Longtime Branson business navigates 2020



One of Branson’s oldest lodging businesses have been trying to find ways to stay open during the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic and lock-downs, have seen businesses’ revenues dwindle to abnormal lows.

However, with the help of different organizations like the Missouri Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and funding programs established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, some businesses have been able to keep their doors open.

Sandpiper Landing Inn, located at 615 S US-65 BUS in downtown Branson, was one of those businesses that were able to find a little bit of relief.

“More than anything, it was shocking I think,” said Co-Owner Deana Acton. “I never imagined something like this ever happening, ‘cause there’s no way to prepare for anything like that. Most people wouldn’t have ever presumed something like that would ever happen or how it would affect everything the way it did.”

With the lock-downs that started off the pandemic in March, Owners Brian and Deana Acton quickly saw a mass of reservation cancellations and a rapid drop in revenue.

But thanks to the help of Sandra Smart of the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University, with loan applications and various resources, Sandpiper Landing Inn is still in business.

“Going through the process of realizing ‘I have some customers, but I don’t have the funds coming in that I normally do, but I still have all these bills that are constant’,” said Acton. “It was really nice to have Sandra (at SBDC) on our side basically and saying ‘this program might work for you, read about it, we’re having a webinar on it, lets get some information and then see what works best for you.’

“(The process was) long. It seemed like we put the application in and we waited and we waited….I know there were thousands and thousands of people applying at the same time but it was hard to be patient (laughs).”

According to Acton, Sandpiper Landing Inn, originally named Branson Motor Court, was built around 1947. Branson Motor Court was bought by parents Ken & Gloria Acton in 1973 and underwent its name change to become Sandpiper Landing Inn in 2017.

“It’s rewarding, in a way, to be a business that has lasted for so long,” said Acton. “I like the fact that we’ve carried on their legacy.”

Although reservations haven’t gotten back up to normal speed, Sandpiper Landing Inn is still open for business.

“We’re a small, family-owned business that has been here since 1973,” said Acton. “We’re clean, we’re quiet, and we’ll try our best to take really good care of you and hope you have a great vacation or just get away from everything at the moment.”

Sandpiper Landing Inn’s mascot Piper is also eager to continue ‘working’ and making friends with everyone who walks through their doors.

“She is the sweetest dog ever. She (Piper) is an 11-year-old Shar-Pei and she thinks her job in life is to greet anybody that comes through that door,” said Acton. “She thinks they’re her best friend. About a year and a half ago she went blind and she still thinks that’s her job. If somebody comes through that door she wants them to know she’s here. She puts a smile on everybody’s face.”

Visit sandpiperlandinginn.com or visit them on Facebook at ‘Sandpiper Landing Inn’.



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