David and Dawn Fleming are the owners of the wonderful Woodrow House Bed and Breakfast. After 21 years of running their own B&B, Dawn has some great tips for people who are looking into starting their own business. She told us some of the struggles but also the triumphs of having a large family and running a B&B. It is not an easy job, but Dawn and David contribute to the Lubbock community in many ways. Here is some of their story about starting the B&B and how they managed 4 kids.
How long have you been running the Woodrow House?
It will be 22 years in April.
What was your motivation for starting a B&B?
It was a great way for me to stay home with the kids and have my own business. I have always loved entertaining and taking care of people. David says I have the gift of Hospitality. (That she does!)
How old were your kids when you moved in?
Chase was 7, Paige was 4, Courtney was 18 months old and Savanna was born a year after we opened.
How did the kids like it?
They tolerated it, lol. They liked having friends over. Their friends all thought it was so cool.
What steps did you have to take to prepare your kids for moving into a bed and breakfast?
The two older ones (Chase and Paige) are really the only ones that remember anything different. We would bring them by as it was being built and would talk to them about what to expect, when we would move in, etc. We could design the Bed and Breakfast like we wanted to, since we built from the ground up. We made sure there was a basement which would be the kids playroom and we made sure we had our own living quarters, so we would have a place to go and get away from guests.
What would you say has been your biggest struggle with raising kids and running your own business?
Keeping the common areas free of clutter and their stuff, lol. Also, when they were little we had to make sure they understood the difference between our guests and “stranger, danger” we told them if they were in our house and we were talking to them, they were guests not strangers.
How did you balance four kids and their extracurricular activities and tending to your guests?
David and I would tag team a lot. He would get some to where they needed to be and I would take care of the rest. We would sometimes have to leave self check in instructions for our guests or one of us would have to stay at the B&B while the other went to programs, games, concerts, etc.
If someone was interested in starting their own b&b or even their own business, what advice would you give them?
Be sure and do your research. Talk to others that are in that business. Find out what the pros and cons are of running and owning that business. Check your area and make sure there is a need for that particular business.
Having four kids, all heavily involved in extra curricular activities, Dawn managed to keep her head straight. Now all kids have moved out of the B&B. Chase has twin daughters who will turn 1 this month. Paige is engaged to longtime boyfriend, and planning a wedding for December 2017. Courtney recently married her husband Jackson in August of 2016, and began law school at St Mary’s. Savanna is currently attending Texas Tech as a junior and is scheduled to graduate December 2017. David and Dawn did a great job raising their four kids, all while providing a hospitable place to stay for visitors of Lubbock and even locals who are looking for a “staycation” or honeymoon. We are very grateful for this family.
First row: Randy (Paige’s fiancé), Paige, Savanna, Courtney, and Jackson.
Second Row: Chase, Dawn, Ainsley, David, Ellie, and Stephanie.