1) What was your first experience ever staying in a Bed & Breakfast?
Jim: Our first B&B was in Oregon on a vineyard, with horses and a quaint little town. We had a fabulous time there engaging the innkeeper and other guests in conversations and life-lessons. It was then that Ana knew she wanted to own a B&B. It took me a little longer.
2) What did you do before you owned a Bed & Breakfast?
Jim: Ana and I owned three other businesses together: a physical therapy agency, a commercial landscaping business and two karate schools. In our corporate lives, Ana (with a Bachelors in Accounting) was the Fiscal Officer for Drug-Free Youth in Town (a not-for-profit organization. I was a physical therapist.
3) What made you decide you wanted to be an Innkeeper?
Jim: We realized at the ripe old age of 42 and 39, respectively, that there was more to life than making tons of money, going to meetings, and driving 4 hours a day through Miami traffic. So we traded in our corporate lives and the businesses we nurtured for a change in lifestyle. But, more importantly, we eliminated the stress in our day-to-day routine that would have certainly sent us to an early grave.
4) What is your favorite part about owning a B&B?
Jim: The change in lifestyle was unbelievable. Sharing my gift of food and Ana's passion for decorating and giving (you have to be a giver to own a B&B) with our guests. Talking every morning for hours and sharing stories is definitely a highlight. Not to mention, the freedom to really enjoy all that life has to offer -- going to the gym by noon, picnicking by the lake with our dogs, going to the movies and sitting in an empty theater because everyone else is still at work. Oh, and let's not forget sipping wine with our new friends by 5:00 p.m.
5) Okay Jim, you stole that last line from my "Mastercard" ad on being an innkeeper. Shame on you! But it is a good lead-in to my next question ... 50 pillow cases laundered and pressed: $25, Groceries to prepare breakfast for 8: $85, Sipping wine with your friends before 5:00 p.m. on a Monday ... PRICELESS! So, What is your LEAST favorite thing to do as an Innkeeper?
Jim: There is not much that we don't care for. However, when emergencies occur you can't just close up the Inn. You have responsibilities to your guests. With that said, we have been self-employed for more than 15 years so it is pretty much the same. Your clients do not care if you were in a car accident or if you are sick. They want the service they paid for at the time it was promised. And if you care about your business you do what is necessary.
6) How did you decide on your room themes and decor?
Jim: We bought a historic B&B which was already decorated to the time period of the late 1800's to the early 1900's. So, we decided that having period antiques was the way to go. We did minimize the nicknack's to save time on dusting. Also, with our landscaping background we updated the outdoor living spaces.
7) Tell me one thing you love about Mount Dora.
Jim: Wow! If I must choose just one thing, and that is difficult because there is so much to love about Mount Dora, it would be the people here. The difference between how I lived my life in Miami, to how I live my life in Mount Dora is night and day. The majority of the people in the street here will take the time to say hello and be polite. It does not matter whether they are driving in their car or they are walking, the people in the town will be courteous to you -- they wave, they will be friendly and they will smile. We have had so many of our guests comment on the impact this town has on them and it is always for the better. If you are having a rough day, just walking in town can change your whole mood.
8) Describe your favorite breakfast creation at you B&B.
Jim: My favorite thing to make for breakfast is my Bacon, Gruyere Swiss Cheese Stuffed Omelets with a Buer Blanc Sauce. However, my guests always ask for my Sweet Potato Pancake Recipe.
9) Will you let me post the recipe?
Jim: Yes, of course.
10) Tell me one unique thing that most people don't know about you.
Jim: There is not much my new friends don't know about me as I am very open. However, this might be one. When Ana told me she wanted to own a B&B, I was totally against it. Even though I am open to my friends I am still a very private person and when you own a B&B , strangers (I don't call them strangers anymore, I call them "friends-to-be") have a key to your home, touch your things, and come and go as they please. So we circumnavigated this situation by buying an existing B&B and living off site.