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Part of the Inn crowd

Jeff Stober
Jeff Stober, BACS '80, Founder, The Drake Hotel Properties
Photo Credit: Michael Graydon

Jeff Stober believes that when you do a good job, people follow and a market develops. The Toronto-based entrepreneur would know. His business, Drake Hotel Properties, operates the Drake Hotel, four stand-alone retail stores under the name Drake General Store and a restaurant, Drake One Fifty, in Toronto's Financial District. In October 2014, the Drake Devonshire Inn opened in Wellington, Prince Edward County and has been chosen as one of the top new hotels in the world by Vogue Paris and Travel + Leisure magazines. Stober was also named one of Toronto Life's The 50 Most Influential People of 2014.

Stober, BACS '80, purchased his first property, the Drake Hotel, in October 2001 with funds from the sale of his business, a provider of IT staffing solutions with more than 10 offices across North America. He started the business at 22, a year after graduating from the DAN program in 1980 and sold it 17 years later at the zenith of the dot-com boom.

"The purchase of the Drake Hotel was an opportunity to meld together my love of hotels, art, culture and food with architecture and design. It was due in no small measure to my fascination with artists and hotels and, in particular, to artists who have lived in hotels. This led to the creation of our integrated strategy of culture, community and hospitality."

Everything the earnest entrepreneur does is carefully curated and branded. His newest venture, the Drake Devonshire Inn, is featured in Holt Renfrew Men, a nod to Stober's finely honed design sensibility.

"For me it's about patience, dedicating yourself to your chosen profession, knowing what you stand for, having a good attitude – which doesn't always come easily – and aligning your skills, interests and education with like-minded others."

While Stober may be CEO, he is quick to credit his team and his collaborators. "It's their energy that drives and inspires me to the next level. There's a combined strength and impact that is not possible on one's own."

Stober's drive and desire to give shape to an idea was evident in his teens when he ran a summer window washing company in Montreal that employed other students. Later, as a student at Western, Stober had a similar business during the summer.

He looks on his years at Western with fondness. "Western was a great place for that first journey away from home. It gave me all that I expected and could hope for."

He was then, and is now, an optimist. "I was sure that whatever I did it would work out … It's so important to know your passions and to figure out a way to align them with a chosen profession. It makes the journey so much easier and exciting."