Innkeepers and Label Makers

What do doilies and label makers have in common? Among innkeepers, those who for a living own and operate a bed and breakfast, they are the source of much conversation, ridicule, and surprisingly enough—twelve step programs for innkeepers. Today, I pen my confession.


Let’s start with the positive. For starters, you’ll never find a doily at The Kalamazoo House. On that count, I am innocent. We strive to blend the Victorian elegance of a nationally-registered, 140 year-old historic home with a modern, fun, hip, urban vibe—so if you’re a doilyphobic, you’re safe here.

That said, I’ll confess that I might be just a teeny, tiny, eantsy-little-smidge … I’ll use the word “organized” (Stephanie would say anal-retentive). More on that in a moment.

Remaining positive though, and in my defense before the confession, we work hard to run a clean, welcoming, and relaxing inn. To do that, things have to be organized. If you take a glance through our reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp, or, or Google—you’ll see a good number of references like:

The check-in process is so smooth and easy.” (5/2018 TripAdvisor review from Tecumseh, MI)

They’ve thought of everything. This was our first stay at a bed and breakfast. The owners were extremely communicative, helpful without being intrusive, provided a great room, great breakfast, and great experience. Every detail seemed to have been given consideration and we wanted for nothing.” (John M on TripAdvisor, April 2018—emphasis added by us)

“We had all the privacy we wanted but never felt isolated or trapped in the room. The owners have truly thought of everything …” (Deb from Milton, MA on TripAdvisor in March)

So there are upsides. For example, I’m a student of what I call “friction points”. My definition of friction points are those tiny little moments of confusion or questions that most of us don’t even notice, but that cumulatively can cause a lack of proper relaxation. Having owned the inn and observed guest behavior for years now, removing these friction points has become almost like a game to me. My motives are pure—we enjoy seeing people relax and enjoy their lives, or feel like required business travel doesn’t have to be routine or mundane in the heart of a city. That said, fewer phone calls and questions from guests also make our lives easier too, no question. That’s just the gravy though.

My Confession:

So while I don’t do doilies, um, I probably do have a few too many signs and labels. It’s true. I’ve broken the innkeeper code of conduct. I admit it.


Like many label-holics, I rationalize: “They aren’t ‘don’t’ signs or prohibitions. They need to know where the extra dishes are,” I say to myself. Or “What if they can’t find the complimentary beverages! Or ice!”, or “What if the big game is on and they can’t switch back from Netflix?”. But then my inner voice reminds me, “Steve, that’s just the OCD speaking.”

So yes, my name is Steve, and I’m a labelholic. My intentions are that you find what you need and feel at home and relaxed. For the most part you won’t notice my affliction, but if you do, I will try to make amends. So there you have it.

Finally though, just be grateful you’re not Stephanie. Or my children. Someday I will share a story about the marvelous Kan-Ban inventory management system we use at the inn. It’s a brilliant Japanese style system where, behind the scenes (you’d never know), there is a re-order card attached to literally every supply or consumable item we use at the inn. And it’s true. In a weak, thoughtless moment, I did it. It slipped out of my mouth. “Honey, we should use this card system for ordering groceries at home, too.” Clearly I have work to do.


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