Kristin and Kitchen Staff

Myah, Kristin & Angie in the kitchen

This is part 3 in a 4-part series about the history of Overleaf Lodge and Fireside Motel. You may want to read the first and second parts before reading this one.

Working with a small team in a remote community can be a challenge, but for the team at the Overleaf Lodge and Fireside Motel, it feels like family. “Normal businesses aren’t this emotionally attached,” explains Kristin, who owns the properties with her husband, Drew.  “There are a lot of positive emotions as well as challenges because we are so close.”

Several teammates have been with the Overleaf Family for decades, many starting in housekeeping, and then moving into other areas and adding more responsibility. Twin sisters Heather and Val joined the Overleaf and Fireside family as 14-year old housekeepers in 1996. Today, Heather serves as General Manager and Val is Maintenance Director.

Sheila, the Front Desk Manager, and Alex, the Director of Housekeeping, also started out in housekeeping – Sheila as a teenager and Alex in his early 20’s. Long-time guests watched them grow up, and delight in seeing the staff grow into new positions.

Following the lead of Drew and Kristin, everyone jumps in to do whatever is needed. Kristin notes, “We all do what it takes. It is the crux of who we all are. We can always count on each other to fill in anywhere.” When new skills are needed, people step up to learn them. Each key staff member has developed skills needed to manage different, and at times new, areas of the business and have become invaluable team leaders.

“The owners nurture you, as well as the positive culture of the organization. They watch and help you grow,” says Heather. “Any type of education, they’re all about. Anything to do our job better, they’ll invest in us.” Drew and Kristin have been there for employees through good and hard times. In turn, these employees have supported Drew and Kristin, and each other, through their own joys and heartaches.

As a tight-knit crew, they have developed special bonds over the years. “My favorite thing about my experience working here is the friendships I have made,” shares Sheila. “I have literally grown up with Heather and Val. We have built real friendships together and we have been through it all together. We have laughed and cried countless times together. Having them here with me daily is a blessing.” Alex adds, “Even when we are stressed or tired, we find time to joke or laugh, even if it’s about ourselves. Even with everything we have going on, our staff meetings are bright spots I look forward to.”

The sense of family, belonging and having fun together spills over into interactions with guests. And returning guests become a part of the family too. Each year, an extended family returns to the Overleaf Lodge, bringing small toys they leave for the staff to find. Once, in anticipation of this family’s return visit, the staff set up a section of the breakfast room as a reserved area and displayed photos of staff members holding the trinkets. The family still talks about how small acts like these make them feel like a valued part of the Overleaf Family.

Watching staff members learn and grow from the challenges that come with a family business that never stops has been deeply satisfying for Drew and Kristin. The positive ripples of their hard work extend into Yachats, the coastal community and to the guests they serve.

Next week: the Roslund Family Third Generation

Staff with Masks

Alex, Heather, Val & Sheila during the 2020 Pandemic

Heather and Val

Twin sisters, Heather and Val. Heather received the Employee of the Year Award from the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Sheila Front Desk

Sheila at the front desk