From Island Dreams to YMM Business Success

When YMM’s Nicholby’s Convenience Franchise Owner Marilu Dano was a young girl, she would play pretend shopkeeper with leaves as paper bills and stones as coins at her home in the Philippines. 

“I never expected in my wildest dream that I would own a store one day. But it was a dream I’ve always had,” she said.

Years later, Marilu became a wife and mother to three children. With determination in her heart to make a better life for herself and family, she made the bold decision to move to Taiwan in 2005 to work as a caregiver. Life wasn’t easy there, but Marilu’s unwavering spirit propelled her forward.

Six years later, Marilu set her sights on Canada, after learning about caregiving opportunities and it was in 2011 when she first moved to Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo to start a new chapter working as a nanny.

In 2015, Marilu became a permanent resident and landed a part-time job as a cashier for Nicholby’s Convenience at the Fort McMurray International Airport. The same year, she reunited with her children after ten years of separation.

Marilu said she worked hard with passion as she continued saving enough money to have her children join her in the Northern Alberta city. Through sheer dedication, she climbed the ladder from cashier and was assigned the management position for two Nicholby’s locations at Noralta and Civeo Borealis lodge in the oilsands, after the 2016 wildfire. 

Three years later, she transferred back to YMM to manage the corporate location in 2019. During the 2020 Pandemic, Marilu said she continued to work hard, often being one of the only tenants onsite. But her dedication and sacrifices paid off because by 2021, Nicholby’s Chain Owners Wendy and Rob Kadlovski offered her to be a franchise owner for the YMM shops. 

“I will always be grateful to Sir Rob and Ma’am Wendy for giving me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and for trusting and believing in me,” she said. “I am eager to learn and grow through this experience. This is a big blessing for me and my family.”

Marilu had not only fulfilled her dream but had also paved the way for her daughter’s future. With her daughter having the same entrepreneurial mindset and ambition, Marilu trained her youngest daughter, Ashley, to work alongside her. Ashley quickly flourished by not only helping with managing the store but also taking on the accountant position.

Nicholby’s Convenience Franchise Owner Marilu Dano with her daughter, Ashley, at the Fort McMurray International Airport in January 2024.