Yukon Motel and Restaurant is key employer in community of Teslin
By Sam Laskaris
The Yukon Motel and Restaurant, a multi-faceted business, has been run the past dozen years in the community of Teslin by the Kremer family.
A dozen years ago Juanita Kremer was working as a conservation officer while trying to raise three children young children in addition to being pregnant again.
An opportunity then arose which would not only drastically change her work career but that of her husband’s as well.
Steve Kremer, a carpenter, had done his share of work at the Yukon Motel and Restaurant, located in the community of Teslin.
An elderly German man who owned the business approached the Kremers as he was looking to sell.
“He handpicked us to take it over,” said Juanita Kremer, a member of the Teslin Tlingit Council. “And then he stuck around for a bit to help us manage it.”
The previous owner also allowed the Kremers to pay him directly in installments for the property. It took more than nine years but they are now debt free having paid off their $1.4 million loan for the business.
Juanita Kremer admits she had some concerns whether she was making the right decision to switch careers.
“Fish and wildlife is a difficult job,” she said. “And you work a lot of evenings and weekends. This was completely different for me but it was a good fit.”
As it turns out the Kremers have done a fantastic job operating the Yukon Motel and Restaurant.
In fact, their venture has been nominated in Cando’s Aboriginal Private Sector Business award.
Cando, a Canada-wide organization that promotes Indigenous economic development, also has categories for economic development officer of the year and community of the year.
The 2018 winners for all categories will be announced at the Cando Conference, which is scheduled for Oct. 22-25 in Enoch, Alta.
One of the Kremers’ accomplishments is turning their business into a 24-7 operation. The business, which was previously open 15 hours a day, includes a licensed restaurant with 63 seats, 10 motel rooms and two log homes which are rented out.
There’s also a station offering both gas and diesel and an RV park with 65 hookup sites.
The business also includes a wildlife gallery and gift shop and a Canada Post depot.
The Yukon Motel and Restaurant is one of Teslin’s largest employers. During the busy summer months the business employs 22 people. And during the winter months there are 10-12 employees.
All four of the Kremer children, whose ages range from 11-18, work at the business.
The facility, about 60 years old, will soon need some renovations.
“It’s a beautiful business,” Juanita Kremer said. “I don’t want to change it so much that it changes the feel of the business.”