Obviously, the most important part physically about a motel is it's location and the guest rooms, but one area that we've found is really lacking is the owner's residence and office area. While it's something that the guests don't have a lot of contact with, it's still quite important, and one that Lindsay and I focus on a lot. Most people that we've spoken to that are selling their business are doing it for one of two reasons, either they are ill or retiring, or they didn't know what they were getting in to and decided they didn't like running a motel. Working for a small owner/operated motel is an incredibly time consuming process, but it can be very rewarding. The biggest, and most obvious obstacle is that you're always on call, and pretty much need to be there all of the time. Luckily for us, we're pretty much designed for that lifestyle. I read obsessively, paint, sculpt, watch movies, lift weights, write, cook... and my wife likes to do a lot of crafts like Knitting, cross stitch, quilting as well as a lot of writing and reading. Neither of us have ever been much for getting out or anything, we like meeting people and talking, but as long as we can walk the dogs once a day, and have something physical to do like painting walls or building flower boxes, we could happily be cooped up in the same acre of property 24/7.
With that in mind, the Owner's residence was very important to us. We figured that if we are happy there, so will the guests, and this place had a lot of potential. In addition to an office and a 2 bedroom house, we were told by our Realtor that there was a 2 car garage that had been converted to a shop, perfect for my art room/workshop. There was also an office and a public restroom in the same building. Knowing all of this, we were pretty anxious to check out the building that we would potentially be spending a large amount of time in.
From the outside, it wasn't excessively promising... The wood had started to give in a few places, and there were quite a few windows that seemed to be obscured by junk piled inside.
An observation further supported by the first thing we looked at, the "public restroom" which was apparently now the paint closet.
The office was surprisingly small, especially considering the amount of space the building took up, merely a tall desk and a little hallway to stand in. This was a little disappointing, as we'd planned to put in a small gift shop and sell some trinkets, scarves, kites, etc... something to get non guests in, and to check out the motel, as well as a way to sell some of our crafts and artworks. While in the office, we spoke with the manager, who refused to let us see most of the house. He'd let us in the front room, and that was it. The manager and his family hada bird in the room, and beyond that, all I really remember about it was a couple of decorative teddy bears, and general feeling of slovenly distaste from the manager.
We then did a quick run through of the shop/laundry room/storage area... For those of you who have always wondered what the back rooms of a motel look like... it's usually not this...
In retrospect, the visit to the motel should have been less than exciting, but it was thrilling to us. This was the first real step we'd taken towards our dreams, and as many problems we saw, all of them were things we could overlook or work around. We impressed Mabel with our knowledge of motels and our enthusiasm, and even she came away from the tour feeling pretty hopeful about the potential and our prospects. The only real downer was the uncooperative manager and his family, who, we were told, did not want to lose his cushy position and job. We would later find out exactly how cushy that job was....
We left the motel extremely pumped up, chattering away about plans both for the day and for the future, deciding to spend the rest of the day in the area, checking out shops and taking in the ambiance of the twin harbors.