The City of Goldthwaite is a proud home to many robust small businesses. At the city level, our Goldthwaite Chamber of Commerce maintains a pro-business environment that supports our community’s business endeavors as well as positive, intentional economic development. We are committed to working with entrepreneurs who bring their unique livelihood to our welcoming – and supportive – community. Goldthwaite’s central location, excellent school system, affordability, freedom from state income and city property taxes, and excellent quality of life attract people at all stages of life to live the golden life

We’re so proud of our local businesses that we want to introduce them one-by-one in our business spotlight series. This week we’re talking with Jeannie Rollo and John Sumner – owners of Lazy J’s Ranch Guest Cottages – about the unexpected business endeavor that fulfills them post-retirement.

Jeannie Rollo and John Sumner are relatively recent transplants to the Goldthwaite area. And, we are thrilled that they’ve chosen Goldthwaite to enjoy their golden years!  

Formerly of Austin, they were searching for an escape from busy city life. John hunted on area ranches for years so they were familiar with the region prior to their 2006 purchase. A slower pace of life, affordable (and ample) property, a centralized location, and dark skies for stargazing ultimately brought them to Goldthwaite full-time in 2017. Soon after, they found themselves retiring from retirement and taking up a hospitality venture! 

“I really didn’t move here to start a business; we moved to retire to a quiet place with a slower pace of living. The lodging business sort of evolved and we have done well in spite of being in the ‘middle of nowhere’ – as my guests like to say.”

Winning work-life balance

Back in Austin, Jeannie was the executive director of a legal nonprofit for 20 years, while John worked in commercial real estate construction management. Retirement for both was meant to close the tricky chapter of navigating work-life balance. But, even after retirement won them the prize of freedom, they love their new-found work-life balance that a small-town business allows. 

“I love my work/life balance now! Running the guest cottages is easy, slow-paced, and enjoyable! Our cottages are about 100 steps from our home so the “commute” to greet guests and to clean the spaces is a joy! When have you heard the word “joy” in the same sentence as “commute?” 

Small-town support 

Another surprising benefit they found in Goldthwaite’s business community? Tremendous support. One of the blessings of small town life is a tight-knit community. We support each other, promote healthy growth, and collectively work to see our residents prosper.

The couple is also surprised by the ample opportunity for businesses that they found in Goldthwaite. What makes it so great for business? Location and affordable real estate! 

“You can’t beat the location! We’re not far – just two hours or less – away from major metros. We enjoy easy access to HWY 183 – a major thoroughfare. This means we can easily access supplies and resources on day trips without having to sacrifice our affordable peace and quiet – or our livelihood. There are a lot of real estate options not just for families, but also for retail, hospitality, agricultural, industrial, and commercial endeavors. We’ve found that you can, whatever your stage in life, build a livelihood more easily here. You can also do that while building a family thanks to Goldthwaite’s active, supportive school system, active library, good internet, low housing costs, and welcoming people.” 

Ultimately, the couple feels blessed to have found a golden opportunity in their golden years. They credit their Goldthwaite move with a significant increase in life quality – despite coming out of retirement. 

“Austin is a wonderful city and we enjoyed living and working there but the pace here is slower and more relaxed. We met people quickly, we got involved in the community quickly, and business is good.” 

The B&B Experience

So what can you expect if you visit the guest cottages? Utter relaxation! 

Intentionally remodeled using reclaimed/restored materials and with eclectic decor using Jeannie’s personal collection of travel finds, the spaces are cozy and lovely. It’s an indulgent escape where people come to enjoy the quiet, beauty, and just breathe. It’s a place to recenter and relax. Writers and musicians find working solitude. Couples enjoy an intimate escape and close proximity to lakes, wineries, and great food. Families adventure in the abundant outdoor excitement in the vicinity. Mostly, people can just take a break from the noise. 

“We’re stargazers and the property is kept dark to illuminate the Texas stars. I’m happy to show guests constellations, the Milky Way, the International Space Station, and answer questions about what incredible things are happening up in the heavens. We have zero gravity chairs to keep you comfortable for a few hours of wonder. Some folks want to chat, some want to disappear – we respect everyone’s respite and accommodate their needs accordingly. I’ve met so many nice people and love introducing them to Goldthwaite’s charms. We direct them to the farmer’s market, our beautiful botanical gardens, the great eateries like Mary’s Tacos or El Tapatio – and they love it!” 

Interested in exploring your business options in Goldthwaite? Get in touch with the Goldthwaite Chamber of Commerce to talk about resources!