Friends at Willis Graves B&B

Amenities at Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast

I was so fortunate that when Bob and Nancy turned over their keys, they left me two great workers, Margaret and Sandy. Margaret has been working for either Bob (Bob is a doctor) or Nancy for nearly 30 years! And Sandy has been working here for a little more than three. The two of them have all the tricks and tips locked away in their brains and I had a lot to learn!

To pull off doing all the stuff that Nancy did, I knew I would need to hire more staff. Nancy and I are a lot alike but clearly have different interests. I just want to be in the kitchen, with our guests, or doing the bookkeeping. Nancy loves to paint, garden, and do just about anything rather than be in the kitchen! Bob also played a huge role in the B&B. He was not (is not) your typical doctor husband. He did the bookkeeping, some yard work, lots of fixing of stuff, and he had no problem jumping in to make cookies or clean a room! Who was going to do all that?

Nancy and I put an ad in the local paper looking for help and we tag-teamed the interviews. We got a few great responses and many not so great. But ultimately, it was easy for us to hire the next three to the staff. We hired Kim and Savanah who responded to the ad and Kim had a friend named Sue. Kim thought Sue would fit right in and sure enough she did. That meant we had four new people that needed to be trained and one of them was me!

Breakfast came to me 1,2,3. Using Quickbooks made the bookkeeping fairly easy since it is only a five-room inn. I obviously knew cleaning was a big part of the job, but what I didn’t know was how COMPLICATED sheets and towels could be. Willis Graves has a great reputation for freshly ironed sheets, soft billowy pillows, comforters and mattresses that provide a blissful night’s sleep. Sandy became the designated trainer since she’s as fast as a whip. How hard could it be to fold sheets? Easy peezy right? Oh so wrong.

Nancy started with a one-room inn. Eventually they added on some personal space and turned the 1830’s Federal House into a three-room inn. A few years went by and they added the amazing log cabin. So it became five rooms. Some inns have different themes in each room. And while each of these five rooms are completely different than the other, the beds are all white, except for one room. It was four rooms with queen beds and one room with a full-size bed.



Let’s get back to easy. I’m thinking there are sheets somewhere in a closet; flat sheets, fitted, pillow cases. You grab what you need and off you go. Not so fast. There are self-sustaining closets for the rooms. Ok I like that. Sheets get divided up into closets, you grab your sheets and towels, and off you go. Wrong again. There are labels on the sheets, because they are not all bought at the same time, understandable, but now certain labels go to certain rooms. Huh? Why? Just because that’s the way we have always done it. It’s like naming children or chickens or whatever. There are Catharine’s sheets and then there are Thomas’ sheets. This now has got my head spinning. Because they are all white! And they are all the same size! Did I mention we fold the sheets before we iron them? No? Well that’s because I didn’t want to lose you yet. Yes, we fold the sheets, then we open the sheets, then we fold them again and all the while I am thinking I need to go make cookies! But now remember there are three others that are learning about sheets and towels. I am wondering if their heads are spinning? Are they feeling as stupid as I am? I can’t even remember which sheet goes where and I have been shown 3–4 times how to fold and iron, but there’s no way I knew what I was doing. I could see it in Kim, Sue, and Savanah’s eyes when we started to talk about sheets and towels. Everyone had this blank stare like has the world gone mad?

I kept reassuring Kim, Sue, Savanah (and myself) it’s a matter of time. We will all have it down soon. Well we never did get it down. In fact I found a brand of spa sheets. A dear friend who has also had sheet issues helped me out. And I bought the inn all new sheets. So new sheets for new beginnings!

I didn’t want to bore you with sheet talk. More than anything, I want to introduce you to my fabulous staff Sandy, Margaret, Kim, Savanah, and Sue.



And to remind myself that sometimes the simple things are not so simple! I am extremely grateful to my gals. They’re hanging in there with the new owner, the old ways, my new ways, and sometimes more changes in a day that would make anyone’s head spin. We now don’t just stare at each other when we are presented with new “ah ha” moments, we actually start with a big laugh……..then we figure it all out. And it’s all good!

Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast