Monday, February 22, 2021


What makes your inn unique? What makes your inn memorable? What makes your inn marketable? A strong USP. Your Unique Selling Proposition.

Any time I speak about the Norumbega Inn in Camden, inevitably the response is "OH, the castle, I know that one!".  

Norumbega is an architectural wonder!

I personally know from my inn ownership, how important having a USP is. 

My inn, although 8 rooms, was very small. Small common space, postage stamp lot, very non-stately from the exterior. Don't get me wrong, it was cute, but nothing was visually memorable. As a result, I had to create my USP because mine wasn't inherent. So mine became about my food (and to some extent the water view and private decks on some rooms). I always felt I had to overcompensate for not having that stately, wow factor curb appeal.

So when I had the opportunity to list this magnificent 'castle by the sea' in Camden, I thought to myself 'wow, talk about not having to create your USP when you have one built in you can just expand upon'...

The curbside recognition of such a unique property is something I wish I had, and that's just on the exterior. 


Check out the listing details full property photo album on my website, and contact me with any questions!

Hesitant to take on an Inn with a renown restaurant business?

While Hartstone Inn's restaurant has long been a staple in the restaurant scene in Maine, and with nationwide recognition, the lodging side of the business is very strong for the industry. 

In 2019, the rooms side of the business represented nearly 70% of the revenue and their room occupancy is a near match at 68%. 

The national occupancy for hotels in 2019 was 66%, keeping in mind this is driven a great deal by the large cities with national brand hotels. The typical small inn or B&B with 4-11 rooms sees an average occupancy around 45%. 

So Hartstone Inn, Restaurant and Hideaway is well positioned in the market, with a strong lodging business and restaurant small enough to manage but busy enough to supplement the income and help fill rooms. The lodging side of the business has far greater margin than the restaurant side, making this scenario ideal for someone hesitant to take on a restaurant with such a reputation. Just small enough for intimate dining on a smaller scale, with the much greater bottom line on the rooms side. Any way you look at this business, it's strong.

Built in 1835, the architecturally splendid Hartstone Inn and Hideaway is an enchanting escape in the heart of Camden. The Hartstone building is a fine example of a Mansard Victorian which features an iconic slate mansard roof with dormer windows and brackets which are the hallmark of the style.

This property offers three unique buildings, with 22 lovely rooms and suites and 1 apartment rental, with beautiful gardens and their well known, on-site 20 seat restaurant and bar, which is located in the Hartstone building.

For more information, check out the listing on my website and download the offering.

Contact me with any questions!

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

NEW CASH INCENTIVE FOR BUYERS (& potential benefit to existing loans)


In an effort to assist the hardest hit industries due to Covid-19, The 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act has been signed into law with some truly amazing changes to the SBA 504 Program:

  • With the exception of 504 loans approved between 9/27/2020 and 2/1/2021, all existing SBA 504 borrowers not on deferment or catch-up will receive an additional three months of payment assistance beginning February 2021, capped at $9,000 per month per borrower
  • After the three-month period, borrowers considered underserved will receive an additional five months of payment subsidies capped at $9,000 per month for borrowers in the hardest hit industries, including food service and accommodation, arts, entertainment, recreation, education, laundry, and personal care services with the following NAICS 213, 315, 448, 451,481, 485, 487, 511, 512, 532, 61, 71, 72 or 812.
  • Payment subsidies for six months will resume for new SBA 504 loans approved between February 1 and September 30, 2021, capped at $9,000 per month, per borrower.
  • The 0.5% Bank, SBA Participation Fee and the 1.5% CDC Processing Fee will be waived for all loans approved between December 28, 2020 through September 30, 2021. 
The timing of the following changes is still pending:
  • Any CDC with ALP status, including CDC New England, will be given unilateral authority to approve, authorize, close, and service SBA 504 loans up to $500,000, which will significantly speed up the approval process not only for loans this size, but for larger loans that still need to be submitted to the SBA. 
Big changes to SBA 504 Debt Refinancing:
  • SBA 504 “Debt Refinancing with Expansion” will change. Previously, you needed $2.00 in new debt for every $1.00 in existing debt. Now, it is a 1 to 1 ratio. This program has always allowed for refinancing of existing SBA 504 and 7A loans.
  • SBA 504 “Debt Refinancing without Expansion” has always allowed for a limited amount of cash out, but you could not refinance if there was existing SBA 504 or 7A debt. Now you can. Also, the debt only needs to be on the books for six months rather than 2 years. In the past, all payments had to be 30 days or less past due for the previous 12 months. This requirement will be dropped and it will become a credit decision.
  • The existing senior lender (bank, credit union, etc.) tied to an SBA 504 loan will be allowed to refinance their loans and include some level of cash out for business operating expenses. This provision will provide critically needed working capital.


Contact me and I can put you in touch with an SBA approved lender!
As of the date of this post, the incentive was 6 months. As of today, they may have modified this to 3 months plus paid closing costs.