Diane Moran and Ronald Laidman own and operate Remote Renfrew Riverside Retreat, vacation cabin rentals situated on seven acres between two arms of the San Juan River in Port Renfrew, B.C.
How is Remote Renfrew Riverside Retreat coping right now?
We are busy renovating and navigating all the Spring and early seasonal duties that comes with running a riverside retreat. In addition to that, we sustained epic overland flooding in January 2020 and had to completely renovate the interior of our two cabins. The grounds were also impacted as was our log home and my unfinished art studio and my husband’s garage. The work never seems to end, but we take time to celebrate the advances we are making and appreciate the opportunity to be out in nature. My husband Ron and I are navigating as best we can and keep each other motivated. We take turns needing some calm words and supportive nurturing. It’s a process.
How has the pandemic affected your business, and how do you anticipate it will continue to affect it?
Things will completely change, and this will affect every facet of what and how we operate from now on. We always took pride in how our cabins presented, looked and felt. With small touches in the décor and complimentary offerings like coffee tea, and simple kitchen items. Sadly, we will have to eliminate a few things and go back to single-use disposable products. Hugging our guests goodbye, maybe sharing a meal or campfire s’mores, will be out of the question for some time.
What advice are you giving yourself and your team for riding this out?
Be kind, ask for help when needed, reach out to others via phone. Keep the lines of communication open. Find ways to diversify your business. We are a husband and wife run business, so our situation is different than most. We also work from home so are riding this out together, no matter what.
What is the opportunity in the challenge for you and the Resort?
Remote Renfrew Riverside Retreat can engage guests who were previously apprehensive to stay in a remote location. The great benefit is that we are a small retreat with only two cabins that are completely self-contained. We can cater to small groups of six people or less. Social distancing is not a problem on seven acres. Daily walks along the San Juan River and access to a diverse landscape, and being completely immersed in nature, really helps increase your well-being and can allow for some much-needed space and calm.
What advice have you applied or are you applying from previous experiences coping through crises?
We have come back from the flooding physically and emotionally and continue to make positive progress. We keep up to date on changes and will do things gradually. We are still in transition with where COVID will lead us however we have not given up and continue to make the necessary changes to keep our guests, our community of Port Renfrew and ourselves as safe as possible.
What are your resources?
I connect with our local Port Renfrew Chamber of commerce biweekly as I am a board member. We also have a new Port Renfrew Recovery Task Force Committee who shares information to business and the port Renfrew Community. I also listen to the alerts from Destination BC and have signed up for other useful links through the BC Chamber of Commerce and business associations.
What advice do you have for others experiencing this alongside you?
You are not in this alone. Do reach out to your community and other business owners who are in a similar situation. There are many resources available to protect your mental health. Social distance from social media and try to detox from too much TV or negative news. Get outside in nature, eat good food and love the ones you’re with.