Queens Mountain Inn latest venture for Roxbury business owners
By Brian Sweeney
Four years after establishing an art gallery on Roxbury’s Main Street and a year since launching a café, Martin Lerner and his wife, Yung Yung Tsuai, have ventured into the lodging business with the opening of the Queens Mountain Inn.
The inn opened its doors over the July 4 weekend and business has been brisk, according to Martin. The inn, which has four rooms — the King Suite, Queen Suite, Blue Room and the Yellow Room — is located in the same building as the gallery and café.
“I’m a firm believer in trying to have multiple streams of income,” Martin explained.
The booming local wedding business was a key factor that led to the expansion.
“There is such a need for rooms for the guests at these events,” he noted.
The portions of the building that now comprise the inn were formerly rented as apartments, but the owners felt that short-term lodging would be a better utilization of the space.
Renovations got underway last April. The work included modifications to convert the rooms into appropriate lodging facilities, along with painting, cleaning and purchasing bedroom sets and other furnishings.
The finished product has been very well received.
“The rooms are very sweet and people like them. If I were younger, I would build more rooms,” Martin laughed.
While not technically a bed and breakfast, Martin said that guests at the inn receive one free meal at the café during each day of their visit.
Lot of changes
In 2005, when he and Yung purchased the sprawling building that formerly housed Brainerd’s Appliances, one section was leased to a real estate company. During the course of its extensive history, the building has also was home to a bowling alley, an ice cream parlor, a coffee shop in the 1930s and an antique store. Martin recalled that when the real estate office closed shop, he and Yung decided to set up a gallery, because the owners both had an extensive background and interest in the arts — Martin in photography and she as a pro- fessional dancer.
The gallery was well received, but the owners realized they needed additional attractions to maximize the potential of the historic (approximately 200 years old), 4,000-square-foot structure.
“We would have big openings, but little traffic during the week,” Martin noted.
When they learned about the availability of Light Up Main Street funding from the MARK Project, they obtained a grant to help create the Queens Mountain Café. The café debuted in July 2013 and has become a popular destination. The café specializes in homemade pastries, muffins and light lunch items. In the evening, the café offers a selection of beer, wine and mixed drinks.
As part of the owners’ ongoing quest to add variety and interest for visitors, Yung has expanded her jewelry, new age gifts and related items in a portion of the gallery space.
With the addition of the Queens Mountain Inn, Martin and Yung have plenty to occupy their time during their “retirement” years.
“We’ve been upgrading this property since 2005. You have to stay with it – there’s a learning curve. The rooms are helping to generate cash flow,” noted Martin.
Martin credited the success of The Roxbury motel, located just a few hundred yards away, with playing an important role in their decision to expand.
As with any investment, it’s important to maintain a positive cash flow. For the owners, however, the projects run deeper.
“It’s really turned into a labor of love,” Martin commented sincerely.
For more information about the Martin Lerner Gallery or the Queens Mountain Café and Inn, please call 607 326-6202, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: queensmtninn.com. The enterprises are located at 53470 State Highway 30, Roxbury.