June 4, 2019
Posted by: Laura Yepez
You know you're busy when you let a momentous anniversary pass you by without even saying a word. It could be because I'm not really one to call attention to myself. I prefer to quietly pat myself on the back and have a little victory dance in my mind. But big milestones are cause for celebration - and to thank the many people who helped make this possible.
It all started 15 years ago, when I bought the Wicker Park Inn from a couple who was moving to France. The B&B sounded like an excellent way to pay the bills while I ran and operated the Alliance Bakery. When my daughter was born in 2006, I moved across the street and added more guest rooms and 2 rental apartments. I had a partner at the time who is no longer in the picture and I no longer own the Alliance Bakery. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for my ex, but I can also say that I wouldn't be here today if I didn't believe in myself.
Finding that strength and keeping the faith even in the most trying of times, is one of the biggest struggles of any small business owner. You have to truly believe in yourself and your product in order to be successful. You also need good people around you who believe in you and have the strength to stick it out especially when things get difficult.
Robin and Susan were my right and left hand during my divorce. I would have fallen apart if it weren't for them. With their support, I got through a pretty brutal year with a brighter future and a successful business.
The big step happened in 2016, when I bought the house next to the Wicker Park Inn. Up to that point, we had enjoyed great success, but there was a new hotel about to open up in the neighborhood and AirBnB rentals kept popping up around us. It was time to make a decision - quit while I was ahead or double down and reinvent the Wicker Park Inn.
It was a pretty easy decision. I dug in my heels and decided to go for it!
Some of the highest and lowest moments of my life were during the renovation of the Wicker Park Inn. If you've been through a home remodel, you know exactly what I mean ;) Ed Twohey from BBA Architects made this dream possible. And the extraordinary designer, Allison Henry, brought my vision to life. She sourced every wallpaper, light fixture, paint color, and cement tile.
My favorite room is the kitchen. It is filled with light, has gourmet appliances that most cooks dream of, and baby blue cabinets that reminds me of Tiffany's. I spend hours baking and prepping breakfast in my dream kitchen. It is a labor of love but more than anything, it's my Happy Place!
And to the current staff that is making this dream possible every day, I thank you. (group photo to follow) Charlene prepares hot cooked breakfasts on the weekends, Sean is an aspiring innkeeper with an eye for detail, Katie our social media guru has given Wicker Park Inn a distinct look and feel, and to our newest member, Esther, is helping to market our brand. I am eternally grateful for having such great people around me.