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Success Stories | O’Donnell’s Cottages & Outdoor Expeditions - Eco-Adventures Await


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O’Donnell’s Cottages & Outdoor Expeditions - Eco-Adventures Await

First impressions are important and Valerie O’Donnell knows the value of putting her business’s best foot forward.  O’Donnell’s Cottages & Outdoor Expeditions began with only one cottage rental on 17 acres of riverfront property as a way to help pay the mortgage. Naturally developing into a thriving                   eco-adventure destination was in response to the demand of family, friends and return guests. Guests can choose an all out ‘relax until you melt’ get away, adventures on the river, expeditions on land or any combination their heart desires. This detail to the guest has created a lasting first impression that has kept O’Donnell’s Cottages in the hospitality industry for over 18 years as a year round destination. “The time that we spend with our guests, really getting to know them, and building lasting relationships is a major key to our success”

Valerie has been touched with the entrepreneurial spirit! A native of Doaktown, she has always lived and worked in the area. She owned a small grocery store with her husband Jack for some years but went to work in the supermarket industry to help put her two sons through college. By the year 2000 she was able to leave that industry in order to run her own business fulltime. “I have always been an independent woman and this became a natural thing for me to do. I always liked working for myself and I never lost that desire to be my own boss.”

When asked about what some of the rewards and challenges of being your own boss are, Valerie was a fountain of information! “The most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur is the people you meet, the friendships made where a customer becomes a friend.” Of course challenges do occur and Valerie spoke about the hardships of staffing in a rural area. “It’s hard to keep good help in a small community. We have excellent part-time and full-time summer students but when they are finished school they move on!” Indeed this is a challenge faced in many of our rural communities.

The New Brunswick Association of CBDCs has really helped Valerie through the many networking and training sessions. None more so than the Step-Up Mentorship Program.  “It’s been such a big help and I have really enjoyed myself. It is helping me to bring myself and my business to ‘step-up’ to the next level. What I have learned is invaluable…the outcome will not only benefit my business but I am now talking my learning experiences into my community. ‘Experience Doaktown’ will also benefit from what I leaned during my mentorship program.”

Valerie also recommends that if you are an aspiring entrepreneur to get in contact with someone who can help you create a business plan before you ever start. Know what you are getting into. Take some training in marketing your business idea. Then go for it! As a last parting business tip she says “If you’re going to have a business you have to have a website – and make it a good one! 80% of our business comes from our website.”

You can check out O’Donnell’s Cottages & Adventures at www.odonnellscottages.com
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