LAUNCH is a transitive verb, which is appropriate because the word implies a change of status. According to Merriam Webster, launch means to spring or throw forward, to release, catapult, or send off; to set (a boat or ship) a float; to put into operation or set in motion; to get off to a good start; or to enter energetically. It’s a hopeful word, a word that signals forward movement and promises change, and a word we at Sweet Homes have been reflecting on lately.
In 2008, Todd and I launched Sweet Homes Rentals, largely by happy accident. As owners of a beachfront vacation home ourselves, we found ourselves in a bind. Our beautiful house wasn’t renting often enough to pay for itself, so in 2007 we pulled it from the local rental company that we had been working with and starting renting it ourselves using online marketing and promoting it via major vacation rental websites. We tripled our rentals and income, and suddenly family and friends were asking us to represent their beach homes, too. Before we knew it, what began as an act of necessity on the part of two avid travelers, a commercial director (Todd) and a professor (Kate), who had no first hand professional experience in the travel industry, resulted in us owning and running Sweet Homes Rentals, a thriving, boutique luxury vacation rental business on the central Oregon coast.
We are committed to high quality homes that offer our guests the little luxuries that make their beach getaway comfortable and memorable. We are committed to outstanding customer service before and during our guests’ stays. And we work hard for our homeowners to ensure that their beautiful houses are always well cared for, treated with respect, and kept sparkly clean. These are our commitments and core values, and with these guiding principles our little rental company that began with our own lovely home has now grown to about 20 luxury rentals, with a lot of hard work and the assistance of our founding property manager, Wendy Snidow (a local real estate agent). When we launched Sweet Homes, we didn’t know what the journey would bring or where the road would lead us. Now, we can’t imagine another path. When we think back on our launch and all the challenges and successes from then to now, we take pride in how much we have learned and grown. Most of all, we are thrilled to be able to help home owners like us successfully rent their homes, we are honored to be able to hire outstanding local labor and support local businesses, and we love being able to be a conduit through which our renters and their families can enjoy the gorgeous central Oregon coast in luxurious homes with spectacular ocean views and vistas.
In June, Todd and I and Kasey Baker (a licensed architect, professional designer, and one of our property managers) launched an environmentally friendly house cleaning and care company in Yachats, Oregon, called Fresh Digs. Fresh Digs handles all the cleaning and home care at our sweet homes, and has opened the Sud Sea Laundromat in Yachats. The Sud Sea affords us a place to do all natural laundering of all our homes’ luxury hotel quality bedding and towels at night, and provides a great service to locals and travelers alike who need a place to do their laundry by day. Who knew that Sweet Homes would not only grow by representing more homes, but also be spawning new businesses and becoming integrated into the fabric of the community?
Now, we’re launching again! Not long ago we began our Facebook page (facebook.com/sweethomesrentals) and Twitter account (@SweetHomesRents), and now we’re launching this Sweet Homes Rentals blog, “Anchors Away!” We are embarking on another journey, and we invite you to come back often and stay in touch to see where this adventure leads us. In the coming months I’ll be writing about great things to do on the Oregon coast, especially those hidden gems that are often overlooked or hard to find out about, about new homes that join the Sweet Homes family, about our ongoing project to create environmentally friendly green house cleaning products, about restaurants and businesses that are especially worth supporting on the coast, and so much more.
Thanks for visiting and reading, and I wish you the opportunity for adventure in your life. When you launch, you never know where you will land, but it always holds the promise of the new. Anchors away!
Kate Korgan is a Sociology professor and senior associate dean of the graduate college at UNLV. She is co-owner of Sweet Homes Rentals with her husband, a former executive chef and an accomplished film director, Todd Korgan. They and their son, Jonah, divide their time between the central Oregon coast and Las Vegas – and they all love a good adventure!