In a gentle changing of the guard, the vacation spot (where families come back year-after-year to rent family suites or cottages for a week or longer) will now be managed by Patrick and Gladys Clausen. The couple is the son and daughter-in-law of longtime Proctor’s owners Fred and Maureen Clausen.
Last year, Fred and Maureen decided to put the business on the market but it was not a decision they came to without much consideration. The original plan was to sell the lakefront property for potential condominium conversion; thus the listing price was higher.
“If it had not sold by this summer, we had made the decision to hire a manager to run Proctor’s,” said Fred. He explained that the physical work of running a 24/7 seasonal business was very taxing and he and Maureen have done it for many years. Although they had other projects and a chance to “just relax” on the horizon, the couple wanted to make sure their beloved Proctor’s was in good hands before stepping back.
Enter Patrick and Gladys who had spent many wonderful summers at the lakeside business visiting Patrick’s parents and enjoying the area. Patrick approached his parents and told them he was interested in managing the business, instead of having them hire someone outside the family.
While Gladys initially was unsure if she was ready for such a drastic life change (the couple has resided in Massachusetts where Patrick had a full-time career as a sales manager), she came to the conclusion that the move was right for their family. With three young children (Charlie, William, and Monica) who love spending time with grandparents Fred and Maureen at Weirs Beach, Gladys and Patrick knew the time was right to step in and take over the running of Proctor’s Lakehouse Cottages.
“I didn’t want Patrick to look back 15 or 20 years from now and regret not doing this,” Gladys said. “It is his dream to run Proctor’s.” “My job in Massachusetts was great but it was not so good that it stopped me from making the decision to take over the management of Proctor’s,” Patrick commented.
Because Patrick was in college when his parents bought Proctor’s, he watched the busy lifestyle they led and had some idea of the amount of work — and the rewards — of running the seasonal business. But there was a lot he did not know how to do and he is now learning the ropes from his father. Fred is there to help in many aspects as Patrick takes over the day-to-day operation of Proctor’s.
“My plan,” Patrick said with a grin, “is to totally do whatever my Dad says for one year so I can learn everything. Then I will step in with my own ideas.”
For those who love Proctor’s just the way it is, there is no need to worry. Fred and Maureen are still the owners of Proctor’s and their son and daughter-in-law will act as employees and run the business. Guests will get the best of all worlds: continued ownership by the elder Clausens and on-site management by the younger generation of the family. Patrick and Gladys know many of the customers and families who return to Proctor’s each year and they are sensitive to what those guests want, as Fred and Maureen always have been.
According to Fred, the younger couple will bring new ideas and strengths to the business, such as a solid knowledge of social media, marketing, and methods to upgrade computer systems. He jokingly said that the younger generation has a much better grasp of not only social media on the Internet, but also the ever-changing uses of cell phones.
Patrick already enjoys the variety of duties he experiences on any given day at Proctor’s. “I like it that I will do manual labor in the morning, such as planting flowers, and then I may be doing office work right after that in the afternoon. There is never a dull moment!” he said.
With 12 cottages and eight family suites, the new managers will be busy. Patrick and Gladys will be making changes slowly. “We will have a green [environmentally friendly] emphasis,” Gladys said. “We are putting in rain barrels and we will be growing vegetables that we will make available to our guests.”
As their parents did before them, Patrick and Gladys will be splitting their time between their home in Massachusetts and their seasonal job at Proctor’s. When the business winds down at season’s end and everything is closed up tightly for the winter, the couple will return to Massachusetts until next spring. “We love the town we live in; it’s a great community,” Gladys added.
With their children, ages five, three, and one, it makes sense to spend the school year at their Massachusetts home. School will soon be on the horizon and the children will enjoy the best of both worlds: going to school with their friends in the fall, winter, and spring; and spending wonderful summers at Weirs Beach.
Gladys certainly will have a busy schedule, helping with marketing and management of Proctor’s as time permits, but also being a full-time mother of three. “Our first priority is for her to be there for the kids,” Patrick said. Gladys smiled as she added that she also is a flamenco dancer and has performed with her family in the past.
Gladys and Patrick Clausen with their children join Maureen and Fred Clausen at the business they will be managing. (Photo: Kathi Caldwell-Hopper)
“We will be here to do whatever is necessary to help them run the business,” said Maureen. “That might be babysitting or checking guests in or making beds; we will help them as much as they want or need.”
Although Patrick and Gladys will be running Proctor’s, they are quick to add that Patrick’s sister and her husband are part of the overall plan as well. While they hold jobs elsewhere, their input is valuable. Both Clausen children were married at Proctor’s and it continues to be a big part of their lives.
This year, guests at Proctor’s will be treated to some upgrades, including flat-screen, digital televisions in all units. The property is kept immaculate thanks to the hard work of all the Clausens and two long-time employees. “We will be looking for one more housekeeping staff member for the season,” added Patrick.
When guests check in this summer, they will see familiar faces because Patrick and Gladys have always been around for visits and Fred and Maureen will also be around a lot. But it is the younger generation that will be running things with the support of Fred and Maureen.
So, while things have changed at Proctor’s, like all successfully run businesses, a lot that is wonderful will remain the same.