Member Story: Ampersand Bay Resort
A View to the Future
It doesn’t take a visionary entrepreneur to stand on the deck at Ampersand Bay Resort, look out over Lower Saranac Lake, and see a spectacular view.
On the other hand, having the confidence to make a major investment in an under-performing property—adding a high-end restaurant, expanding its event business and upgrading the accommodations—does take vision.
And a lender committed to the success of local businesses, especially in an industry as vital to the region as hospitality.
That’s what Jacob Wright, CEO of Skyward Companies, has in Adirondack Regional FCU, which is has provided support for the new restaurant.
Wright, an experienced hospitality investor, was behind the successful development of the Saranac Waterfront Lodge in Saranac Lake and other area properties. Working with the credit union “is wonderful,” he says. “They understand the local market. You don’t have to educate Adirondack Regional FCU.”
A larger bank, Wright says, might shy away from backing a resort property because it carries certain risks. Adirondack Regional FCU, though, recognizes Ampersand Bay’s unique position as the only hotel and restaurant on Lower Saranac. And with 150 people on site at any given time, between people renting suites and owners of lakeside units on the same property, that makes Ampersand’s growth a safe bet.
The biggest change in store at Ampersand Bay at the moment is the addition of that reservation-only, 50-seat restaurant. Looking out over the half-finished space, Wright talks about adding a Wine Spectator Award-worthy wine list to accompany the dishes served up by Chef Vicky Breyette, former owner of the (much-missed) Caribbean Cowboy in Lake Placid. (Can’t get a reservation? Pull your boat up to one of the public slips and order a meal to eat on the deck.)
But he also imagines diners finishing their meal and deciding to rent a boat or stand-up paddleboard from an expanded surf shop that will soon open. Or admiring the view from the picture windows so much that they decide to host an event there—a corporate retreat, perhaps, or a wedding. He’s hoping to double or triple the number of weddings held at Ampersand Bay, going from five a year to 10 or even 15.
“The idea behind this has always been the synergies,” Wright says.
Wright, who sits on the advisory board at the Cornell Center for Real Estate and Finance, says that Saranac Lake is emerging as a thriving hospitality market. “A lot’s happened here over the last decade,” he says.
Adirondack Regional FCU helps businesses like Skyward—and yours—build on that success. Tell one of our loan specialists about your vision today.