Julius Bloomfield has given up on his plans to run for mayor, should Dan Ashton win the upcoming provincial race.
It’s not, however, because he feels he couldn’t win. Bloomfield and his wife Toni are the new owners of the Naramata Heritage Inn & Spa.
“We’ve looked at it for a long time. We are a big fan of the hotel. We love that heritage aspect of it and it being the focal point of the village,” said Bloomfield. “When the opportunity to take it over came up, we just couldn’t resist. We thought long and hard about it.”
Bloomfield, a realtor and former deputy leader of the B.C. Green Party, was gearing up for a run at municipal politics this year, but decided, along with Toni, that he couldn’t pass off this opportunity for a possible mayoral run.
“Dan (Mayor Ashton) has to win the provincial race, and who knows what may happen there. That’s not a foregone conclusion,” said Bloomfield. “I just couldn’t put this opportunity off based on what may happen in another scenario outside of my control.”
This isn’t Bloomfield’s first experience in the hospitality industry. When he came to Naramata, he purchased the Camp Creek Station pub and ran that for three years.
“We are hoping we can emulate that success with the hotel,” said Bloomfield, who also has extensive experience in Britain in the hospitality industry, including with heritage buildings like the Naramata Inn, which was built in 1908.
“I bought a pub in Britain once that was 300 years old. The timbers in the pub came out of the Royal Navy when it was upgraded during the Tudors’ time,” said Bloomfield, adding that a title search on that pub went as far back as 1640.
“Old buildings do not worry me at all,” said Bloomfield. The Hotel Naramata, built in 1908 by Naramata founder J.M. Robinson, underwent a complete rebuild in the late ’90s under the direction of owners Norm and Janette Davies.
“They did a fantastic job of renovating this building. It’s in tip top condition for a heritage building,” said Bloomfield, who explained that while he and his wife purchased the business, the Davies are retaining their ownership of the land and building.
“They love the building as much as anybody else and probably more than most because of the restoration job they did on it,” Bloomfield said. “There are very few buildings like this in the Interior in this condition.”
The Bloomfields plan to make some changes to the operation, including making it more accessible to local customers.
“There is a dining room here, we are going to open that as a restaurant where families can dine,” said Bloomfield, who also has plans for the Cobblestone Wine Bar. “Toni has some pretty extensive experience and contacts in the wine industry here. We are going to use those contacts to help build on the existing base of the restaurant downstairs, the Cobblestone Wine Bar.”
The Bloomfields are currently assessing the operation, and will be opening in mid-April, as usual.