Tomorrow is the second anniversary of when Shannon and I bought the Addison. We bought it December 21st, 2007 and re-opened the Inn on January the 15th. Our first guests checked in on the 15th, stayed in Room 4 and their last name was Addison. The rest is history.
The first couple of months were frantic as we had two big deadlines to meet. In the first week of March the photographers were scheduled to re-shoot the inn. Right after they left we had our first full house for the annual Concours d’Elegance. Everything had to be ready by then.
What could possibly be standing in our way? We bought a foreclosed, distressed property and there was work to do. Two bathrooms had to be gutted and re-built, wallpaper was peeling, towel racks were hanging off the walls. The landscaping was a mess.
In the first week I replaced over a hundred light bulbs. At first I was walking around the courtyard trying to turn on the courtyard lights. I was looking for sensors, looking for switches and even clapping as I thought the lights could be on a Clapper. It turns out all of the lights were burned out and just needed replacing. Side note: Two years later and all of the compact flourescent bulbs I put in are still burning.
The work got done. I think the paint was still drying on the walls as we were checking people in for the Concours but we had all 14 guest rooms open.
We keep painting, redecorating and repairing. When you own a 133-year old house there is always something to do. We have painted 3 bathrooms and 4 guest rooms including their bathrooms. We have replaced the original 132-year old roof on the historic structure and we have completely repainted two of our buildings and have partially repainted the third. We have replaced 5 of the small AC units in the courtyard rooms and one big AC unit that runs the upstairs of the main house. The landscaping keeps us busy as it always changes with the seasons.
Promoting the inn also keeps us busy and so far our efforts have been rewarded. In two years we have achieved top B&B in Florida according to TripAdvisor.com and have been awarded one of Top Ten B&Bs in the USA by BedAndBreakfast.com, an industry leader in B&B directories.
Any regrets? I wish we had done this sooner but good plans take time to come to fruition.
Any surprises? I am pleasantly surprised at the number of guests who keep in touch with us, send us e-mails from their travels and send us pictures of their stay at the Addison. We stayed at hundreds (as previously mentioned, I do tend to exagerate) of B&Bs during our reseach years and I can not even remember our inn-keeper’s names let alone come up with a reason to e-mail them. I am also surprised by the number of toilet seats we need to replace. I had to replace 3 in one weekend and I have to keep a stock of them in the garage.
A lot of our guests seem to think that what we do is hard work. You know, the hours are long and there is the responsibility of running a small business where your employees and vendors expect to be paid on time. On the other side of the coin, this is fun work. I get up early, do some paperwork, prepare and serve breakfast with Shannon and the day moves forward. I spend a couple of hours a day on maintenance and landscaping, a couple of hours on propmoting the inn, a couple of hours on Happy Hour and and I get a break a few times a day to walk Maggie Doone and One-Eyed Louie. The wrinkles on my forehead are actually getting harder to see and my smile lines are getting more pronounced. This is a good life and we both enjoy it.