Sometimes you’ve just got to dive in and have a go.
That’s the basic philosophy driving Linda Powell and Ian Henderson, who have just taken over the Best Western Meramie Motor Inn Albury, entering the hospitality industry from vastly different directions.
The pair met last year, fell in love and decided to start a business together. By coincidence the motel in Ian’s home town of Numurkah, northern Victoria, was up for sale but deemed too expensive by the pair.
However, the seed was sown. They liked the idea, believing it suited their disparate skills, so cast their net further afield before landing in the inland city of Albury, NSW, a couple of hours away.
It’s been a crazy few months for the couple after buying the 29-room property in mid-July, adapting to new jobs, way of life and city.
“Initially it was absolutely chaotic learning everything and we’ve been flat out,” says Linda. “It’s certainly a challenge but generally we enjoy it.”
They were looking for something different and have certainly got it. Linda, who is from New Zealand, spent the past four years as a disability support worker and prior to that was in admin roles.
“I also managed a motel in Waiheke Island near Auckland for a year or so. But that was a quite a while ago, before the internet really made an impact.”
Meanwhile, Ian has spent a life on the land, growing up and later running a dairy farm for 30+ years.
After selling the farm in 2011, he drove a B-Double tanker for a few years before taking the plunge in life and business with Linda.
“We were starry-eyed and madly in love,” jokes Ian, adding dryly: “I have been known to be a bit of a risk-taker but we just knew we had complimentary skills.”
And that’s certainly turned out to be the case with Linda running the office and Ian taking care of the maintenance.
They’re enjoying the change and life in Albury, which as Australia’s largest inland city has plenty going on but is still close to nature with the Murray River running through town.
“We love the mighty Murray, it’s wonderful.”