Were there many surprises…Yes and No. We did our homework. We researched, wrote a Business Plan, calculated expenses, and explored the Porcupine Mountains area. We did not expect it to be easy. We did not purchase Mountain View Lodges so we could “retire” as many have thought over the years. Every job is work. Owning a business is even more work. You do not have the opportunity to leave at 5:00pm and forget about it until 8:00am the next day. You live it, eat it and breathe it. Dinner conversations are often more like staff or marketing meetings. But none of this was a surprise. Jen’s Dad owned a business he purchased from his father. So she grew up in the business world. Customers and co-workers were your friends and family.
Having relocated many times over the last 30 years or so, our family has had to adapt and acclimate. What we have found, to make the transition easier, is to immerse ourselves in the community. Make friends, find a church, support local benefits and events. All of these help to make the transition easier! So, none of these were surprises.
One surprise we did find was how every day is different! Not only do our jobs continue to change, from front desk clerk to plumber in under five minutes, but so does the landscape on Lake Superior and the weather in the Porcupine Mountains. The beach does not ever look the same! Now when we go back to bigger cities and see new housing developments it is so odd. Most of the homes look so much alike. Same colors and landscape. Here every day the beach is sculpted differently, the waves or lack of waves is never the same. In the winter, the quiet is unexplainable. You could hear a pin drop on the ice. Or the old saying about watching the ice crack? You can! But if you have ever wondered what true quiet sounds like, experience our little corner of the world in the winter! The snow is like glitter. This was truly a surprise.
Also, we had never really been in the service industry. Sales yes, service no. It can be draining. That part we didn’t expect. We are all outgoing and love talking to people. So, we thought this was the perfect opportunity! And it is, but it can also be more tiring than we anticipated. Come the off season, we are ready for some R & R. The hard part is where can we go to get away?? We are about as far away as you can get! But when you work where you live, you need to get away just to clear the cobwebs. So, over the years, we have incorporated short jaunts whenever we can get away for a few days.
Another surprise was the small town hospitality of Ontonagon. We are from and have lived in big cities most of our lives. So, living in a small town where “everybody knows your name” was not something to which we were accustomed. But it is certainly a nice feeling to know that someone is there and ready to come to your aide and it is also interesting how quickly news can travel!
Were there surprises when we began to run Mountain View Lodges in the Porcupine Mountains? Most of the things that have come along we anticipated as part of business ownership. Sometimes something hits out of the blue. But whose life is without those unexpected events? And most of the surprises we have encountered have all been for the best!
Be sure to watch our Facebook, www.facebook.com/mtnviewlodges, for up-to-date happenings and feel free to post any questions about the property, owning a business or other questions you may have!