Anthony travels to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and first goes clamming. He's there to help the 44-room Cape Hatteras Motel. The owner, Dave Dawson, has had it for the last 44 years. He and his wife Jan have had ongoing financial troubles and Anthony is there to turn it around.
When he pulls into the parking lot, Anthony notes that the hotel is on the ocean. He notes that it's the middle of the morning and the beach hasn't been raked. The railing has nails sticking out and there are cigarette butts and garbage. There's a "for sale" sign up and Anthony wonders if he got there too late. Going into the lobby, Anthony talks to the front desk clerk Lisa and asks about the sign. Lisa says that there are financial issues, and explains that Dave and Jan have been married for a month. She was involved with the hotel since the previous spring, and Lisa claims that Jan is a big asset to her. Anthony doesn't believe her, and Lisa admits that Jan doesn't want to communicate with the employees. She notes that Dave is only there four days a week and it's not enough. Lisa manages the hotel when they're not there, but she's not the manager.
Before meeting the owners, Anthony checks out a room It's basic and very white except for the dark carpet. He sees a large stain and figures that they knew he was coming because they put new sheets on the bed. The light doesn't work, and one of the closets has a heater in it. The windows are dirty and Anthony mops dirt off of them.
Anthony sits down with Dave and Jan, and asks why he's there if they're selling the property. Dave explains that they have to pay a company $1.8 or they lose the property. The hotel is only making $230,000 a year in profit, so he needs to sell the hotel to make a profit. Dave explains that after the recession, he declared bankruptcy. He has no retirement and the hotel was his dream. Right now the hotel is being priced at $4.3 million, and there have been no offers so far. Given the high risk location, Anthony figure that the hotel is one hurricane away from disappearing.
Later, Anthony brings in designer Brittany Simon to come up with a cost-effective way to renovate the rooms. Brittany assures him that she can do it, and Anthony meets with the staff members. The head of maintenance, Arthur, notes that he brings in his own tools. There are only 10 staff members when there should be at least 15. The staff say that Lisa does everything, and Jan overstresses about everything. Lisa got salad plates for a Christmas bonus, and Lisa says that she's sympathetic to the owners' situation. They went on a two-week vacation and are going back to England for their honeymoon. However, they don't give the staff any benefits and never hold any meetings.
Anthony takes the staff to the owners to have a staff meeting. He explains that the staff feel that they're used as tools and they don't have benefits. Dave and Jan admit that it's true, and Jan says that she honors everyone's feelings but isn't surprised that they feel like they feel. Anthony figures that she's not connecting with them personally, Anthony demonstrates how to connect personally, and then Jan does so. The staff members appreciate her talking to them, and Anthony says that the divide between the two sides has to disappear. He then tries to lay out a chain of command, and the staff think that Dave is the GM. Dave says that Jan is the GM as well, but none of the staff knew that. He figures that the staff should have been bright enough to grasp that. The staff don't like the wording, and Dave says that he didn't mean it in a derogatory manner. Jan figures that there's nothing they can say that will fix it, and says that they should take a break. Anthony advises against it, and tells Dave to say that he's sorry.
Jan says that she's not trying to get involved in personnel issues so she sends them to Dave. Lisa says that if Jan is a GM then she should handle everything. Anthony asks them to establish who they should talk to, and then talks to the owners alone. He asks why they're so defensive, and says that the staff wasn't attacking them.
On the third day, Dave and Jan are still upset about the staff meeting and ask for a private meeting with Anthony. Jan takes exception to the fact that the staff doesn't think that she appreciates them, and Anthony suggests that they be more relatable.
Dave's son Jeff runs a kayaking company and gives Anthony private tour. Jeff admits that Dave isn't taking advantage of the ecotourism, even though it's a huge trend. If Dave decides to sell then it's another asset. Anthony calls in an appraiser and a local real estate broker to get a correct price for the hotel. hey suggest $2 million but have to defer the maintenance. Anthony figures that there's been roughly $750,000 in maintenance necessary, and they warn that $4.3 million is too high.
Anthony asks the owners what gave their real estate broker, and Dave says that he told him what he needed. He figures that he's leaving plenty of money on the money, and insists that the hotel is worth more than the $2 million figure. Anthony warns that if they don't make a sale then they'll lose it all, and tells them to think about overnight because he's going to come to them with a lower offer.
The next morning, Brittany and her crew renovate a guest room. Anthony checks in and asks Brittany to make the exterior facing the beachfront. He then lines up a buyer, Sumit, who has met with Dave before and it didn't go well. Sumit figures that the building can't be rebuilt, and figures that they can negotiate the debt as a discounted pay off. He offers $1.8 and a discount down to the $1.3 range. Sumit will keep Dave on as manager so he'll receive income, $100,000 a year for four years. Jan says that what she does, and Dave complains that he's being taken advantage of. His wife warns that they may get more unfavorable terms down the road. Sumit tells them that there's no rush and leaves. Dave tells Anthony that he'll have to sit and watch someone get rich off of what he's been saving for 44 years. Jan feels relieved that at least there's now a plan. Anthony warns that the longer they wait, the scarier it will get.
The next day, Dave and Jan tell Anthony that they talked to their attorneys. Dave still has the option to do what he's doing, but he's getting old and Sumit does give them an out. He figures that it's a viable option and wants to come to a final agreement.
Since the owners will still be in charge, Anthony has them get together with the staff. Dave insists that they love their staff, and Jan says that she'll try to improve the workflow. Anthony wants them to create job descriptions, and brings in an operations guide. He also gives them enough sheets for all of their beds, and a tool cart with everything they need.
On the last day, Anthony set up eco-tours and brings in a food truck. The owner, Gus, says that he'll come in once a week to serve tacos. Anthony then shows the owners the renovated beach area. She's put in ocean-themed children's play equipment and folding beach chairs. Brittany then introduces Sam from Hatteras Construction and shows Jan and Dave the renovated room. The designer explains that they go everything down the road and it cost $50 total. Anthony says that Sumit may negotiate better for the owners if they see the room.
Finally, Anthony shows the owners two marketing plans. One promotes high winds, and the others promotes a kayak program. The marketing company will work with the couple after Anthony leaves. Dave and Jan are glad that Anthony came and they hug.
Written by Gadfly on Oct 3, 2017