Business Spotlight: Sandi Duval – Jane of All Trades

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Liberty Tax Service, Pop n Dogz

By: Vince Clark
Born and Raised in Stony Mountain, MB, Sandra “Sandi” Duval found a love for numbers at an early age. At 16 years old, she was already helping people file their taxes. “I always loved math in school, and when I filed my own taxes, from my first real job, I found I loved it.” From there, she began helping her parents with their taxes, then other family members. Soon, she was helping friends and their family members as well.

Sandi moved to Winnipeg at 18 years old, and, shortly thereafter, fell in love. Raymond, the man with whom she fell in love, was from Pine Falls. In 1988, she moved to the area to be with him, and they got married in 1989. They had 3 children, Curtis, Brenna and Satira. It was here in Pine Falls that Sandi began helping people with their taxes once again.

Sandi started with a few clients from the Paper Mill and grew year by year. Soon, 5 clients turned into 10, which turned into 20, which turned into 30. Sandi then decided it could be worth doing this professionally. In 1995, she discovered U&R Tax Depot was offering courses and selling franchises, and she jumped at the opportunity. She first took basic income tax preparation and passed with honours. Not yet satisfied, she took the Advanced Income Tax Preparation course, and passed it with honours. She then became one of very few to take the Professional Income Tax Preparation course, which largely focuses on corporate income tax, and passed it too with honours.

In February on 1996, she opened her first Income tax franchise, in the Pine Falls Post Office building. In 1998, U&R Tax Depot was bought out, and became Liberty Tax Service. She shared the space with local financial advisor, Steve Kulyk. Eventually, the space became too small and Steve began renting out his own space in St-Georges, in the newly opened Place McDougall. Shortly after, he informed Sandi of a vacant office space in the building and invited her to come join him. She opened her office at the current location in 2003.

Sandi and Raymond separated in 2009. Around 2011, she met Brad Fulton. They soon began dating and have been together ever since. Brad, who was a semi-truck driver by trade, was in a major accident on March 9th, 2016. He was driving on Highway 2, near Airdrie, AB, when he suddenly had a severe coughing fit, and passed out at the wheel. His truck careened off the highway at 100 kilometres per hour and crashed into a building. Luckily, he survived. As a result of the crash, he is now physically unable to work a typical job.

With Sandi’s tax business being largely seasonal to the late winter months, they found they had lots of free time together in the summer. They soon found that they both excelled at carpentry, and soon began contracting in the Summer.
It was their many trips to Home Depot for supplies, which brought out the idea for a Hot Dog cart. “Every time we went to Home Depot for construction supplies, the same hot dog cart was always outside, and we’d always get one” Sandi stated. One day Sandi and Brad began talking to the cart owner about how to get into the business, and, in the spring of 2018, ordered their own Hot Dog cart. After multiple delays, the cart finally arrived, and Pop N’ Dogz was born.

In May 2018, Sandi and Brad purchased a plot of land at 244 Main street in Powerview. There, a brand-new office for Sandi’s Liberty Tax franchise will be constructed. A portion of the building will also function as a commissary for Pop N’ Dogz.

The land is currently being cleared, and construction is slated to begin soon. The new location will be up and running for the next tax season, in February 2019. However, they are hoping to have construction complete, and a Grand Opening sometime in November 2018.

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