It wasn’t a huge leap for Liberty Coach founders Frank and Jeanne Konigseder to buy a lot at Hearthside Grove— two, to be precise. When they’d visit the Northern Michigan resort, they’d find themselves in good company. Sometimes, Jeanne says, she’d see 20 or more Liberty Coaches parked on adjacent lots, and she liked how good her high-end coaches looked there. There was the additional plus of the Petoskey area’s temperate climate, its natural beauty and recreational opportunities. And at Hearthside, there was always something happening at the clubhouse—entertainment options like cooking classes and movies—or the even more tempting opportunity to sit around the fire pit in peaceful surroundings, listening to the sound the small waterfall within their water feature makes.
The park complements the coach.
—Jeanne Konigseder, founder of Liberty Coach
“The park complements the coach,” she said. “It’s a very wellrun, high-end area. Everything is first class the way the Roses operate it.” The synergy doesn’t stop there. The Rose and Konigseder families met years ago when Hearthside owners Craig and Kirk Rose’s parents were buying a Liberty Coach motorhome for family travel, and have since stayed in touch. Today, both companies are still family run and in the second generation of ownership. The Konigseder’s sons, Frank Jr. and Kurt, are managing partners now, just as brothers Craig and Kirk Rose went into business with their parents and now run Hearthside. Both companies started with modest beginnings—though a decade apart, Craig notes— and found a path toward a successful luxury product. “It’s rare to find a quality product with such a high level of professionalism in a family business,” Craig notes, “being able to achieve that high level yet still maintain accessibility and contact with customers.
We set out to create a quality resort and had eyes on being the premium brand in our industry, just as they did. That’s where we both have ended up.” Liberty started when Frank Konigseder was looking for a motor coach for the family and couldn’t find one he liked. He bought an old Greyhound bus and made his own, stripping the bus to the walls and adding luxury features, one by one. The experiment was so successful that he won a contract to convert one coach a year, spending about three months on a single unit, for the company before eventually partnering with Prevost to focus on luxury Prevost bus conversions.
The success garnered early headlines like “A bus for big wheels,” and “Roll in luxury, take the Liberty bus route.” The company took off, Jeanne says, because they listened to what customers wanted and customized to fit anyone’s tastes. They made one of the more memorable units for singer Kenny Rogers; the coach dubbed “Lonely Night Saloon” was patterned after an 1800s bordello and sported stained glass windows, ornate antique fixtures and a color scheme of passionate purple and beguiling burgundy. Hearthside boasts a similar story (though Kenny Rogers hasn’t bought a lot—yet).
The resort evolved into a luxury brand by simply listening closely and providing what the clientele was looking for and also weaving in touches they discovered on their own personal travel trips, says Craig. Knowing there are so many similarities makes it particularly easy to work together, Jeanne says. “It’s a family owned business, not corporate-owned, just as we are. When you’re the owners and the only one who can answer to people, you’re extra careful about the product you produce. They do the same thing.”
If this sounds like the kind of luxury and customizability you’d like in your Class A home-away-from-home, click here for information, floor plans and images that are available in the amazing new Phase 5, here at Hearthside Grove!