Entrepreneur Profile: Cheryl Milne and Katcher Guidance

Starting her own business was always a dream for Cheryl Milne, and with her return to Powell River and with family support around her, the time was right to take the step.

“I’ve been thinking about starting a company like this for years, but being a single mom, I didn’t have the resources or the network around me to make it feasible,” said Milne. “I’ve been back in Powell River for about five years now, and with my family and my new husband in my corner, it just flowed, like it was meant to be.”

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Katcher Guidance officially opened its doors on August 16, with an office space located right on Marine Avenue in the same building as Forest Bistro and Lounge. “That was one of the things that just made this meant to be,” said Milne. “My husband and I were having dinner at Forest and talking to John [Walls, Forest’s owner] about my business idea and that I might need an office, and he said he just might have one for me. The location is perfect, and one of the amazing things about Powell River is how friendly and curious everyone is. People will just be walking by on the street, see the new green door and the decals on the windows, and just pop their head in to say hi and ask what I’m doing.”

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What Katcher Guidance does is help people and families with difficult transitions. “Throughout my adult life, I’ve been in a bunch of situations where I’ve helped family and friends manage things like the death of parents or a partner being diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s,” said Milne. “Because I’m a little removed from the situation, it can be easier for me to help and see things clearly. I have helped look into finances, wills, and powers of attorney, and booked the appointments for people to deal with those things. I’ve attended those appointments as a recorder and taken notes, which I then pass on to family members that live out of town. I’ve also helped with downsizing, decluttering, buying a new smaller house, renovations, and getting a person into extended care when necessary.”

Milne’s focus is on helping caregivers. “Caregivers do need to take care of themselves so they can continue to care for others, but it can be a tricky balance,” said Milne. “I’ve experienced that myself, both as a single mother and also as a caregiver for a friend of mine who has Alzheimer’s. Talking to others in Powell River in similar situations and hearing their stories, I realized that there’s a need for this kind of service here. There’s a gap in the funded medical service, where people need someone to hold their hand a little and tell them, this is what you need to do, and that’s the service I provide.”

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Milne’s services are very tailored to each individual and family’s needs, and she wants to work with people on an ongoing basis to manage these types of transitions. “Katcher Guidance won’t be who you call if you need an afternoon’s respite care once in a while, though we do have a care aide on staff to provide respite,” she said. “Instead, think of me like the general contractor for your life transitions. We’ll work together to figure out how many hours a month you’ll need to help you manage the things you need to manage and what that will look like. It could be planning, medical appointments, or opportunities to attend groups or counseling. Do you need to downsize? I’ll help you pack up and sort things. Do you need help booking appointments with doctors, lawyers, or other professionals? I will do that and then accompany you and take notes during the appointment. Do you feel overwhelmed? Let’s work together and find ways to bring a little joy into your life, so you can continue to do what you need to do.”

Powell River is the perfect place to start a business because the opportunities for work-life balance are so much greater here. “Anyone who’s opened a business knows it’s a lot of work, and you’re working long hours,” Milne said. “If I was doing this in Langley, I’d be in traffic for at least half-an hour to get anywhere, but here, my commute by car is two minutes. Here, I can work a 12-hour day, but still go home home and check in with the family in the middle without disrupting my flow. I can take a half-hour at the beach to unwind, and it’s just a half-hour, not a two-hour thing. To me, that’s the most attractive thing about starting a business in Powell River.”

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The sense of camaraderie with other business owners is also one of the best parts of entrepreneurship in Powell River for Milne. “In addition to Forest Bistro and Lounge helping me with my office space, I got great advice on signage and interior decorating from Impact Signs, like putting a dry-erase board on my interior door, and the Fix It Powell River crew let me use their flooring cutter when I was renovating the office,” she said. “When you’re starting a business in Powell River, everyone is excited for you and asks ‘how can I help?’. I’ve never opened a business anywhere else, but I think that’s unique to Powell River.”

Milne has a few clients already, and is looking forward to helping more people and creating relationships throughout the community. “My goal is to be completely community focused, supporting local seniors and families to get through the challenges they are going through,” she said. “I want to be able to provide some relief for the caregivers of Powell River, and help them find joy as they go forward.”

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Katcher Guidance is located at Unit 202, 4463 Marine Avenue. Milne’s website is www.katcherguidance.com, and she can be reached at 604-483-1136 or katcherguidance@gmail.com.