By Jessica Isaacs
Photos by Ken Ketchie
After 20 years at the helm of development for one of Blowing Rock’s most coveted destinations, Marcia Greene bid farewell to her role as Chetola Resort’s marketing director at a retirement party on Wednesday night.
Friends, family, colleagues and neighbors gathered at the resort to celebrate Greene and the lasting impact she’s had on Chetola and on the town of Blowing Rock.
Kent Tarbutton, Chetola’s owner, who has worked alongside the New York native turned Florida resident for the past two decades, stood up to share about her beginnings in the High Country.
“Gosh, it was 19 years ago yesterday that Marcia took a job at Chetola … I had gotten here about six to eight months earlier and immediately hired the wrong person for her job. Gratefully … we got rid of that person real quickly. My family knew her boss down in Daytona, so when she came up I’d already talked to him and he was like, ‘Oh, send her back, send her back.’ He said, ‘She does everything and I won’t be able to live without her, but she doesn’t want to be down here anymore and she’s starting her life over and coming to the mountains.’
“I thought, does she know where she is? From the Manhattan world to the Daytona world to Blowing Rock. Well, I didn’t need to spend hardly any interview time asking about her qualifications; we knew her boss and knew that she was way more than what I could afford to get, honestly. I knew that, so I spent very little time asking her the traditional questions and said, do you know where you are? Do you know that at 9 o’clock at night you’re not going out to dinner in Boone? This was like 20 years ago … so there was not much you could do at 9 o’clock at night, and I was so worried about her being in the right environment and that she would want to stay with us here.
“But, she said some magical words in the interview. I think my favorite that she said, and I’ve used it over and over, is: A lot of places I’ve worked, we take photographs and then we doctor up the photographs and people get there and go, ‘Where is this place that I’m looking at in the picture? It doesn’t match up.’ She said, right out of the gate, ‘I don’t think I can take photographs that represent what we have here.’ Well, that sounded like a marketing director to me.”
As he continued speaking to the guest of honor and a heartfelt crowd of her friends and family, Tarbutton shared more about the difference she’s made at Chetola over the years.
“I was going to write a speech until I realized that I’d have to have her edit it,” he said. “If you think my writing sounds good, it’s because it’s gone through the marketing department. Let’s just be frank and say it always looks better when Marcia’s got her hand on it.”
Tarbutton continued to thank her for her continued commitment to the resort and the community, reiterating her ability to pull things off that may otherwise seem impossible without her leadership.
“You can be a magician in creating a new formula or a new concept, but unless you can get the word out, it’s pointless, because no one knows it’s there. Marcia does an incredible job with that and always has,” said Tarbutton. “Along the way though, she’s done more than that. She’s touched a lot of lives, and I’m happy to be one of those lives she’s touched and I’m going to be forever grateful for that.
“She is the master of words and she’s been an incredible giver to Chetola. Her mark is definitely here and it stays. I love that.”
Shortly thereafter, a teary-eyed Marcia Greene stood up to say a few words.
“There’s no place on earth, as far as I’m concerned, that could match up to working here. It’s fantastic. It’s like working for a family. He is a boss, but he’s not a boss, and anybody that’s in here that works at Chetola now will know that. It’s like one big family,” she said. “It’s been wonderful. I have loved my time here. I have loved working with my girls, which they’re here tonight and I have to say I’m going to miss you terribly. Thank you, very much, for coming.”
Before her closing off her last day at the resort and heading into retirement, she expressed deep gratitude toward the folks at the Bob Timberlake gallery and other Chetola colleagues with whom she has shared friendship over the years.
“All of my friends that are here … as I look around the room, it’s been so wonderful working with all of you. All of you,” she said. “You’ve made my job a delight, so thank you.”