Many people from the Dexter area are likely wondering what Pam and Roger Garlitch have gotten themselves into by taking over management at the Windmill Inn.
By all means, the crime, parties, vandalism and under-the-table activity that once filled the hallways and rooms of that Dexter hotel would be enough to turn any prospective business owners the other way. Not the Garlitches. Instead, they’ll try to repair the building’s torn image. They have big plans, and they’re not afraid of a challenge.
“We knew that was an image that we’d have to overcome; and we know that it would be a little bit of an uphill battle to start, but we’ve done it in the past,” Roger said.
Roger and Pam have owned motels in Lake City and Fairmont and have dealt in the timeshare business, so they’re no stranger to the industry. In Fairmont, they took a run-down motel and changed its image for the better.
They’re confident they can do it again in Dexter — even after talking to Mayor Randy Stephenson, who knows Dexter’s torn image because of the hotel’s past.
“People know Dexter is where that motel is with all those problems,” Stephenson told Roger.
Roger noted how much of the property, beds, televisions, computers and more were missing when he first entered the building. There were holes in the walls. It was a mess.
Roger isn’t sure if he’d ever seen a hotel in such disrepair. Yet if he overcomes the challenge, it will only be that much more rewarding.
Furthermore, the Garlitches aren’t like the former managers, they say. They’re not going to stand for any crime or suspicious activity.
“We knew that it would not be operated like that,” Pam said.
And this time, the Garlitches will have much more than just a hotel. While the hotel used to benefit from the Windmill Restaurant directly to the west, which has since shut down for private use, the Garlitches have a few tricks up their sleeves to reel up the slack.
A lounge connected to the hotel is set to open soon, and the Garlitches plan to share a banquet center with the lounge’s manager for weddings and celebrations. For the hotel’s grand opening, they plan to have dwarf wrestling and bowling on Oct. 27. And there is even more potential.
Because the Windmill Inn sits on 10 acres with sewer and water already installed, the couple plans to form their remaining land into a campground with 24 electrical sites, 15 tent sites and a primitive site area for scouts or groups.
The parking area is large enough to accommodate nearly 20 semis. The facility has 20 rooms, including singles, doubles and a few suites with Sleep Number beds. Roger is ready to take his own philosophy — cleanliness, good beds and hospitality — and set it into motion.
To build a new reputation, however, Roger knows he and Pam will need the help of the people — people who will give them a chance.
“We’ve done it in Lake City; we’ve done it in Fairmont, and now we’re looking forward to doing it here in Dexter,” Roger said.
The Windmill Inn is located on Highway 16, just east of Dexter off of the Interstate 90 exit and has been reopened under the Garlitch’s management since June. The hotel can now accommodate guests 24 hours a day and has 24-hour surveillance. It offers a continental breakfast and keeps the coffee on at all times.