Elizabeth J Zemdegs Opens Third Business in Bonavista
THE PACKET, CLARENVILLE, NL, THURSDAY, JUNE 21, 2012 PAGE C3
Entrepreneur with flair Elizabeth J Zemdegs Opens Third Business in Bonavista Elizabeth J Zemdegs believes her gut instinct led her to Newfoundland.
She and her husband Glenn, living in Toronto, were preparing for a long planned vacation to Iceland in June 2003 when, at the lastminute, she decided to change their travel plans. They journeyed instead to Newfoundland and visited Bonavista.
The rest is history, according to Elizabeth J. “We fell in love with Bonavista and decided to leave Ontario and build our home in this wonderful historic town. That move also led to my first business venture in Newfoundland.”
Today, she is the proud owner of three businesses in Bonavista: Elizabeth J Cottages, The Elephant Shop and The Aleksandrs Gallery of Fine Art.
Elizabeth J Cottages Ltd.
Elizabeth J was driving along Hwy 1 when she knew she was going to build two cottages as vacation homes.
“It was November 2003 and we were on the way to see how our new home was progressing, when suddenly I had this idea of cottages. I turned to Glenn and said, I am going to build cottages and they are going to be replicas of 1800’s Bonavista style houses,” recalls Elizabeth.
Her vision came true seven months later when the first Elizabeth J Cottage opened in July 2004. The following month the second was ready for occupancy. 2005 Frommer ʻs Travel Book wrote that “Elizabeth J. Cottages are the first luxury cottages in all of Newfoundland and Labrador” – One is a Newfoundland Salt Box replica and the other a traditional Gable Roof replica, which are located on ocean front property, sitting just 40 yards from the shoreline along two acres of grassland.
As Elizabeth J truthfully boasts, “They provide jaw-breaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.”
Their interiors, however, are far from traditional. Each self-catered cottage has two bedrooms complete with queen sized sleigh beds. Persian rugs accent the hardwood floors, while cozy gas fireplaces, luxurious bedding and furnishings all add to the overall feeling of comfort. The modern kitchens are fully equipped and visitors have access to the latest technology highspeed internet service, cable TV, DVD players and local call telephone service.
Elizabethʻs website states “ everything is provided complimentary – all you need to bring is yourself and the food you wish to eat.”
Elizabeth J. created/wrote the first highly professional website, highway signs and brochures for her high end cottages. High end meant the first time a vacation accommodation started off rates at 240.00 per night.
“They were the first high-end cottages in Newfoundland and Labrador and were recognized by the Globe and Mailʼs 2005 Toro magazine as being “1 of the Top 11 Tourist Destinations in the World; along with Fiji, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Scotland. My cottages raised the standard and changed the landscape of tourism in Newfoundland and Labrador. ”
The Elephant Shop
With her guest cottages operating successfully for eight years, Elizabeth J. began looking at other interests and opportunities.
“I found myself getting restless. I was still doing Newfoundland courses in Anthropology, Folklore, NL History, Political Science at MUN University; studying classical piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music, while still running the cottages, doing community work such as being President of the Bonavista Area Chamber of Commerce, running for Municipal office (losing by only four votes after living here one year) another huge first but I felt there was something else I needed to do.”
She decided she would open a shop, one unlike any other in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“I wanted a store that would give locals and tourists an international experience when they entered and as they walked around viewing the products from around the world,” says Elizabeth J. To realize her vision, she began importing products from around the world, including Cashmere from Nepal, jewelry from Latvia, and products from India and Africa. She also purchased merchandise from Greece, Turkey, Paris, New York, and California.
The Elephant Shop opened for business last year in a 147 year old historically designated home on 8 Ackerman’s Lane. True to Elizabeth J’s vision, it is a truly an international shop. Every item in the shop is unique and handmade with the finest quality in all products such as 100 percent Cashmere.