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The Homestead Inn & The Jam Shack

Travelling the country with her RCMP husband, Darlene had gathered over 30 years of retail customer service experience when she decided to transform her family’s ancestral home into a Bed and Breakfast in 1987 upon returning to her hometown of Doaktown for good. A true people person and great believer in community, Darlene saw a need and an opportunity for her to follow one of her dreams. In 1988 Bed and Breakfasts were a new option in the hotel industry and The Homestead Inn was able to capture an international clientele due to its hostess’s talent in the kitchen as well as her dedication to personalized one on one service. These days, The Homestead Inn is considered a haven for artists, writers, photographers and others looking for a quiet retreat. It is also known for their amazing fishing and outdoor activities.  “I never thought that it wouldn’t succeed. I was always thinking of the next level” says Darlene “as a child I always knew what I wanted and went after it”.

Darlene vibrates with positive energy and enthusiasm when she speaks about her enterprises and the dreams she has for the future. Her passion is a tangible thing and you can taste her commitment to quality and excellence in the treats that she makes for her second business, The Jam Shack. Breads, pies, cakes, cookies, pickles, jellies and jams can be found in the local Market on Friday’s with Darlene proudly offering upscale, fresh, unique, home-grown products in a beautiful presentation. “I can’t express it in words but it is the feeling I get when I make something with my hands and people taste it and tell me if I lived in NYC I’d be a millionaire!  – it’s not the money it’s the feeling that keeps me cooking and baking” Her passionate heart and soul goes into every home cooked item and anything that isn’t sold by the end of market day to local homebound elderly in the community.

In speaking with Darlene you can see the strength, determination and commitment that drive the success of her businesses. On being an entrepreneur she feels that it is a ‘mind over matter’ attitude that allows all things to be possible. The most rewarding aspect is seeing the satisfaction of the clients she holds so dear. “I believe what sets my enterprise apart is that I take the time with each of my guests to give them personalized one on one service. It’s all about genuine service done with love and I genuinely love all my guests. Also I believe that my product (items from The Jam Shack) is superb. They are upscale but accessible with a great presentation but above all that it is the taste that is superior and keeps us growing. In fact it is expansion time!”  

With role models like Oprah, Shuler and Mozart it is Darlene’s father who has been the business leader that she most looks up to. “My father was the perfect example of the male human being – he was balanced in all things. I could ask him anything. He may not have answered right away but it was the very best and very clearest answer that any human could give.”

Darlene feels that “in life, if you forget who you are and where you come from … you’ve lost your way” So in offering advice to a new entrepreneur she says “to find your goal, your niche, so that it’s really you when you set yourself up – and if it isn’t; get out of it. If it is working – never look back!”

Darlene is looking forward to working with the NB Association of the CBDC’s in the Miramichi region as she took the time to attend the networking session offered by the WOMEN network and the Association. “The network events have opened doors for me to meet other people who can further my goals and dreams. They have given me the right direction for the next step and I am very excited to work with my development officer (Nadine Duguay).

Parting words:

“If you have a dream, desire or ambition; just go for it – don’t let anyone steal your dream”

Darlene Bamford was a nominee for the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year for the Miramichi Region 2009
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