The new owners of the now Briarwood Cottages and Lodge are pleasantly pleased with their purchase of the property.
“It’s great waking up in paradise,” said Paul Reid.
Mr Reid and his wife Lisa moved to PEI from Ontario about four weeks ago. They have been visiting the Island for a couple of years now.
“We fell in love with coming down here and we wanted to move down here,” explained Mr Reid. “We’ve been looking for a business like this for about the last three years.”
Mr Reid said the couple reviewed about 100 businesses by paper and viewed about 20 in person over those three years.
“We took our time and did our due diligence and found something we both actually loved because it had to be for the both of us,” he said.
How the couple ended up purchasing the Briarwood was a total fluke, according to Mr Reid, after he stumbled across the property up for sale on Kijiji by former owners Gary and Debbie Inman.
After a few emails back and forth with the Inmans, the Reids travelled to PEI this past May to tour the property.
“We fell in love with the place and then spent the next three and half months putting the sale together,” said Mr Reid.
The couple officially moved to PEI mid-September and took possession of the Briarwood on Sept. 19.
The Briarwood Cottages and Lodge is located on a secluded lane just outside of Alberton. The 16 acre property has six cottage units - four two storey cottages and two one storey cottages -, eight lodge suits and eight overnight units.
The former inn on the property is now the couple’s new home.
Located along the Dock River, the beauty of the property is what attracted the couple to the business.
“The shape of the buildings, the different accommodations, the two storey cottages,” said Ms Reid. “The waterfront as well was a big one for us. The trees.”
Ms Reid has experience in the hospitality industry, working in a seniors management position for a golf and ski resort back in Ontario for 13 years.
“We had a good understanding what we were getting into,” said Mr Reid. “We weren’t naive. We understood the expectations and what we wanted to do to make this place the place you want to go, the place you want to come back to.”
One of the appeals of the Briarwood for the couple was being a ‘turn key’ operation, with Mr Reid saying the Inmans had done a great job maintaining the property.
“We don’t want to reinvent the wheel, we just want to push it down the road a little faster, that’s all,” said Mr Reid.
With guests currently on site, Ms Reid said the couple are quickly gaining a firm grasp on running the business.
“We’re making guests happy, and that is ultimately No. 1,” she said.
“We want people to leave this place with a smile on their face and satisfied,” added Mr Reid. “And wanting to come back.”
Ms Reid said the best compliment the business could get is a recommendation from previous guests to others.
The couple does have plans to update the property, beginning with the lodges over the next several months. And to help promote the property, the Briarwood’s website is being redesigned, the couple is advertising in local papers as well as in Tourism PEI brochures and working on improving the property’s social media.
“So far, (the feedback) seems really good and really positive,” said Mr Reid. “Everything we’ve heard from everybody has been great.”
“We’re jumping in with both feet and doing it,” said Ms Reid. “You don’t make a move like this without being very serious. In the end, we just want to do really well.”