By Christine Shull, Owner and Innkeeper
The Painted Turtle Inn, St. Joseph
My innkeeping journey began back in 2000 when my (now) husband took me to a B&B near the Leelanau Peninsula. We spent the weekend wine tasting and enjoying the area – and the B&B. I was hooked! I grew up in a family-owned business and worked in many aspects of it for years. After a stint in corporate America, I knew owning my own business was for me. After staying at that first B&B, I set my sights on becoming an innkeeper one day.
Fast-forward 9 years, many B&B stays and two kids later – it was time to get the show on the road and follow my dream.
It was the worst time to buy or open a business. The economy was in a nosedive and everyone was scrambling. But I was determined. We decided St. Joseph was the place for us and started looking for suitable properties. A B&B was for sale. Of course all the banks said no, but I persevered. I found the Lake to Lake B&B Association and immediately joined as an aspiring member. Back then they didn’t even have the aspiring workshop as they do now, but I went to the conference and was welcomed with open arms. I met some wonderful innkeepers. I took notes and my brain swirled for days with all the things I had never considered and new ideas that propelled me to continue my journey.
In 2010, the banks still said no, but again I attended the conference. Met some new people; reminisced with some I already knew. Made contacts and networked with seasoned innkeepers who are always willing to offer advice and support to help get you through many of the challenges this occupation throws at you. Different seminar topics sprouted more ideas and propelled me to keep following my dream. I have attended every year since – and every year there are new people to meet and new ideas to be had. Presenters and topics change every year to keep things fresh and interesting. I never leave a presentation without learning something or gleaning a new perspective.
In 2013, my dream finally came to fruition and The Painted Turtle Inn opened just in time for the summer season. Because of everything I learned from the conferences, combined with my own ideas of what MY B&B would be, we were successful from day one. I had planned for so many details that surely would have been missed without the knowledge I gained from all those willing to share at the conferences.
This yearly meeting is a chance to interact with others in your same profession, which promotes great comraderie and can improve not only your business, but your outlook on your chosen life style as well. No matter how long you have been in the business, you can always learn something new. And there is nowhere better to do that than the Lake to Lake Conference!
If you’d like to explore your dream, come join me.
There’s still time to register.
Just click on the image below for complete information
about the Workshop and the 27th Annual Conference.