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Two Hay River motels combined into one inn

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, June 12 2008

Hay River - Two Hay River motels have officially become one inn. Early this month, the 22-room Migrator Motel and the 27-room Caribou Motor Inn were merged and renamed North Country Inn with a new slogan ‘Your Gateway to the North.’ The change was made by co-owners Kelly and Tara Schofield.

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Kelly and Tara Schofield are the new owners of Hay River’s North Country Inn, which has been created by combining the Migrator Motel and the Caribou Motor Inn.
The husband and wife bought the two motels in December, after operating the Migrator under a lease arrangement for two-and-a-half years.

The couple has big plans for the combined motels, which are located close to each other.

New signage will soon be added to proclaim the new name of the two motels, which will be operated as one.

The Schofields are planning renovations at the two buildings, which were both built in the early 1970s.

There will be just one office, located at what used to be the Caribou Motor Inn, where a continental breakfast will also be available for guests by July.

“The rest of the renovations will be a constant go for the next two years,” Kelly said.

The Schofields plan to create eight to 10 theme rooms featuring the work of NWT artists.

“They can display their art and sell their art,” Kelly said.

Other renovations will include changing furniture to create a Northern feel to the guestrooms with rustic wooden furniture.

“The Migrator needs more work than the Caribou,” Kelly said, adding that building will get a new boiler system, new carpeting, new doors and windows, and satellite television.

In all, about $150,000 in renovations will be done just this year.

The Schofields have also worked to change the image of the Migrator.

“It was known as party central,” Kelly said.

However, the Migrator and the Caribou Motor Inn have both been alcohol-free since 2006.

“It’s a condition that has worked,” Tara said. “It’s pushed out the people who come to town just to party.”

Her husband described North Country Inn as family friendly.

The Schofields bought the two motels from former owners Don and Christine Fergusson for an undisclosed amount.

“It’s a very high number, let’s just say,” Kelly said.

The Schofields believe the hotel business in Hay River has a bright future.

“I’d say Hay River is a bustling community which is slowly growing now with fast-paced growth coming,” Kelly said, pointing to Tamerlane Ventures mining east of town and the proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline.