Gateway Motel

3781 N. Oceana Dr. in Hart


A Q&A with owners Katie and Levi Visger

Date opened: The motel was originally opened in the 1950s with only two rooms. They expanded in the 70s to the layout that we currently have. My husband, Levi, and I bought the motel in July of 2018.

Staff: Mainly it’s my husband and I’m a part-timer after my full-time job at Gray & Company. We also bring on some housekeeping help in the summer.

Hours: The office is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. with reduced hours in the off-season.

What they offer: We offer rooms that can accommodate from two to four people.

Why did you open this type of business? We bought this business because it was an established business that had room (no pun intended) for us to make it what we want it to be.

How did you choose the name for your business? We kept the original name of the motel.

Most memorable day at your business? The most memorable day was during our first summer and we had our first encounter with filling the parking lot with vehicles and their trailers. It felt a bit like a game of Tetris trying to fit everybody in safely.

What is it like to serve our community in this business capacity? We cater more towards the visitors in the area instead of our local community, but it does become a symbiotic relationship. We help give visitors a chance to stay longer in the area, which in turn, gives other businesses in our community an opportunity for further business.

How has our community responded to your business? The community has been wonderful. A lot of people have taken notice of the improvements we’ve been making around the motel and given us nice compliments. Thank you everyone for that!

How has becoming a business owner allowed you to be more involved in our community? Being a business owner made me realize how connected we all are in our community. We all rely on each other in one form or another and we should all reach out to help a fellow business owner if we can. I’ve joined a couple community groups to help better serve our community. We also try to shop locally for as many items as we can. I believe any amount of support is helpful and can build up to have a large impact.

What is your favorite thing about Oceana County? My favorite thing about Oceana County is that it is home. I feel blessed that I’m able to call this area my home. It truly has the most beautiful scenery which thousands of people come to see and take a vacation. I get to live in a vacation spot all year long around my friends and family.

Future plans? Our plan is to continue to work on remodeling and bringing the motel up-to-date.

Why is it important to shop small and local? It’s important to shop locally because those businesses are our neighbors. If they are thriving, they give more to the community and make it a better place to live. We are a small community and have the potential for a business to be the only option unless you want to drive 25-45 minutes North or South. It’s nice to be able to run to the local hardware store for a box of screws which takes me 10 minutes instead of driving to my next closest option, which would take over an hour.