Almost a year after the death of Tracy Sloat-Elliot, Robert Elliot has made decisions about the businesses the two owned and decided to start two new ones as well.
Sloat-Elliot, who died of cancer on Oct. 14, 2016, was perhaps best known for the Actor’s Lab that she opened in 1987 to teach acting and do corporate coaching.
Elliot decided to close the business.
“I just felt like there was no way anyone could step into her shoes and do it justice, and so it was time to just say goodbye to that chapter,” he says. “I’m trying to remember her in other ways.”
One way is through Sloat-Elliot’s short film “Still There,” which is a patriotic testimonial of thanks to veterans.
“One of her wishes was to get a copy to every one of the VFWs in the nation,” Elliot says. “I’m very, very slowly moving towards that goal.”
“That was something that we did together,” Elliot says. “It had lost its soul. It was too painful for me to even be in the house let alone try to be accommodating to others. It would break my heart every day to try to even attempt that.”
The inn is now closed.
Elliot also has closed his Art Effects, a decorative painting company that specializes in historic building restoration.
Instead, he’s transitioning to two other businesses.
One, Robert Elliot Studios, will focus on decorative work, design and consultation.
The second is a company he says he was inspired to start by a trip to Iowa to honor his wife at a monastery.
“I saw these beautiful icons that were made in Greece.” Elliot says.
He’s now importing the religious devotional pieces from Greece and selling them online through an e-commerce business he’s calling HeavenlyIcons.com.
“I’ve found that by keeping myself as busy as I can it’s the only way I can cope,” Elliot says. “I tend to take on too many things, but it’s better than breaking down.”
Elliot’s daughter is getting married at his inn next month.
Then he says he’ll work at getting the house ready to sell by March.
“I would like to sell it as a business.”
That will include the name, website, accommodations and furniture.
“Her vision for the house was so lovely,” Elliot says of his wife. “I don’t want it broken up. I don’t want to disperse it or try to move it into other homes. I feel like it’s better as a cohesive unit.”
The 1900 house was featured in a lot of national magazines, Elliot says.
“They were always incredibly impressed,” he says. “We had a perfect score with TripAdvisor. Every review was a five.”
It’s still rated as the No. 1 B&B in Wichita.
Elliot says he hopes someone else will carry on the inn.
“They would have something really great to start with.”