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Spotlight on Celtic Knot: Balancing Full-Time Careers & a Business

Lauren Marinigh | August 15, 2016

Colin and Nanci, Owners Photo Credit Ned Pratt
Prioritizing and balancing their time has become a key priority in building a successful business for Colin and Nanci Corcoran, as the business owners both have full-time jobs. Nanci works with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in fines administration, and Colin works as a finance director with the Genesis Centre at Memorial University, and on top of their full-time careers, the duo owns The Celtic Knot Pub & Restaurant.

Celtic Knot is located along the picturesque Irish Loop Drive in St. Mary’s, Newfoundland and provides hearty meals in a warm, comfortable setting for locals and visitors alike. The restaurant also hosts fundraisers, private parties, community events, dances, and their own dart league. But starting a business wasn’t something that was always top of mind for Nanci and Colin. “We had no intentions of buying a restaurant until the opportunity presented itself,” they explained. One Sunday over dinner with Nanci’s parents, Nanci’s mom casually mentioned that the Harbourview Pub & Restaurant was for sale. “We joked about what it would be like to own the business.”

On their way back from dinner, Nanci and Colin chatted more about what seemed like a bizarre idea at the time, and eventually the conversation turned more serious. “By the time we got back to town, we had run some initial numbers and called the seller immediately,” Colin said. “Within two days we had an agreed upon purchase price and within three weeks we had the business plan written, financing in place, all licenses approved, a new brand, staff hired, inventory purchased and opened the doors to Celtic Knot in June 2015.”

Wrap and Fries, Photo Credit Ned Pratt

Most people can’t even fathom starting a business and leaping into entrepreneurship as fast as Colin and Nanci, but not all of it came as easy as it sounds. Colin explained that Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the most highly regulated provinces for liquor licenses and navigating the licensing requirements were difficult. Thankfully, the business duo had worked with the province before and understood and anticipated the system, but one misstep would have caused them to postpone opening and missing the busy summer season in 2015.

On top of making sure the proper licenses were in place, the restaurant sits in an old building where there is no shortage of things that will stop working at the most inconvenient times, Colin explained. “We can plan for everything and yet Murphy’s Law will find a way to test your newfound handyman skills.”

Starting a business comes with many speedbumps and learning curves, and Nanci and Colin definitely had quite a few, but one of their biggest lessons was learning how to balance work and life. Colin had always been taught by his father the importance of work-life balance, especially when a second career is thrown into the mix, and because of that, they’ve learned to work harder and smarter. “Back down from time-consuming volunteer positions, learn to delegate down and laterally to give others learning and leadership opportunities, and take the time to appreciate the little things like sweeping the restaurant floor.” Of course, the fact that Celtic Knot is a family business that depends on their families helping out really helps them all find balance.

To follow the Celtic Knot visit them on Facebook.

Written By: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Creation Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada