New owners recently took over the Bayview Motel here and have big plans for the location going forward.
Fort Frances native Jamie Pryde and Myles Wilcott of Pine Falls, Man. purchased the property in late December and started renovating within the first week.
“The idea is we are going to develop the Bayview into a unique experience in the rooms where it isn't your typical chain-type motel,” Pryde explained.
“The rooms will be more unique with the painted wallboard and really nice wall sconces that give it more of that cozy feel.”
The new owners said they want to provide customers with an experience that is more authentic to the area.
“We're going to re-purpose a lot of the furniture that is very classic or vintage, like nice wood headboards and tables, or things that bring out more character,” Wilcott noted.
Since purchasing the motel, Pryde and Wilcott say they feel very welcomed by the town.
“The whole community has been really supportive and rallied around us," Pryde said. ”We didn't know what to expect at first, to be honest.
“You walk down the street and everybody stops and congratulates you or asks about it—word travels fast,” he added.
The new owners first recognized the value of a local motel when trying to book a room in town for a wedding.
After searching for an accommodation to no avail, they were forced to stay at a hotel across the river in International Falls.
Since then, the two had spoken about purchasing the Bayview in passing but became more serious about the property after taking a road trip from Vancouver to San Francisco, during which they stayed at several roadside motels.
“We just kept on telling each other they miss the most simple things,” Pryde said.
“It was on the way back from the trip that we really started planning and making it a reality in our minds.”
After deciding to pull the trigger on purchasing the Bayview, the new owners got in touch with their realtor and went through the process of getting their business financed.
Pryde and Wilcott saw a lot of potential in the business and since taking over last month, they have created their own webpage as well as listed the Bayview on all the major hotel/motel booking websites.
“Most people nowadays book a room on booking.com and we made sure that we had a presence on there, as well, to drive traffic,” Pryde said.
Part of the reason the new owners purchased the Bayview was because they saw it as a business they could really grow.
“Overall, we thought it's a blank canvass," said Wilcott. "It's established but not very well-known outside of the community, so we saw an opportunity to expand the client base.”
While the new owners are pleased to host contractors, hunters, and anglers, they're also looking to expand their customer base to road-trippers, hockey parents, and others who are travelling from outside of town.
“There's just a whole market, I think, that they haven't really tapped into,” Wilcott enthused.
“In a community that's already under-served by the number of rooms [available], especially in the summer, it was just a matter of getting online, getting on the booking sites, and then getting the rooms to a standard where people will think $89-$99 a night is a great deal.”
The previous owners possessed the Bayview since 1997. The original owners, Ovide and Eva Gosselin, first built it in 1953 starting with just four rooms.
“The property was built in stages over time so a unique feature of the rooms is a lot of them have a back door and a front door,” noted Pryde.
“They also pretty much all have a different floor plan, which is really interesting, and they're very spacious compared to the newer motel rooms,” he added.
Currently, the roughly 15,000 sq. ft. motel features 29 rooms, with eight of them being kitchenette units featuring a full-service kitchen, fridge, and microwave.
The previous owners did a good job maintaining the property but Pryde and Wilcott have plans to make several cosmetic changes.
So far, the lobby has been renovated with new hardwood floors, paint, signage, window dressings, lighting, and furniture.
Every room is slated for renovations, starting with the riverview accommodations and then working their way across the property.
The newly-nenovated rooms also will feature reglazed bath tubs, new wainscotting paint, lighting, and carpeting.
As well, guests rooms will have upgraded microwaves, mini fridges, Keurig machines, coffee pods, as well as new four-star quality towels, duvets, pillows, and shower curtains.
The new owners hope to have completed renovations for five rooms by the end of the month.
New branding and exterior signage is slated for installation within the next couple of weeks.
Pryde and Wilcott also have introduced a biodegradable amenities program and guests now have the option to recycle in their room.
Hotels tend to go through a lot of amenities and packaging, and many don't offer the option to recycle, Pryde noted.
“We were very aware of this when we entered into the business, so it was important for us to not only provide our guest with an excellent product but that we also commit to being less wasteful,” he explained.
Through the biodegradable amenities program, each room contains vegetable-based soap bars with packaging that is made from recycled content.
The liquid soaps and lotions are packaged in biodegradable bottles that are paragon free with no artificial colours and are not tested on animals.
Another feature the motel offers is an amenities room space that is available to group bookings at no additional charge.
“If you have a hockey team and you need a room that has an area for the kids to have a pizza party, play video games, or watch movies, it basically has a full kitchen and a full room that we can set up that way,” Wilcott explained.
The new owners also want to convey that they are looking forward to being a part of the community and supporting it as needed.
“We've talked to the people that are organizing the homeless shelter to see if we can donate amenities and things people can use,” Wilcott noted.
“We've also already sponsored two boards in the arena to support it and take advantage of some advertising.”
“We really are just trying to reach out to be involved and get known amongst the community as being active,” he added.
Anyone interested in learning more about the motel can contact the owners at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 274-5347.