ENID, Okla. — Southard House, 518 W. Pine in Enid, now is under the ownership of Enid native Cammey Kasper.
Kasper has long had a dream of owning and operating a bed and breakfast, and spent the past 11 years trying to achieve just that.
She said she loves old houses, furniture, decorating and hosting parties and serving people.
“I just decided one day, I was like, ‘You know, I really want to own my own business,’” Kasper said. “What could I do that would fit all the things that I love. So I started searching, and I realized it’s a bed and breakfast.”
Kasper said she hopes to have Southard House open for guests by Nov. 1, 2022, although she said she may have to only have it open for weekends and some events on weeknights while she finishes up at her current job with the FAA at the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute in Oklahoma City.
Kasper is a 26-year Army veteran who was deployed to Iraq in 2005. She spent 23 years in the Army Reserve, and her unit was mobilized for active duty from 2005-11 when she returned from the Middle East.
When she came off mobilization in 2011, she decided she wanted to buy a bed and breakfast.
“It’s just been a journey trying to find that house,” Kasper said. “I’ve tried to buy several houses. I tried to buy another one that had a $30,000 gas leak on the property side and the realtor didn’t disclose that. So it’s just been a journey.
“For the last 10 or 11 years, that’s always been my goal, to buy a bed and breakfast. I was really serious about buying the Goff House in El Reno, but it didn’t qualify for a VA loan, so I would have had to put all my money down that I had saved.”
She said she came back to Enid last Christmas and was shown the Southard House by Tammy and James Neal.
“I just loved the house and I enjoyed talking to her,” Kasper said. “I liked listening to what she said she had done with the business, and I was like, ‘You know, this just feels right.’”
Kasper said she was trying to sell her house in Moore to a woman who had to wait a little while to get her financials in order so she could purchase it. The Neals were able to wait on Kasper while she sold her house, which she was thankful for them to do for her.
“I’m very thankful to the Neals because they waited for me,” Kasper said. “They could have easily sold it to someone else, but they felt like, ‘I really feel like you’re the one we really need to sell the house to.’ And they waited for me. It was at a great expense to them, as well.”
Kasper said over the past few years she has decided she was ready for a change of pace from the hustle and bustle of Oklahoma City. This made her think fondly of moving to a smaller town.
She said her dad passed away and her mom is getting older and requires a little more help. She said her brother lives in Enid, so she thought she could help him take care of their mother better if she moved back to Enid.
She said the move is changing her mindset, allowing her to think about how much time she will have to focus on her dream.
“I think once I’ve been here for awhile, I will really like it,” Kasper said. “Because I just want a slower pace so I can focus on what’s important to me.”
Her goal for owning the Southard House is to serve people, who she feels can use some place to relax and restore themselves in a time when many are facing countless trials and tribulations.
She said she has heard nothing but good things about Tammy and James Neal when they had the Southard House. She just hopes to continue with that and work to make it better.
“I’m really excited to be in Enid. It’s a little bit of a mind shift because I don’t live in Oklahoma City anymore,” Kasper said. “I get out and about in the evenings and I just reminisce about when I used to live here. This past weekend, we had a mini class reunion, and when we were at each of the events, I just networked with the business owners of the community.
“And they were excited for me and excited to network with me. I just was really grateful for that, because not everybody would do that in Oklahoma City. But everybody I spoke to in Enid who was a business owner was glad to do that.”