I feel like a proud parent when people come and visit our Island and remark on its beauty and I love seeing our Island through the lens of a visitor. When I see families on our PEI beaches or playing outside- it makes my heart happy. When I drive along the North shore of Cavendish through the National Park, I sometimes get overwhelmed with emotion, at the views and vistas. I have a beach that I think is “mine” and I selfishly rarely tell anyone about it. I am someone who has read Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery every winter since I was a child and I love it more every time I read it. I have a spot overlooking the harbour in North Rustico, PEI where I do my “best thinking” and my “best daydreaming” and I never take for-granted that where I live is peaceful, safe and a place where people look out for each other. I never feel the need to travel, because I am content with my surroundings and if you couldn’t tell, I really think there is no where better to be in the world than on Prince Edward Island.
I started reflecting on PEI when I recently visited with an acquaintance who was looking to list her business. She fell in love with the Island and dreamt since she was a kid of owning her own cottage business. She turned that dream into reality and has been working for years to build a brilliant reputation and a property that is truly beautiful and charming.
We started talking about hospitality and visitors to PEI and it made me very nostalgic on my own career path.
My first job ever was a “bus girl” at Fisherman’s Wharf lobster suppers – I had just turned 13 years old. I was SO excited to start working and it really engrained in me the foundations of hospitality and what it meant to be a hard worker. Minimum wage in the 90’s was about $4.25 an hour and the servers would give us some tips at the end of the shift for cleaning their tables. I had an empty cheese whiz jar with a paper “log” where I would record my tip money each night (and double count it as I shared a room with my sisters haha). I can honestly say, that in those days, of being 13 years old with no expenses – I have never felt as rich. I would phone my best friend on our rotary phone (I’m actually only 37 years old but I’m making myself sound old!) and we would dream and plan our “shopping trip” at the “Zellers Mall” in Charlottetown for back to school. If times were good, and my Dad agreed, this would sometimes evolve into planning a trip to Moncton which was basically like the most exciting trip that a farm girl from PEI could dream of!
My summer jobs in Hospitality only evolved through the years, moving my way up to Hostess and serving at a Cavendish, PEI restaurant for many years. As a lot of youth do, I wanted to expand my horizons and to see what the world offered, so I headed out to Calgary and enrolled in the Hospitality Management Program at SAIT. During that time, I was SO blessed to manage a restaurant for a family owned business – the owners treated me like family. Fast forward, 8 years later, Prince Edward Island called me home and I switched focus to hotels and PEI resort & cottage business. I loved (and still do) hospitality – I love meeting people and I love showing them the best of Prince Edward Island (excluding my favourite beach-ha!) and working with people has always been the basis of my career path. Some of my favourite people and the best stories I have are from years in the Hospitality industry.
The secret to a successful business is a lot of things, location, timing, hard work, product demand, management, marketing etc. but one of the things that I believe that you can’t undervalue is genuine PEI hospitality and sincerity. It’s honestly the little things that really go a long way to building a reputable hospitality/accommodations business here on PEI and it’s a big reason why visitors come to our Island. For instance, my cottage business seller picks fresh produce from her garden and leaves it in a basket on her guests doorstep everyday or bakes them treats to have after supper. She tells them about all the best beaches and the nicest restaurants to eat in and the little known, secret places on PEI to find waterfalls, good food, where to milk a cow, and other cool PEI things. I think most importantly, it’s taking the time to talk to her guests and sincerely welcome them to PEI. There are evening campfires, recommendations for the best local music (ceilidhs) and lots of conversations and stories shared. Her home is their home while they are on PEI and she makes sure that you feel that way.
I think if the state of the world has taught us anything, it’s that the little things do matter and that living our dreams is important. I can’t even tell you how many times, I’ve met visitors to PEI who say, they wish that they could pack up and move here.
Well, you can!
There are so many opportunities to live and work on Prince Edward Island and if you are someone that thinks that a Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast on PEI, cottage business or a small inn is in your future. You need to make that happen! My best friend, who lives in Toronto, was recently telling me about being in the process of buying a condo in downtown Toronto. The price point, to get into a small 1 bedroom condo was somewhere in the 750 K range. I know I am bias, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to make that investment on Prince Edward Island, where you could escape to the Island, in the summer months or better yet, live here year-round and earn income seasonally from cottage rentals. These are some of the things that I think are appealing to someone wanting to come to start their own cottage business on PEI.
Don’t get me wrong – I am very aware that owning and operating a PEI accommodations business is hard work. There is maintenance, bookings, cleaning, laundry and welcoming people everyday plus everything that goes with running a business. I just really believe, that at the end of the day, that the real reward comes by making something truly yours, living the life you’ve always dreamed of and breathing in that fresh, salt water Prince Edward Island air!
If any of this sounds like I am speaking about you – Check out a Cavendish business for sale “Simply Charming Cottages” below and make your PEI dreams come true!
Click link below!
Until next time, reach out anytime!
Marsha – Proud Islander, PEI Wedding Officiant & PEI REALTOR®