Angie Caldarone BComm'01

SMU Alumni Returns Home

Angie Caldarone BComm'01Angie (McCarthy) Caldarone embraces challenge head on. This past year she and her husband Tony had their first baby, moved from their southern Ontario home to Nova Scotia, and bought a 35-year-old motel business in Auld’s Cove, near Cape Breton.

“It’s been non-stop since we bought it and we had an amazing first season,” Angie says. “It’s so good to be close to family again.” Angie grew up just ten minutes away in Lower River and has a huge extended family (with roughly 40 first cousins!).

The business Angie and Tony bought is called The Cove Motel and includes an 18-unit motel, 12 cabins, a restaurant, and a gift shop, all on a seven-acre peninsula near the Cape Breton Causeway. Tony handles much of the behind the scenes work—finance, maintenance, and operations, while Angie takes care of the marketing end of the business. Angie’s mother acts as general onsite manager and helps out with Duke, the new baby.

Coming back to the Cape Breton area—the home she left when she was 18 to attend Saint Mary’s—has been a long-time dream for Angie. “I came back every chance I could get over the years. I’ve always wanted to be home with my family,” she says. Her other dream—one she’s nurtured since childhood—was to own her own business.

“From the time I was a little girl, I would pretend I had my own store, selling doll’s clothes or flowers I picked around the yard. I had my own little cash register and one day I even put a ‘store’ sign on the front of the house.”

It’s why SMU’s business program drew her, and for someone from a close-knit community, the smaller classes and campus were a great fit. “Being within one block, and having a smaller population than many of the larger universities, you could always count on seeing a familiar face and friendly smile while heading across campus, which made the whole experience feel just like home.”  

After graduating with honours, Angie decided to take some time off by working and travelling though Europe with the Student Work Abroad Program (SWAP), a not-for-profit entity of the Canadian Federation of Students, run in partnership with Travel CUTS. That experience eventually lead to a marketing position with Travel CUTS in Halifax, travelling to campuses throughout the region promoting SWAP. It didn’t take long for Angie’s role to expand to Kitchener, leading to a new position as marketing manager for all of southwestern Ontario. She was just 25 years old.

After working in marketing for five years, Angie decided to pursue another passion of hers, and enrolled in a one-year teaching degree from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Education.

Along the way, she met Tony Caldarone, who also has a business degree—an MBA from the University of Western Ontario. “He’s always known I wanted to move back here. He was on board with that, and with owning our own business. Once we felt ready, it was just a matter of waiting for the right opportunity to come along.”

That moment came when Angie’s father told them the Cove Motel was for sale. Angie remembered passing the spot on the highway as a kid growing up and loving the look of the place. They decided to buy it.

“We are so excited for all of the potential that the business offers and feel so proud of this beautiful property in such a key location, right at the entryway to Cape Breton.”

Angie spent much of their banner first season beefing up their online marketing presence and networking. She’s looking forward to taking some time to seek expanded opportunities for growth and success when the Cove Motel shuts for the season this fall. “This is my home. Building a successful business here and contributing to the local economy is a dream come true.”