Coming out west to live life in the mountains… It’s a story so many people know all too well, and Isabelle Simard puts her own twist on it.
Long before she opened Numbers and Letters in Golden, Simard moved to Banff, Alta., and worked for Hostelling International. She worked a lot with her manager, helping them do payroll.
“I found that I had a knack,” she said, adding that the books were audited every year, so precision was key. “I learned the whole process of accounting.”
When she left the company, they bought her computer software to help her with her own business. With a baby on the way, she moved to Golden, and began working from home doing accounting and bookkeeping.
“I worked from home with the kids in the Blaeberry… And built a client base until i was working full time and the phone was ringing off the hook,” she said.
Then, she had to decide if she wanted to continue making the money and working from home, or if it was time to open up her own shop in town. Without good daycare, she says she never would have made it.
“I had a lot of support from other women,” she said.
Simard’s kids, Anthony and Zoe, grew up surrounded by the business. They were always learning, and eager to help where they could. Because of this, Simard’s daughter Zoe now works at Numbers and Letters as well.
Originally, she opened her first location behind Eleven22. Then, she took over a second office, and then another, before she decided to make the jump and buy her own building where Numbers and Letters resides now on 9th Street S.
“People have been very loyal and supportive,” Simard said. “You have to love it, even when you hate it.”
Right from the start, Simard was involved with Community Futures, which also helped to support her business. She has sat on the board as chairperson, and won the volunteer of the year award in 2018.
Simard provides accounting, bookkeeping, and tax services to residents and businesses in Golden. She feels connected to the community, and always tries to offer the best service possible.
“I try to provide more than just the service,” she said, adding that she tries to give people knowledge about their finances as well. “I always wanted to give a good service and a passionate service.”
After being self-employed for 20 years, Simard says she knows how good it is to receive help when you need it most. Years ago, when she was starting out, she was faced with difficulties in getting loans and starting out on her own because she was an independent woman.
“Women in business are not a big risk,” she said, adding that she hopes it is easier for women now than it was back then.
Above all else, Simard loves running her business. She says she tries to plan the best that she can, for when things go awry, but that she can’t plan for everything. Having her own business gives her a little bit of flexibility to enjoy time off when she wants it, and she gets to be surrounded by her awesome staff while she’s at work every day.
Numbers and Letters is located at 1115 9th Street S. in Golden. Call 250-344-4742 for more information on the services they offer, or visit www.numbersandlettersgolden.com.