Wise 50 Over 50 Award™
Shawn & Michelle Rowsell – Indian Falls Chalets
My name is Michelle Rowsell and I am owner and operator, with my husband Shawn, of Indian Falls Chalets Inc., Newfoundland’s newest four season 4.5 star resort.
In 2016 I overcame a life changing injury and retired from a thriving 26 year career as an acute nurse. I wasn’t ready to just sit back; I wanted and needed a new challenge.
I saw an opportunity to turn my dream into a reality and at the age of 50 I embarked on a brand new career as an entrepreneur. With only the viewpoint of a visitor I immersed myself into the business side of the tourism industry and quickly acknowledged I had a great deal to learn. I started building my new professional network, attended business events and training, asked countless questions, knocked on doors and never took no for an answer.
My determination paid off and in 2018 my business partner and husband welcomed our first visitors to Indian Falls Chalets and we have never looked back.
My business and dream – Indian Falls Chalets is located flawlessly on the banks of a world class salmon fishing river in the heart of Springdale, Central NL. Chalet site selection, orientation on George Huxter Falls and layout & design were all key in building an exceptional experience for our clients. We have built our brand on the personal one on one interaction and do our utmost to deliver outstanding customer service to our clients. We assist guests in the pre-planning stage and help customize itineraries to meet their time, interest and schedules. We personally greet guests upon arrival and make ourselves available 24 hours during their stay.
Our commitment to excellence is the basis for the foundation and growth of Indian Falls Chalets. Our occupancy rates were above average in the first year of operation and have increased significantly in 2019. Our unique seasonal packages have attracted resident and non-resident visitors and have helped grow the economy of the area.
We received our regional Destination Management Organization’s – Adventure Central NL 2019 Accommodator of the Year and were also nominated in the experience of the year category. I was asked to run for and was elected as a director with Adventure Central NL in May of 2018.
We understand our clients know that they want to experience the region in a variety of ways. We have developed a number of seasonal packages that all evoke our Newfoundland culture and heritage.
In creating this business, we have had the opportunity to contribute to the economic prosperity and continued growth of our region. We have had the privilege of hosting clients from all over the world; from Denmark to California clients are discovering Indian Falls Chalets. We received recognition from Booking.com under their Guest Review Awards program. This is Booking.com’s annual appreciation program that recognizes partners for their top-notch hospitality according to review scores left by guests after their stay.
I have personally grown in my role as an entrepreneur and as a result has provided me with opportunities to give back to my community and other women in business. In 2018, I was named to the board of directors of the Community Business Development Corporation Emerald www.cbdc.ca/emerald. CBDCs assist in the creation of small businesses and in the expansion and modernization of existing businesses by providing financial and technical services to entrepreneurs.
In 2017 I was approached by the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs to become an NLOWE Ambassador. I accepted the appointment and have had the opportunity through this program to give back to other women. I have recently been nominated for NLOWE’s 2019 Momentum Award. This award recognizes an entrepreneur who has demonstrated significant growth and/or growth potential within a one- to three-year time span and has built a business that is adaptable and apt to successfully leverage opportunities for continued growth. The winner will be announced in October at a Gala event in St.John’s. This is the highest award for women in business in Newfoundland & Labrador.
In 2019 I was asked to be a part of the biggest tourism conference and trade show in the province organized by Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador (HNL) is the premier. I was guest speaker for the Tourism in Newfoundland & Labrador – An Operator’s Perspective panel discussion.
As committed to my business, I am also as committed to my community in helping it grow and prosper. I work closely with The Town of Springdale and their community initiatives including Winterfest, Summer Performance Series in The Park and The Regional Tourism Stakeholders Working Group.