Joan Zelmer, who owned the 70 Mile Motel and the Corral Restaurant for 14 years, had been trying to sell her business for several years.
She recently sold it to a Lower Mainland businessman, with the sale going through on May 31. Zelmer has already moved to Vancouver where she will work part-time in a coffee shop and spend more quality time with her five grandchildren.
Zelmer bought the motel and restaurant in 2007. She had originally thought she was just buying the restaurant, but then realized she owned the motel, too. “I would rather cook a meal than clean a motel room,” she said.
While running a motel is a 24 hours a day, seven days a week job, and very tiring, Zelmer said she “met a lot of nice people” over the years.
“I have a lot of friends from all over the world who kept coming back to stay with me at the motel,” she said. “There was this one group that used to come through all of the time. They were from Holland and they made a trip to British Columbia every year and they would come up and stay with me.
“They brought me a little gift every time, and the last gift they brought me was a pair of little wooden shoes, which were really cute.”
Zelmer provided a lot of information for her motel clientele. Tourism information was always laid out on her front desk and “I would help people on where to go and how to get there,” she said. “If you have a few conversations with people, they will stay longer and come back to visit you.”
When she had a small fire in the restaurant a few years ago, Zelmer had to make a decision on whether she wanted to spend “$100,000 and build a brand new restaurant or just try to sell the business.” She added the new owner liked the menu she had in the restaurant, which drew a lot of clientele from 100 Mile and Clinton, as well as the people who were staying at the motel.
“The restaurant was just to provide comfort to the people who stayed in the motel,” she said. “The regulars from 70 Mile House included the Cunninghams, the McConnells and the folks from the 70 Mile Store. The Cunninghams came in every time I was open,” she said. “There were a few more, but I think they have moved on because I haven’t seen them in the last year.”
Although she has already left the area, Zelmer had some parting words. “I want to thank the 70 Mile people for supporting me. I want them to be well and be safe.”