Bill Clark always knew that he wanted to be a residential remodeler.
“I learned the trade by working with my dad,” he said. “I started when I was 10 years old. I’d work with him after school and on Saturdays. After graduating high school, I worked full-time, and in 1983 took over the business: William J. Clark Contractor.
“When we bought the home in Auburn and started our own investigation of an appropriate restoration, the history drew us in,” he said. “We became submersed in the preservation community. That’s where I gained an appreciation and knowledge of preservation.”
The Clark family moved to Oswego several years ago from their home in Auburn, N.Y. Bill Clark usually receives calls about specific projects that need to be remodeled or built. He still does a majority of his work in the Syracuse area and in Auburn, but is also interested in pursuing more work in the Oswego area, as the travel costs are expensive.
Ellen Clark, who has a public relations degree from Cornell University, previously worked a desk job as a personnel administrator before she met Bill Clark. However, she knew one thing: she didn’t want to be in an office all day. She wanted to be able to be home with her future children, and she wanted to own a bed and breakfast.
“I get up really early every day and I just do,” she said. “I’m a really hard worker, and I knew a B&B took a lot of hard work.”
She decided to take a course in Saratoga to learn how to run a bed and breakfast. Upon returning home, she quit her job and began working at a bed and breakfast to gain experience.
“It’s definitely a different lifestyle,” she said. “You have people in and out all the time.”
The previous owners of Serendipity Bed and Breakfast were interested in having someone leasing and running the business with the option to buy.
“They were very interested in us, because I’ve wanted to run a B&B for 24 years,” she said. “They put a lot of time and effort into making it a B&B.”
The Clarks hope to eventually purchase the business.
Ellen Clark is originally from Oswego, and both wanted to return to Oswego to be closer to her parents. While the Clark family owns a home in the countryside a few miles away, Ellen is at Serendipity B&B a large majority of the time, working as the innkeeper and keeping business running smoothly.
They just celebrated one year of taking over Serendipity Bed and Breakfast on June 1. They hope to continue working on the historic home and improving the business with Bill’s abilities in carpentry and Ellen’s keep-busy, tenacious attitude.
Ellen Clark also looks forward to do more within the Oswego community.
“My hope at some point is to write and be a speaker, a public speaker,” she said.
She recently participated in the Oswego County Tourism Ambassador Program and is additionally involved in the Oswego Network of Entrepreneurs (O.N.E).
You can contact Bill Clark's private business, William J. Clark Contractor, at (315) 246-8143. Serendipity Bed and Breakfast is located at 7225 State Route 104, and Ellen Clark can be reached by phone at (315) 343-6406.