The Biz Buzz: Nelson hotel marks 115th birthday
In this Heritage City we call Nelson, where history is part of our draw, it’s no wonder the celebrated past features prominently in the business community.
On March 17, 1898, the Hume Hotel opened its doors after nearly two years of construction, original owners and Nelson pioneers J. Fred and Lydia Hume celebrating.
This weekend, the celebration continues with the Nelson landmark turning 115.
In 1979, Dave and Sheila Martin purchased the deteriorating Hume Hotel with thoughts of renovating and rejuvenating the historic property. Today the Hume Hotel stands as a pillar of pride.
“It’s an honour to be a part of so much history in such a great town,” says the hotel’s general manager Ryan Martin. “To be continuing the longstanding tradition of hospitality on the corner of Vernon and Ward since the turn of the century is a real privilege.”
History is a big part of the family’s success — paying homage to the memories, original woodwork, creaking floors — the quirks that make it unique are special and valued immensely.
“You can’t replicate history,” Martin says. “The history is first and foremost the thing that makes us unique. The Hume is one of the oldest hotels in the province.”
In a modern age, maintaining history is a delicate balance between the old and the new with guests expecting accessible technology along with other comforts of today. A vision set by his parents of continually re-investing in the Hume is what keeps the old beauty fresh, says Martin.
Part of that reinvestment includes renovations complete on the fourth floor. The project will likely take three years to complete, redoing every room along the way, as well as the spa and lobby. Work will continue on the third floor starting Monday.
Happy to host a party on St. Patrick’s Day, Martin says Sunday brunch will have an Irish theme. Following the meal he invites people to tour the newly renovated fourth floor from noon to 3 p.m. where they will be offered a 25 per cent off coupon for a night’s stay. There will also be a prawn and lobster dinner special on all weekend. The real party begins at 5 p.m. in Mike’s Pub with Von Butcher playing and what else, but green beer on offer.
History continues to be made at the local hotel where a staff of 85 people, mostly long-term employees, is an integral part of the team, says Martin.
According to Statistics Canada, the Kootenay region has recorded pronounced growth of 6.9 per cent in secondary manufacturing small businesses. In comparison, three of the largest regions in BC including Mainland/Southwest (-8.7 per cent), Vancouver Island/Coast (-7.9 per cent) and Thompson-Okanagan (-10 per cent) lost secondary manufacturing businesses between 2007 and 2011.
Entrepreneurs in the Kootenays are changing the business landscape, helping to strengthen their community and drive the economy. Small business growth can be a challenge at the community and regional level, and for young business owners.
With branches across Canada including Cranbrook and Nelson, the Business Development Bank of Canada has launched the 2013 Young Entrepreneur Award. To win a $100,000 Grand Prize, entrepreneurs aged 18 to 35 are invited to submit a video about a turning point their company has reached and the solution they propose to take their business to the next level. A second prize, consisting of $25,000 in consulting services, will be awarded to the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award runner-up. The deadline for submitting applications is April 2 at 9 a.m.
“All companies reach a turning point,” says Michel Bergeron, senior vice president, marketing and public affairs at BDC. “Some may choose to tap into new markets by implementing an Internet strategy; others may decide to acquire new equipment that will increase their overall profitability. Recognizing challenges early on and having a plan to tackle individual turning points is important for business and should rank high on an entrepreneur’s agenda.”
“The value of participation goes beyond the monetary value of the award,” adds Bergeron. “The entire experience brings finalists tremendous exposure, public support, and access to people and resources that will ultimately help their companies grow. As impressive as the monetary awards may be, a better reason to compete is to get noticed by potential customers and investors.”
Applications must be filled out and submitted online at bdcyoungentrepreneuraward.ca. More information about 2013 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award eligibility criteria, the application process, the rules and regulations and the format of the video submissions is available at bdc.ca.
And finally, coffee drinkers recently said good bye to Zale Jarek, owner of Zale’s Coffee Cart (pictured right), a fixture outside the Kootenay Co-op for 13 years.
Jocelyn Carver, marketing and outreach manager at the co-op describes Jarek as a master barista who was always there to greet staff arriving at 6:30 a.m. to open the store. On cold and wintry mornings this was especially appreciated.
“It was really easy to get into a daily ‘Zale habit,’” says Carver. “He is also a very friendly, thoughtful man and he had tons of dedicated regulars who came not just for the great coffee, but to spend a few minutes having a great conversation about things that mattered.”
The years spent side-by-side were invaluable with a lot of growing up happening together, she says, and he will be missed.
“We are happy for him and excited to hear how this next chapter of Zale’s life unfolds,” says Carver.
If you have an item you would like to see in the Biz Buzz contact Kirsten Hildebrand at reporter3(at)nelsonstar.com.