A spokesperson for the USLBA said the award program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USLBA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category.
"These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small businesses through service to their customers and community," the spokesperson said.
Rosemary said she learned of the award July 20 through the mail. She said she didn't apply for it or fill out anything. She said someone possibly affiliated with the USLBA stayed at one of her bed and breakfasts and really liked it. "I was totally surprised," she said.
The Cass' have four bed and breakfasts all in the Alton city limits. They are: Rose Cottage (their first that opened in 1999) located at 300 Vine Street; Ivy Cottage at 302 Vine Street; Cotton Cottage located at 401 Hall Street: and Cane Bluff Lodge located at 505 Cane Bluff Road.
All four cottages were built in the 1950s and have been refurbished with modern appliances including microwaves, DSL, washers and dryers, linens, air conditioners and dishes.
"Each cottage seems to have its own personality. As we start to remodel them, I can just see and feel Miss Pearle or whoever it was that use to live here. All people have to bring is food and themselves," she said.
All of the cottages have fire pits and barbecue grills.
"We are kid friendly and encourage whole families to come," she said.
Rosemary said most of their business comes from the Internet. "The Internet is a wonderful gift to a small hidden community like ours," she said.
She said December through February are usually their only slow months. "In March business starts picking up again and is in full swing by May. At Thanksgiving business starts slowing down again," she said. Rosemary said she already has three of her cottages booked for next Christmas.
Who comes to the four cottages nestled deep in the Ozarks of southern Missouri?
"We get people from everywhere; New York, California, Florida and Texas seems to bring a lot of travelers our way. Next month we have a family coming from Los Angeles to stay several days," she said.
And why would anyone want to come to Alton?
"It's the river. Our area is peaceful and remote. All the things city people dream about," Rosemary said.
To learn more about Cottage Overnight Lodging call 417-778-7782 or 417-270-0782 or go online at www.cottageovernightlodging.com.