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Getting ready for the season

Ephraim Shores Resort wraps up yearly building upgrades, which have become an expectation of guests

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April 5, 2023

EPHRAIM – Each off-season, General Manager Lana Hall said Ephraim Shores Resort in Door County (10018 Water St.) undergoes a handful of renovations and updates in preparation for its summer guests – an effort Hall said makes visitors’ experiences even more enjoyable.

“We’re open from May to the end of October, so at the end of October, we start going through our project list, and we work on it through the winter,” she said. “Every year we replace carpeting, tile, we do window treatments, paint, things like that.”

From planning to construction to cleanup – Hall said with a restaurant and 46 rooms in 10 different styles, Ephraim Shores’ carpenters have a busy off-season.

Hall said the buildup of dirt and debris from construction means it takes almost a full month of deep cleaning before the resort is ready for guests.

“We open May 12, and we start our spring cleaning April 17, so all the housekeepers have a solid three, four weeks of hosing everything down and freshening it up, getting it ready to go for the summer,” she said.

Hall said these updates keep the resort looking fresh and modern, while changes like window treatments help save the resort money on heating and cooling.

“It’s a big property, with 46 rooms, and when you have a seasonal tourist business that’s busy in the summer, you have to constantly update,” she said.

The wear-and-tear created by a busy summer season, Hall said, also needs to be repaired/replaced annually, particularly flooring.

Hall said guests expect the best for their summer vacation, and Shores offers more than just a room on the beach.

This off-season, Ephraim Shores Resort installed new flooring and ceilings in several rooms and new flooring in the restaurant. Photo Courtesy of Ephraim Shores Resort

“We also have a second-story restaurant (Sunset Harbor Grill) where we’re in the process of some more extensive work, like tearing out the carpet and replacing it with tile and repainting,” she said.

The restaurant space itself is leased out, so the physical changes don’t come with a new menu, but Hall said she estimates the restaurant redo will be the biggest draw for customers this year.

Guests anticipate updates
Ephraim Shores got its start in 1969 as a restaurant with one wing of rooms.

“Then, in 1979, the indoor pool and the north wing were built and opened, which brought us up to our current number of 46 units,” she said.

Although the resort hasn’t had any major renovations since, Hall said the space has undergone small updates during each off-season.

“This year, we’ve added new carpeting to some of the rooms, as well as some laminate flooring in the kitchenette units,” she said. “They’ve (also) been upgraded with appliances, like a two-burner stove, refrigerator and a coffee pot.”

These updates, Hall said, keep Ephraim Shores’ guests coming back year after year.

“Our customers have come to expect our yearly updates,” she said. “We recently added USB charging stations to the bedside tables, and people reacted to that right away. Last year or the year before, we took the carpet out of the lobby and put a laminate down there and people were thrilled with that – they noticed straight away.”

Hall said Ephraim Shores provides guests with some updates on the work each off-season with photos on their website, but otherwise, most of the renovations are a surprise.

Generational business
Hall said Ephraim Shores’ annual renovations provide something extra for guests to look forward to on their vacations – with their parents’ and grandparents’ favorite spot always having something new.

“We’re a generational business,” she said. “We have people who have been coming here for a long time, some more than 40 years. I’ve worked here 44 years, and I’m seeing people bringing their grandkids and great-grandkids – it’s truly a family place.”

General Manager Lana Hall said guests have come to expect the resort’s annual updates. Photo Courtesy of Ephraim Shores Resort

Hall said the promise of constant improvements plays a significant role in families deciding to return to Ephraim Shores every year for decades.

She said modernization also plays a role in the demand for updates.

“Forty years ago, we didn’t each have our own cell phone and laptop that needed charging,” she said. 

Hall said people continue to return to Ephraim Shores because the resort reinvests to continuously create a better guest experience.

She said this reinvestment makes guests feel valued and heard, which is invaluable for creating returning business.

“These constant updates help people realize we put our money back into the business,” she said. “I would say Ephraim Shores is a draw for the area – we have a big, long sun deck that runs the length of our dock. We have a lot of space, and so that’s inviting.”

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