Having spent a GORGEOUS weekend in the Bruce Peninsula at Valerie and Todd’s, I am thrilled to be able to share their small business story and some beautiful photos of their business, On The Rocks Guest Inn. Not only were the accommodations spectacular, Valerie and Todd went above and beyond to provide every bit of local knowledge and charm that the Bruce Peninsula and Tobermory has to offer!
On The Rocks Guest Inn
Tell us about your business and who you serve with it?
“Our business is a guest accommodation, which we refer to as a 'Guest Inn'. Our vision of a guest inn, while traditionally known as a 'bed & breakfast', has been the culmination of many years, special places, people, and experiences that have inspired us. We have made every effort to bring this vision to reality in our version of a 'Guest Inn'. 'On The Rocks' is set up to reflect a small 'Inn' with private suites that are comfortable, beautifully appointed all with private en suites. It also has many places to sit outside and enjoy the beauty of Georgian Bay. At our Guest Inn we are proud to serve many local products with an effort to support our community and local businesses. We are Valerie and Todd, your hosts along with our team, our ‘CCO’ (Chief Cultural Officer) dog Guinness and our 'EIT" (Employee in Training) dog Harvey. We host couples and adults only (16 yrs age minimum) in our comfortable and spacious lake house. So, our Guest Inn, ‘On The Rocks’ is indeed on the rocky shores of Georgian Bay. It is inspired by our own experiences and something we take great pride in sharing.”
When and Why did you start your business?
“We launched our business in May 2017. Our business has been a long term vision and dream of ours. We have had the great fortune to have lived and traveled to some unique places, which has both inspired and influenced us. We had been thinking about this idea and concept for some time, which we considered starting when we were living on Vancouver Island and then again when we were living in Western Australia. Someone once said that 'timing is everything', which for us was exactly that! We moved back to Ontario in 2012 and started to re-explore the beauty of Ontario. We once again considered this idea and started the search for the ideal property. Our search took us from Prince Edward County to the Muskoka's to Niagara on the Lake. 'Finding' the Bruce Peninsula has been the dream and vision coming into reality. The property we purchased could not have been more perfect! It was built to be a B&B and was previously operated under the name of 'Plumica'. We fell in love with the area, the community, and the house which has come together just magically! It is brilliant when things come together like they were supposed to! We opened 'unofficially' in 2016 as we worked out the kinks and did some renovations and set ourselves up with a business name, website etc. The business name, 'On The Rocks' was meant to be a bit of fun, as it is a bit of a play on words, as the property is literally on the rocky shores of Georgian Bay and while enjoying the splendor of Georgian Bay, who wouldn't mind a bit of something special, 'on the rocks' to drink!”
What was the biggest struggle your business has faced so far? How have you overcome it?
“Our biggest 'struggle' if we could call it a struggle has just getting set up and operating. Realizing the work and effort in getting our property to a place where we want it to be, and feel confident opening our doors to the public. This is no small feat and at times was really overwhelming! We did some small and major renovations, updating water systems, heating systems, building structure etc. The end result for us has been worth the sweat equity! We are very proud of our guest inn and the feedback from our guests is that they love all of the work put in and appreciate the end result. Setting up a website and social media has been and continues to be a learning process! We did our website ourselves so we would know how to do this going forward so we could manage this ourselves...this was a big learning curve, thankfully we have some switched-on family members who are good at this kind of thing! “
What are you most excited about for the future of your business? What is one of your companies biggest goals?
“We are very excited to see many of our guests returning for their second, third and fourth visits. We consider this the ultimate compliment! We have had guests celebrate their honeymoon, their 1st wedding anniversary, to their 40th, guests getting engaged, birthdays, babymoons and just about every other special occasion. For us this has been the most successful accomplishment and an absolute honour and privilege! It's something special to be a part of our guests memories and we make such an effort to ensure these are truly memorable! One of our other goals is to encourage our guests to visit the area in all seasons and take in the magnificence of the changing seasons. The Bruce Peninsula is a great spot to stay and visit in July and August but it is just as beautiful if not more in the spring, autumn and winter. “
Do you have a special offer for the members of our group?
In our 'shoulder season' which are the months of Jan, Feb, Mar, April, Oct, Nov. only, we can organize a "package weekend" for the members of SBOSO. Includes; 3 course dinner served one night of the stay, 1 packed box lunch for each guest plus all of the other amenities normally included. Also, based on availability of the local RMT, an in-house massage can be arranged; payment is made to the RMT directly.