is how Al Sayn describes the feedback he has received from the
community of Stony Rapids on the opening of his new restaurant
and 12 room hotel, Al's Place. "The feedback has been fantastic,"
said Al. "This facility provides a new level of amenities
and service for local people and those traveling further north.
It has been busy since Day One." Al recognized the need for
a full-service hotel and restaurant in the small community years
ago when he worked with TransWest and Athabasca Airlines. But
until 1996 when Stony Rapids finally received water and sewer
service, such a project was prohibitive. As basic infrastructure
came to the community Al began to research his idea further. He
consulted with local residents, neighboring communities, the Black
Lake First Nations and travelers. All supported his concept for
a high quality facility.
Al invested his own time and funds into the
project but soon needed additional financing. "NEFI has been
extremely helpful and supportive. Staff have gone the extra 50
miles to help make this project a success at each step. I would
recommend NEFI to anyone," said Al.
Building the hotel and restaurant was a challenge:
limited winter access and no local supply of materials made small
setbacks much larger. Al credits the commitment of local employees,
contracting and freight partners in making the dream a reality:
"Everyone did whatever it took to make it work."
Al's 18 hour days over the past year have paid
off. Now employing four full-time and six part-time local individuals,
the project has had a huge impact on the local and neighboring
communities. Al's Place has quickly become a local landmark and
Al believes that it will help attract other businesses to the
community as well. He is already thinking about expansion.
believed in this project as much as I did. I really appreciated
their confidence in financing it and all their help in making
sure it would be a success," said Al.