Family style
Hay River eatery takes on new owners

Terry Halifax
Northern News Services

Hay River (Aug 28/00) - A well-known Hay River eatery has changed hands, with a family of long-term Northerners taking over.

Olding and Bert Duford recently purchased the 25-year-old Back Eddy Cocktail Lounge and Restaurant from Freeda Loutit, who was the second owner.

The Duford's daughter Nanette has worked at the Back Eddy for 13 years, so with her experience they plan a smooth transition.

"It's been run very well, so we don't plan any big changes for now, at least," Olding said.

"We're just trying to keep it running smoothly during the transition," Nanette added.

The family has lived in the North since 1971, when they moved to Fort Simpson. Olding managed the hotel there and husband Bert handled the maintenance.

The Dufords moved to Hay River five years later where Olding worked in corrections for 18 years, in finance as well as overseeing the kitchen.

"I thought this would be a real challenge and with Nanette managing it now and her daughter working part-time, it's really a family affair now," Olding smiled. "There's three generations of us here."

Bill Laws was the original owner and established the secondary business with Back Eddy's spice. The rights to the spice remains with the original owner.

"Even though it's got the Back Eddy name on it and we use it on all our food, we have nothing to do with it," Nanette said.

Olding says her love for working with people and the joy of working with her daughter will be a fine way to lead into retirement.

"I love Hay River and I really missed the people; we moved away to Edmonton for five years, so this is really a nice homecoming for us," she said.

"I just wanted to end my life with something I really wanted to do," she said. "I've been thinking about buying this place for about five years now."