In 1996, Frank Steiger decided to tap the budding B.C. tourism industry by starting a fishing guide company. With his meagre savings he bought a two-bedroom house in downtown Chilliwack, an old Chrysler truck and a boat for $3,500. Today, Mr. Steiger runs the Fraser River Lodge, one of Canada’s premier waterfront resorts situated among the mountains and roaming buffalo.
“It was just a dream,” he says. “In the beginning I was pressure washing trucks, I was dry walling for $7 an hour. I painted houses, I was a gardener. At one point, I applied to clean pig barns. You name it, I did it to pay for my advertising to get started.”
His dedication and hard work is still paying off with the addition of an events hall and boutique hotel on the secluded property in Agassiz, an hour east of Vancouver. While other tourism operators in the region have suffered in the recession, Mr. Steiger says his business, which targets a high-end market, has been booming since he began to cater wedding parties.