Browse Picayune News for more articles like this.

Valentine Lakeside’s New Owners Toss Telecom Careers Overboard for Resort Dream

Susan Patten (left) and Pat Muller, shown with Marti the dog, left their careers in telecommunication to fulfill their dream of owning and operating a business where people can make lifelong happy memories: Valentine Lakeside. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

All in. That's how Pat Muller and Susan Patten sum up their decision to purchase Valentine Lakeside on the shores of Lake LBJ in Kingsland.

Patten gave up a career as a lobbyist and working in telecommunications to assist Muller.

Muller went all in emptying out her checking and savings accounts, retirement, and even taking out a business loan to make a 20-year dream come true.

To Muller, a life well spent is helping to create fond memories for others.

As much as Muller enjoyed her office career, she wanted to be in the business of offering families a place to host retreats, parties, celebrations, and life-changing events.

"Tending to people, taking care of people, working with people," Muller answered when asked about why she changed careers. "Living good moments with others."

Muller and Patten met while working for Time Warner Cable. Susan was showing Pat around the lake, looking for a place to park Pat’s recreational vehicle at the lake. Instead, they ran across a “For Sale By Owner” sign at Valentine Lakeside Resort, 814 Euel Moore Drive. Pat had always wanted to own a multi-purpose venue space, and, before she knew it, she owned Valentine. Within a year, the RV park was added, and Pat finally had a place to park her RV.

The property includes 18 cabins, 11 spots for RVs, boat docks, a pool, and rentals of kayaks, canoes, and standup paddleboards.

It also includes faithful customers who've stayed at Valentine for years as either snowbirds (those who come South during the winter) or loyalists who return because their spring, summer, or fall is incomplete without a visit.

"This is the experience they want to give their kids and grandkids," Patten said. "They want to teach the kids and grandkids how to fish. They want a simple laid-back experience."

Muller said their goal is to keep the resort's homey vintage look and feel and continue to make it affordable for working families to stay on the water.

The two continue to use the skills they fine-turned in corporate America and may have added a couple more.

The most challenging issue they’ve had to deal with so far occurred when attendees of a family reunion brought in more watercraft than the resort could handle. The family matriarch spoke to Muller in tears.

Muller reassured their guest that everything was going to be all right. Then, she called a family meeting, encouraging compromises and solutions to ensure a reunion of incredible memories for everyone.

For Muller and Patten, that incident allowed them to do what they do best: make new friends and help others strengthen their bonds.

"It brings beauty," Muller said of working with families. "People want good memories. We are the protector of this. We may not make a lot of money, but we are making a good life."

"Pat was always about the people," Patten said. "It wasn't about the call center or the (information technology) team. It was about the people delivering the service."

Owning and operating Valentine Lodge makes it easy for Muller to continue a favorite pastime. She loves to end each workday with a boat ride and is known for grabbing her fishing rod to see how her luck is running that day. Now, she can do that from work.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

Find more articles like this in Picayune News

Leave a reply

Top