By Darren Lum
The Bonnie View Inn’s owner and operator Andrea Hagarty’s smile said it all after her business won Haliburton’s Big Lobby Makeover valued at $25,000.
She remembers the day of the announcement being busy, which made it a challenge to watch Andria Cowan Molyneaux of ACM Designs announce the winner on Facebook on Aug. 4.
“I was working like crazy. I made it to my [front] desk for like, 12:05 and as I turned on Facebook Live Andria was like the winner is the Bonnie View Inn, Andrea Hagarty. I was like, ‘Yay. That’s awesome,’” she said.
Although ACM Designs remained open during the COVID-19 shutdown, they saw the larger picture and knew other industries such as the tourism sector weren’t as fortunate, so they approached area businesses to help sponsor the contest.
This meant a business would win a great prize, but also other businesses would have their profiles boosted through social media.
Hagarty said she entered the contest because friends kept alerting her to the opportunity.
For all the passion Hagarty has for the inn, she needed a little help, particularly during the period when the business couldn’t open to the public. Enter the Yates family, who have invested in the business and have an agreement in principle to take over the business from Hagarty in three years.
She was actually in the reception area and learned of the win with her new business partner Ryan Yates and his six-year-old daughter.
Yates said he is looking forward to the fall after what has turned out to be a busy summer. The resort is completely booked until Sept. 13.
This win is all about Hagarty, he said.
“She’s been around so long and she’s made such awesome contacts. I’ve had the pleasure of sitting at the desk with her and seeing people coming through the door and been back over and over and over again. So that’s what really stood out to me is that Andrea just made this happen,” he said.
As of July 1, the Yates family have been financial backers and have lived on site where Hagarty used to live.
The family, who spent the past 10 years living in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, includes wife Stephanie, and their four children aged six to 15.
Hagarty has owned the inn since 2005 (becoming sole owner in 2015) and has worked there since 1991.
She said this makeover is great for everyone and she feels happy for the Yates family, who have invested in a place at a time not best for business.
“They bought in knowing COVID-19 was going to be crappy, knowing it’s not the best year to buy in … so this makeover for both of us was a huge, awesome [gift],” she said.
Part of the value of this business for Yates goes beyond the numbers.
He said he’s looking forward to raising his family in the Highlands, which offers a view of Lake Kashagawigamog, just like Hagarty did.
“We’re super excited to be here and be part of continuing on the tradition, as opposed to changing,” he said. “We’re very excited to just continue what she’s spent so much time working towards … her legacy.”
Before the Yates family, there were many prospective operators who Hagarty interviewed to takeover, but they just weren’t suitable.
“They are going to be amazing for Haliburton. I’m so excited about them. … [He] and I, we think the same, we do the same, we work the same. It’s so nice,” she said.
Hagarty thanked ACM Designs owner Andria Cowan Molyneaux, supporters who voted for the Bonnie View online, and the other businesses that sponsored the contest such as Emmerson Lumber, Up River Trading Co., Hodgkinson Enterprise Inc., Yours Outdoors and Cordell Carpet.
“For all of them to get together and do something so cool like this for us, knowing we had so much trouble is like beyond awesome,” she said.
Started in 1924, the inn has only had five owners in its history.
With the business partnership with the Yates family in place, their expected takeover of the inn and now this recent makeover win, Hagarty’s hopeful for a lasting legacy where future generations will be able to fall in love with Haliburton and the Bonnie View Inn just like she did. For her, being at the inn hasn’t been work. It’s been home.
She feels good that her guests will now have a welcoming reception area that is worthy of the rest of the resort’s high quality and great service.
“And what a good way for me [after] so many years and leave it awesome because I want Bonnie View Inn to stay here forever for people so it’s good,” she said.
For more information and to stay up to date with the status of the makeover, see the Facebook page for The Big Lobby Makeover (www.facebook.com/biglobbymakeover/).