Aaron Nakonechny, Hellar Nakonechny and Lauren Nakonechny stand in front of the building that has housed Nakonechny & Power for forty years. (EMILY DISTEFANO/VALLEY LEADER)
Nakonechny & Power is recording four decades of service in Carman next week.
The accounting firm first started on June 1, 1977. On June 1, 2017 the community is invited to the company’s parking lot for a barbecue celebration.
Hellar Nakonechny grew up in Pine River, north of Dauphin, before going to school and gaining his chartered accountant certification in Winnipeg. He met his wife Delia Power, also an accountant, while working in the city. But he wanted to get back to his small town roots.
“After being in the city for six years I was yearning to get back to a small town,” remembered Hellar. “I got tired of waiting in line at the light at the bank, at the grocery store. You’re always waiting [in the city.] So I got to a place where it takes me two minutes to travel to work, instead of 45 minutes. You add that up over a lifetime of traveling to work and it adds up to quite a few years.”
When an accountant friend of his moved to Boisevain, Hellar started visiting him there.
“I was actually surprised at how much work there is in a small town for accountants,” he said. “So I started to do some research and I narrowed it down to three communities: Melita, Carman and Morris.”
The Carman Chamber of Commerce invited the couple to visit, and that was that.
“They gave us a tour and absolutely sold us,” Hellar said. And once they got here, he said, there just wasn’t ever any reason to leave.
Nakonechny & Power first opened its doors in a temporary location in the Boyne Regional Library. Hellar and Delia bought a small house on Main Street near the post office and opened their business in its current location on October 1, 1977.
A few years later, they decided to build fresh and moved the first building out of the way while the new one went under construction.
“We picked up the house, moved it back on the lot and built the new building,” Hellar said. “And while the old building was on blocks we carried on working well into December when it got to minus forty. It got a bit cool in there.”
Three additions later, that building still stands on Main Street. The business put up a new sign recently, but the very first sign is still hanging over the front door, faded but a visible sign of the company’s long history.
Hellar said the secret to the business’s longevity is toughness, perseverance and hard work.
“I think if you work hard at anything, eventually you’ll succeed. That’s what they tell you you need to do in sports and business.”
Plus, he said they have had exemplary staff over the years.
Hellar said the business hasn’t changed too much over the years, although computers can make some work faster.
“We haven’t reduced the paperwork like they said we’re supposed to,” he laughed. “Other than that, the government bureaucracy is as bad as it’s always been, maybe worse.”
Delia passed away in 2010 after a 15-year battle with cancer. But what was first started as a family business will continue to be one under two of Hellar and Delia’s three children. Lauren Nakonechny started working at Nakonechny & Power in 2006 and Aaron Nakonechny more recently.
Lauren said she likes working with family because of the trust they have in each other.
“We can rely on each other to always get the job done and the job will always be done well,” she said. “That’s how we were raised and that’s how we run our business.”
“I did a 30-year partnership with my wife, I’ll do another thirty with my kids and then I’ll start to get old,” Hellar said.
“It’s just nice that there’s something here that’s viable and they’re interested in...it’s nice that they’re interested in it and it’ll carry on” said Hellar. “They’ll do as well as they want to because if you work hard enough you can do well.”
The family business model also ensures continuity for the clients, many of whom also consist of families spanning different generations.
The business didn’t have a very big client base in 1977, but about a dozen of those very first clients are still coming to Nakonechny & Power.
The family is hoping to continue delivering the best quality service they can, for as long as they can.
“My hope is the business can continue to thrive and see success for another 40 years,” said Lauren. “I would love to see my kids or Aaron’s kids work here some day if they were interested. My parents are/were both very hard workers and have had a lot of success because of the quality of their work and how they treat people – both staff and clients.
“My hope is that Aaron and I can continue to deliver the same high quality of work and maintain and develop strong client and employee relationships for another 40 years.”
Aaron noted that it is quality and not quantity that the family wants to focus on in years to come, making sure to serve their clients well and continue their parents’ legacy.
Nakonechny & Power is hosting a barbecue on June 1 in their parking lot from noon till 2:00 pm. A few words will be spoken at 1:00 pm.