BONAVISTA, N.L. — It can sometimes be a big gamble to start a business, but for Bonavista’s Jordan and Bonnie Stagg, the added incentive of being home with their young family makes it all worth it.
The young married couple began Bonavista Adventure Tours, an opportunity for visitors coming to Bonavista to experience the area in a different and hands-on way.
But their story began as very similar to a lot people their age. Jordan is an electrician, while Bonnie trained in both geology and business. They both lived outside the province for work after finishing school. They officially decided to move home as they started a family. They now have two daughters.
Jordan was working out west, while living at home, when they decided it would be best to establish a plan to stay where he wanted to be, full-time.
“We love Bonavista, it’s sad to see people go and we have no desire to leave,” he said.
The initial idea for a tour company like Bonavista Adventures came as they were driving around their hometown about two years ago.
“When we travel we say, ‘Remember when we’ve done this,’” explains Jordan. “It’s always this memory of this excursion or that key thing that sticks in your mind.”
They say they wanted to show off the hidden gems and tell the stories that might not be available at traditional tourist attractions or able to be researched online.
All stemming from that drive down Cape Bonavista, the seeds of the business were born.
Bonnie says a step like this was never in their plans, but they went full-on into the planning of the business. She says they’ve learned a lot thanks to help from many different groups, like the Chamber of Commerce, the provincial government, ACOA, CBDC, Legendary Coast and more.
Both at 29-years old, Bonnie says they’re among the youngest people at different events and functions for local business owners.
They also say they wouldn’t have been able to have success without the support of their parents.
The ball was already rolling in Bonavista, says Jordan, and they were able to accomplish something that perhaps wouldn’t have been possible even 10 years ago.
This business option is really the only way they can live at home year-round, they say.
“This is either going to work, or it’s not going to work,” said Jordan. “In five-years we’re either going to be here or gone. And it’s not because we want to leave, if we can’t make a good living we (don’t have a choice).”
And as they continue in their second full tourism season, Jordan and Bonnie are only looking to grow what they’ve created.
While Jordan now has his own electrical business, they also plan to open a café — Quintal Café — on Church Street which focuses on providing bulk dehydrated tea, fruit, granola, as well as coffee, cooked food, boxed lunches and acting as a home base for their business.
“We wanted use the area and supplement out income. And I like to cook,” said Bonnie.
Growing up, they’ve always heard “there’s nothing in Bonavista.” But now, they’re grateful for every aspect of their lives at home.
As a family, Bonnie and Jordan are happy to be home, raising their kids where they grew up, close to their grandparents and being part of a great community.
As business owners, they are excited to continue succeeding at something that has no guarantee and look to adapt and grow as they do themselves.
What is Bonavista Adventure Tours?
A walking and driving tour company which incorporates history, culture, nature and storytelling to offer unique experiences in the Bonavista Peninsula area.
They do beach boil-ups, geological hikes, and historic strolls as part of their offerings.
People from other parts of the world were surprised to see that these types of boil-ups, hikes and berry picking trips were something the average resident does in Newfoundland and Labrador.
They can take people up Bonavista Bay, visiting beaches and trails along the way, or help visitors see as much of the Bonavista area as they can in a stay that’s limited for time.
New this year, they’re doing foraging along with their boil-up to get away from the beaches when the weather gets windy and cold later in the season.
Bonnie and Jordan say they’ve learned a great deal about their home community in preparing for the tours.
Their business model is “keep our heritage alive.”