GILFORD – The Gunstock Inn and Fitness Center has been purchased by Les and Linda Schuster, the current operators of three Weirs Beach area lodging facilities.
Les Schuster said yesterday that he and his wife have been working on the purchase for a little over a year – or shortly after the former owners shut the doors citing a poor economy.
"Now that the economy is better, we've been able to get it all in order," said Schuster.
He said he and his wife plan on opening the hotel or lodging portion of the Inn before Christmas and are working on some Ski-and-Stay packages with the Gunstock Mountain Resort. There are 25 rooms at Gunstock Inn, Schuster said. In addition to the hotel and fitness center, the building also houses a restaurant.
Schuster said he already has similar packages involving Gunstock and his other three lodging properties – the Lazy E Motor Inn, the Bear Tree Lodge, and the Lakeside Getaway.
"We have hired a staff of four senior level employees and a housekeeper," Schuster said, noting that they are local people. "This is the most tied to the community we've ever been."
He said the restaurant will be called Schuster's Tavern and he hopes it will be serving food by February. He said they would start with dinner and add from there.
As to the Olympic-sized saltwater swimming pool, Schuster said they need to get their permits but couldn't make any applications until they officially owned the property. "That's about all that's holding us back," he said.
He said he would be "open to any uses that were in place before it closed" - including the Gunstock Stingrays who used the Gunstock Inn as its home pool until it closed but said the primary purpose of the pool would be to support the inn and its guests. Schuster said there will also be gym memberships.
Schuster said in a media release that the Gunstock Inn was originally built as barracks for workers who came to Gilford to build the Gunstock Ski Area – one of the first projects of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "New Deal" era.
He said the Inn has a history of being family owned and operated and that his family plans on doing the same thing.
Schuster said he and Linda are working with the Service Credit Union to provide the funding needed to restore the Inn to "its former glory" and to meet the needs of today's travelers and guests.
At one point, the Inn was being considered as an alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility by the owners of the Phoenix House who ultimately decided on a Northfield site for their business.