It’s been two years since the Explorers Society Hotel and Quartermaster Eatery opened its doors. The business has grown and has become internationally known.
“It’s like a snowball. It just keeps collecting,” says Rebekah Jenkins, one of the owners.
While some would be nervous moving to a new country and opening a new business in a new location, Jenkins says it’s what she lives for.
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“I’m missing that gene that would make me afraid of starting a business. It’s missing from my personality. I thrive on ambiguity and uncertainty.”
Jenkins says she has been an entrepreneur all of her life. When she was a teenager, she sold jewelry to Nordstroms, an American chain of luxury department stores. She has owned consulting businesses for high tech, worked for Microsoft and once owned a traditional Italian cafe in Portland. At the time, Jenkins says no other establishment in Portland did a full tea service or sold gelato.
The difficulty in Portland was finding gelato, even to sell. So she flew it in from San Francisco and would go frequently to the airport to pick it up.
“It was a huge amount of work. It was brutal. It was fun though and never boring,” says Jenkins. It has been one adventure after the other.
Jenkins isn’t the sort of girl that sits back, drinks tea and reads a book. She’s a go-getter.
“You have to fight to survive. That’s the mood that I’m in. You should always fight to make a better business, better staff and better processes.”
“I believe if you’re comfortable, something is wrong. You should always be pushing yourself into an uncomfortable state because that’s when you’re learning.”
Never take your business for granted. Jenkins says you should take risks.
“I thrive on ambiguity and uncertainty. That’s when I do my best work.”
There wasn’t a business like Jenkins’ hotel and restaurant in Revelstoke prior to its opening. According to its website, the Explorers Society Hotel is Revelstoke’s first boutique hotel. It was built for travellers who take the quality of their accommodation as seriously as they take their outdoor pursuits. It’s base camp for the next adventure.
“The building created the opportunity to make a space that attracted people that we wanted to hang out with. People that were world travellers, explorers. People interested in fine dining,” said Jenkins.
Running a business isn’t easy, let alone in a small and isolated location.
“If the highway closes and your food truck doesn’t get in, you better have proper inventory.”
When Jenkins lived in the city, if something broke or was missing, she could pop out to the store and grab it. No biggie. But in Revelstoke…
“You have to be careful that you don’t get yourself over a barrel and not have what you need to operate.”
For example, say the pump in the hot tub breaks. Jenkins will order a new pump and instead of being delivered right to Revelstoke, the pump will go on a scenic tour of Canada.
“Nobody stops here. The stuff will go from Calgary to Vancouver to Kelowna to Revelstoke. I’m so desperate for this right now and I’m watching you drive by and coming to me five days later.”
It’s important to have backups when you run a business in Revelstoke. Like that second hot tub pump. Just in case.
“You learn to become better at being less spontaneous and planning for the future.”