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Springdale NL couple successfully navigates mid-life career change

Shawn and Michelle Rowsell left successful careers to pursue their dream of running Indian River Chalets in Springdale. Recently, the couple was recognized with a WISE 50 over 50 Award.
Shawn and Michelle Rowsell left successful careers to pursue their dream of running Indian River Chalets in Springdale. Recently, the couple was recognized with a WISE 50 over 50 Award. - Contributed

******Editor's Note: This article was edited to remove incorrect information*******

Michelle and Shawn Rowsell had a void in their professional lives.

Michelle, 52, was a couple of years of into retirement after a shoulder injury forced her away from her career as a registered nurse. Her 56-year-old husband Shawn was a heavy equipment operator making a monthly pilgrimage from his home to elsewhere for work. 

She was looking for a new career and he needed a change of pace. 

So they stepped away from their familiar lives and dove headlong into the tourism industry. 

“I think 50 is a great time to get into a new career,” said Michelle. 

After moving from Grand Falls-Windsor, their desires converged as they developed and opened Indian Falls Chalets in the Springdale area in May 2018 

Recently, the couple was recognized for their work with a WISE 50 Over 50 award intended to shine the spotlight on entrepreneurs over the age of 50. 

“We talked about when we retired, after we retired, that we would most likely come out here and probably live,” said Michelle. “We thought what a nice place to be able to share our dream with others.” 

At the centre of their career renaissance is a piece of property in Shawn’s family for more than three decades. Prior to starting their business, the couple approached landowners on adjacent properties about acquiring land to add to what they already had. 

Eventually they bought the properties they wanted, setting a plan in motion. Then they purchased another parcel of land giving them access to the road. 

“Retirement came earlier than expected and the ideas started rolling in,” said Michelle. “Things started lining up we’ll say.” 

They lined up so much the Rowsells decided to take the hint life was giving them and throw caution to the wind. 

They started building what would become Indian Falls Chalets.

They haven’t looked back since.

“You really have to be comfortable being uncomfortable and you have to think outside the box,” said Michelle. “It is exciting but it is scary at the same time.” 

Michelle defines herself as a people person and Shawn can best be described as an avid outdoors person. Their current venture, therefore, fits their personalities perfectly. 

Michelle gets to interact with new people regularly and Shawn uses his outdoor skills to provide a great Newfoundland experience to visitors. 

“It just felt right,” she said. 

They attribute their current success and their jump to a new career at 50 to the strong network they built over years and a desire to be successful. 

Asked what advice they might have for others, Michelle responds, “Dig deep inside, build your network, talk to other entrepreneurs .. and if it feels right, it probably is right.”  
 

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