Business sale marks end of a 38-year era for travel agent Evelyn Nind

Sponsored by Top of the World Travel

by Ben Nind

On an August 8, 2016, a letter was sent to clients of Marlin Yellowknife Travel announcing that after 38 years of providing travel services to Yellowknife and surrounding northern communities, Evelyn Nind will be retiring and Marlin Yellowknife Travel had been sold to Top of the World Travel.

In June of 1978, Evelyn opened the door of the Yellowknife Travel Agency to drop off her resume and was hired on the spot. For almost two years, she worked in the back office as a bookkeeper until Terry Carroll, the owner, suggested she move to the front as a travel agent. It was the beginning of her life-long commitment to the northern travel industry.  

“In those days, before computers or even teletype machines, we would hand write a travel request on a green reservation card. Then each day before closing, one of us would phone Pacific Western Airlines, which was just across the street, and make the actual reservation after which they would give us a confirmation code for each one of our requests. Then the next day we would hand write the tickets for each client. It was a lot of work,” Evelyn recalls.

In 1963, the Yellowknife Travel Agency was established as the first of its kind in the Northwest Territories by Bob Borden in the original Yellowknife Inn. A number of years later, the business was sold to Noel Potgieter who, in 1972, passed the business to his office manager, Terry Carroll. By that time, the office had moved into the new Yellowknife Inn storefront.

“There were many changes over those years,” Evelyn states. “The changes in technology alone have been very challenging, but it has always been a job I have loved because I have been able to help people get from point A to point B; I have sent them on amazing journeys throughout the north and around the world; and I have received the best compliment any travel agent could ever receive which is, thank you, that was the best trip I ever had!”

On September 1, 1995, Evelyn bought the business from Terry Carroll with Eileen Mellor and in 1997 became the sole owner.

“Many of us worked for Yellowknife Travel for many, many years.” says Evelyn. “If there was one golden lesson I learned from Terry, it was to be good to your staff because in return they will do great work for you and will remain loyal. The same goes for your clients.”

Melissa Hernandez was hired by Evelyn in 1998 and they have worked together for eighteen years. “We are family,” she says with a smile. “And as excited as I am about working at Top of the World Travel, it will be hard not working with my mentor and friend every day.”

Susan Mercredi has been in the travel industry in the Northwest Territories since 1982 and the managing partner of Yellowknife’s Top of the World Travel since 1991.

“I have great respect for Evelyn for her contributions to our northern travel industry.  Our relationship, as travel industry colleagues, developed into a friendship many, many years ago as we tackled the ever changing industry we are dedicated to. So, we have a built a lasting trust with each other.” she shares. “Evelyn had the opportunity to sell to a southern interest, but she felt that it was important to keep the business here in the North, so I am humbled she chose our company, and I am committed to providing her customers with the outstanding service they have grown to appreciate with Evelyn and Melissa.”

Evelyn is confident her working values will continue with Top of the World Travel. “This is one of the most personal service industries that you can work in,” she says. “It is hard work. You have to be able to stand behind your clients and provide them with exceptional service.  You must be open, honest and straightforward and you have to possess the ability to put yourself in the shoes of each client and be sensitive to what they want. I think this is the key to success. Our clients have been loyal because of this. Treat people well and they will always come back to you.”

Yesterday, September 1, 2016, Marlin Yellowknife Travel’s doors closed permanently and Top of the World Travel, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is looking forward to welcoming Melissa and Evelyn into their office, keeping a longtime northern business where it belongs: in the North.

Whether you’re booking a trip around the north or around the world, Top of the World Travel offers competitive rates and quality service.

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