VALLEY CENTER, Calif. — It's a big challenge keeping a small business afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this Zevely Zone, I headed to the hills for fresh air and hope at Valley Center Glamping.
"I am the type of guy where once I start something, I want to finish it," said Scott Wilson, the owner of Valley Center Glamping.
"Glamping" may be glamorous camping, but starting a new business during troubling times is no picnic. I sat down with Scott on the deck of one of his glamorous tents.
I said, "You told me that you were going to pour a million dollars into this place."
Scott responded, "Yes, and that is about how much I have lost since the coronavirus started."
In the past year, Scott Wilson has poured his heart and soul - along with $700,000 - into Valley Center Glamping. Then, COVID-19 happened.
"I was just thinking if it wasn't for bad luck, then I'd have no luck at all," said Scott.
Valley Center Glamping is closed, along with the Mining Camp Restaurant, forcing Scott to lay off all 11 of his employees.
I asked him, "Are you going to take out a small business loan?"
Scott told me, "No. As soon as I saw that, I got calls with people saying 'Hey you can get one of those' and I just go 'I remember when I was a kid and I broke my leg. I didn't apply for food stamps.' I don't believe that you should ask the government for help. That is just me. There are some people that have to. We will make it no matter what."
That's because Scott said he believes in glamping and himself.
"Why double down?" I asked.
Scott told me, "If you set out to do something for the people and then you give up, you just didn't give up on yourself. You gave up on the community."
Scott said now more than ever, he believes people are going to flock to the outdoors for fresh air and happiness. He hopes to start booking weddings, concerts, dining and glampers. As for social distancing, the glamping tents are a minimum 35 feet apart and just to be cautious, Scott is going to take the temperature of every camper to make sure they don't have a fever.
Somebody needs to check his temperature. From the beginning, Scott said he saw COVID-19 as an opportunity.
"I have time to do a bunch of stuff with no pressure. I didn't think of it as 'oh my gosh, we are out of business,'" said Scott.
In other words, hard times meant hard work.
"I have been working seven days a week [un]til dark since this thing started," said Scott.
Wilson won't be folding up his tent anytime soon.
Our interview ended with him saying, "If you are feeling cooped up. You know where to go."
Scott Wilson in the process of re-hiring his employees. If you'd like more information about Valley Center Glamping you go to their Facebook page.