Meet Rose and Buzz Cox. They’re General Managers of Deep Water Cay (DWC) in the Bahamas. This husband-and-wife team has managed some of the finest lodges in Maine before they left the renowned K-T Ranch in Colorado (a property of The High Lonesome Ranch) to start a whole new adventure in the Bahamas.
Those of you who have been working together with your spouse, whether on the same business or side-by-side on your own businesses, might know how hard it can be to do this work thing, day in and day out, together. EFactor spoke with Buzz and Rose about sharing both jobs and lives together.
Buzz and Rose both have clearly defined roles in the business. Rose oversees reservations, guest services, and housekeeping. She works closely with the guests, she trains and directs housekeeping staff and she schedules DWC’s operations. Buzz handles pretty much everything else; the managers and supervisors, outdoor pursuits, flats guides, customs and immigration issues, home-ownership, counseling staff, and other daily issues.
“When we first decided to work together, we weren’t worried it would change our relationship. We were actually very excited by the thought of working together. Our kids had finally left the nest and it was a great opportunity for us to explore a new lifestyle,” says Rose.
And it did not disappoint. “The best part about working together is that we get to share the adventures, we meet new people, and we are making new life long friends of kindred spirit,” she continues.
Of course, working and living together also comes with challenges. “At times it is difficult not being able to go to your home and shut it all off as you are on the premise and your schedules are 24/7 and you’re on call at all times. But we’re both enjoying life and work to the fullest. The only bad thing that we’ve experienced about working together so far is when we sometimes disagree on how we manage.”
Today, the couples manages Deep Water Cay. Located off the east end of Grand Bahama Island, Deep Water Cay is easily accessible, especially when traveling from the United States. Guests can fly directly to Deep Water Cay’s 4,000-foot airstrip by private or charter flights and clear Bahamas Customs and Immigration on the island.
“But there are more roads that lead to Rome,” Buzz laughs. “Deep Water Cay is also accessible via frequent and direct commercial flights into Freeport from Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Chicago, Charlotte, Atlanta, Orlando, Palm Beach and Miami. Upon arrival in Freeport, guests take a shuttle to the eastern end of Grand Bahama Island, where the resort’s private water taxi awaits for the two-minute cruise to Deep Water Cay.”
Before they became the General Managers of Deep Water Cay, the couple had already visited the resort as guests. “I remember being in awe because of the beauty of the Island and miles and miles of pristine cays, mangroves, flats, beaches and marine wildlife. Also, the staff was very friendly, happy, and willing to do whatever to make our visit special. The food was a treat with the fresh fish, conch and lobster. For us, the Bahamian food was exciting and a welcome change,” says Rose. Buzz nods in agreement: “I still remember Rose saying: ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome to work at a place like this,’ as we flew out on the private jet.”
Buzz and Rose have previously worked together in Maine and Colorado. When asked how and when they decided the move to the Bahamas, a smile appears on Rose’s face. “We had previously worked for the owners of Deep Water Cay at their sister property, High Lonesome Ranch in Colorado, for about 14 years when we were approached two-and-a-half years ago to manage Deep Water Cay. It was over lunch with one of the owners, Paul Vahldiek, and before Buzz could even respond, I had already said ‘yes’,” Rose says chuckling.
Buzz smiles: “Rose deserved to make the call as she has willingly followed and supported me from Maine to Alaska to Colorado. Now it was her turn to decide where we would go to next. We were both very excited about the change in environment and about adding such a great place to our resumes.”
The couple is now going on three years at Deep Water Cay. During these years, they have made quite some changes at the resort but they stay humble when asked about their performances. Buzz: “There are so many but the credit of our success, for the most part, has been the people that work with us. There are some wonderful associates and our managers have become one unit and we all work as a team.”
Buzz continues: “The advances that have been made within the management department have been very successful. The food and beverage team has been greatly enhanced with training and discipline from our Chef Duane Clare who started earlier this year. We constantly get rave reviews about the quality, presentation, and freshness of his Bahamian-inspired cuisine,” Buzz explains.
“We were integral in the management of the refurbishment of our ocean view cottages and private ocean front homes, the main lodge docks, welcome center and the jetty at the landing are just some of the improvements that are physically evident and have been very well received.” Rose continues. “Our guide, dive and outdoor pursuits staff has risen to the occasion with rave reviews as well, they are considered to be the best in the Bahamas overall. I have the best Guest Service Team working with me: Julie Thomas is our Guest Service Manager, Anishka Davis who works in our Pro Shop and in Guest Services, and Tyrone Johnson who is the Director of Operations & Security. So as you can see, we have successfully put together an “A Team of Managers and associates.”
Buzz: “We have nearly an eighty percent repeat clientele, some of our guests have been coming since the sixties. Ever since we refurbished our facility and rebuilt our team, all of our guests continually bring back their friends, business partners and especially their families.”
The couple agrees that the biggest compliment they can receive from a guest, is when they rebook. “Especially when they rebook while still on site,” Rose adds.
Deep Water Cay is known for its flats and offshore fishing, but there are many more activities guests can engage themselves in. “Visitors can go scuba diving in undiscovered waters and snorkel over blue holes. Also popular are our boat trips to nearby secluded beaches, swimming in the fresh water infinity pool, searching for conch shells and other indigenous sea life during low tide, not to mention kayaking and stand up paddle-boarding.”
It’s easy to see that both Buzz and Rose have fallen in love with the beautiful Bahamas. “Photos barely are able to do justice to this jaw-dropping and totally stunning paradise on Earth, and words can’t describe it. You really need to come and see Deep Water Cay for yourself,” says Rose. Buzz agrees: “Fly down here, take a seat at AJ’s Tiki Bar, listen to some tunes and sip on a refreshing drink. The dark and stormy cocktails will get you right on island time. Then you will understand our passion for the Bahamas.”
Finally, we asked the couple what would be their one piece of advice to other couples that are thinking about working together. Rose answers: “To have patience, and love it each enough to compromise with the other. And you must understand that even though you may be right, you have to pick your battles.” Buzz nods in agreement: “And you have to make every effort to get the positive out of the negative. The first owner we worked for gave us great sage advice, “this is not a job, it is a lifestyle.” To this day, we still keep that advice in the back of our minds.”