Member Spotlight: The Wayside Inn

The Wayside Inn opened in Bethlehem around the 1910s with current owner Sarah Levy taking over in August 2017.

Tell us about your experience in the hospitality industry.
Sarah went to college in Philadelphia where she stayed to work for Marriott Hotels. Within six years she worked her way up from bar tender to hotel general manager and ended up at a Marriott near her hometown of Hopkinton, Massachusetts.

When Sarah left Mariott, she worked on cruise ships and river boats for American Cruise Lines, then returned to Mass where she took a 9 to 5 job at a hospitality company in Boston. The company was soon to close, so “I was trying to figure out what to do next,” Sarah explained. “Owning an inn and restaurant has been a dream of mine since I was 14 years old.”

Revisiting her dream, Sarah had searches flagged on websites that would email her when a lodging property came up for sale in the New England area. That’s when she found The Wayside Inn.

Why did you decide to purchase The Wayside Inn?
“It’s extremely beautiful and has a ton of potential,” revealed Sarah. “It was so close to Lincoln where I would come as a kid. I came, looked at it, fell in love, and placed my offer.”

Tell us about what you offer, including your restaurant, at The Wayside Inn.
The inn has 26 rooms and a menu Sarah came up with that has been tweaked by Chef Josh Beemer, a Colorado Springs native who has been an executive chef for several years, most recently in Portsmouth before joining The Wayside Inn.

According to Sarah, the food is upscale American fare. “It’s really important to me that my hotel guests can find something they like on the menu,” she explained. “We haven’t pigeonholed it to one type of genre and change the menu seasonally to mix it up for the locals. We also try to add all kinds of new specials so people have something new to try.”

The restaurant overlooks the Ammonoosuc River, and with the addition of a new patio, will have outdoor seating within the next few weeks. The Wayside Inn is also now open for lunch Saturday through Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a Sunday brunch menu served from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

What do you love about the Littleton area?
“I love the energy here and how peaceful it is,” said Sarah. “Since I’ve moved here I’ve really come to love the community and the people. I feel truly lucky. I’ve definitely been embraced by the Bethlehem community as well as in Twin Mountain and Littleton. I love the scenery, the nature, and to be able to go hiking.

When you find a few moments in your busy schedule, what do you love to do?
Aside from hiking, Sarah is a foodie who tries to eat out once a week. She’s tried the restaurants in Bethlehem and is now working her way through Littleton. She also tried skiing for the first time last winter.

NH Legislative Updates – June 2018

 

From the New Hampshire Travel Council. For a list of all the bills the NH Travel Council is following, click here.

The New Hampshire Legislative session came to an unofficial close this past Wednesday.  I say unofficial because the Legislature will most likely come back for a day to deal with veto messages from the Governor.  That will take place either in early June or they may wait until late August/September.

On Wednesday the two chambers voted on the Committee of Conference (CoC) reports that were finalized last week.  While most of the 60 bills that went to a CoC were passed by both chambers there were a few that did not pass.

Below is a summary of the final outcome of some of the key bills we were monitoring.

YOUTH EMPLOYMENT:  SB 318  This bill originally dealt with repealing certain provisions of the youth employment law governing the employment of youths 16 and 17 years of age.  The bill was amended several times throughout the legislative process and was eventually adopted by both chambers and it addresses other labor laws in addition to youth labor laws.   The final version establishes criteria under which the commissioner of the Department of Labor may conduct a workplace inspection; amends certain notification and posting requirements; amends certain provisions of the youth employment law; and amends the requirements for employer retention of hour and wage records.

Regarding youth labor laws, the bill now allows 16 and 17 year olds to work 30 hours a week during a 5 day school week, 40 ¼ hours a week during a 4 day school week, and 48 hours during a school week with at least 1 but no more than 3 school days.

The bill also addressed an ongoing issue between employees and their employer concerning uniforms for the work place.  The law now states (change is underlined): “Uniform” means a garment with a company logo or fashion of distinctive design, worn by one or more employees, and serving as a means of identification or distinction.  No employer shall require an employee to wear a uniform unless the employer provides each employee with a uniform reasonably suited for the conditions in which the employee would be required to wear one, at no cost to the employee.  An employee may purchase any other company garments or items if the employee chooses.

FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE:  HB 628 establishes a system of paid family and medical leave insurance. After passing the House by a slim margin, the full Senate voted along party lines to interim study this bill 14-10.  An interim study vote is the polite way of killing a bill in the second year of the session. This bill would have created a paid medical leave program funded by and employee payroll reduction.  The benefit would have been for 6 weeks and the program was optional in that you could opt-out at the time of being hired.

UNUSED VACATION TIME: HB 1201, relative to an employee’s earned but unused vacation time.  This bill requires an employer to pay its employees for earned but unused vacation time.  After passing the House by a slim margin this bill headed over to the Senate.  The full Senate voted to kill the bill on a voice vote.

MEDICAID EXPANSION:   SB 313  As drafted, the bill establishes the New Hampshire Granite Advantage Health Care Program which shall replace the current New Hampshire health protection program.  Under this program, those individuals eligible to receive benefits under Medicaid and newly eligible adults will choose coverage offered by one of the managed care organizations contracted as vendors under the Medicaid program.  For the first time, this measure would claim 5 percent of state liquor sales profits to serve as a taxpayer match for the New Hampshire Granite Care Advantage Health Care Program. This bill has passed both chambers and is going to the Governor’s office.

CAMPGROUNDS:  SB 501, relative to immunity for campground owners.  This bill provides immunity for campground owners, except for intentional acts or omissions which cause death or injury.  The bill passed the Senate with an amendment by a voice vote.  When the bill went over to the House it met strong head winds in the House Judiciary Committee, where it was recommended inexpedient to legislate (ITL).  The full House adopted that recommendation by a vote of 170-101.  There was a last ditch effort by the sponsor of the bill, Sen. Avard, to tack this bill onto to a House Bill which he succeeded to do in the Senate.  Unfortunately, when it went back to the House Judiciary Committee, they recommended that the full House non-concur with the Senate change.

WORK SCHEDULES:  SB 422, relative to advance notice of work schedules.  This bill requires an employer to give 14 days’ advance notice of work schedules to its employees.  This bill gained some Republican support on the Senate floor, but was ultimately tabled.  A bill being tabled in effect kills the bill, but still needs monitoring as it can be taken off the table at any time (with a simple majority), but in this case I believe it went on the table to die.

MEALS AND ROOMS TAX :  HB 1609  This bill allows towns and cities to adopt an additional surcharge under the meals and rooms tax on hotel occupancy within the town or city and deposit the funds collected by the department of revenue administration and paid to the town or city into a capital reserve fund, revolving fund, or other special revenue fund.  This again had support from the City of Portsmouth as well as others from that area.  The full committee voted to recommend this bill inexpedient to legislate (ITL) by a vote of 14-7.  This bill was killed on the House floor this past week.

HIGHWAY SIGNS:  SB 400, relative to traveler information signs on highways.  This bill provides that the fee charged to a nonprofit organization for advertising space on a limited access highway shall be limited to the initial cost of the sign or its replacement. The full Senate voted to pass the bill.  The bill was amended to provide that the fee for non-profits only be enough to cover the cost of the sign.  Over on the House side the House Public Works and Highways Committee voted to recommend that this bill be killed 18-0.  The full House killed this bill.

BUSINESS TAXES:  HB 1292, relative to the effective dates of changes to the rates for the business profits tax and the business enterprise tax.  This bill changes the effective dates of the rate reductions to the business profits tax and the business enterprise tax to the beginning of the respective calendar year. In essence it bumped up the start date for the next round of business tax cuts by 6 months.  Starting January 1, 2019 the business profit tax will decrease from 7.9% to 7.7% and the business enterprise tax will decrease from .675% to .60%.

Member Spotlight: Lincoln Sign Company

 

Lincoln Sign Company has been crafting custom wood signs since 1972. We spoke with owner Roy Whitaker about his business, which he purchased in 2015.

Why did you decide to purchase a sign company?
Roy is a serial entrepreneur who has lived in many places. He has been visiting northern New Hampshire since 2002, and a position with New England Disabled Sports brought him to the North Country permanently. “I wanted to be in the mountains,” explained Roy. “It was an opportunity to move in a different direction than where my life was at the time.”

While living and visiting northern New Hampshire, Roy “Noticed the awesome signs around the area that Lincoln Sign had made and I saw the opportunity to continue the craftsmanship tradition.” Although the business wasn’t officially for sale, a conversation with the owner at a BBQ piqued his interest in purchasing the business.

What services and products do you offer?
Lincoln Sign Company is a full-service sign shop offering custom signs of all kinds, banners, and vehicle lettering. They’re known for their carved and dimensional sign work. They also offer design services for the graphics to be used on their products, as well as installation and maintenance services.

Tell us about your expansion!
Lincoln sign is set to relocate to a new building in the Lincoln Industrial Park this summer. According to Roy, “The current shop was founded in 1972 and we’re going to expand by almost three times the footprint, which will give us the opportunity to make more signs. We expect to increase capacity by 40%. Right now we have to start a sign and can’t move it until after the paint dries. With our new space, we won’t have to worry about carving wood on one side of the building and painting on the other.”

Volunteerism
Lincoln Sign Company joined the Littleton Area Chamber of Commerce in 2015. Roy also serves as the President of the Western White Mountains Chamber of Commerce and the Vice President of Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country.

Which town do you live in?
North Woodstock

What do you love about the Littleton area?
Roy loves the access to outdoor recreation, such as skiing, mountain biking, and hiking.

Member Spotlight: Northern Lights Music

Northern Lights Music has been a highlight on Main Street, Littleton since 1978. We spoke with owners Dan and Moocho Salomon about their business.

Why did you decide to open a music store?
Dan was waiting for Moocho to finish up her degree at Franconia College since he was a semester ahead. He opened up a teaching studio in Littleton while he was waiting. It had accessories and a few instruments to supply his students.

Dan thought that with the student population at Franconia college that there would be a market for a small music/teaching studio. Unfortunately, the year Northern Lights Music was born Franconia College closed its doors. Of course, the store has evolved over its 40 year lifespan starting as a music store, then selling everything from satellite dishes to stereo equipment and then going back to  its roots as a music store which is what it does today.

What services and products do you offer?
The store offers some of the finest guitars in the country now, from luthiers from across America. Collings from Austin Texas, Santa Cruz from California, Bourgeois Guitars from Lewiston, Maine and National and Fender are just some of the companies that are represented today. The store supplies accessories, does repairs and even supplies some fun things for the tourists on Main Street who wander in. The store’s website is an important component of our store today and people can “visit” the store virtually before traveling to see the Main Street location. Northern Lights also ships nationally as the website offers a great up-close representation of what’s in stock for guitars.

 

What roles do each of your family members play in the business?
Dan is the founder and is alway sought for his expertise and wealth of knowledge on all things guitar. Moocho keeps the eye on merchandise, displays, and the retail image. Sons Asher and Ben have been around the store all their young lives and have been working in the business since college. Asher is the videographer for the store’s YouTube page and photographer for the website. He and Ben both are great salesmen and bring essential youthful enthusiasm to the store. Their ability to do IT work has been an important contribution to the store. Everyone in the family is a musician.

 

 

Which town do you live in?
Bethlehem

 What do you love about the Littleton area?
Dan and Mooch always wanted to stay in the area after the College closed. They have always loved hiking, skiing and swimming in the rivers, loving the White Mountains and the quality of life up here. Littleton has always been the center of commerce for the area and it has been interesting and exciting to see its evolution. When we started out it still had Saranac Gloves and JJ Newberry. Now there are hip little shops and a great art and music scene.

How long have you been a Chamber member?
We’ve been a member of the Littleton Area Chamber since the beginning of the store in 1978. We just thought, as we were starting out, that that was the right thing to do.

Are you doing anything fun to commemorate your 40th anniversary?
We will have a celebration for the 40th on June 21st!

Member Spotlight: Thayers Inn

In the early 1840’s Henry L. Thayer was a successful Littleton merchant in the early 1840s. He had always dreamed of building a modern hotel with character. Despite warnings of failure, the dream started taking shape in 1843 when he purchased the lot just east of his store. Although the exact year construction began is unknown, sources indicate January 14, 1850 as opening day for “Thayer’s White Mountain Hotel.” Thayer’s found success not long after when the railroad came to Littleton in 1852.

Additionally, stagecoaches were owned and operated by Thayer to transport guests between the hotel and the train depot as well as on tours of Franconia and Crawford Notches.

Henry L. “Dad” Thayer and his son Frank operated the hotel into the late 1800’s. In 1984, “Thayer’s White Mountain Hotel” became simply “Thayers Inn.”

With its Greek revival architecture and commanding position on Main Street Littleton, the hotel maintains a long history of hosting Presidents, leading politicians, celebrities and other notable dignitaries. Slanted doors and crooked floors add character to the building and is testament to its heritage and post and beam construction. Today the hotel comprises of 35 bedrooms and suites, Grill One Eleven restaurant – serving lunch and dinner, and space for private and corporate events.