Naramata businesses have had a steady flow of customers, which they attribute to the visitors and diners at the Naramata Inn

Inn keeping Naramata busy

Casey Richardson

The Village of Naramata has businesses seeing an increase of visitors and customers since the opening of the Naramata Inn.

Opening in June, the Inn was redesigned with new owners and a new restaurant, quickly drawing in people to see the over one hundred year old building redone. 

“Since we've opened in June, we have been pretty close to sold out every night, we're only 12 rooms, so that's only 24 to 26 people, but still. Brings a lot of guests here to the little wonderful village of Naramata that we love so much,” said Ned Bell, executive chef and partner of the Naramata Inn. 

Businesses were pleasantly surprised when more people started coming into the village. Karolina Born, the owner-operator for Forest Green Man Lavender Products, has had more business than she expected. 

“It just has made such a difference for our downtown area because there are so many people that are staying there now, they sort of opened up with a bang,” Born said. “I did not expect this….[But] it just was an exceptionally good year.”

Bell has heard that coffee shops, grocery markets, local spots and the other bed and breakfasts have all felt the increase too, a boost in customers in an unexpected time. 

“Are we a part of that? Sure, I guess so, but I don't know for sure that I would take all the credit for that. There's a lot of good reasons to visit Naramata,” he said. 

“But I certainly know that when you're doing 75 people for lunch and 120 people for dinner pretty much every night of the week, that's just that many more people that are looking for other things to do. We've been really pleasantly surprised and appreciative of the support we've received.”

Born certainly thinks so, adding “The lunch crowd, they have a beautiful meal, they have a glass of wine and they scamper up and down the village,” she said. “They populate what is usually at this time of year would be actually quite calmed down now.”

Lodgings for the area are also seeing more business from the visitors coming to dine at the inn. 

“We have people coming for one and two night stays that have booked to go for dinner and the inn was full so they’ve been happy to come stay with us,” said Debbie Sellwood, owner of The Village Motel.

Businesses are considering staying open when they would usually start closing down around this time of year. 

“We're still as busy as we would hope to be here in October... the inns sold out until November,” Bell said. “We're proving that there is an opportunity here to have more than just a seasonal business and we're hoping to be able to continue to build on that.”

Sellwood added that her motel was seeing this too, “We're busier further into the season, we’re booking into November which we haven’t historically done.” 

While the Naramata Inn will be closing January and February, the team is hoping to keep busy until then.

“Our goal is to have, let's say we have six months of business currently, we'd like to get it to seven, we'd like to get it to eight... the busy busy of the Okanagan is only about 12 to 16 weeks a year.”

“We're thrilled to be a part of it and can't wait to continue to grow and deliver delicious things.”

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