2013 will be year of phasing out for Bearcreek Farms
For much of her life, Carla (Strong) Loy has viewed the rising sun with the silhouette of the family business, Bearcreek Farms, across the road from her home.
The sounds of laughing children, music and the smells of campfires have been her joy as guests from all over the country have come to take in the sights, sounds and historic atmosphere of the family business.
Strong, whose father Don Strong founded the business in the mid-1970s, said that her dad had envisioned a destination where family and friends could escape the day to day hectic schedules and find a down-to-earth escape offering good food and a little entertainment that would leave them with a smile on their faces.
After some very difficult times of family discussion, family members have decided to phase out the business in 2013, and then, for all practical purposes, close it as a resort beginning with 2014.
“I have mixed feelings; this has been a tough decision,” said Loy. “A lot of people want to point their fingers at my father regarding this decision. They say it was all his idea.
“It wasn’t,” Loy said. “I probably had the biggest say in deciding what’s best for the family. It is time for a change; there have been lots and lots of things that have been fun that haven’t worked financially. We have to face reality at some point in time.”
Loy said that Bearcreek Farms has always been considered a hobby for her father and other family members. She noted that during the 37 years that the business has been in operation, money has never been important to them.
“We have enjoyed providing entertainment and good foods,” Loy said. “Over the last four years as a family, we have discussed all kinds of options leading up to this time.
“My father is at retirement age. This is no longer a hobby now, it is a burden to him,” continued Loy. “He doesn’t want to leave it as a burden to us.”
Over the years, Bearcreek Farms has been owned by Richard’s Restaurant. Strong is the majority stock holder for both establishments.
“We decided that my dad is right with his concerns,” Loy said. “There might be a day when Richard’s can’t afford to operate this facility. It has a lot of peaks and valleys. Most people only see it when they visit with their large group. There are days that the shot of a cannon would echo through the place.”
Loy said that most people don’t see the everyday maintenance requirements that are involved with the business’s personal sewer plant, maintenance and grounds keeping.
“It was a very tough decision,” Loy said. “We are going to look at other options for the property. We hope that something good can come out of all of this. We are going to take a look at other not-for-profits. The worst scenario would be to bulldoze the whole thing down. Goodness knows the price of farm ground right now.
“I live right across the street. This is not going to go to just anybody. I am going to be very partial about it,” continued Loy.
Loy said that the facility will remain open for conferences, special events and organizations that have already previously booked meetings through the end of 2013.
“We wanted customers to have the opportunity to use up their gift cards,” Loy said. “We hope that if they use them one more time they will leave with a positive feeling about Richard’s and Bearcreek Farms. We had made commitments prior to what we are doing. We do not want to let these people down.”
Loy noted that during the times that the business is open for other groups, it will also be open to the public, including the theater and the restaurant.
“We plan to end it as it is in 2014,” said Loy.
But then with a twinkle in her eye she said, “We’re going to be open-minded. We plan to think out of the box; we are going to look at all of the opportunities. There’s no way financially that we could keep this hobby up. There are a lot of things out there that could hurt the family.”
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