Isolation Vacations Project In Port Alberni Earns VIREB Recognition
PORT ALBERNI – Naomi and Ed Nicholson are honoured to be among the Finalists for their project “Isolation Vacations by Chims Guest House” in this year’s Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards.
The couple own and operate Chims Guest House located on Highway 4. They were one of 45 buildings and the only Port Alberni business to be named a finalist in VIREB’s 14th annual awards on May 7.
“Ed and I are so thrilled that VIREB chose us as a finalist from the amazing list of projects,” explains Naomi. “We have worked really hard the past few years and faced many tribulations along the way. Small businesses face different challenges compared to corporations, so this recognition for our million dollar investment to the Alberni Valley means a lot.”
The Nicholson’s three phase project was funded by personal funds, grants, and loans with the final phase completed in July. In 2020, 11 local businesses such as Tilley’s Trucking & Excavating Ltd., Tilley’s Heating and Plumbing Ltd., VCR Constructing, and material from McCoy Lake Excavating kept working and strengthened the Port Alberni economy when COVID-19 measures limited business operations. Naomi says they could not have completed the project without these incredible businesses by their side, and she shares her pride in being nominated with them.
She also wants to acknowledge that the project was made possible because of funding support from Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corp. (NEDC), Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC), Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) and the Federal Government who offered the same $60,000 COVID-19 loan program to Indigenous people who don’t qualify for the non-Indigenous program.
This business has faced hard times since COVID started. They were set to have the best year expanding the Indigenous Experience Series. Activities such as Indigenous Paint Night or Beading Workshop provide guests with their own artist to help them create masterpieces. Last year’s biggest hit was the in-house private chef who provided a locally sourced seafood dinner.
The couple plan to continue building on their success. Currently offering short-term stays until the pandemic is finally a thing of the past, they will be well positioned to move forward with a successful business model that can survive the test of time.
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