Monica Brown, Fryemont Inn
Monica Brown, Innkeeper — Fryemont Inn, Bryson City. Chairperson – Smoky Mountain Host. Board Member – Swain County Tourist Development Authority. www.fryemontinn.com
At a glance: In her 25th year working at the storied 92-year-old Fryemont Inn, Monica Brown aims to continue the proud family business, which was first purchased by her in-laws, George and Sue Brown, in 1982. The business is now entering its third generation with Monica’s children, Kathryn and Tyler, also working alongside their parents and grandparents. At age 16, Kathryn, an accomplished student at Swain County High School, looks forward to one day taking over the inn, with her work ethic and business sense coming from those strong women before her.
Monica: A strong component to innkeeping is knowing everything, from the top to the bottom. You’re got to know everything from plumbing to payroll. Our kids have seen us have a hands on experience with every aspect of it, and they’re grown up around it, spending most of their lives on this property.
Kathryn: My mother and grandmother are both huge influences on me. If it hadn’t been for seeing them constantly working and doing what they can to improve the business, I never would have had that confidence and drive to participate in student government and other organizations. I’ve seen my mother do so many great things on the boards she’s currently on, and my grandmother do so many extraordinary things, that it makes me want to pursue and do more within my own community, and within our business.
Monica: Kathryn has such an outgoing personality and the guests love to see her, love to see the continuation of our family’s story with running this business. Our guests share their families with our family, where it’s all about that communication that means the most to us.
Kathryn: I love seeing the joy that the Fryemont brings to others, because it’s such a huge part of my life. I love this town, it’s so inviting, family-based and beautiful here. And being a woman in business, it’s not just about playing the host, it’s about getting your hands dirty. You’re dealing with all sides of the business, not just the relations part. It’s about being passionate in what you’re doing.
Monica: And when I think about my mother-in-law, I think of someone who can and does everything, from stitching the curtains to tile work, painting to cooking breakfast for our guests. She’s a great role model for us, and for women, in that she shows us we can do anything.