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Celebrating the 20 Year Milestone of the Timberland Inn


If someone in Swan River says they are going out for coffee or lunch, there is an excellent chance that you’ll see them at the Timberland Inn.
The motel and restaurant has been a fixture in the Swan Valley for decades. Formerly known as the Swan Motor Inn, the business was rebranded as the Timberland Inn soon after it was purchased by current owners Brad and Elaine Forsyth, who are now celebrating 20 years of owning the Timberland Inn since they purchased it on June 1, 1998 from the Swan Valley Credit Union.
Although Brad and Elaine have only been providing excellent food and comfy beds to the Swan Valley for 20 years, they have lived the majority of their life in the restaurant and inn business, with both of their first jobs being in restaurants at the age of 15.
Brad was born and raised in Brandon, while Elaine is a proud local who returned to run their business after many years. They first crossed paths with each other while they both worked at the Victoria Inn in Brandon.
“I was serving and Brad was in the kitchen,” said Elaine.
They ended up in sync personally and professionally, and ended up as managers at the very inn where they met.
After several years in Brandon, they ventured on to manage another Victoria Inn in Flin Flon, before coming back to Swan River to run their own show at the Timberland Inn.
“A friend of ours from Flin Flon came up with the name Timberland Inn,” said Elaine, explaining that her friend always felt like he was driving through timber land while travelling in the Swan Valley.
“We wanted to change the name to ensure the public was aware of the management and ownership changes.”
As the years have gone by, the Forsyths have learned that Swan River has been a fantastic community to their business, but running a business always comes with its set of challenges.
“Some challenges faced continues to be recruiting and retaining a staff of about 35 members,” said Brad. “(The challenge is) trying to keep our costs low with the rising costs of operating a business.
“Not a whole lot has changed, other than the significant change in the price of food and labour.”
While the familiar, home-town feel of the Timberland Inn has provided welcoming stability over the years, Brad added that they are currently in the process of updated and renovating their rooms, with the majority of their rooms already complete, and five more in the plans for a facelift.
The big draw of the Timberland Inn, however, is the restaurant, where it is often difficult to find a spot to sit during a lunch rush.
“(People love) home made meals, with good portions at an affordable cost, and with friendly customers, you might not always get a table, but you’ll always get a seat,” said Elaine.
“We are grateful for the support we have received in the Valley. We believe in giving back to the community, through both donating financially, and through volunteering.”
The Forsyths see the future of the Timberland Inn as continuing to provide fantastic food and friendly service for many more years.

Jeremy Bergen