Mad Dog Cresting in Fairview, AB
Mad Dog Cresting has been a staple in the Fairview community since 1992. They offer promotional products and apparel, laser engraving for trophies and awards, commercial printing, t-shirt printing, signage and more.
Mad Dog is a family company through and through. Now owned by Karla and Gord MacLeod, the company started when Karla’s parents, Marilyn and Hans Stucklschwaiger, took over the family Sears franchise and needed to have a second business as a requirement.
When the MacLeods officially took over the business in 2018, Mad Dog amalgamated with both Fairview Printers and Sandy’s Jewellery and Gifts, which was owned by Gord’s parents. So, it’s fair to say Mad Dog has a deep history in the Fairview community—one that has touched a lot of people.
How did Mad Dog Cresting Begin?
Karla MacLeod: Mad Dog itself began in 1992.
My parents, Marilyn and Hans Stucklschwaiger, took over the Sears in 1981 from my grandparents, who had operated it since 1967. Sears required that you had a second business—they couldn’t just operate the agency like my grandparents had. So, they opened a card shop called “Wrap and Write Cards and Gifts.”
The shop was nice, but it didn’t support a family of four young kids who are involved in everything. So, my parents looked for another business that might generate more revenue.
What did Mad Dog look like in the beginning?
Mad Dog Cresting started with one single-head embroidery machine. Mom would be working around the clock. So, they purchased a second single-head machine and soon realized that it wasn’t enough, so they purchased a four-head embroidery machine. I think they had six machines by ‘94.
What lessons have you learned from your business?
I grew up with parents who worked their butts off to make a living for their family. So, I learned the meaning of hard work. Nothing is easy.
Also, you own up to your mistakes, but you try to provide the best community and customer service, and you try to do it efficiently and at the best price. These are our neighbours; that’s the thing.
When it comes to your business, what are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about this community, and I like serving people. This is how I’m able to do that. We employ people in the community, so we can keep people here.
It’s important to find something that works in your community. If you think it’s an easy road, it’s not, but it’s rewarding.
The connections and the smiles you get when dealing with people every day is rewarding.
Community sports—that’s a big part of it—when you see the teams wearing your uniforms and you helped them get dressed for the occasion, you get to see your hard work. I’m passionate about my community.
Is there anyone you want to acknowledge as instrumental to your experience?
My parents Marilyn and Hans Stucklschwaiger, and Gord’s parents, Sandy and Naemi MacLeod. They paved the way in our community and taught us about hard work. They also taught us that customer service is key.
How do you feel about the support of the community?
We have amazing community support. The schools in our area come to us first, and minor hockey is very supportive.
The organizations we work with in this community are great. We try to support whatever events they are hosting with donations or in whatever way we can assist.
What’s your favourite thing to do at Mad Dog?
I like working with people. If I could just be upfront dealing with the people and not always having to do the production part…Well, I like the creative, but I like being around people too.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
We certainly work as a team. I may technically be the owner, but we work together. The staff are like a family. I may guide them, but we work as a team.
Often, we are learning new skills or learning new equipment. There’s constant teaching and learning, definitely.
Gord’s a huge part. We’re definitely a husband-and-wife team. We couldn’t do it without each other. I know I couldn’t do it without him and our staff, current and past. They’ve always been great.
Our parents have always been role models too, and [Gord’s Mom] Naemi is here all the time. My mom, when she’s not in Arizona, pops in to guide us, too.
Interview and Photography by Jenna Armstrong | Article by Tormaigh and Jenelle Van Slyke