Our Community - Carla and Wayne Fossen - "Living the 'sweet' life in San Pedro"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 18            May 15, 2003

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Wayne and Carla Fossen

A wise man once said, he that takes big risks gets big rewards. San Pedro Town is full of individuals who take a leap at successfully making a life on a tropical island. Wayne and Carla Fossen of Sweet Basil are a couple of these people who are living their dream, serving scrumptious delicacies to island residents and visitors.  

    Wayne's hometown is Vancouver, Washington where he was born on September 26th, 1947 to Clarence and Clarice Fossen. He was one of four children raised by two hard-working parents; his mother was a surgical nurse and his father worked for an aluminum company. Wayne's parents lived in Vancouver for most of his younger years, where he attended Hough Elementary School until he was 12 and then Shumway Junior High. Wayne finished his last two years at Columbia River High School.

    Wayne attended Clark College in Vancouver for six months before enlisting in the United States Air Force in 1966. He served his country for four years flying B-52s. Following his military service, Wayne received on-the-job training as a loan officer at Lomas and Nettleton Mortgage Company in Vancouver. In 1974, after he had obtained the necessary skills and experience required, he opened a new branch of People's Mortgage in Portland, Oregon. It was during this time that Wayne met and married Carla Rumfield.

    Carla was born in Tyler Town, Mississippi, a town the size of San Pedro, on January 2nd, 1953. Her parents, Carlie and Emma Rumfield, owned a little grocery shop. Carla attended Salem Elementary School until she was 12 and finished her secondary education at Tyler Town Junior/Senior High School. When Carla graduated, she moved to Baton Rouge where she attended Louisiana State University (LSU) for one year, before moving to Portland, Oregon.

     Over the years, Carla and Wayne moved to different cities across the United States and were employed by a variety of mortgage companies. This gave her the experience necessary for speedy promotions. Carla started as a receptionist and was promoted to loan officer. When the couple moved to Seattle, she opened a new branch for Well's Fargo Mortgage Company. Carla was the District Manager for almost 15 years, responsible for the Oregon, Washington and Idaho offices. Each time she was employed by a new company, it merged with Well's Fargo, so in the end, Carla ended staying with Well's Fargo throughout most of her career.

     In Denver, Colorado, Wayne left People's Mortgage Company for an opportunity to become an area manager at Well's Fargo, but after four years of working for the company, Wayne decided that it was time to take a risk. Wayne and Carla proceeded to open their own business called Diamond Mortgage Company. For the next seven years, they were happy to be their own bosses and to manage their own time, until PNC Mortgage made them an offer they could not refuse. The couple sold the business but remained with PNC Mortgage under contract for the next year to show the new owners the ropes. In 1997, another lucrative opportunity presented itself to Wayne, so he and Carla made the decision to move once more. They relocated to San Ramon, California where Wayne worked for Chase Manhattan Mortgage Company for the following three years.

    In August of 2000, with their children Angela-Dawn, Anthony-Wayne and Daniel CJ grown and out of the house, Wayne and Carla were free to travel. The couple visited a travel agent, who recommended the beautiful island of Ambergris Caye. After only three days in San Pedro Town, the couple found they were so impressed with the "beauty, way of life, and the people," that they decided to make it a regular vacation spot and bought a condo. A few months after returning to their home in California, Wayne and Carla realized that San Pedro would be a "fantastic place to live." To their delight, another opportunity arose, when they learned that one of their favorite restaurants might possibly be for sale. Within eight months, the couple "sold, gave or threw away" everything they owned and moved.

    Currently, Wayne and Carla are the proud owners of Sweet Basil, a restaurant located across the river in Tres Cocos, just north of San Pedro. Sweet Basil is a luncheon retreat that specializes in serving everything from gourmet pasta dishes, salads, imported wines, pates and cheeses, right down to the "good ole' American cheeseburger." When the couple is not busy working to make their new business a success, Carla takes part in the Ambergris Caye Chamber of Commerce, and Wayne is a member of the Citizen's Safety Committee (an ex-vice chairman). Wayne and Carla have also taken time to appreciate their environment and community, taking short walks on the beach, snorkeling, swimming, sitting on the balcony, going to Maruba for mud baths, in addition to belonging to the newly-established Wine-Down Club.

    Wayne and Carla would like to extend their appreciation to the people of San Pedro for their acceptance and support and for allowing them a "taste" of what it is like to be a part of "Our Community."

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