Meet your hosts!
Dave and Diane Gooden purchased Everett Bay Lodge in May 2000, closing the transaction just a week before Fishing Opener. Diane grew up coming to Minnesota for a two week family vacation every summer. Her parents often talked about owning a Minnesota resort. Dave and Diane were the ones to take on the challenge.
They both attended high school in Indiana and received undergraduate degrees from Ball State University. Dave worked in investments, completing his Chartered Financial Analyst designation and his I.U. MBA. Diane worked as a Long Term Care Administrator while going to graduate school to complete her I.U. MHA. Her career progressed as she became the Director of Total Quality Management for a large long term care organization. She eventually joined the faculty at Ball State University, teaching several classes in the Management department of the College of Business.
Unanticipated corporate buyouts led them to decide they wanted to be in a position where they had more control over their future. Days after a deal to purchase a golf course in Indiana went awry, Dave stumbled upon a website listing resorts for sale, and the seed was planted. They both enjoyed their annual fishing trip to Minnesota, a tradition they continued – they both love to fish and became intrigued to learn more about the industry.
The goal was to find a mid-size resort. One large enough to support them, yet small enough to avoid heavy reliance on outside employees. Everett Bay Lodge, our Lake Vermilion resort, was exactly that. With 10 cabins for rent that include private decks, kitchen and baths and have easy access to the lake, the size is ideal. The resort also features a heated pool/sauna, a playground, boat rentals, reserved docking, WIFI, Satellite TV and more. Guests are able to fish the bay or head down to Big Bay and travel either direction to explore the beauty of Lake Vermilion. Several restaurants are within a few minutes and Fortune Bay Casino and The Wilderness at Fortune Bay (golf course) are just across the bay, making the resort location perfect for vacationers.
Our children, Eric (age 23) and Valerie (21), have played a big role in the daily operations of the resort. Their springs and summers have been filled with the plentiful start up duties, routine Saturday cleaning, lawn work, trash duty and probably the most beneficial to their futures… customer service. One MN Gopher graduate – another in the works.
Our family’s approach to operating the business has been to look for ways to improve each and every season and to stay the course – meaning to do our best at the things we do, but not try to be all things to all people. Our prior professional experience in continuous quality improvement carries over great to the resort business.
While three seasons of the year are fully dedicated to the resort, our winters afforded us the opportunity to spend lots of time enjoying Eric and Val’s involvement in hockey. Ironically, Everett Bay Lodge has historic ties to Minnesota Gopher Hockey and the Chicago Blackhawks. Dave was replacing some of the siding and the back of a piece of wood had the name “Iverson” printed on it. A bit of searching led to our discovery of Iverson’s Outdoor Adventures, an outfitter/outpost which was an early predecessor to Everett Bay Lodge. Emil Iverson was the coach of the Gophers Men Hockey team from 1922- 1930; he owned and operated Iverson’s Outdoor Adventures during the off-season. He later went on to coach the Chicago Blackhawks in 1932-33. A blog post on our website later that winter along with a picture of the prized scrap of wood led to a surprising call from Coach Iverson’s grandson. We have been thrilled to receive more pieces of our resort’s history from him.
Welcoming back returning guests is the best and most rewarding part of operating the resort. We enjoy the memories that Everett Bay Lodge has given us and the lessons we have learned over the years. Our resort is small enough for us to have as much contact with guests as they prefer, yet large enough to offer the variety of amenities and services they enjoy. We enjoy sneaking out for a run up the road, the area is great for biking if you like to pedal some distance, but most importantly, Lake Vermilion is an angler’s paradise — we occasionally sneak out to wet a line if an evening presents the chance — and we love sharing the lake with others!