GOVERNOR SUNUNU SPEAKS ON THE BALSAMS
COLEBROOK, N.H. (December 8th, 2017)
Governor Sununu was recently interviewed by the Colebrook Chronicle, and here’s what he had to say about The Balsams.
“Chronicle: Tell us your thoughts about the Balsams Redevelopment Project in Dixville.
Sununu: I think, fundamentally, the Balsams project would be terrific. I grew up going to the Balsams. To bring it back, and to do it in a modern, sustainable way, would be a huge boon to the North Country and a huge boon to the entire state, frankly. I think the plans that Les has proposed, they’re aggressive, they’re bold, but they would be just a huge economic driver. My hope is that they’ll be submitting an application to the state fairly soon, to the Business Finance Authority, to secure the loan guarantee. They have to go through their process, make sure its viable, make sure the capital is coming with it, make sure all the different pieces are there before we can go forward to provide the loan guarantee. I talked to Les Otten maybe a month or so ago, maybe six weeks ago, so I haven’t heard too much since, but we hear rumors that the application is soon forthcoming, so I’m excited to see what they’re proposing.
Chronicle: What are some of the challenges these sorts of projects face?
Sununu: I don’t think they’re nearly as big as people think they are. If you look at some of the success, that, for example Bretton Woods has had – it’s not near any major metropolitan center, but they’re booming down there. When you build a great product, people will come, people will enjoy it. People are looking for that quality product to drive their family experiences, something that can be both affordable but comfortable, have some modern amenities tied to it – that’s exactly what Les is looking to go for. Whether it’s drawing up from the Greater Boston and Southern New Hampshire area or drawing down from Montreal and Quebec, I think it can be a great success here if done right.
Chronicle: What’s the health of the skiing industry?
Sununu: The industry is healthy. My former business, Waterville Valley – I’m not directly involved anymore – we went through a refinancing and expansion project before I left, which was great. It’s very capital intensive, so you have to keep up with the capital investments that are required, but when you do that, you can save on energy and labor and really control your costs. It’s a very high-cost business, with a very extreme revenue. So if it doesn’t snow, it really affects your revenue. But if you build things in a modern, sustainable way, you can save on your energy costs, your labor costs, those really affect a lot of what we call the fixed costs – just to stay open every day costs a lot of money. Whether it rains, or it’s just a bad day for travel, whatever it might be, you’ve got to stay open, and you’ve got to manage. The key to the business is just good management. If you manage well, if you have great relationships with your employees, if you have good customer service, you can be successful, without a doubt.”
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