After 20 years of living in Langley, BC, in June 2015, France and Daryl packed their car and embarked on an exploration tour of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region. After a magical two-night stay in a waterfront cottage at Ruth Lake Lodge Resort, they fell in love with the area, the emerald green lake, the birds, the clear starry sky, the endless trails and the lifestyle. Soon after this trip they were fortunate enough to follow their passion and turn their favourite vacation spot in the Cariboo into their permanent home. France is a beaming light of positivity, active in the community and both her and Daryl truly embody the adventurous spirit that make up Cariboo hospitality; welcoming guests from around the world at their picturesque resort and 37-acre waterfront property located 33km east of 100 Mile House.
“Introducing others to the lifestyle that we love, discovering what happens when you disconnect from technology and reconnect with your family and nature is the experience we want to create for our guests. We’ve always been the type of people who appreciate the simple things. We want to become part of the community and be advocates for what the region has to offer.” – France Robert
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 56% of their lodge bookings for 2020 had been cancelled, most of those coming from group bookings (weddings, family reunions) and European guests. Over the past two years, France and Daryl have invested countless time and investment into facility improvements, knowing that being able to accommodate larger group bookings could help them reach their future goals. However, due to the Covid-19 restrictions on group gatherings, France now remarks that, “we have this big beautiful lakefront building sitting empty.”
France said that she was “feeling a little discouraged, and it seemed like every government program was offering help to everyone except rural small businesses like ours.” At Ruth Lake Lodge Resort, her and Daryl run the whole show, own their property and have numerous fixed expenses that are non- deferrable. As such, with no incoming revenue, cancellations mounting and bill payments still looming these independent business owners had significant stress. France realised that she needed help understanding the intricacies of the programs and their options for support, so she signed up for the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Resiliency program to seek help. France and her Program Advisor connected right away to set up an initial call to understand her unique circumstances and challenges. France shared that “having her Program Advisor listen to our ‘unique’ situation and provide detailed one- on-one support, helped me figure out where to focus our efforts.”
France feels proud that Ruth Lake Lodge Resort has established a Covid-19 safety plan with clear guidelines and policies for the protection of themselves and their guests. With strict rules in place to ensure the safety of everyone, they grew more confident that they could provide a safe and peaceful experience at Ruth Lake Lodge Resort.
France said that she is “really happy that her Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Program Advisor has been our partner in this journey to recovery. Not only was the business support and information valuable, her joy and positivity helped me feel supported and redirected my attention to what’s important. Keeping healthy, physically and emotionally, enjoying the beauty around me and remembering that we will get through this with the support of our tourism community.” On a positive note, since the onset of the pandemic, France mentioned that “we’ve received some new bookings from British Columbians and we’re slowly seeing the numbers come up again, even though we likely won’t meet our 2020 goals.”