“Is The Orange House for Sale then?” The main topic of discussion since moving full time to Bulgaria, 2 years ago, to open Orange House no 2.
Quick recap! Sam Mayfield, Rich Mayfield and Rachel Sparrow bought the Orange House in 2003 with a business plan written on the back of a cafe napkin! As it would be Sam’s 4th business, IT company, childrens nursery, retail shop, etc etc she was convinced they could make it work! Rich and Rachel believed her. After only 2 years it just didn’t make enough money to support all 3, so sadly Rachel went back to shoe design and moved to Italy.
The house was left for the first time in 2008, after some very intense years running the place without any help, and with teenage boys who needed a UK education. Devon was chosen.
After only 2 years it was clear this system was not working, so Sam and eldest son Dan headed back. Rich was already mostly in Spain all winter guiding! This time a private home, offsite, made a big difference and luckily for them the business quickly picked back up and the winter months are now booked up a whole year in advance if you are a large group!
SO, why will it work leaving it with managers this time around? 3 things!
First. Lessons learnt from last time and finding the right people. Sam’s son Dan took over the first year with lots of good “oranges” helping him out and a part time admin/office manager. Second year and Niall an ex “orange” offered to hold the ropes, a lovely wee girly “orange” arrived at the start of the season and the pair paired up and made a great team, in more ways than one!
Second. Putting systems in place so guests feel happy to give good or bad feedback! A clear notice to say “let us know” if things need changing. A box is on the bar wall to allow messages without having to say who you are! The odd thing is, only nice notes are left.
Third. Visit often! Rich spent last year living back onsite when he was in Spain, normally 2 weeks on then 2 weeks home in BG. Sam visits once a month just to check on things and hopefully to arrange improvements like the new kitchen to keep the place uptodate.
February this year, Sam & Rich planned a visit at the same time as the famous “Strong” Steve McClure, the house valuation was also done during his stay! Even though the amount was way more than expected, 2 things also happened that week to help to make the final decision.
One, guests gave really positive feedback, the Managers this season have been doing an amazing job, Two, Steve pointed out that he had been to stay here more times than anywhere else. So, I guess after 15 years maybe this place is worth keeping and just keep improving year after year.
So, anyone asking the question “is it for sale then?” will be told NO, (unless they offer One hundred Billion Dollars!)