Busy weekend wraps up a good summer

Busy weekend wraps up a good summer

AAA estimated nearly 35 million Americans would be travelling this Labor Day weekend.

More than one million of those right here in Michigan.

For some business owners, like Rob McClelland and Mary Howe, it marks the end to a great summer.

"We loved it," says McClelland co-owner with Howe of Cedar Ridge Cabins in Honor. "It was a great summer. Business was good, the weather was outstanding, couldn't have been better. We met a ton of nice people from all of the Midwest and even from Europe, one lady from Ireland, so it was really a great time."

The two are the new owners of Cedar Ridge Cabins in Honor.

This was their first summer owning the complex.

Rob was a teacher, Mary worked in real estate and was a stay-at-home mom.

"I think we thought it went great," says Howe. "For us and our guests, they knew we were starting out so they were really helpful and giving us ideas of what to do - sometimes we would take them and sometimes not. But it was really fun getting to know the guests and having people see what we had done and appreciate it. It's been really a great journey."

This past weekend, their sign out front on US31 once again read no vacancy.

In fact, several motel owners and managers say they were full, not just this weekend, but at points throughout the summer; a nice change from last year.

They point to lower gas prices and warmer weather.

Back at Cedar Ridge Cabins, Howe and McClelland are thinking about next year, but don't plan on changing much of what they did this year.

"I don't think so, this went really well," says Howe. "I think we'll try to find a way to work more efficiently. I think we've enjoyed all the different guests we've had. We'd like to reach out to more people."

With one summer season under their belt, they have a much clearer picture of what it takes to succeed in hospitality in Benzie County.

"Kind of how much work it is," says McClelland. "Everyone told us how much work it would be, but it was a lot of work. It really keeps you going for three months, but it's fun work. I've never worked so hard in my life and I've never enjoyed working this hard in my life."

Many motel owners are now looking ahead to the annual rush brought on by the fall colors - the peak of the fall color season is usually early to mid-October.

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