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**If you know a "Smart Woman" or if you think you have an interesting Smart Woman topic, you can contact Candice at email@example.com.**Candice Madsen reporting
Margo Provost gave up a successful career as a health care and technology executive to renovate a Utah landmark. But it took more than she ever imagined to get it reopened.
Log Haven has been a magnet for romance since in was built in 1920, and renovating it became a true labor of love for Margo. In fact, it was a romance that got her started on the project in the first place.
"That property is really special. There's a magic to it," Margo said.
Nestled in Mill Creek Canyon, Log Haven is a sanctuary where many cherished events have occurred. "So many people in the community told me stories of Sunday brunch with grandma, weddings and anniversaries, engagements, graduations; over and over memories that Utahns had at Log Haven," Margo explained.
But during the late 1980s, Log Haven fell into disrepair. Margo's new husband saw the property and thought of his wife. "He called me one day when I was traveling in Houston and said, ‘I found something for you to do,' and it was this rundown, due to be torn down (it was actually condemned) log structure in the middle of the Wasatch Mountains," she said.
But she says she was crazy in love with her husband and wanted to see more of him. So, she quit the high-paying job that required her to travel and bought the place with no restaurant experience. "If a hundred other people have done it, then I can do it," she said.
Margo thought she had a great business model, but things quickly unraveled when her general contractor got hepatitis.
Then she ran into problems with her financing. She was forced to sell everything she owned to keep the project afloat. "I turned in my retirement. I sold my homes, ran up my credit cards, sold cars, everything to keep this project moving," Margo explained.
After extensive renovation, Log Haven reopened in 1994. Margo's ability to pull off the remarkable turnaround has been recognized nationally, and Log Haven is consistently considered among the best restaurants in Utah.
Margo is grateful she took a chance and left corporate America behind. "I didn't have enough of that warmth and nurturing capability. I think that's where Log Haven came in for me because it's nature, it's nourishment and it's nurturing," she said.
The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce recently honored Margo with the 2007 Athena Award for her dedication to the community and her willingness to mentor many other women business owners.
For more information about Log Haven click the related link.