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Working AM to PM: How one serial entrepreneur made it work

October 28, 2021
Aman Boyal has five businesses in Edmonton and she’s not stopping there. 
Working AM to PM: How one serial entrepreneur made it work
“When we start something we always get scared, there’s always the chance of loss. We might lose everything or we might make a lot. I think we have to give ourselves a chance, at least once in our life. If we don’t give ourselves a chance we don’t know what we can do. When I opened my first business, I risked everything. I put everything in it. And I have no regrets.”

In 2017, working full-time at a bank, Aman Boyal had the sense she could be her own boss. So after working at CIBC as a financial adviser for four and half years, she decided to start her own business. At the start, it was a side hustle that she ran from home. The early success of selling made-to-order wedding garments told Boyal she was onto something and she started scouting for a retail space.  

“One of my friends told me, if you’re going to open a clothing store, open a space where there are other clothing stores. Then people will come to shop. People will go to each store and then will decide. If you’re the only one, people won’t come.” 

Boyal took that advice to heart and moved into a market in Edmonton that had six wedding stores. The space she found was previously a boutique, so had all the fittings for her to move right in. She started to negotiate the lease, which was a learning curve that would prove an important  lesson for her future expansions. At the time, Boyal was still working full-time at the bank while she ran her wedding boutique, selling a mix of pieces from vendors, as well as her own custom and ready-to-wear clothes. 

“It was getting really hard to work full-time and run my own business, which was expanding. I decided to leave my job and take on something else.” 

Boyal saw an ad for the convenience store franchise Circle K looking for people to manage stores. She applied and after an interview, Boyal was given a location to run. After ten months, she had learned the ropes of running a fast-paced convenience store and was ready to open her own store—with the hopes of eventually opening her own convenience store franchise. In October 2020, she found her first location which she called: AM PM Convenience. The catchy name creates a strong brand recognition, one of the strengths which has led to the company’s rapid expansion. 

“I’ve been with Thinking Capital for four years and I now have five locations of convenience and clothing stores. I have a good line of credit, and it’s very convenient. If I need five thousand dollars, I apply and get it immediately. No bank could give you money in 24 hours.” 

“People see AM PM and they remember it. I really want to run it as an organized, properly set up store. It took me three months to build that first location, I opened my first store in January 2020. I ran that store for a couple of months and then I found a new location and signed the lease for the second AM PM location.” 

Around the same time, COVID was becoming a more prominent reality. Boyal hesitated before signing the next lease, eventually going through with it after the landlord offered a deal on the rent. 

“It was a really tough thing to decide. I opened my second location of AM PM in April 2020 in the peak time of COVID. My clothing store was really slow for the whole year, I wasn’t making anything. Fortunately, the convenience store was earning money. We were surviving.” 

From there, opportunities to open new stores kept coming Boyal’s way. She was quickly offered two more spaces, one in the typically-busy Downtown Edmonton—making a total of four AM PM convenience stores. Boyal and her husband can be found working at one of their spaces seven days a week (staffing has been a prominent struggle during COVID). From the start of Boyal’s introduction to entrepreneurship, she has used Thinking Capital's small business loans to get her ideas off the ground and jump at potential opportunities as they come her way.

“In 2018 when I opened my first clothing store, I didn’t get a loan from the bank since I was very new to business. I was spending my own money. I was thinking of ways to manage the cash flow, because when you run a business you need cash flow. Thinking Capital approved me for twenty four thousand the first time, that was a huge amount for me at that point. I received that money and after that I never looked back. Every time I need money, I apply for Thinking Capital.” 

When Boyal opened her own convenience store, she applied to Thinking Capital again and received a thirty thousand dollar loan—helping her source vendors and secure new spaces. Sometimes a vendor will offer a deal on products if picked up right away, meaning Boyal needs to act fast to make a profit. 

“I’ve been with Thinking Capital for four years and I now have five locations of convenience and clothing stores. I have a good line of credit, and it’s very convenient. If I need five thousand dollars, I apply and get it immediately. No bank could give you money in 24 hours.” 

“When you run a business you need the cash flow. Thinking Capital approved me for $24,000 the first time, that was a huge amount for me at that point. I received that money and after that I never looked back. Every time I need money, I apply for Thinking Capital.” 

The success of Boyal’s retail spaces, and how effectively they’re branded, means that she’s now planning on franchising AM PM Convenience—her goal from the beginning. She adds one piece of advice for anyone thinking of starting their own business: 

“When we start something we always get scared, there’s always the chance of loss. We might lose everything or we might make a lot. I think we have to give ourselves a chance, at least once in our life. If we don’t give ourselves a chance we don’t know what we can do. When I opened my first business, I risked everything. I put everything in it. And I have no regrets.”

Taking the first big step, or looking to follow Aman’s example and take your own business to the next level? We’ve got you. Find out more about our small business loan.


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