This year means a lot of things. It means another shot at getting back to “normal” after a pandemic that changed the way everyone does things. It means a totally clean slate to do things differently – maybe better, maybe smarter. It means resolutions and promises to ourselves to change. For me, it means I’m officially over a decade in the yurt business.
A Bird's Eye View Of The Grounds At Sky Ridge
That’s a long time, at least by my estimation. And as 2021 draws to a close, I wanted to share a few things that this very unique year has taught me about business, about life, and about myself. Here's what I've learned...
I Actually Was Ahead Of The Wave
The idea for Sky Ridge Yurts was born at my mom’s house (now The Original Yurt that you can rent in Mt. Pleasant, NC), but it was solidified as I traveled from Alaska back to North Carolina after my first husband died. Yurts were everywhere out west, and there were none here in the east. So, Sky Ridge was born with a lot of raised eyebrows and skeptical glances from a lot of folks. That skepticism is gone now, and so is the idea that there are no yurts on the east coast. There are many options for glamping in yurts here now. And that’s taught me that we have to excel in how we treat our guests and what kind of experience we can provide. It’s not enough anymore to just be a yurt village. Now we have to be the best yurt village in the business.
People Are Different Now
Over the years, we’ve had all kinds of guests. But since March of 2020, there’s been a noticeable difference in the people that visit Sky Ridge. Some are anxious, some are extra particular, others are very disagreeable. The good news is that the overwhelming majority of our guests are wonderful. The bad is that some are visibly shaken by the craziness that the past two years has brought. It’s taught me that it’s even more important to treat everyone with kindness and with understanding and with respect. This has been a rough couple of years, and it’s best to remember that we can break through the anxiety some are experiencing with just a smile, a calm countenance and a bit of extra care.
My Staff Is More Amazing Than I Thought
I’ve had the same staff since almost the day I opened. This is one of the biggest blessings of my life, both in business and in friendship. They are my loyal employees. They are my friends. They know my heart for my customers, and they are my hands and feet when I can’t be there to meet my guests’ needs. They aren’t always flawless, but their hearts certainly are. They want you to love it here as much as I do, and if you do find anything wrong in your yurt, it’s not from lack of care. But in 2020, I couldn’t pay them. For nine long weeks, I wasn’t allowed to be open and I couldn’t pay them. Now, the end of the story is that we raised enough money to get them through the lock down through gracious donations and creative ideas, but they didn’t know that when it all started. But they stayed anyway. It taught me that Kathy and her team are really in this with me, and our guests are as important to her as they are to me. They deserve the credit for all the little touches you find here that are so amazing.
Allison, Richard and Kathy Are Some Of The People Who Make Your Stay Great
Sky Ridge Is Finally Finished
The day I bought the property where Sky Ridge stands, there was a lower lot on the hill that wasn’t mine. It was beautiful, already cleared, and ready to build. I wanted it from day one. It took me ten years to negotiate a sale from the owner, and now the new Wayah House sits on that coveted lot. The process of getting that lot from dirt to finished cabin taught me that sometimes you can see the end even before you begin. And it’s important to recognize that when you’ve come to that end, you need to stop.
I Think It’s Time To Do Something Different
This is starting to sound like Sky Ridge is over. Trust me, it’s not. It’s just not getting any bigger. Working at Sky Ridge has shown me that I really do love preparing special places for families to come together. Watching what’s been happening in the glamping industry convinces that it’s time for something different – maybe better, maybe smarter. And I want you to know that I’ve already seen the end of this new thing even before it begins. But my time in this industry has taught me that you don’t share everything you know. You just do it.
Something New Is On The Horizon
But I will give you a sneak peek. Here’s to 2022. I can’t wait.