Commentary by Bill Buchanan
Janis Clapoff is leaving the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, and I hate it. She gave me the news Monday night while I was at Jimmy’s Pub enjoying food and football. I didn’t enjoy much of either after I heard she was leaving.
Janis is a special person, and I will miss her a great deal. I will miss her straightforwardness and her sense of humor. I will miss our lunches together, her 2:30 a.m. e-mails, and her “lead-follow-or-get-the-hell-out-of-the-way” attitude.
The first time I really sat down and talked to Janis was when I started running the newspaper on a day-to-day basis. She knew I was moving to town, and asked me how I was settling in. I told her that Ava had ordered a lot of things I would need, and Victoria Adam had been a big help in setting up my apartment. She asked me what I was missing. I told her I was pretty well set on everything but bed linens, as they were on back order. “We can fix that!” Janis erupted. “We have a lot of sheets!” Janis immediately arranged to loan me a wonderful set of sheets. How can you not love that?
Janis has been dedicated to running a world-class facility in a community she loves. She was instrumental in launching the popular Arts and Leisure Series. Proceeds from some of those events went to local groups such as the Ojai Valley Youth Foundation and the Ojai Education Foundation. She has worked tirelessly to make the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa a partner with the local community. I know that whatever Janis decides to do, it will be done with her trademark professionalism and style, and I wish her the very best.
A banker friend of mine told me a story once about the boss he worked for, whom he called the meanest man in America. An old gentleman also worked at the bank, and had been there for a very long time. He was well-known and liked by the entire community. One day he died unexpectedly, and my friend mourned to his boss, “How will we ever replace Mr. Joe?”
Without missing a beat, his boss said, “The cemetery is full of irreplaceable people.”
His boss was right. People come and go, and life goes on. The inn is a world-class organization, and a top-flight manager will be hired. Resort manager Shaun O’Bryan will act as interim director. Shaun is a great guy, and will do an excellent job. So the Ojai Valley Inn will go on, and the Earth will continue to rotate on its axis as it travels around the sun.
But it’s all going to be a lot less fun without Janis around.