New managers take over at Mt. Meadow

By Jeff Smith

Jim Delo with his giant Twix bar he received from winning a reindeer game at the Mt. Meadow Neighborhood Christmas party on Dec. 15.

The way that Amiee Laun explains how she took over managing Mt. Meadow Store & Campground with her husband might seem a bit surreal. A posting on Craigslist drew their attention and they decided to go for it.

They didn’t have any experience in the tourism industry but were willing to learn. Last summer they went camping on the Pacific Coast and were talking about what would it be like working together in a campground or resort atmosphere.

When Amiee saw the post on Craigslist she said it felt like destiny.

“So far it’s been a big learning curve,” Donn said.

It’s also been a sudden change of lifestyle.

“We got out of the hubbub of Rapid City,” Amiee said.

Their life centers around the store and campground.

“It’s our whole life now, morning to night,” Amiee said.

They are up at 7 a.m. turning on the grill and getting ready for customers. The cafe there is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Throughout the day they take care of everything in the store/cafe and take reservations for cabins and RV sites.

They live in the apartment upstairs and once the evening winds down they can start to relax around 8 p.m. Aimee said they are looking forward to snowmobile season.

“We’ll be busy or not right now based on if we get more snow and snowmobilers,” Amiee said.

Amiee said they want Mt. Meadow to be the neighborhood gathering place. She doesn’t want it to be just be a place for tourists.

“We want to reenergize the place and make it a locals hangout,” Amiee said.

They know it’s already a place vacationers want to come back to. The R.V. sites and cabins are already booked up for next summer.

“We have had  a lot of reservations in already,” Amiee said

They just started working there a month and a half ago. Amiee previously worked selling Kangen Water and Donn worked at Sturdevant’s Auto Parts.

On Dec. 15 they held a neighborhood Christmas celebration which brought in many people to welcome Donn and Amiee to Mt. Meadow.

Residents of the surrounding area brought snacks and other treats plus there was chili as well as drinks provided by Mt. Meadow.

People were able to connect in a greater way through the inaugural reindeer games event at the store/cafe.

These were quick games modeled after the show “Minute to Win It.” Fun was had all by all who participated and winners from each round received a special prize.

Amiee said awhile ago they got sick of the commercialization of Christmas and buying presents and started the reindeer games.

They used to invite many people to the reindeer games at their house. They hope the tradition lasts at Mt. Meadow. Amiee said the event was wonderful.

One of the games required people to unwrap boxes with oven mitts. It proved to be impossible for some and once one box was opened another box presented itself. Altogether, there were 22 boxes.  It took the crowd there about 30 minutes to open all of the boxes. Aimee spent six hours  wrapping and packaging everything up.

Other events that seem to draw people in are the fish fries on Friday nights and Mexican fiestas on Saturday nights.

The people and the beauty of the Black Hills brought the Launs to the area.

“We love people and we love to provide good experience, good service,” Amiee said.

Donn said they haven’t had any bad encounters with anyone that they’ve met.

“It’s so much fun to meet new people and strike up a conversation,” Donn said.

Storytelling is a pastime that still lives on at Mt. Meadow. It comes from the customers as well as the staff.

In addition to Amiee and Donn there are three other employees at Mt. Meadow right now.

The Launs are looking forward to events like the Radar Run for snowmobilers and the Soggy Bottom ATV rally.