When Barrie and Liz Clarke retired, they put their BC golf course and RV park on the market.
The Clarkes waited for a buyer for two years, then turned to Ritchie Bros. – for certainty.
That's a big reason why we decided to sell with Ritchie Bros.—we knew our property would sell on auction day.
In 1972 Barrie and Liz Clarke bought 400+ acres of land in Clearwater, BC. Twenty-five years later they opened Wells Gray Golf Resort and RV Park, which they built on their own.
"We decided to build a golf course as a hobby more than anything," says Barrie. "It was nice to get out of town and live in a quiet place with no telephones or power. You wake up early, get on a big machine and start digging dirt."
The Clarkes began construction on Wells Gray in 1987. Living in Kamloops, they would make the two-hour drive to Clearwater nearly every weekend and holiday to work on the property. Meanwhile, Barrie was also working 40+ hours a week with a development company.
"I am a developer by trade and I like to be busy," says Barrie.
The Clarkes opened Wells Gray in 1997. They operated the course for more than a decade before deciding to retire. They enlisted the help of some realtors to sell the resort, but their prime property remained unsold for two years.
"We had buyers lined up three times and each time the deal collapsed," says Barrie. "I was not going to go through that again where you think you have a sale and at the last minute things fall through. That's a big reason why we decided to sell with Ritchie Bros. – we knew our property would sell on auction day."
By selling with realtors the Clarkes were forced to take their property off the market after they accepted an offer only to see it fall through weeks or months later. With Ritchie Bros. they knew interested bidders
would show up on auction day with deposits in hand and be ready to buy. It's a level of commitment most real estate offers don't provide.
The Clarkes sold Wells Gray on May 19, 2010 at the Ritchie Bros. auction site in Chilliwack, BC. Competing bids were made on-site and online, but at the end of the day the buyers were Neil and Pam Day – a hardworking couple much like the Clarkes. Pam is a realtor and Neil is long time Ritchie Bros. customer who often bought equipment for his snow removal business DNS Enterprises. This time Neil ended up going home with something a little bigger.
"The first time Neil saw Wells Gray he was drooling over it," says Pam. "After we bought it we went up to the resort, spent the weekend with the Clarkes and fell in love with them and the property – it's so beautiful!"
Barrie and Liz are happy the sale is complete and that their labor of love went to a couple much like themselves. Now it's time for them to sit back, relax and enjoy retirement.
"We bought a big motor coach so we can travel and play a lot of golf," says Barrie. "In fact, the Days have given us a lifetime membership for Wells Gray so I'm sure we will continue playing there often."
Written and published: 2010