Success Stories

Ryan and Lea Martin: Keeping their doors open and opening the door for newcomers 

Ryan Martin took over the historic Hume Hotel from his father in 1999, and together they purchased Nelson’s Best Western Baker Street Inn in 2003. Along with these busy hotels, Ryan, along with his wife Lea, also own the restaurants and bars within them. These include Mike’s Place Pub, General Store Restaurant, Spiritbar, Hume Liquor Boutique, The Library Lounge, Aura Spa & Salon, and Marzano.

Ryan and Lea Martin are not only Kootenay famous for their work in the local hospitality industry and being a major employer of approximately 260 people, they’re also known for being friendly, kind and deeply dedicated community members.

As Ryan and Lea reflect on their success in business while raising three young boys, Ryan says, “We’re lucky because we have such a great team. We’re not real micromanagers, and our incredible department heads lead their respective departments with really good vibes. They’re just awesome people. They make everything a lot easier.” 

More than a handful of applicants from the Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) program make up Ryan and Lea’s incredible teams, including various management positions. “Some of them work in multiple areas of both businesses!” Lea adds. 

“The RNIP program has provided us with quality people,” says Ryan. “It’s created a lot of employee loyalty, and we aren’t seeing as much of the constant turnover common in the hospitality industry.” 

Lea loves the prospect of giving families the opportunity for better lives and appreciates the richness that multiculturalism provides Nelson and her family. “Having so much more diversity is important for our community and our kids.”

“Without RNIP, I wonder how we’d be operating right now,” says Ryan, while reflecting on surrounding businesses forced to close on weekends due to a lack of staff. “It seems like there aren’t enough local applicants to fill these positions. We’re fortunate and grateful that we can support our staff with a pathway to PR through RNIP and that we aren’t hindered by a lack of human resources. The program has made operating seven days a week possible!” 

The couple has found RNIP to be a more manageable program than other immigration avenues they’ve used. “RNIP isn’t a big time commitment, and it allows us to do whatever we can to help our employees go through the motions of getting their permanent residencies.”

The Martins are one example of the many employers working to help RNIP applicants move to the West Kootenay.

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