The Inn at Harbor Shores Named to 20 Best Places to Work for 2022


One way to get the attention of potential new hires is to fully support a culture of always putting your employees first. Couple that with the opportunity to work for a full-service hospitality resort that services guests from across the globe, and the attention turns to a laser focus. When you add in the fact that your resort is right on the water at the edge of one of the oldest working harbors in the state of Michigan alongside the only Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course on Lake Michigan, and the magic of going to work every day falls into place. Those are just the surface reasons why The Inn at Harbor Shores has found its way on to the roster of the 20 Best Places to Work in Southwest Michigan for 2022. Read on for many more instances of significance including competitive wages that exceed the statewide average, a portion of employee benefits and a 3-percent match to your 401-k, all of which combine to create the opportunity to pursue the career of a lifetime. Rewards include a point/coin system allowing the trade for gift cards, food, services, overnight stays and more. The nominator tells us, “From the moment you walk in, you are greeted with a friendly smile, and you can tell that the management appreciates you.” The staff is so good, the housekeeping department helped The Inn win a “Best of Housekeeping Award by AAA.” You might be surprised at the level of internal promotions that take place allowing for great career opportunities, too. Read more and see examples of those promotions by continuing below.

What is the name of the business you are nominating?

The Inn at Harbor Shores

Who are the owner(s) and/or principals in this company?

Your content continues below

Harbor Village at Harbor Shores LLC

Business Contact Information

The Inn at Harbor Shores, 800 Whitwam Drive, St. Joseph, MI 49085

How many people work at the company you are nominating?


Tell us the story behind the nominated company. What does it do, and what sets them apart from other companies in the region?

We are a boutique full-service hospitality resort servicing guests from all around the world. We are the only resort in the area right on the water, on one of the oldest working harbors in the state of Michigan. We are also located next to and partnered with Lake Michigan’s only Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course.

In your own words, why do you think this company deserves to be declared to be one of the 20 Best Places to Work in Michigan’s Great Southwest?

The reason that I think this company deserves to be declared one of the 20 Best Places to Work in Southwest Michigan is because of our company’s culture of putting employees first. We provide over 100 full time jobs annually in a seasonal resort town. We pay our employees competitive wages, exceeding the state’s average. We also pay a portion of employee’s benefits and offer a 3% match to their 401k. We strive to not be a transitional employer, we want our employees to pursue a career with us for a lifetime.

What makes workers proud to say they work there, and keeps them a part of the team?

The management, including the General Manager Brady Cohen, treats the entire staff as people first, employees second. He treats the line-level staff the same as he treats management. The Inn strives to make every employee’s day as memorable as possible, just like our guests. We want the best talent, and the way to do that, is to treat them like they are the best.

Let’s pretend you’re writing a review for Yelp! or Trip Advisor. Give us your best recommendation for the nominated company that would make the rest of us wish we worked there, too.

The Inn at Harbor Shores is one of the best companies you could work for. From the moment you walk in, you are greeted with a friendly smile, and you can tell that the management appreciates you. Management strives to work with employees, offering incentives for internal promotions. Employers/Management truly care about the employees, and the employees well-being. If you need a ride to work, our shuttle will come and pick you up. If you are on maternity leave, our shuttle will bring your family meals. If you have a loved one pass away, our management will give you the time off to grieve properly. The Inn does not want to treat employees like just another number.

What three key words best describe why this company is a Best Places to Work caliber company?

  • Influential
  • Compassionate
  • Memorable

As a Best Places to Work company “Super Hero,” what are the two most magical “Super Powers” this company seems to have on a day-to-day basis? (i.e., Ability to read minds, fly, invisibility, etc) And why?

Super Power One: Ability to magically turn a bad day into a good day.

Super Power Two: Time Travel: We give people in the community a 2nd chance, ignore their past mistakes and move toward a better future.

Tell us about the leadership of the nominated company and what they do in order to:

A] Keep spirits and motivation high? — The Inn rewards hard work through a point/coin system, employees can earn Inn bucks to be traded in for gift cards, food, services, overnight stays, etc.

B] Keep innovation and fresh ideas advancing? — All employees are encouraged to make suggestions to make the Inn run smoother, all employee ideas are welcome. The Inn also empowers their employees to make their own decisions and tries not to micromanage employees. We also try to keep on top of market trends in the hospitality industry.

C] Keep communications open? — The GM’s door is always open, his office is right in the middle of the building and employees know they can talk with him at any time. He is also friendly and approachable to all employees, he knows all of their names.

Explain a specific “wow!” moment in this company’s history that is virtually “Hall of Fame” or “Best Practices” worthy, as an example to other companies in the region.

A few examples, one… our housekeeping department helped The Inn win a Best of Housekeeping Award by AAA, so our GM and management rented a bus, took the entire housekeeping department to the casino for dinner and gambling, and a boat tour on the Cycle Boat. Another wow moment would be years in the making, both our Executive Chef Elton Mann and (me) Director of Sales, Elizabeth Hacker, both started in small roles at the Inn at Harbor Shores eventually advancing to the roles they are in today. The Inn believes very strongly in internal promotions, and these are just 2 of the very positive examples of this.

Best Places to Work have a reputation for not only working hard, but also for playing hard.

A] How does the nominated company honor or reward success? — Management and staff all receive an end of year bonus, and as mentioned before, we have a rewards system where employees can earn Inn bucks to trade in for gift cards, services, food, overnight stays etc.

B] How does the nominated company socialize as a team? — Our management team has a yearly outing as well as regular smaller outings to other local restaurants. Each department also has regular get togethers with their staff that doesn’t include work. At the end of the year, there is a holiday party where we have food and drinks and some form of entertainment as well as announcing the employee of the year.

C] How does the nominated company get involved in community events? — We donate to many fundraisers in the area, either a one night stay, or sometimes we will donate our event space for a fundraiser. We recently hosted Bids for Barks as well as a large fundraiser for a young man in the community with cancer.

D] How does the nominated company celebrate life? — We celebrate life every day by knowing we work at one of the best places in the community knowing we have a flexible employer that cares about their employees.

Write a brief, but compelling, recruitment ad telling people about why they should come and work there, too.

Looking for a fun place to work? Look no further than The Inn at Harbor Shores. Our mission is to “Make it the best experience ever,” both for our guests and associates. We offer competitive wages, 401k match, health insurance including for part time employees.

What one thing is special about your nominated company that most people in the community have no idea actually happens there, but should be shouted from the rooftops because it’s that cool?

One of the best things that I’m sure a lot of people in our community have no idea we do is the amount of promoting from within that we do. We may hire a person who wants to be a dishwasher, but eventually, our Executive Chef is teaching that dishwasher the ins and outs of the entire kitchen. We keep losing dishwashers because they end up being line cooks! Another thing, something else that was mentioned before, we will pick our employees up in our shuttle if they need a ride to work. We don’t want an employee to miss out on their paycheck just because they are struggling to get to work. We also back up our employees, recently one of our employees had to go to court, and the judge actually called The Inn to check on the employee, we let them know what a great job they were doing, how they were turning their life around, and the judge threw out the charges against this person.

Give us three employee perks or benefits that you think make the company you have nominated worthy of a Best Places to Work trophy?

  • We pay a portion of employees health insurance, including for part time employees.
  • We pay higher than minimum wage and higher than the area average for our line level employees.
  • We offer discounts on food, spa services, overnight stays, etc.

If this is your company and you win, write the best headline ever for your company newsletter describing your successful selection to the list, and be as specific as you can about how you would celebrate the win if money were no object.


Tell us anything else you want about this company that you suddenly realize we haven’t asked you about, but you’re sure will be the thing that puts you squarely into the winner’s circle! (Wait a minute! Can you put a square in a circle?)

Our company culture believes in a work/life balance for all of our employees. Our vision to succeed and become the best resort in our region, offering a range of services, while making sure our community and employees can enjoy The Inn too. Our employee retention rate is well above average, a rare thing in the hospitality industry. We hope that means we are doing something right!