Summer Sands Suites celebrates 30 years

by Daniel Bowden
Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lumina News file photo

Summer Sands Suites is celebrating 30 years of doing business in Wrightsville Beach this year.

At 104 S. Lumina Ave., Summer Sands Suites is nestled in the heart of Wrightsville Beach. This month, it celebrates 30 years of operation.

“It’s been a successful business run by owners for 30 years,” said Lannie Kirby, who has been a partial owner of Summer Sands Suites for 15 years. Kirby is one of 28 owners. 

“I don’t know how many 30-year-old businesses there are on Wrightsville Beach, but I’m guessing there’s not many,” she said.

Summer Sands’ building was designed by architect Haywood Newkirk. Its certificate of occupancy was issued on Nov. 1, 1982, and rooms were available to rent shortly after. 

Today, the hotel is unique in that its management, all of its board members and the head of housekeeping are all females.

“I think that gives us a unique perspective,” Kirby said. “We’ve been wanting to try pet-friendly, and had trouble getting that passed by the board. Now that it’s all female we’ve been able to get that passed for the off-season.” 

This change has made the hotel one of few pet-friendly rental options for Wrightsville Beach. It now allows dogs under 40 pounds. 

“We’re trying it out,” Kirby said. “So just dogs for now. No cats, no ferrets, no goldfish.”

In recent years, the hotel has been making changes to become more environmentally friendly. Kirby attributes this to manager Laura Schauer. Schauer had the idea to convert the hotel’s pool from a traditional chlorine to a more modern and environmentally-friendly saltwater pool.

Kirby explained that saltwater pools are much easier on guest’s skin and hair than chlorine, and don’t irritate the eyes as much. Also, salt is produced domestically, whereas chlorine is mostly imported from other countries. In buying the domestic product, which doesn’t have to be transported as far as its international counterpart, the hotel reduces its carbon footprint.

“[Saltwater pools] are just better all the way around,” Kirby said. “They’re better for the environment and better for the people who are swimming in them. I think that people building new pools will have saltwater instead of chlorine.”

In addition to recycling and using all green cleaning products, Summer Sands Suites collects used bars of soap from its hotel rooms and sends it, at the hotel’s expense, to the Global Soap Project. This nonprofit initiative purifies and refurbishes used soap and sends it to foreign countries that are lacking in hygienic products.  

Two of the leading causes of death for children ages 5 and under in underdeveloped countries are diarrhea and lower respiratory infections associated with poor hygiene. The Global Soap Project aims to reduce these death rates by up to 40 percent by providing them with soap and clean water.

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