2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the Business Development Department of Momentum. To celebrate, we collected 20 stories about past participants who have thriving businesses. Written by Marnie Schaetti of RaiDo Dynamics, these stories reflect the diversity, innovation and hard work of the inspiring participants who come through our doors every year to take one of our many programs.
This is one of those stories.
Entrepreneur Name: Lou Rosenfeld
Program: Micro Business Loans
Program Year: 2003
Business Description: A ski shop dedicated to increasing people’s enjoyment of skiing.
In retrospect it is easy to see that Lou Rosenfeld was meant to run a successful ski shop. Along the way, though, through his various intervening careers, it may not always have been so obvious. What has always been clear is that he loves skiing.
He grew up in Pennsylvania where family friends started one of the first ski areas in the United States. He skied throughout his childhood and, after serving in the navy, worked for several years in a local ski shop. Being laid off every summer, however, meant that working in ski shops was never a viable career option. He therefore went back to school, first for a degree in
mechanical engineering and, later, a master’s degree in biomechanics. He worked with several large corporations.
Throughout this time, he developed a passionate interest in human movement and balance, and in how properly fitted equipment could improve a skier’s performance. While in Calgary for his master’s degree, he began skiing again regularly. The engineering contracts he took on never lasted and he eventually decided to turn the hobby he loved into a business. He would open a ski shop.
Ready to act, he found himself blocked at every turn. Even once he became a Canadian resident, he found Canadian banks unwilling to finance him because he didn’t have credit history in Canada and, without access to credit, opening a business was impossible. Accessing a Momentum micro loan turned things around.
Now in its tenth year, Lou’s shop employs 10 people during ski season, did close to $1M in sales last year and will probably surpass that this year. His expertise in human movement and the mechanics of the foot draws top athletes as well as weekend skiers from around the world. Everything about his business focuses on understanding how gear actually works and
then modifying it as necessary to ensure the best possible performance. Everything about his business means using his passion and knowledge to help others ski well—now all he needs is the time to hit the slopes himself!
Learn more about Momentum’s Business Development programs.