Thirty-Nine Grand Years
Thirty-Nine Grand Years
Not many people can say they have worked at one company for nearly 40 years and during that time met their husband, worked alongside their children, and made lifelong friends, but at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, that’s the case for Teresa Bantien.
Teresa (née Blanchard) Bantien started working in the Health Club at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in 1981. As a 19-year-old, she held the role of desk supervisor. “I started at the Resort when we were a Hilton Hotel and construction was just starting on the Tower,” Bantien says. The Health Club featured racquetball and volleyball courts, and only one indoor pool. “It’s grown so much over the years.”
Like the Resort and its growth over the years, Teresa grew with it, working in other departments and creating new relationships. In 1981 she met Rick Bantien, a front desk supervisor. “I saw him every day when I went to drop off money in the safety deposit box. There had to be two sets of eyes on it. It was always mine and his.” According to Rick, who has also been at the Resort for 39 years, Teresa invited him out with a group of coworkers and their relationship quickly took off. “I knew I was going to marry her,” says Rick. The two got married in October 1983. In 1986, Teresa was pregnant with their first child. Early hours and physical labor in the Health Club became difficult while pregnant so Teresa moved over to Human Resources to work as a data processor before welcoming their son Ricky that November. “After Ricky was born I just kind of stayed in that department,” Teresa says. “I helped input new hires, screen applicants and occasionally assisted with terminations.” In 1991, Rick and Teresa celebrated the birth of their daughter, Sarah.
Human Resources is the department Teresa has spent the most time during her 39 years at the Resort. She has also worked in payroll and spent nearly 20 years in banquets as a server when needed. Most recently, Teresa worked as the food and beverage controller, costing out menus, doing inventories for all outlets and stores, fulfilling purchase orders for food, non-food, and beverages, and training new managers.
Teresa says the people at the Resort is what has made the last 39 years so special. “I love the people here. It’s like a big family.” That statement could not be truer for her and Rick. Their son Ricky spent time in purchasing and helped in banquet setup, and currently works as a bell captain at the bell stand. Their daughter Sarah was a lifeguard in the Health Club, worked in housekeeping and helped at the bell stand when her brother was in a pinch. Sarah’s husband has also worked at the Resort. “Working with family is special. Our kids got to see firsthand if you work hard you can prosper.”
Teresa also noted many changes over the years, some good, some bad, but a lot of great ones. “I miss the concerts. Those were huge for us.” Back in the ‘90s, concerts were a hit at the Resort, bringing in names like REO Speedwagon. “We would have them up on the hill near the water tower with a huge stage. We had barriers up and sold beers. It was a phenomenal money maker for us and a lot of fun,” Teresa recalls. Teresa also remembers when Jack Nicklaus visited for the opening of The Bear golf course. But one of the most notable changes to come out of Teresa’s 39 years is when the Resort was acquired by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. “If you have a good owner that invests in you, you’re going to soar.” Teresa says the Tribe not only invested in the property, bringing in millions of capital improvements and growth, but they also invested in the employees. That stood out this past March when COVID-19 shutdown nearly all operations at the Resort, but the Tribe continued to take care of staff, paying everyone full wages and benefits for nearly two months. “We can never thank them enough for what they did.”
October 29, 2020 is Teresa’s last day at the Resort, just a few months shy of celebrating 40 years. “I’ve loved it here. It’s a great place to work.” Teresa is looking forward to spending more time with her three grandkids and working as a deli supervisor at a market in Elk Rapids. Just like the Resort Tower is an iconic landmark in northern Michigan, Teresa Bantien is, and will always be, an icon within the Resort.