Friday, December 13, 2013

It's been a while... fact, just under a year, since we last posted on this blog.  We have a number of excuses, but basically one very good reason.  Let me explain...

When Tom and I returned from our three-month trip to the US last fall, our good friends who own a very large tract of land in the Mountain Pine Ridge offered us the job of managing their conservation project.  For us, this was the dream job, doing something meaningful for the environment and for the future.  The only unfortunate thing with the job offer was that we realized right up front that we would not be able to continue to put the same amount of effort into running Moonracer Farm as we had so successfully been doing for the past five or so years.

Our first plan was to put the whole kit and kaboodle, property and business, up for sale, and to continue to run the inn until it sold, and then move on to the conservation project.  When we didn't have any good sale prospects in six months, we decided that it was time to move on to Plan B.  Plan B was to train Julio and Janeth to run the business, which was a very agreeable prospect for them since they both always really enjoyed interacting with our guests, and Janeth is a great cook.  So, we planned to move to the new job in August, and we spent the early part of the summer training Julio and Janeth to take over the operation at Moonracer, while Tom and I planned to continue with the administrative side, handling reservations and finances.

Tom and I did in fact move to the new job in August, and Julio and Janeth and their family have been running Moonracer Farm with enormous guest approval ratings, as can be seen on our TripAdvisor page, where the excellent reviews have continued since the transition.  Tom and I miss interacting with our guests in person beyond a meal or a transfer, but our guests love interacting with Belizeans who can give them a firsthand account of what it is like to grow up and live and work and go to school in Belize...and they get REAL and delicious Belizean food from Janeth!

This transitional phase has been working well enough for everybody that when our year-long FSBO ads on the internet expired about six weeks ago, we thought long and hard about just taking the property and business off the market and running it like we have been since this summer.  It works for our guests, because they love staying with the Ruanos as their hosts.  It works for Julio and Janeth and their family, because they are doing work that they like, meeting a lot of people that they like, making a good living, and getting great job experience, no matter what happens in the future.  It works for us because we are still involved with our guests and the business, and the business is supporting itself, plus some, which is a bonus for us.  However, the Ruanos have not yet worked through a high season, when we know that we usually have long runs of work without a break, sometimes almost two months, and we are not sure of the impact this will have on the Ruano family and their family, church, and social obligations in town.  Right now, we can fill in for them if we need to, but we can't do that indefinitely.  And, as this conservation project becomes more absorbing, we're not sure if we can continue to put the same amount of time and energy into the inn business.  We are probably good for a year or two, but we know that things change, and we're not sure we can commit to the long haul.

So, instead of splitting our non-conservation project energy on running Moonracer Farm and selling Moonracer Farm, we have decided to let a professional handle the sale while we focus on continuing to run the business.  The good thing for potential guests and potential buyers is that we are planning to sell the whole package, and Julio and Janeth are willing to continue to manage the lodge for new owners.  So, if you are considering booking a stay at Moonracer but are worried that we will sell and you will lose your reservation, rest assured because we are sure that anybody willing to pay for the property and the business - which is all that we will accept at this point since everything is running so well - will want to continue to run the business as it is going.  And, if you are interested in buying the business, you will not be cast loose in a sea of confusion, but will have experienced managers on site, and we have enough invested in the business that we will continue to make ourselves available since we are living only a few miles up the road.

A whole lot of thought, effort, and decision have just been condensed into a few paragraphs.  If you have questions, for us or the Ruanos, please feel free to contact us through our Moonracer Farm business website's Contact Us page.  We will be happy to talk to you!

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