Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug’s Stanley Bluecoat has expanded his bed and breakfast accommodations by building the six-bedroom Sunset Lodging Bed and Breakfast in the West Bay area.
“It’s been good since I opened the new (lodge),” Bluecoat said. “It’s been steady — people have been coming in and out.”
Bluecoat began providing bed and breakfast accommodations after he built a new home in 2009. His first guest was the contractor who was building the community’s new airport terminal.
“They left after three weeks and I guess the word got out,” Bluecoat said. “The phone started ringing and (people) were asking me if I had any rooms: ‘I heard you have a nice room, can we stay there.’”
Bluecoat said he didn’t expect to get into the bed and breakfast business at first, but after serving many guests in his home over the past four years, he decided to build a new lodge specifically for guests.
“I built the new one because I couldn’t keep up,” Bluecoat said, noting he often stayed in a cabin when his home was being used for guests. “There’s people who wanted to stay at my bed and breakfast so I filled out my application to NADF (Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund).”
Bluecoat said the NADF application was approved at the end of last August, so he ordered building materials to be shipped in by air so he could start building in September.
“Everything was flown in; it was expensive,” Bluecoat said. “It took almost four months to finish it. I didn’t open it until after New Years.”
KI Chief Donny Morris helped Bluecoat with the grand opening of the bed and breakfast in mid-January.
“After I opened it — it’s been three months now — it’s been used steadily,” Bluecoat said, noting the guests in the new accommodations included a Journalists For Human Rights member who worked in the community for three months and an ice road truckers filming crew from Winnipeg who were filming north of Pickle Lake communities. “It’s been busy every week.”
Bluecoat has received a good response from his guests to date, noting he has a guestbook where they can write down comments.
“There’s all kinds of people staying here,” Bluecoat said, noting that he hosted the Governor General’s wife and Lieutenant Governor’s wife during last summer’s visit by people from across the country. “I’m meeting people every day, I get to know people from all over Canada.
There’s a lady staying here for over a month now who is from Vancouver.”
Bluecoat usually asks the guests what they prefer for breakfast.
“Some people don’t eat hot breakfasts,” Bluecoat said. “And some people watch what they eat (because) they’re diabetic or whatever.”
Bluecoat charges $160 per night for his accommodations and breakfast, noting that expenses are higher in KI due to transportation costs.
“I give them a special rate if somebody wants to stay a month or so,” Bluecoat said.
Bluecoat received a $99,000 grant from the Aboriginal Business Contribution Program to help pay for the about $350,000 cost to build the new lodge. He also had to invest about
$30,000-35,000 for furniture and other fixtures in the building.
“I have to pay for fuel oil, hydro and Internet,” Bluecoat said about the day-to-day costs of operating the lodge. “I have wireless Internet for the customers and I have Shaw Direct TV and I have a phone here.”
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