trust in him and the company. So, when the time came to find a construction firm to manage the build of Take a Hike Market, ACS was one of the three companies Amanda and Jonathan considered.

The couple ultimately chose ACS for several reasons, including the firm’s understanding of the Bow Valley as well as its proposed project budget, which included significant value engineering.

“The pre-existing relationships ACS has with local trades, in addition to their understanding of town permits, requirements and restrictions, is fantastic,” Amanda says. “In lieu of someone coming in from out of town and having to learn those things from scratch, ACS can think ahead.”

Ashton Construction Services (ACS) - Case Study - Take a Hike Market - Canmore, Alberta 4

Tight-knit collaboration and significant value engineering

The Take a Hike Market build involved building the interior within the existing 2,100-square foot space. The reimagined space now contains a 1,100-square foot kitchen that can handle catering and large-scale food production as well as a 1,100-square foot area for retail, a deli and a cafe with seating. ACS worked alongside Amanda Hamilton Design and EMBE Engineering to complete the project.

Amanda and Jonathan were supported by ACS from day one with budgeting, scheduling, a review of the space and value engineering of the design to ensure it aligned with their business goals. The project required significant coordination to maintain both the schedule and budget, including connecting to the existing building services for electricity, water and gas.

“We really relied on ACS to keep us informed,” Amanda says. “As much as we had a set plan, part of it was iterative because COVID was a curveball. ACS was excellent at planning and communicating, and involved us in the decision making process.”

Since Take a Hike Market is located inside a hotel and condo building that needed to remain open during construction, this added another level of complexity to the project. ACS facilitated this coordination, including liaising with the building owner, condo board and property manager, and hotel staff.

Ashton Construction Services (ACS) - Case Study - Take a Hike Market - Canmore, Alberta 3

ACS also facilitated and provided guidance on Alberta Health Services inspection requirements, liquor licensing and a fire inspection so that Take a Hike Market could open on time at the end of the short three-month construction window.

As first-time business owners, Amanda and Jonathan especially appreciated ACS’ patient and understanding approach to collaboration.

“As much as this was a construction project, there were so many feelings involved for us,” Amanda says. “It’s emotional and scary, but with ACS, we never felt like we were left out of the loop. They spoke to us so we understood without being condescending. Being able to build that trust and respect is important.”

Amanda and Jonathan also appreciated ACS’ commitment to value engineering.

“Not only did they help us build a beautiful product, but they helped us make some critical decisions that will either save you or cost you money,” Amanda says. “We’re not a huge corporation—we’re individuals doing our best, so that meant a lot to us.”

Ashton Construction Services (ACS) - Case Study - Take a Hike Market - Canmore, Alberta 1

Photos: Eva Urbanska

Bringing ‘joie de vivre’ to Canmore

Take a Hike Market’s unique 2,100 square-foot space constructed in an open and operational building was completed on time, and with a $700,000 budget significantly value engineered to save on costs.

“This business is our passion project, our dream and our self expression,” Amanda says. “It’s everything in so many ways—our present and future, and how we want to facilitate living well in the Bow Valley, not just for us but for our team.”

Amanda and Jonathan are in this business for the long haul, and the ability to work with a company like ACS to make sure the project gets done right the first time was critical.

“ACS’ expertise and relationships gave us the confidence to plan for the future,” Amanda says. “We bring something different to the Bow Valley that enables locals to explore more culinary opportunities, and we want to do our best to make it accessible to everyone. Something Jonathan often says is that food is very closely tied to memories. It’s the joie de vivre.”

Case study by Scribe National

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