|Gilly's Inn and Convenience Store offers cabins, rooms, fuel, and a fully stocked convenience store.|
Gil Bowden accepted the award for business of the year from Ferron. "We had the idea of creating a destination spot. At first we thought a motel and convenience store would be the way to go. But none of the lending companies had the same vision. I could not get the idea out of my head. I had already drawn up plans and had a layout of how I wanted everything. When I could not get support from the banks, I decided on plan B. Since I was a little ahead of the need for what I thought was coming, I came up with a plan to get there in steps. So I borrowed the monies by using my house as collateral, and got started. Since there was a need for auto service, I built the building I was going to need and put in place all the plumbing and structure I was going to need for the motel. After a few years of running the auto and convenience store, I had my loans paid down enough to move to the next stage, and then a couple of years later we built nine rooms. Four years later, we jumped in and started the eight cabins that we originally wanted to do. It's been a struggle with the economy and breaking my back while I was working on the cabins never helped any.
"The main reason we went into business is to provide our eight children with employment. It has served as a great tool in teaching them how to work, how to develop social skills along with their work ethic. They have all moved on to very successful career opportunities. Now that they are all gone we find ourselves trying to remember why we started the business and what the reason was that we wanted to do it. We are still a little ahead of the demand, but I feel encouraged by the change in attitude of recreation in the area and state. It makes me hopeful that the business might start to work like we hoped from the beginning. Business in this end of the county is hard. There is a need, but the volume is very inadequate, we need more out of the area patrons.
"We hope to finish the last stages of our plans this year; we should have around 27 total rooms, an expanded eating service to meet the need of the motel patrons, and a destination program to bring in customers to enjoy the many opportunities that this area has to offer, and hopefully bring them back many more times," said Bowden.