“Workation”

“Workation”

for Both Business and Pleasure

BY JON SALM

For Lakeland resident John Peters, working with Stanley Steemer has defined both his work and his vacations. During his 27-year career with Stanley Steemer, Peters has worked in Lexington, KY; Tampa, FL; and finally Lakeland; where he purchased Stanley Steemer’s Polk County franchise in 2000.

Along with his wife Susan, Peters successfully grew the business’ annual sales from $600,000 to $2.4 million. When the couple looked to grow the business again, they returned to Kentucky and bought the Elizabethtown franchise in 2005, which serves 22 counties in Kentucky and two in Indiana. The Peters family, which also includes their 4-year-old daughter Kayla, remains based in Lakeland; but John and Susan often travel up to Kentucky for both work and vacation – a “workcation.” They have traveled to Kentucky twice in 2012, once in June and again in October.

Peters takes pride in working hard during trips to Kentucky, but always finds time to explore the area and take in the local attractions.

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“Susan and I don’t get many opportunities to take a vacation,” Peters said. “We’re invested in growing our business and making sure that our people are employed and prospering. We’ve got limited time when we’re in an area for work and only have so much time to explore – but we do manage to find some.”

Highlights during the Peters’ 2012 trips included a visit to the famous Castle Post in Versailles, Kentucky; a trip to Fort Knox, and drives through the picturesque Kentucky countryside.

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Castle Post, formerly known as Martin Castle, has a bit of an odd history. It was commissioned in 1969 by Rex Martin, a publicity-shy developer who later abandoned the project after a messy divorce in 1975. Thomas Post bought the half-constructed castle in 2004 with plans to reconstruct it. However, significant portions of the castle caught fire later that year and renovations were not completed until 2008. The finished castle is now used as a hotel and boasts 50 rooms. Outdoor amenities include a 20-by- 50 foot pool, tennis courts, a formal garden, and a large Chinese dragon fountain.

Peters had seen Castle Post in its unfinished state when he lived in Kentucky years ago and could not believe the improvements that had been made when he visited last year.

“Years ago, it wasn’t even operational. It was just an empty space for sale and no one was interested in buying it. Now, it’s all renovated, up to standards, and really beautiful.”

Fort Knox, famous for holding a significant portion of the U.S. gold reserves and for its role in the James Bond novel and film, “Goldfinger,” was quite the sight to see according to Peters – but only from the highway.

Peters called the security at Fort Knox “phenomenal” and joked, “you wouldn’t want to try to go in there by any stretch of the imagination…you remember ‘Goldfinger’.”

While the gold-housing base is locked down, Peters was able to visit the nearby General George Patton Museum of Leadership, which includes the largest collection of Patton artifacts in the world.

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After a busy day of Stanley Steemer strategy and marketing meetings, Peters’ favorite thing to do while visiting Kentucky is to drive through Kentucky horse country and simply take in the region’s beauty.

“It’s a beautiful, beautiful area,” Peters said. “After some brainstorming with the manager up there, I’ll take the rest of the day to drive the area. The rolling hills are just an amazing sight. The pictures really are worth a thousand words.”

Working and vacationing go hand in hand for John and Susan Peters, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. Said John, “I am fortunate enough to come in excited for work every day. We love our business and always have over the years. We love what we do.”

 

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