By Wild Harmony
Ashley and Ray Campany
Cole, Jonathan, Kyleigh
Dogs: Bear and Daisy Mae
What brought you to Cranberry Lake?
When? May of 2017
Ray – I grew up in Carthage and we arrived here in a car – a Chevy Traverse actually. We had both just gotten out of active duty in the Navy. We wanted a small town, quiet, safe for the kids. We were looking at houses all over and came across the one we live in now.
Ashley – I wanted to live in nature, a small community. Small really mattered. I wanted a great place to settle down and build a life. We are doing that every day.
Jonathan – We found it on the GPS and drove in the driveway and I thought it needed work but it would do for now. We’ve been working on it since we moved in – I’ve learned to sandblast, plumb, stain and help with electrical. Also it’s fun to have family fires and fish and just hang out with our neighbors.
Cole – I wanted to change the flooring and fix the lawn for our dog.
Kyleigh – My first reaction was I might be okay here.
When you first came, did you think you’d end up staying here?
Absolutely. We’ve been all over the place and moved lots of times. This is our place.
What were your first jobs here?
Ray – I worked for Richards Logging for seven years. After that we decided to start our own business – in 2022 we took the big scary leap and created Campany Diesel. We won’t lie. It’s a challenge but one we are up for.
Ashley – I worked as a school bus driver at Clifton Fine for two years. Then I worked at Richards Logging for four years. And here we are with our own business.
Jonathan – And we kids are loving it. We get to be with our parents everyday.
What led you to start your own business?
Ashley – First of all being a mom is my business. And, we realized our time was valuable and it might as well be valuable to us. If we don’t value ourselves, who’s gonna value us.
Ray – I was tired of working for everybody else. I wanted to run a great customer oriented business that was worth what people paid for. I wanted to be proud of what I built with my family and to show the kids a better way to live.
What have been your biggest challenges in the business?
Ashley – We’re working hard to develop a sustainable customer base. Ray works all over the North Country so he puts in a lot of road miles to serve where he’s needed. I do all the paperwork so setting up functional systems took a bit of time and energy.
Ray – Making sure every machine and customer gets my undivided 100% attention. My biggest worry every day is “Am I doing my best for my customers and my family.”
What have been your biggest challenges in creating a good life in such a small town?
Ray – The isolation is a challenge. We’ve got to be sure that the hour trip to the grocery store (each way) will cover everything we need. We have to budget our time and energy because everything is an hour away.
Ashley – We’ve chosen to home school our kids and that is a bit of a juggling act with the business. We want our kids to have the right morals and values and we don’t think modern education provides that.
You’re active volunteers. How are you spending your time these days?
Ray – I do whatever Ashley ropes me into. Right now I”m taking care of the HUB lawn.
Ashley – Just joined the Auxilliary. We try to help out anyone who needs help.
Who Inspires You Here?
Ashley – My neighbor is awesome but she’ll kill me if I say who she is. June McWharf is just amazing. It blows me away how everyone works together. Cathy Gill in Windfall is a master canner and her food is amazing. Karen Soltau volunteers a ton and I really appreciate her.
Ray – Pretty much everyone who is here year round. We all take care of each other and do what needs to be done – from the fire hall to bringing a meal to a senior citizen. I also like working with the Cranberry Lake Mountaineers Snowmobile Club. I see successful local families running businesses and I’m one of them now.
What are the best memories you have of Cranberry?
Ashley – When our kids could jump off the boat in the middle of the lake and actually swim. Biggest mom moment for sure. The day we took the jump and started the business.
Ray – Everything everyday is magic. Making sure our kids turn out to be good humans by spending time with them every way we can. Knowing that my business will grow to support my family and will be here if they want to take it over.
What do you hope for the future here?
Ashley – we hope to put up a garage to make it easier for Ray to work from home and be out of working outside in winter.
Ray – We want to make enough money to be able to invest back in the community. I’d love to really build a shop and provide more jobs in our community.
A question for the kids. What are some of you favorite things about Cranberry Lake?
Cole – My favorite thing to do is play outside and hanging out with my Mom and Dad. I like helping Dad work at the HUB and pick up trash.
Jonathan – My favorite thing to do is swim and drive our golf cart on the trails behind out house. I like doing anything with my Dad and Mom, but really my Dad.
Kyleigh – My favorite thing to do is swim and make art. I’m happy to be helping out at the HUB this summer.