Tyler Leeson says he didn’t sleep for a week - but the decision was a good one.

Grueling hours take toll on chef’s dream

Tyler Leeson moving to job at Lodge

A little less than a year after opening his own restaurant in Nakusp, Tyler Leeson is calling it quits.

But he has a good reason to walk away from operating the Broadway Deli.

“I really would like a little more time with my family,” says the 37-year-old. With three children under 14, the dream of running his own establishment hit a hard reality.

“It’s a lot of hours. I have a three-year-old daughter at home, and she’s growing up fast,” he says. “Last week, because we had a dinner here, I worked three 17-hour days, a 14-hour day and a 12-hour day.”

The relentless hours, and all the paperwork and management that goes with running a small business, just made the Deli too much to handle.

“When you have to pay someone to do every little thing it can be pretty expensive, it eats into your profits,” he says.

And the historic Deli building needs serious repairs that were essential to his business thriving – repairs as a tenant it didn’t make economic sense to do.

“I could either afford to fix it or buy it, but I couldn’t do both. And they only make sense together,” he says.

With all the ongoing headaches, and his lease renewal coming up, a perfect ‘Plan B’ presented itself: the Lodge at Arrow Lakes was looking for a new head chef. For Leeson, it meant more of what he likes to do – cook – and far fewer headaches.

“I’m not saying I’m walking into an easy job, it’s still a chef’s position, so it’s going to get tough. But I’ll get to cook a lot of the time. Here, there’s a lot of other things that go along with that.

“And it’s a stable income. That means something with a young family. It’s nice to have a regular paycheck instead of ‘how much money did we make this month?’. Winter months are always a lot slower here. Plus there’s a benefit plan. That’s important when you have three kids.”

While the decision was clear, it wasn’t an easy one to make.

“I don’t think I slept for that week, it was a really tough decision,” he recalls. “I love what we’ve done here, I love the culture we’ve created, the food we’ve come up with, and our clientele, our business is fantastic.

“It’s hard to walk away from something that you put that much into. It’s tough.”

The new position is also a bit of a homecoming for Leeson, who had one of his first jobs at the Kuskanax, as the Lodge was known as then.

“I worked on and off there since I was 15,” he says. “But I was never the boss, so that will be a new experience.”

And he doesn’t rule out owning his own restaurant again some day.

“I would do it again one day, I enjoyed it, but maybe when my kids are a little bit older and I have a few more courses under my belt, some management training, some accounting training, Quickbooks, stuff like that.

“I’ve been working in this industry for 25 years, and you kind of think you know everything. But this was definitely an eye-opener on how much you have to learn. Its not all sunshine-and-roses.”

Leeson starts his new position in early April, giving him a week or so to hand off the coffee shop/deli operation back to the building’s owner.

He’s grateful on how his customers have received the news.

“I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to everyone, the support has been amazing from everybody,” he says. “It’s nice to know I have the support of the locals no matter what I decide to do.”

Just Posted

More burning prohibitions rescinded in southeast B.C.

Category 2 and 3 fires will be permitted in Southeast Fire Centre as of 1p.m. on Wednesday.

B.C. parents leery of HPV cervical cancer vaccine

Provincial registration uptake among lowest in Canada

Municipal spending outpaces population growth 4-fold in B.C.: report

Canadian Federation of Independent Business has released its annual operational spending report

Winlaw preemie survives smoky birth

GoFundMe Campaign started for West Kootenay family with preemie baby.

Youth on the Loose: Centre takes trip to Whatshan Lake

The trip was organized by the Nakusp and Area Youth Network

Live bear cam: Let the fishing begin

Watch bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park catch their dinner live.

B.C. electric vehicle subsidy fund drains faster than expected

Province adds another $10 million to incentive fund

‘I’ll never forgive you:’ Victim impact statements at hearing for Calgary killer

Curtis Healy was found guilty of first-degree murder Friday in the death of Dawns Baptiste.

Man accused of mailing bomb to his brother in B.C. has died

Leon Nepper was found in ‘medical distress’ at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre on Sunday

It’s shaping up to be quite a finish in CFL’s West Division standings

The Calgary Stampeders (10-2) are first, four points ahead of the Saskatchewan Roughriders (8-5).

Twice-convicted killer set to inherit multimillion-dollar company found guilty of father’s murder

A Toronto judge ruled that Dellen Millard is guilty of first-degree murder in death of his father,

Campaign seeks to add Farsi to B.C. school curriculum options

Group wants Farsi added to list of nine languages in policy covering second language requirements

Trudeau urges leaders to follow Nelson Mandela’s example at UN tribute

Peace summit in New York marks 100th birthday of former South African president

Senate seats filled in B.C., Saskatchewan

Canada’s newest senators are the first woman to lead the RCMP and a Cree Metis businessman

Most Read