I just recently revisited my research on yurt manufacturers and was pleasantly surprised to discover that a local company, with a wonderful history in the Pacific Northwest, is now manufacturing them! When we initially purchased our first yurt a number of years ago, I really shopped around. There are so many variations out there and it is hard to determine levels of quality just from websites and brochures. You can’t actually go down the yurt aisle either at the mall to compare.
What a pleasant discovery was my visit to Rainier Yurts website! Rainier Industries has been in business since 1896 producing a variety of products including tents, awnings, displays, and now yurts. So, after reading through their online information, I gave them a call to make some introductions. I love local businesses! They seemed just as excited as I was to hear about our project. Since we are a public destination along the very popular Mountain Loop Highway (a national scenic byway seeing over a quarter of a million cars traveling it a year!), we are going to have plenty of opportunity for people to experience yurts.
Of course, to realize our vision we are having to step back a bit. Our recent experience with the construction of the main log home was very stressful and longer than expected. I actually lived in our yurt for a good many months, on the job site, to keep the momentum going. As it turned out, I had to step in where our general contractor should have been stepping in, and took over much of the end game. It also left us cash strapped and over budget and still having to resolve issues of subcontractors not getting paid. Does anyone have a positive construction experience out there? I wonder.
Our first priority will be the large meeting and event yurt and associated decks. We hope we’ll be able to bring this on board this year, but if our cash flow doesn’t improve, it may be pushed out further. In addition, we have to submit a rezone and conditional use permit to the county in order to obtain the necessary licensing to offer the accommodations. Again, being the diligent researchers we are, we’ve already met with the county planning departments to assess the feasibility and make sure we don’t conflict with any comprehensive or UGA plans. It seems a fairly straight forward application process for us, even if the application is quite extensive. I would expect this to take around 6 months with the county since we have to appear in front of the Hearing Examiner. That is the only wildcard since no one can foretell who may show up to oppose what we propose. In actuality this really comes down to neighbors in the area (and we’ve been sure to include them in our vision and process all along).
So now we are regrouping strategically to determine how to move forward. We’ve got to raise some more investment capital for sure. Maybe we can refinance, maybe we can find some angel investors, growth will be a slow route though for now. That’s ok, we are comfortable with the business decisions we are making and we are excited to actually have come as far as we have already. The big battle is over, now we need to settle in, start our rezoning process, and look at the options for the yurts that are available.
The yurts though, are where I’d love some feedback. Take a look at Rainier’s website and peruse their options. Tell me what you think would be great to see for our large meeting yurt as well as our guest yurts: colors, window styles, doors, etc. As you’ll see they are quite impressive structures! They’ve invited me down to tour the manufacturing facility, which I will definitely be doing! Of course, you can look forward to seeing the pictures, but in the meantime I’d love to hear your opinions!