Willie Fisher, managing partner and co-founder at Cedar Coast Properties Ltd. and CEO and co-founder at Outland Living, has always been an entrepreneur. It started with selling chocolate bars at school and running a lawn-mowing business.
That kind of self-driven industriousness is rare in childhood, but for Fisher it came naturally.
“When I was seven, eight years old, I was always looking for things to make a little extra spending money,” he said. “When I was 12 I would look through the paper for business opportunities.”
It’s a marked departure from Archie comics and Saturday morning cartoons. By 19, when most teens are just realizing laundry doesn’t wash itself, Fisher was taking a $20,000 loan to make his first business investment, a 20% share in the local pizza business in his hometown of Williams Lake.
“I needed a co-signer for a loan when I purchased my first business. My parents agreed to help me out,” said Fisher. “My dad said, ‘We don’t know the business, but we know you’re good for the payments.’”
When eight months later he couldn’t secure financing to purchase the remaining 80%, he sold back his 20% and left town for bigger opportunities. He settled in Chilliwack, far enough from the city to feel homey, but close enough to allow his burgeoning entrepreneurialism to blossom.
He purchased a dollar-store franchise, which he expanded over the next few years until he was able to purchase the territory rights for Western Canada. After opening numerous stores around the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, he sold the businesses and invested the money in other ventures.
In the ensuing years, like the pizza dough left to rise in the first major venture of his youth, his enterprises grew. From an import business to real estate ventures, he built his various businesses into the powerhouses they are today.
With 12 employees in Canada and five overseas, Cedar Coast Properties projects revenues of $11 million to $12 million for 2016, while Outland Living’s product lines are carried by Costco (Nasdaq:COST) throughout Canada and the U.S.
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