November 1, 2002 - Vermont Business Magazine: Pakistan RPCV William P. Wolfe is partner in Vermont's Rutland Holiday Inn
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November 1, 2002 - Vermont Business Magazine: Pakistan RPCV William P. Wolfe is partner in Vermont's Rutland Holiday Inn
Pakistan RPCV William P. Wolfe is partner in Vermont's Rutland Holiday Inn
Read and comment on this story from Vermont Business Magazine on Pakistan RPCV William P. Wolfe who is a partner in American Resources Corp, owner of the Rutland Vermont Holiday Inn, one of the finest hotels in Vermont and what has gone into making this business successful over the years.
Wolfe has also set up a charitable foundation, the American Amistad Foundation, and accepts contributions that will help children. "I went down to Guatemala in 2000 to learn Spanish," Wolfe said. "And I saw this young boy who had been shot in the stomach. His whole family had been killed-over a motorcycle. The kid was playing soccer while holding on to a colostomy bag." Wolfe bought the boy a plane ticket to the States, where he got the operation he needed. Since then, Wolfe has helped several other children, including a girl who was run over by a truck. Wolfe brought her to the States, where her leg was amputated, and she learned to walk on an artificial leg while living with Wolfe and his family. Read the story at:
Profiles in Business: Bill Wolfe and Bud McLaughlin*
* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.
Profiles in Business: Bill Wolfe and Bud McLaughlin
Nov 1, 2002 - Vermont Business Magazine
Author(s): Marcel, Joyce
Anyone who thinks that a life in business is dull has not met William P. Wolfe, 61, and Charles "Bud" McLaughlin, 54, who are brothers-in -law and friends, as well as business partners.
To hear Wolfe and McLaughlin tell it, business is fun, creative, an adventure, always a risk and a gamble. You can have a million dollar hotel renovation here, a golf course disaster there, an Arabian horse here, a grizzly bear imported to attract the camera- toting tourists there.
Together, Wolfe and McLaughlin run American Resources Corp, a company started by Wolfe's late father, William P Wolfe, Jr. The corporation owns real estate, the 501-room Holiday Inn hotel and conference center in Rutland, and a hospitality consulting firm.
American Resources is actually owned equally by Wolfe, his wife Jan, his sister Barbara and her husband, McLaughlin. Jan Wolfe works in the business, doing administration-accounting, health insurance, payroll, IRAs-from her office in Chittenden, where the families also live. Barbara McLaughlin is less active in the company.
Since American Resources is a privately held company, its financials arc not public information. Wolfe and McLaughlin are reluctant to reveal or quantify their finances, except to say that business "is better than ever."
"It's big enough to support the two families," Wolfe said. "But it becomes a competitive issue to note the sales numbers and occupancy and things like that. But we're a very competitive organization, and we're doing better this year, bottom line, than the year before."
Even though Wolfe and McLaughlin were brothers-in-law, they barely knew each other when they became partners.
"The total number of hours we had spent together before we took over the business in 1983?" Wolfe said. "I saw him at Christmas, at my father's funeral. It certainly wasn't weeks. It was days, or maybe hours. We weren't really 'family.' But the partnership works."
That is because the two men think the same way about "just about everything," McLaughlin said.
"I can't imagine any partnership anywhere working better than ours," McLaughlin said. "Bill and I have never had an argument. We've never even had a heated discussion. For when we disagree, we have a tie-breaker rule that we take the most conservative route. And I don't think we've ever used the tie-breaker."
Each partner brings a certain set of traits to the business.
"Bud is an industrious, hard-working guy," Wolfe said. "He's very rational, very organized, entrepreneurial, analytical, very efficient, while still being creative. He's competitive and a risk- taker. He's more interested in the concept or big picture, rather than the details of operations. It's almost in Bud's, personality and his blood, the rational, analytical approach to things, getting right down to the pennies that become dollars when you multiply them over time."
Wolfe said he is the more emotional one.
"I'm less rational, more concerned with operating details, service details, the staff organizational structure, and international opportunities," Wolfe said. "I'm a risk-taker, but I'm more conservative than Bud is on major projects."
The partners share an ease and humorous camaraderie that comes from knowing each other well over a long period of time. When McLaughlin was asked about his title, for example, he said, "I'm vice president. Bill's president. He's older, so he got to be president. Presidents are the ones who go jail. Vice presidents don't."
And when this reporter suggested that with such a smooth relationship, they had by chance fallen into "a pot of gold," they came across like Vaudeville comedians.
"Where did we put that pot?" McLaughlin said.
"I don't know, and I sure don't know where the gold is," Wolfe said. In their spare time, the two men have different interests. McLaughlin likes racquetball, hiking, and wall climbing-both indoor and outdoor. He is an active golfer. Wolfe raises horses and plays polo. Wolfe has two children and three grandchildren. McLaughlin has two children and no grandchildren.
"I'm not old enough yet," he said.
But in terms of ethics and values, the two men think and act alike.
'I don't mean this to sound like mother-God-country-and-apple- pie, but we both very clearly feel we've got to deal fairly and forthrightly with our employees, our customers and our suppliers," Wolfe said. "We may disagree on whether we spend X or Y for a particular advertising campaign, but there wouldn't be any ethical questions about how we do it." The two want the same results from their work.
"We want a quality product, quality service, growth and financial reward," Wolfe said. "We want to make a fair profit on whatever we do. We share those results equally."
And when times are bad-and during some years they have been very bad-then they share the losses equally, as well.
"Then we both don't take salaries," Wolfe said. "And we both don't take them together. We know that when we take a risk or a gamble, that if we lose, we lose equally."
Wolfe and McLaughlin are well known and respected in Rutland's business and social communities.
"I've know both of these guys for 25 years or more," said Royal Barnard, owner-publisher of The Mountain Times. "They're creative at how they approach business issues. Everything changes, always, and we go through all, kinds of cycles. I've seen them reacting to all kinds of different things, and I think they've always found creative solutions to the problems they've faced. I think they're certainly honest, and they have a good concept of how to treat people well and fairly. They're charismatic types, if you will. Good communicators, friendly. They're both compassionate people."
Mountain Top Inn
The partnership of Wolfe and McLaughlin was founded at the lovely and luxurious Mountain Top Inn in Chittenden. Perched on the side of a mountain, the view is breathtaking from this Adirondack-style lodge where President Dwight D Eisenhower once stayed to fish.
The inn started life as a barn on a turnip farm, and was then converted into a guest house by a railroad magnate. In 1945, Wolfe's father, who was in the hotel representation business in New York handling room sales for about 350 hotels-saw an ad in The New York Times for the spectacularly situated hotel and bought it.
"I came to Vermont virtually every weekend from the time I was five to the time I was playing sports in high school," Wolfe said. Wolfe graduated from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, then served in the Peace Corps in Pakistan. When he returned, he spent two years working with his father.
"When I first worked for my dad in the mid-60s, I became very aware of how risky business was," Wolfe said. "You could do a good job and yet people could not pay you, and you still had to pay your own people. Good ideas failed because of weather. You put all this effort or money or time or something-I remember when the oil prices happened in 1973 and people couldn't drive-and things change overnight."
McLaughlin was born and raised in Maryland. He graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1970.
"I started off as an electrical engineer, then got into biology because my father was a bacteriologist," McLaughlin said. "I was thinking about doing that too, but finally I decided to get into industrial engineering. I just liked it."
McLaughlin met Barbara Wolfe on a blind date when she was at Drew University in New Jersey.
"Her roommate was dating my best friend in college," McLaughlin said. "And that was about it. One Christmas we went to Mountain Top to meet her family, and two years later, we got married."
McLaughlin's first job was with Westinghouse.
"They were just getting into computerized systems," McLaughlin said. "Here was this 22-year-old going around the country, trying to teach these old codgers who were rewinding huge motors and generators how to use computers. I did that for a year and I loved it. But I felt I could see my whole career path in engineering, and it seemed a little boring."
In 1971, Wolfe's father decided to build a Holiday Inn in Rutland. Holiday Inns were relatively new then; this year is the 50th anniversary of the chain. "My dad had known Kemmons Wilson, the founder of Holiday Inns, for a while," Wolfe said. "Actually, he'd given my dad an international opportunity that my dad was not able to do. My dad returned the franchise-I think it was in Mexico-to Kemmons Wilson, rather than holding on to it. So Kemmons Wilson always had a good relationship with my dad. When my dad finally wanted to do a Holiday Inn, he decided to do it here."
Financing a hotel project was a different story in-those days.
"I remember getting a mortgage on a 1966 Pontiac to get the last $600, so I could lay $10,000 down on the mortgage," Wolfe said. "And to get the land we had to put a lien on 80 acres up in Mountain Top. You didn't just go in and plunk down the cash or get a loan. You had to make it work."
Mortgaging the Pontiac was one of the last things Wolfe did for his father; he then left Vermont for a career with 3M.
"Selling my dad's company in New York, that was the last thing," Wolfe said. "I did it at 3 o'clock on a Friday afternoon, with my car parked outside, with a trailer behind it to \drive to Minnesota." Wolfe spent the next 18 years with 3M, working abroad in Europe and Asia for much of that time as the company's international human resources director.
"I enjoyed my international career at 3M very much," Wolfe said. "I was all over the world with a wonderful company with great products and services, and I was operating at a pretty high executive level. In the end, I headed the international human resources world-wide outside the U.S. I was responsible for 35,000 employees in 50 countries."
After Wolfe, his father proceeded with the Holiday Inn and tapped his son-in-law to be his general manager.
"My wife and I had only been married for a year when I decided to leave Westinghouse and get into the hotel business," McLaughlin said. "So I managed Mountain Top for a few months while we were building the Holiday Inn."
McLaughlin laughed when he remembered opening the hotel.
"We were supposed to open on Thanksgiving, but construction was behind schedule," McLaughlin said. "We wound up opening Christmas Eve. We didn't have any hot water, so we were heating water out back with a giant, gasfired Salamander heater, and the housekeepers had to go out there to get hot water to clean the rooms so we could actually open."
From the start, McLaughlin's engineering background served him well.
"Industrial engineering it an extension of common sense, and it was amazing how much of my background I could apply to the hotel business," he said.
McLaughlin ran the Holiday Inn for about a year, and then went back to Mountain Top. But after a management disagreement with his father-in-law, he returned to engineering.
"And then the main portion of Mountain Top burned down," McLaughlin said. "So I came back and rebuilt Mountain Top. I was planning to develop some of the land there, but then interest rates went up about 19 percent and development was out of the question. So I went to work for Vermont Castings."
Things started changing for Wolfe and McLaughlin when the elder Wolfe became ill with cancer.
"In 1980-82, I had an office in Brussels and an office in Minnesota," Wolfe said. "I'd fly to Boston and drive up here to see my mother and dad between trips to and from Brussels. I was trying to help my dad manage, but it was difficult, to say the least."
So McLaughlin and Wolfe started talking about working together.
"We decided that if we were going to get into the business for good, this was the time," McLaughlin said. "Bill was trying to oversee general managers at both Mountain Top and Holiday Inn from Minnesota, or wherever he was around the world. So I got back in the business, with the idea that once the business could support two families, then Bill and Jan would come out and get involved."
When the elder Wolfe died, he was buried at the crest of the hill at Mountain Top, where he can enjoy the view forever. Then Wolfe made the toughest decision of his life.
"I was very happy at 3M," Wolfe said. "I think I really decided to come back to Vermont because I hated to sell the land and the hotel. I'd grown up there, I'd spent many decades thinking it was the most beautiful place on earth. My grandparents and parents had been there, my kids liked it. I had a hard time leaving 3M, but I did it."
In 1983, Wolfe joined McLaughlin in American Resources, which owned both Mountain Top and the Holiday Inn. In 1985, he and Jan moved back to Vermont.
The two couples worked out a partnership plan.
"We could have done it a number of ways," Wolfe said. "It had been my family's company, but rather than me owning half and Barbara owning half, there was never any question but that we would do it 2525-25-25. My wife, myself, Bud, my sister. My mother was taken care of financially by the organization, but she is not an active member. We did the four-way split so when we sit down at the table, we aren't anyone's sister or brother-in-law or wife. We are four equal partners."
Wolfe took over Mountain Top while McLaughlin ran the Holiday Inn. Then they had to figure out how to split the responsibilities.
"In the beginning, we got tied up," Wolfe said. "We involved all four owners in making decisions, and my mother, and others in the office. If you get six opinions you can't operate. So we streamlined." For example, McLaughlin is now working on a million- dollar renovation of the Holiday Inn.
"You could get incredibly tied up in the details," Wolfe said. "What about the color of carpets? What about the drapes? Do we have refrigerators in the rooms or don't we? We'll talk about the overall cost, then he'll go out to 50 suppliers and get bids. Say he has three carpet samples. All are acceptable. I like one, he likes one. I tell him why I don't like that one. He goes back and picks that one anyway, because it's OK and he sees the big picture of how everything fits. I only see the piece of carpet. And then we move on."
Wolfe estimates that only 10 percent of the time do they disagree.
"One time we looked at leasing an acre or two in front of the Holiday Inn," Wolfe said. "It's very prime land, right out on Route 7. We considered doing it for the right property. Bud had done a tremendous amount of work in analyzing one potential customer. I was a little reluctant, but it was a significant amount of money, and we needed the money to make the inn better. Anyway, we went pretty far down the road in good faith with this guy, and when we actually saw the footprint and the angles and we knew what we would be looking at the back of, it really started to bother me. Bud was all in the enthusiasm of getting it done.
But I said, 'You know, I just really don't want to look at that every day, and I don't want our guests to look at it as they come in'."
"We talked about it for several hours over a couple of weeks, and I said I really don't want to do it. He said OK. He was really disappointed-he'd done all the work. But I never heard another comment about it. No recrimination."
One of the first projects the partners undertook was a multi- million dollar expansion of the Holiday Inn.
"That was a risky thing," Wolfe said. "You don't know if anyone will come. This had been a 'U-2' Holiday Inn, standard with an L of two stories of rooms, and with a commercial center-restaurant and bar. There was a pool out in the courtyard. You saw it all across the country. By then the hotel was 16 years old and in need of a lot of things."
McLaughlin, taking the initiative, decided they needed a conference center.
"He went in and got all the designs done by a local architect," Wolfe said. "It turned out to be an incredibly efficient design, and we added 50 rooms, a conference center, the health center, and a new bar. That was a very successful project for us. So you win on that one, lose on something else. There's nothing written here that things will succeed."
In 1987, Wolfe went down to the Dominican Republic on a vacation and came back with an idea.
"This is an example of how we can make fast decisions, in minutes, hours, days," Wolfe said. "I saw an opportunity down there. Bud, who'd also been there on vacation, immediately took it to the analytical and rational level. At 9 on the morning after I got back we checked our calendars, and at 8 the next morning we were on a plane. Seven days later we were back and we had a business."
The partners bought vacation rental properties there and marketed them through Mountain Top.
"We knew what people wanted," Wolfe said. "We thought that people who like coming to Mountain Top in the winter, who like that quality of service, might like it down there, too. Since we were recommending it, they did."
The project was successful, but just before Dominican Republic real estate and tourism started to slide in 1991, the partners sold their properties.
"When we let it go, it was sad because we enjoyed that part of the business," Wolfe said. "But we moved on."
"We Lost Our Shirts'
In the late 1980s, with a strong economy and Mountain Top and the Holiday Inn running smoothly, Wolfe and McLaughlin decided to build a golf course. Three hundred acres close to Mountain Top had just become available, and the partners decided to buy the land and build the course, 54 town houses and 30 homes. The project failed.
"We went into it at almost the absolute wrong time," Wolfe said. "The economy was on a great rise, people were into real estate, and it was beautiful land. It was a great project. And just about the time we were ready to launch the thing, our bank, the Dartmouth Bank, failed, the economy went to hell, and we were into it for over a million dollars."
Trying to do a golf course "by the book," McLaughlin and Wolfe had already bought the land, tested it, engaged environmental experts to guide them through the permitting process, and hired a golf course architect to design the course.
"We didn't have our permits, but we had everything in place, right down to what color walls, how many rooms, and what would the roof look like," Wolfe said. "We had even bought a house, I remember, because by some state standard, the radius of the curve on the road up to Mountain Top was too sharp for the volume of traffic. So we bought the house on the corner, put on it the right to cut the corner, and then resold the house. We also wound up buying another house in between the course and Mountain Top, which allowed us to put in right-of-ways to get across. For us, this was a big undertaking.
We ended up with 1,350 acres, from the top of four mountains all the way down to the lake and across, and all of a sudden it was on hold. No, it was more than on hold. It was stopped."
When Dartmouth Bank went under, the FDIC stepped in.
"Even though we were a performing loan, and we'd always made all of our payments, they called the loan," McLaughlin said. "And that was in 1990, during a time when financing wasn't readily available for anybody."
The partners spent three years struggling to pay offthe loan.
"We couldn't get anyone to loan us money," Wolfe said. "That was one of the times Bud and I went for a long time without-income. The money just wasn't there, and we couldn't ask our employees to not take any money home. It was a tough three years. But we got to the point where we were able to find financing, and we worked our way out of it. But now we've got a million dollars more in debt than we would if we hadn't done that thing, and we have to pay that off."
During the three years that they were scrambling, Wolfe and McLaughlin came up with a number of inventive ideas to grow their business.
"We went into the international market, both for Mountain Top and the Holiday Inn," Wolfe said. "But some of our ideas were off the wall. We did photographic shoots of wild animals. We imported grizzly bears. We put honey up a tree, and the grizzly would climb up there and eat the honey, and people would be below taking pictures. We had Siberian tigers. We'd make piles of snow with the snowmakers, and the tigers would play in the snow, and people would sit 15 feet away and take pictures. There are companies that have animals available for such things. They bring them in by caravan."
If McLaughlin had one thing to do over again in his business career, he said, it would be the golf course.
"When I was contemplating the golf course project, I wish I had thought more with my head than with my heart," McLaughlin said. "I got the bee in my bonnet that building and owning and running a golf course would be fun. Even though I did the analysis, in retrospect I see it would have been a financially difficult project for us to do."
McLaughlin doesn't blame Vermont's famous, some would say infamous, regulatory processes, for the golf course's failure, nor is he an opponent of Act 250.
"I don't think Vermont is anti-business," McLaughlin said. "Vermont understands that they have to have businesses. I think Act 250 is one of the best things that ever happened to the state of Vermont. It keeps Vermont being Vermont.
"People I've dealt with in the environmental commission, the Act 250 boards, the local people, I have found them to be all very reasonable. They have responded very quickly to me. A number of times, as we're doing small projects, I go to the Act 250 people here in Rutland and ask them questions about what I need to do. They respond in a very timely manner.
"I do have some concerns. It can be time consuming, and I wish it could be streamlined. But I don't know how to accomplish that. The biggest concern with Act 250 is the way that anti-business concerns use the process to delay and hamper business projects.
I'm thinking of the Home Depot in Rutland. How it could get tied up when it went into a defunct shopping center in a terrible state of decay is beyond my comprehension."
Selling Mountain Top
With the golf course behind them, Wolfe and McLaughlin decided that they needed to put more money into the Holiday Inn and made the emotionally difficult decision to sell Mountain Top.
"It was made easier by the fact that I was still general- managing Mountain Top," Wolfe said. "The original idea was that I would do that for three years, maybe, and then we'd buy something or develop something. But we got caught in that golf course project and had to change our game plan. So I'd been at Mountain Top for 10 years, and I really wanted to do something different."
McLaughlin ran the numbers, and they suggested that the partners could make more money, with less risk, from developing the Holiday Inn than they could from running both hotels.
"We had some major investments to make at the Holiday Inn, and we would have had to do major investments at Mountain Top if we wanted to carry it to the next level," Wolfe said. "We couldn't do both. So we decided to see if it was marketable, and it was, and we sold it."
Neither the new owners or the inn thrived, and because Wolfe and McLaughlin live next to Mountain Top, they had to watch their beloved inn sliding downhill as they drove by every day.
"It was depressing, going by and seeing no cars in the parking lot when we used to have 25 out there," Wolfe said.
Earlier this year, Mountain Top went into receivership; it was auctioned off in April. Never ones to miss a potential business opportunity, Wolfe and McLaughlin were at the auction.
"We were there to bid," Wolfe said. "Part of it was emotional, because we hated to see it go the way it was going. But we had a number; I think it was $1.2 million. When that point passed, we had no further interest. We were just there in case it was just a fire sale."
A young couple with Vermont innkeeping experience, Steve and Lauren Bryant and their partners, bought Mountain Top for $1.7 million. They are currently renovating it and upgrading the food and wine. Wolfe approves of the Bryants' approach and helps them wherever be can.
"It isn't an altruistic thing," Wolfe said. "I own a house there, my mother owns a house there, Bud owns a house there, my family spent 50 years there, and I love the place. My house will be worth more if the new owners do a good job. The new owners live it and breathe it daily, and that's what it takes. I want to see them succeed. I want to five next to a great hotel."
For obvious reasons, September 2001 was a hard month for the travel industry.
But Wolfe and McLaughlin had another problem as well.
"We lost one of our biggest accounts just around the time of September 11," Wolfe said. "We had a contract to host people from Canada who were coming here for cancer treatments. They didn't have enough cancer facilities for women with breast cancer and men with prostrate cancer in Canada at the time. It was the perfect account. They rented 20 to 30 rooms, and they came exactly when you wanted them to and left exactly when you wanted them to. We went out of our way for them we taught the staff French, and we did nights out for dinner with them. Then they stopped coming because a hospital opened up there.
So we had. hundreds of thousands of dollars in business that just stopped after September 11. And then the economy started sliding."
One of the first things they did was hire more salespeople.
"A lot of other places cut back," Wolfe said. "We went counter. We hired salespeople and increased our sales force. Now we've got meetings and conventions, business travelers, and leisure travelers. We also go out to markets that you'd never think of for Rutland, in other parts of the world."
They also cut costs.
"Bill and I sat down with our general manager and the staff and decided what we could do for cost-cutting measures," McLaughlin said. "So by winter of 2001-02, business was fine, and other than a slight decline because of the economy, business has been great. And because of the cost-cutting measures, our profit is better than ever."
The big project on McLaughlin's desk right now is the renovation.
"It used to be that you could renovate every seven to 10 years," Wolfe said. "The renovation we're doing now is on rooms that are only four years old. The carpets aren't old, the wallpaper is fine, the lamps all work. It's just the competitive nature of this I world. Most people don't think this is a 27-year-old hotel, because you just keep renovating."
The partners have also started American Resources Consulting, where they offer business consulting services for the hospitality industry "with an owner-operator's perspective."
And if a new opportunity comes along, McLaughlin and Wolfe will be right there, analyzing it. That is why they were at the Mountain Top auction, and why they recently passed on buying a popular Rutland restaurant.
"It was one of our favorites, and we were tempted because we know how to run that kind of a business," Wolfe said. "But at a place like that, somebody better be on the floor who owns the place and greets the people with a smile all the time and knows their favorite tables and favorite foods. And we determined that isn't where we want to be." Wolfe has begun going to the European travel conventions in search of new hotel customers.
"I live in Chittenden, a very small town, although a beautiful town, and I work in Rutland, a small city," he said. "I miss the international factor."
He has also begun helping poor Guatemalan children with health problems.
"I went down to Guatemala in 2000 to learn Spanish," Wolfe said. "And I saw this young boy who had been shot in the stomach. His whole family had been killed-over a motorcycle. The kid was playing soccer while holding on to a colostomy bag."
Wolfe bought the boy a plane ticket to the States, where he got the operation he needed. Since then, Wolfe has helped several other children, including a girl who was run over by a truck. Wolfe brought her to the States, where her leg was amputated, and she learned to walk on an artificial leg while living with Wolfe and his family.
Wolfe has set up a charitable foundation, the American Amistad Foundation, and accepts contributions that will help more children.
McLaughlin is taking a different tack. His wife, Barbara, is currently doing intensive study at the pioneering Hazeldon Foundation in Minnesota, known internationally for its drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. When she returns, the couple plan to open a substance abuse recovery halfway house in central Vermont. In the meantime, McLaughlin is helping a local businessman establish an outdoor adventure ranch for adolescents at risk.
For both Wolfe and McLaughlin, business remains a satisfying adventure.
"In business, things go wrong," Wolfe said. "You don't score a touchdown every time you take the ball. Sometimes you fumble, and we fumble like every other business. I think we fumble less than some, but we fumble."
Having a partner makes taking risks easier, Wolfe said.
"When we fumble, there are two people in the boat and they both decided to take the chance," Wolfe said\. "Having a partnership is like being able to talk to yourself Two heads are better than one. It's amazing in that we almost never differ, but it's so nice to have someone to bounce these things off of as you're trying to make a decision." But the nicest thing about owning your own business is being able to "call your own shots," McLaughlin said.
"No one can come to you and say, 'Sorry, business is down and we've got to lay you off'."
Copyright Boutin-McQuiston, Inc. Nov 01, 2002
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Rutland is renowned for its recreational opportunities.
State forests and parks and 56,000 acres of National Forest land abound. The "Long Trail" passes within 10 miles of the city, doubling along the ridge of the Green Mountains and passing Killington and Pico Peaks. The Appalachian Trail also comes within a few miles of the city limits.
Two of Vermont's finest ski areas are located in the region. Pico is one of America's oldest areas. Founded in 1937, it features 40 trails and nine lifts, covering terrain for all abilities. The Killington Ski Area has New England's steepest skiing on six mountains and 162 trails with vast snowmaking facilities. Killington's season runs from late October into June. Cross-Country skiing is also available at several fine facilities with snowmaking on miles of trails. Hockey is a popular winter pastime with a large indoor rink at the Royce Mandigo Arena in Rutland.
Summer recreation is geared to our many lakes with sailing, swimming, waterskiing, canoeing, fishing, camping and picnicking. Golf courses and tennis courts dot the area and hiking, hunting, horseback riding, rodeos, stock car racing, mountain biking and bicycle touring are all popular activities as well. Virtually every town offers a local recreation area with a variety of facilities and programs, many organized for children.
The City of Rutland's Parks and Recreation Department runs a comprehensive recreation program year-round and operates parks, ball fields and a municipal swimming pool. It presents a series of concerts in Main Street Park on Sunday and Wednesday evenings in the summer as well as special programs for adults and children.
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