The story starts back from my first ever job. I was hired to work at The Landing Oyster House and Pub on the recommendation from my great aunt, who worked as a cook there. I started off as a dishwasher and I eventually moved up to a line cook. I loved the energy in the pub and enjoyed working in the kitchen. Eventually, I left to take business at UPEI, which was around the time where I met my fiancée Joel Fitzpatrick. I always gravitated towards restaurants and during my university career when asked to do a business plan it would alway be about a restaurant.
Fast forward to 2011 and I am just about to graduate university, and Joel and I are engaged and have been living together for 3+ years. When discussing our life plan it really boiled down to was, what was I going to do once I graduated university. I could:
- Get a job, on the island
- Get a job, off island
- Be a business owner
- Go back to school
Many a nights were spent mulling over the options, and while just getting a job seemed to be the easiest and in some ways most appealing option, I couldn’t bring myself to take it. I literally tried to convince myself to apply to jobs, although I knew myself that wasn’t where my heart is. You know the saying, you can’t help what you love? I fully realized the power of the statement this year.
In walks The Landing. I remember when I heard it was for sale and memories of working there started flooding back to me. I then began to fantasize about owning the restaurant that I spent my teenage years working. But that's all it was, unrealistic unattainable dreams. Things became real when I started trying to plan for the future. No matter how hard I tried to convince myself to move off PEI for a “good job”, I couldn’t. I love PEI, like stop dead in my tracks, heart skips a beat kind of love. The kind of love that endures one of the worst god forsaken winters I have ever seen. So I started looking for jobs, hoping that would quench the thirst I couldn’t seem to satisfy. More restaurant fantasies, and more job applications. It wasn’t until November 2010 that I started writing the business plan for The Landing. The plan just flowed out of me, like I had been working on parts all my life and it just came together all at once. That plan was my baby.
I became consumed in learning everything I could about restaurants. When I told Joel of my idea, he was very on-board. Wanting to be a bartender for the last few years made it an easy decision for him.Then reality started to set in. While reading books about the restaurant business, I started to see some scary numbers. I read that many people get so caught up in the fun aspects of owning a restaurant that they never face the realities. To help uncover if this idea was bad, I started talking to restaurant owners, including my old boss and the former owner of the pub. It boosted my confidence to know it can be done, it just requires a lot of hard work.
The difficulty we faced financing this venture was something I never expected.. When going to our bank to get the financing, we suddenly realized that this isn’t going to be easy. As a matter of fact, this is going to be one of the hardest things I have ever done. It was a roller coaster ride of ups and downs and I am women enough to admit I shed my fair share of tears after being turned down again and again. I was at the point where I was about to throw in the towel when things magically came together.
So, we bought the pub and it feels very surreal. I am getting in there soon to start putting the place together. I have a lot of work cut out for me but I have an AMAZING support system from all over Canada willing to help me, including all my extended family who have volunteered their time to help Joel and I get this place going.