Old Town GuestHouse changes hands
Casters, who built the B&B in Old Town 10 years ago, sell to Wicks
After nurturing their “baby” for 10 years, Kaye and David Caster have sold the Old Town GuestHouse last month to Don and
The new innkeepers, hailing from Twin Cities, Minn., “are thrilled to be here,” Shirley said in a recent interview inside the historically styled, eight-room bed and breakfast at 115 S. 26th St. “We'd always thought about doing a bed and breakfast.”
At first, they'd considered the possibilities in Twin Cities, but the climate in Colorado appealed to them. And when the Old Town GuestHouse in Old Colorado City became available, it was impossible to refuse. “It's such a neat area,” Shirley said. “Like Grand Avenue in St. Paul (Minnesota).”
She expressed appreciation to the Casters for teaching them the GuestHouse ropes and leaving them with paid staffers who are “just wonderful.”
The sale was not a sudden decision by the Casters, but the culmination of a business plan dating back to 1995 when they first envisioned an upscale B&B on a lot that had become empty in 1990 after a fire burned down an historic Colorado City civic building. The plan called for an “exit strategy” to sell after 10 years.
Asked if she would miss the life, Kaye said, “Since it was clear in our mind, and we had an exit plan, no. We did what we wanted to do. We're happy and very proud. It's a very positive thing. Now we're just moving on with our life.”
She's especially proud of the B&B earning a listing among the 400 most elite inns in the U.S. and Canada.
Success was not a certainty in 1997, when Old Town GuestHouse opened its doors at a cost of more than $1 million. “We took a real chance,” Kaye said. “Old Colorado City didn't have the wonderful stores it does now. Our friends said, 'What are you doing?' ”
She believes the GuestHouse contributed to the upgrade. “Our guests spend so much money in the stores there,” she said. “It's a positive force for the stores in the neighborhood.”
Asked about their motivation for entering the B&B world, the Wicks talked about the pleasure they are finding in working together after years of working in separate careers. Don Wicks has been in information technology, while Shirley has worked as a paralegal.
The couple also said they enjoy establishing friendly relationships with guests. The “personal touch” is what's expected at a B&B, Don said. “That's why we go to bed and breakfasts (when traveling),” he said. “It's for that ambience and spirit where you enter as a guest and leave as a friend.”
With the sale, the Casters have moved from the GuestHouse to Manitou Springs. Kaye, a physical therapist before the B&B days, said she is mulling her next career. Evidently the least affected will be David, who has remained a child psychologist. “The only difference now for him is he won't have to come home to do check-in and wine hour,” Kaye chuckled.
The Casters are not completely cutting themselves off from the B&B they created, however. They are on call anytime the Wicks need to go somewhere or take a vacation. Kaye said she will relish such substitution opportunities. Ten-year plan or no, the Old Town GuestHouse “will always be my baby,” she said.
Westside Pioneer article