Tim and Becky Cron Interview
Tim and Becky Cron own a bakery and the historic Sawtooth Hotel, both very successful businesses in the town of Stanley. Bruce Reichert conducted this interview in the summer of 2012.
How did you wind up in Stanley?
(Tim) How did we end up here in paradise? We saw that there was a small business opportunity in Stanley, Stanley Baking Company, and we had a dream of being able to work and live and recreate in the Stanley Basin. And when we saw that opportunity present itself, we thought we could do it. And here we are nine years later and still living our dream.
But you had to put a lot of work into the hotel?
(Tim) Yeah, we looked at it on a cold winter day, and it was disheveled. It was definitely a fixer upper, and we decided to go for it, and we put about four years work into it. It ended up being a great, fun project. A lot of work, but definitely rewarding, and seeing what it has become — it has become a gathering place for people in the Sawtooth valley, as it had been since 1931.
So you have breakfast and lunch at the Bakery, and dinner at the Hotel?
(Becky) We were serving dinner at the bakery, and it's a little bit smaller, so evenings you need a little more space. We didn't know how long it would take, but we were thinking, just kind of spread it out so it didn't really feel like more work, it just felt like more conducive for what we were offering.
How does your vision fit in with the rest of the town?
(Tim) You have four months of busy season here; June, July, August and into September are the busy seasons. We like that. We're trying to create a life where it's not all work. I think everyone in this area works really hard for these four months, and then they have a couple of months of slower time, and then you don't work that hard in the winter. And you recharge, and you get to recreate more in the winter, for sure, than you do in the summer, and that fits into our goals. We like to travel and recreate and ski in the winter.
(Becky) I think for Stanley, it helps all the businesses if people know they can come and get a cup of coffee, a nice meal, and then go hiking or biking or rafting. I think it helps Stanley as a whole, to have people call, 'Are you guys open?' And they'll stay.
(Tim) And it's a close knit business community here. Our best friends here in town are also in small businesses, so you work together to make the whole town for the people that come in from all around the world. That's an overall good feeling because you want guests to come here to have a great experience and also enjoy what this place offers as much as we do.
"I think the fact that this isn't a national park helps preserve it . . . I think everyone here is a little scared of it getting to be too big, like Jackson Hole."Do you have any hopes and dreams for Stanley and the SNRA?
(Tim) My hope is that the SNRA keeps doing what it is doing now, which is creating a great wilderness for humans to enjoy for eternity. My dreams would be that someday we get to mountain bike in the wilderness, but I don't know if that is going to happen. That's my honest answer.
Have you been surprised by anything?
(Becky) We were surprised by the amount of business. Really, we didn't know what to expect. We were ready to turn the bakery into a house and have a second home and still keep our jobs in Ketchum.
(Tim) And I think we were a bit surprised in this Sawtooth Hotel how much it meant to people when we started working on it. People would come by when we were renovating it, and they would convey to us how much this building really meant to them and the town throughout the years, because it is a landmark. That was definitely a surprise, how much it meant to most people.
Are you concerned that Stanley could get too big, if, say, a large recreation corporation decided to move into this area?
(Tim) I think the fact that this isn't a national park helps preserve it in that it is not as well known as the Grand Teton National Park or Yellowstone. I think everyone here is a little scared of it getting to be too big, like Jackson Hole. We love it because of what it is; it's got small businesses that have character; it's got just enough tourists to keep it going, yet we don't have the masses of people the national parks have. That, in the big picture, is a real plus to this area.
(Becky) I think people enjoy it because it is tranquil and not built up. You just forget your stresses in your other life.
(Tim) There's a slower pace to living here than if it were inundated with millions and millions of people, and that's why most people love it here.
(Becky) They feel like they found a secret spot.