|The Lac La Biche Conglomerate|
"Duane Young, Linda Young"
Seventeen years ago Duane Young arrived in Lac La Biche, Alberta as a 26 year old linesman for the Alberta Telephone Company. He'd been with them for a few years and was earning good money but, Duane had an inner desire to someday own his own hotel.
The town's seedy York Hotel was for sale. So he bought it, cleaned it up, and over the next few years completely rebuilt it.
I stayed there while on a speaking engagement in Lac La Biche. Frankly, I was really surprised. It is one of the nicest and cleanest hotels in Northern Alberta. Although Duane has had no formal training in hotel management I would stack his business savy up against the biggest and best in Toronto. Today, Duane and wife Linda are close to being a conglomerate.
Besides the hotel, they also own a nearby motel, a large campground and marina, the local newspaper, and a six acre site on the edge of town.
"I want to build another 50-60 room extension on the hotel, and develop the acreage. Then I'll be happy."
All of this did not come easy, nor overnight.
"In the lean years when we first started out I was at the hotel a minimum of15 hours a day, 7 days a week. I would arrive early in the morning when it was still dark and leave at night when it was dark."
Duane is a high energy guy always on the go. His advice to other would-be entrepreneurs is;
"Don't be afraid to work. Don't be afraid to sacrifice. Because that is what you have to do if you want to achieve."
Knowing what he knows now, would Duane do it all again?
"On yes by all means. Donít forget I was 26 years old and had no brains, but a lot of guts."
A lot of guts yes. No brains? Don't you believe it.
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