Mike Keenan, owner of the Chrysalis Inn & Spa, is committed to creating community involvement. “Instead of all talk and no action, I decided to do something,” he says of his latest announcement to connect with local charitable organizations through a new monthly contribution program.
The Chrysalis Inn & Spa, one of only three waterfront hotels in Bellingham, recently announced that they have begun contributing one percent of the sales from the Spa to a local charitable organization. The first recipient of this contribution is Skookum Kids located in Fairhaven which cares for foster kids in Whatcom County.
Keenan says he came up with the idea when it became apparent that he, along with other large businesses, could benefit from any incoming tax breaks that might potentially result in a savings. He wanted to do something with the savings that might be coming back their way.
“That is one percent of spa revenue, not net income,” Keenan says of the contribution.
Keenan, who sold a business in Nebraska in 1998, came to Bellingham where he thought he would retire. It wasn’t too long afterward that he found the piece of property where the Chrysalis now resides. He knew it was the perfect place for a waterfront boutique hotel and soon found himself back in business. “I still come into work every day and work at the front desk,” says Keenan. “I’m a very hands-on owner.”
The spa, almost an afterthought at the time, saw double the estimated revenue after the first year it was open. “It was because of the local community,” says Keenan. “Eighty-five percent of our spa business comes directly from our local community.”
“We work to offer something for everyone,” says Chris Simpson, Director of Sales and Marketing. “We want to offer a unique experience.”
The Chrysalis Inn & Spa has continued to grow steadily throughout the years. As a local employer of 130 plus people, the resort and spa is committed to supporting the local economy through using as many local vendors and suppliers as possible. In addition, the Chrysalis Inn & Spa sponsors two scholarships at Western Washington University as well as supports several internships in partnership with Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College. The hotel and spa has also instituted sustainability initiatives such as composting at the restaurant and recycling in each of the guest rooms.
As a well-rounded boutique hotel with three parts consisting of the hotel, spa and restaurant, the Chrysalis has successfully served the community for the past 16 years and brought revenue from out of town. It is their community focus that is, in part, the reason that Keenan began the initiative of giving one percent of the monthly sales from the spa to a local charitable organization.
The Chrysalis Inn & Spa already donates to local organizations in the form of auction items and prizes reaching a value of $25,000 to $30,000 each year but Keenan wanted to do something that could provide more of a direct impact, especially in light of the pending corporate tax cuts that are coming down the road.
“I’m a local owner wanting to give back to his own community on a regular basis,” says Keenan. He also describes his desire to encourage and challenge other local business owners to get involved and step up to contribute to the local community in a bigger way. “We’ll all get a break so we should do something with that break that is worthwhile,” says Keenan.
Keenan explains that there are some criteria they follow in choosing which organization will benefit from the contribution each month. The charitable organization must be Whatcom County based and service the Whatcom County community. Keenan is also looking for organizations in which most of the fundraising goes directly to recipients. “I want that contribution to get to the person who really needs it,” says Keenan.
The Chrysalis Inn & Spa is looking to support organizations that provide direct assistance to people in our community. As the Chrysalis currently already donates to many animal organizations, this newest initiative is intended to directly benefit the people of the county. The Chrysalis wants the community’s help in identifying qualifying organizations.
In fact, Keenan is hoping to get feedback and suggestions directly from the community. As this will be a monthly initiative, the Chrysalis Inn & Spa is looking to get the community involved in helping with the selection process. There are many local and little-known organizations that provide a tremendous benefit to the people of the county.
“The name Chrysalis represents the butterfly and its transformation from the cocoon to the beautiful butterfly,” says Simpson. “We want this contribution to cascade down to the people who really need it and to transform their lives.”