For Episode 232 of Amplify Your Business, we’re joined by a very special guest, Jay Downton, a serial entrepreneur in Edmonton. Jay is a passionate Edmontonian. He’s committed to playing a role in helping make Edmonton a global 10. In 2007, he co-founded OilersNation.com and the Nation Network. In 2010, he was appointed president of Oodle Noodle, where he was able to apply the skills he learned from specializing in franchise financing at ATB, for which he was awarded the President’s Award in 2010 for highest corporate sales in his position.
Since taking the helm, his guidance has led Oodle Noodle to become a 17-store local chain. Jay’s passion for Edmonton and its River Valley led him, also, to be one of the co-owners of Little Brick Cafe, which became the catalyst that pushed Jay and his team to build more River Valley amenities. This led to the creation of River Valley Company, whose aim is to play a part in building more community amenities and support and development of outdoor tourism in the city’s River Valley. Other businesses in Jay’s portfolio include Dogpatch YEG, Bread + Butter Bakery, and, most recently, the Duchess Bakeshop.
Oilers Nation and the Nation Network are digital sports media content and lifestyle brand companies. The two sites started as a single site based in Edmonton, as a fan-focused hockey content brand. Wanting to give fans a voice on things related to their favourite hockey team in a world where mainstream media was the sports media juggernaut, they saw a gap in the market for a fan-led community of hockey enthusiasts. Fast forward to today, and the Nation Network is now a 10-site network of website properties, including a variety of shows, both podcast and video. And though he is still intimately involved with both sites, Jay sold the business in late 2022 for a whopping $15M.
To learn more, connect with Jay on his LinkedIn.
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00:00 - Intro
02:49 - With now 17 Oodle Noodles open up in Alberta, are they all franchise, or do you have some corporate stores?
04:27 - With all of your experience as an entrepreneur, what are three things that you think every entrepreneur needs to know?
07:46 - Can you tell us a little bit about your first entrepreneurial venture, what you were trying to achieve, and why it didn’t work?
12:31 - What made you decide to not hang up your entrepreneurial hat after that failure? Why did you want to continue being an entrepreneur?
15:50 - Can you give us a bit of an overview of Oiler Nation and the Nation Network?
29:05 - With all of the success you’ve had in your entrepreneurial ventures over the years, what does success now look like to you?
32:01 - Does the success you’ve seen make it more difficult for you to face the potential fear of failure?
37:32 - If you could write your younger, pre-entrepreneurial self a letter, what advice would you give?
41:02 - If our audience wanted to connect with you, how could they go about doing that?
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