Main Street Schroon Lake and Beyond: How Do We Grow?

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The year round 21 room Inn at Manchester. On a busy road, not near water.

There is a lively discussion on Dave Peterson’s Schroon Lake Facebook Page following a question posed by Bucky Buchholtz: "Question for everyone both residents and visitors. What is a small local owned (not a franchise) business Main Street is missing? "

There are some terrific responses: from dental care, to a sports gear store to any number of new restaurants.

But it was a question from ‪Jamie Mehm‪ that caught our attention. Jamie asked: “What we should be asking is why the tennis courts and ice hockey rink need a lake view in the middle of town. There's other places in town those two places could have gone. Which could then open up prime real estate to businesses.”

This got me thinking  -- and here’s my response to Jamie:

“Jamie -- there are plans in the future to make the town ice rink something magical. That's town land and it's not going to be sold. Here is the big "BIG" question and something that we all must think about. Imagine, for a moment, that an affordable chain motel were to be built and opened on land near the Northway. Let's say it's a Holiday Inn Express. And it has an indoor pool.

And then we have a "go to" motel, that folks will -- wait for it: “go to". It's important to note that when folks travel, the majority want accommodations equal or better to where they spend their everyday lives. (Of course that's excluding campers, and those who love summer camps).

So, we’d have a year round motel, we have sledding and ice fishing, and we assume a nice little ice rink. We'd have our ski tow and we'd have options for folks to make to the 35 minute drive to Gore or 60 minute drive to Whiteface. There's Craig Kennedy's sled rental business and nearby horse and carriage rides”.

There’s more: Up the road is the award winning Paradox Brewery. And, if plans are true, a massive equestrian, hiking and snowmobile hub.

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And here's what happens next: We have folks here with families in the winter who have a nice place to stay. With awesome cold weather activities. And craft beer!

This is by no means a knock on our great B&Bs and cabins. Not at all. It's hard hosting a family of five (2 adults and three kids -- which seems to be the norm) in the WINTER here in Schroon on a LARGE scale. So -- if and when a motel is built -- then the Chamber has a base to build upon for new Winter Events and more Summer visitors. The result? Our current roster of restaurants is full, our stores packed and maybe, just maybe, others will take over those empty shop fronts. And as word spreeds about Schroon, our B&Bs and rental cabins get new customers. And those new storeowners will have kids that will go to the Schroon Lake Central School. And that's a huge deal for our "Blue Ribbon" school.

Schroon has so much potential, but we need to move forward to survive as a town. And here, I'm about to say something that may offend many folks. I don't want to hear about how "We want Schroon to stay just the same.” If we "stay the same"  -- that’s  just a slow death march to the Tops closing, Hudson Headquarters relocating, and our drug store saying "see ya". And here is a hat tip  to the unsung heroes of what makes Schroon and Paradox such amazing places: AN ENORMOUS SHOUT OUT TO THE VOLUNTEERS OF THE SCHROON LAKE ASSOCIATION, THE EAST SHORE SCHROON LAKE ASSOCIATION AND THE PARADOX LAKE ASSOCIATION. Without the efforts of their tireless volunteers, our lakes, which so many take for granted, would be an overgrown mess of milfoil and god knows what else. And don't forget, it's our pristine waters that make our lakes so special. Any whoo, back to my original premise: 

While a chain motel with Northway exposure would be terrific, the following is an example of what would be perfect for Schroon. And it’s not a chain motel and it’s not lakeside. It’s in Manchester, Vermont, a town we really like.

The Inn at Manchester Family Welcomes You: At the Inn at Manchester, the pleasures are simple. Awake to the sweet smell of a home-cooked breakfast wafting into your room, enjoy a front row view of the Green Mountains from a rocking chair on our classic front porch, curl up with a good book next to one of our many fireplaces, take a dip in our secluded pool or warm up with a cocktail in our cozy, living-room-style pub with old and new friends.

You’ll find us nestled in a valley between the Taconic and Green Mountains on four sprawling acres, just minutes from Manchester, Vermont’s charming downtown. Our southern Vermont community is teaming with talented people and surprises at every turn. Browse local galleries, cast a fly in the famed Battenkill and Mettawee rivers, hike, bike, ski, shop and more.

Choose from one of our 21 thoughtfully appointed guestrooms – including 12 suites – each with their own distinct character, including some with private fireplaces and sitting rooms. There’s a reason we are an intimate, family owned and operated inn: we love to get to know our guests personally. So make yourself at home… and stay awhile.

What do you think ? Share your thoughts in our comment section.