SPA 901 co-owners Laura Oleksa and Jessica Riley hosted a wine and cheese social gathering in partnership with Tourism Fernie on Thursday March 12.

SPA 901 co-owners Laura Oleksa and Jessica Riley hosted a wine and cheese social gathering in partnership with Tourism Fernie on Thursday March 12.

Local businesses prepare for summer

SPA 901 owners Jessica Riley and Laura Oleksow teamed up with Tourism Fernie to host an open house event.

After taking ownership of SPA 901 last month, Fernie entrepreneurs Jessica Riley and Laura Oleksow teamed up with Tourism Fernie to host an open house event on Thursday April 9, inviting local businesses to socialize and tour the 6,600 sq ft luxury spa.

Guests were encouraged to indulge in wine, fine cheeses supplied by Le Grand Fromage and appetizers catered by Lizard Creek Lodge.

From left:  Mireille Fortier with SPA 901, SPA 901 co-owner Laura Oleksow, Fernie Lodging Company’s Caitlin Bates and Tourism Fernie’s Nancy Gillis enjoyed wine and cheese at SPA 901 and Tourism Fernie’s social event on Thursday April 9.

New to the Fernie business community, Riley and Oleksow expressed their desire to become more involved in the community.

“We’d like to thank everybody for coming tonight,” Oleksow said, adding. “The support from the community, we really appreciate it. We are really looking forward to getting more involved with the community.”

Tourism Fernie executive officer Jikke Gyorki congratulated the young business owners on their recent purchase of the spa before providing the audience with a brief Tourism Fernie presentation.

After recovering from a difficult winter, Gyorki outlined Tourism Fernie’s strategic plan for the upcoming fiscal year.

“We look at what the trends are and what’s happening in the market place and what’s transpired in the past. We’re very cognizant of the challenging winter season that we have just come out of and how we can learn from that and move forward from that.”

Gyorki noted that, like other businesses in Fernie, Tourism Fernie is continuing to build on summer in Fernie and plans to continue to do so through content marketing — a strategic marketing approach aimed at meeting customer needs through visual medias, including videos, high quality images and blogging.

“Summer has really been growing in Fernie in the last five years. It’s a huge season of opportunity in Fernie,” Gyorki noted, adding, “[Content marketing] is about really engaging in the essence of what Fernie is.”

With summer just around the corner, Gyorki said their hope is to draw tourists to the area through content marketing.

“We really looked at the past and the future and [different] trends,” Gyorki said of their strategic plan. “Our main objective at Tourism Fernie is filling overnight visitation and increasing length of stay by encouraging people to stay an extra day because of all these amazing things that Fernie has to offer.”

There to speak about the history of Fernie was Fernie Heritage Museum program coordinator Lori Bradish. Bradish briefed business owners on what the summer will entail for the museum, including a Morrissey Internment Camp exhibit and the reintroduction of the heritage walking tour.

“It’s the 100th anniversary since the creation of the camp” Bradish said. “[The exhibit will explore] the whole social feeling in Fernie at the time and what led to the creation of that internment camp. It should be very interesting.”

Bradish noted that the heritage walking tour will be offered through July and August twice a day every Saturday.

“It will offer people a look at the community as it developed,” said Bradish.

With summer just around the corner, the social event provided local businesses with the opportunity to interact and discuss future endeavours.