Though it might be of little concern to a reader, for posterity's sake, Kaitlyn and I are starting out determined to record the genesis of this new business. From tons of before and after photos of the renovation progress to highlighting neighboring businesses around the Salida community, this blog will hopefully serve as something of a digital scrap book. But like any story, there needs to be some context from which to build, so I thought we should take some time to put the pen to pad to explain this adventure to those interested (but mostly to understand it ourselves). 

You get an odd look when you tell people you are leaving town to go run an old motel in the mountains. It usually takes the form of a half-cocked head, a raised eyebrow, or a pause (sometimes all at once) while it sinks in. And rightfully so, I guess. When is the last time you envied the night manager at a dusty motel, checking in road zombies alongside an interstate highway? 

The current owners gave us this photograph of the property as it stood perhaps 30-40 years ago.  Originally it was called the Monarch Motor Lodge and then changed to the Aspen Leaf Motel in the 90s. 

The current owners gave us this photograph of the property as it stood perhaps 30-40 years ago.  Originally it was called the Monarch Motor Lodge and then changed to the Aspen Leaf Motel in the 90s. 

So, what prompted the change? What are we trying to accomplish? I mean, really...why are we doing this? 

For me, it's a journey that began about 4 years ago. At the time I was 6 years into running a retail business in Dallas. I had been there from the beginning. It was my baby. It was the culmination of all I had worked for in the years after college. We had our successes and setbacks, but the the pattern of making a few more steps forward than back had kept us above water and growing. It was around the time we moved into a larger space and were really cooking with our online business - really the first time that I had some breathing room. And as I began taking the time to think about what was next (should we open a new store? should we launch a new website?), I began to also really consider the idea of something new.  

The daily grind of retail gets to you – the seasonality, the constant change in trends and the competition really add up. With more revenue comes more complexity, and you are only as good as your last season, quarter, month, day. Add to this fact that when you take a step back, you start to wonder about the idea of selling stuff that people don't really 'need' and I guess I lost my drive. Maybe I justified my waning interest with this thought, but I knew I wasn't the same person that launched the business.

My first inclination was to find a way to slowly cede control and spend less and less time inside the business. I ran with that, but quickly noticed that my enthusiasm just wasn't there and my time outside of the shop actually made me less and less keen on the business. I knew the best thing was to sell the business and start fresh on something I could commit myself to.  Easier said than done; it took about a year to split the business up and sell everything off, but it was a great feeling when done.  

It was right around this time, actually about exactly two years ago, that I met Kaitlyn.  And oddly enough, on that very first date we talked about something similar to this very concept over pizza and beer. Looking back, I guess life has a funny way of working out. 

Stay tuned for more...

The Arkansas River running through Browns Canyon Monument is definitely one of the jewels of the area.  Did a quick overnight float with friends, dogs and beer over the Summer once the Spring melt levels had subsided. 

The Arkansas River running through Browns Canyon Monument is definitely one of the jewels of the area.  Did a quick overnight float with friends, dogs and beer over the Summer once the Spring melt levels had subsided. 

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