Victoria hotelier honoured for work during pandemic

Mandy Farmer, president and chief executive of Victoria-based Accent Inns and Hotel Zed, has won a prestigious national award for her work during the ­pandemic.

Farmer was singled out from thousands of nominees for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Excellence Award, in recognition of how she ran her businesses, contributed to the community and took care of employees amid the pandemic.

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RBC received more than 8,600 nominations in categories that included excellence, innovation, startups, micro business, momentum, social change and ones to watch.

When COVID-19 hit, the five Accent Inns across B.C. kept their doors open to health-care staff and essential workers.

The chain also partnered with United Way to create the Hotels for the Frontline Workers Fund that allowed donors to help cover the costs of accommodations for essential service workers. It allowed frontline workers to have a safe place to stay without the worry of costs.

When COVID-19 hit, Farmer sent $250 grocery gift certificates to all her employees — including employees who were temporarily laid off — because she didn’t want anyone to worry about how they were going to put food on their table during the pandemic.

“For me, this award reflects the work of my whole team who have been heroes during this pandemic,” said Farmer. “They service cancer patients who stay with us, frontline service workers that need to self-isolate away from their families and essential workers that need to travel to work on important projects around the province.”

Accent Inns Inc. has been owned and operated by the Farmer family since 1986. Mandy Farmer took over the role of president and CEO from her father, Terry Farmer, in 2008, and in 2014 she launched the Hotel Zed retro brand of motels.

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