NORTH CREEK - It's almost impossible to discuss businesses on Main Street in North Creek without talking about the Copperfield Inn.
The closing of the Copperfield over a year ago left a considerable void in the local economy with the disappearance of jobs, the closing of a popular tavern, and the loss of already scarce hotel rooms for visitors.
But on Monday, Dec. 29, the Copperfield Inn officially changed hands and has set its sights on combining past success with new business tactics. It will reopen on Monday, Feb. 2, under the ownership of The Copperfield Inn Resorts LLC, after a thorough refurbishing and remodeling effort.
An "investment group" lead by Michael Ellis and Joel Beaudin, was formed earlier this year with the intent of purchasing the property from Mr. Elliott Montor.
In 1989, Montor built the Copperfield on the site of the former American Hotel at the northern end of Main Street.
"The Copperfield Inn features 31 guest rooms, including two suites, an exercise club and spa, outdoor pool, grand ballroom, meeting rooms, restaurant, and tavern," a recent press release said.
"The restaurant will be renamed Lorenzo's (formerly The Gardens) and will feature a menu of Italian cuisine. The popular Trapper's Tavern will undergo expansion and will continue it's lite fare menu and drink specials. In addition to the restaurant and tavern, the Inn and Resort will focus it's business on providing packaged Adirondack vacations and hosting weekend travelers, meetings, weddings, special events and banquets."
The hotel's success will be aided by a sophisticated website featuring online booking services - a first for the property.
"The Inn's not necessarily a new Copperfield Inn - we see it more as a revitalization," Dick Carlson, Copperfield Inn Marketing Director, said in a recent interview. "I think the real vision of Michael and Joel's, and really all of the investors, is there is such an eclectic community of investors versus prior ownership. I think it will help the Copperfield Inn find much more of a local niche than it ever had before."
Each of the investors will have a certain level of input on the future of the business. The property was purchased for $1.5m and carries an estimated replacement value of $7.6m - an obviously appealing opportunity for any savvy investor.
"In that respect - it was a bargain," Carlson said.
Selections of core and key staff positions are nearly complete and include a mix of local and regional residents. The Inn's management has focused on hiring locally whenever possible.
Room rates will be considerably lower in comparison to the rates set by the prior owner and the facility will negotiate rates in response to market demand and regional trends.
"The key season for the Copperfield will be the wintertime," Carlson said. "Gore is going to drive that business. Alpine skiers tend to enjoy more upscale facilities and the Copperfield's rooms are well appointed.
"To me, being that close to the skiing [on Gore Mountain] is incredibly advantageous."
Referring to the overall lack of rooms in the region and the reality that many weekend skiers are forced to stay in Lake George or further south - Carlson is confident of their future success.
"I think we have a distinct advantage in the winter season," he added. "Our slogan is: We only look expensive."
The business promises to have more of a distinctive Adirondack personality than it did under the previous owners as well.
"The real push for the Copperfield will be Adirondack," Carlson said. "With the renovations we are making I think the property will speak a little more of the area and some of its history."
Referring to the Copperfield's dual role in support of Main Street businesses and as an additional source of future competition - Carlson is confident that the overall effect will be positive.
"I think people want things to do that are nearby and close," he said. "So walking to shopping and walking to another local business is not a disadvantage to us at all."
He maintains that putting visitors on Main Street will serve to benefit all area businesses - not just the Copperfield Inn.
As an example, The Copperfield recently hired Gore Mountain Taxi to provide local shuttle bus service. The service will loop between The Summit, along Main Street, The Copperfield, and Gore Mountain, on an hourly schedule.
"I'm still impressed with the number of people that are around," Carlson concluded.
The Copperfield will host a grand opening event with the date to be determined.