Graham Hewison and Maxine Longmuir have owned the Sugartree Bed & Breakfast in Warren since 2004. But when the UK transplants decided to put their inn on the market two years ago, they got virtually no nibbles going the traditional route of working with commercial realtors. And, with a glut of similar properties in Vermont currently on the market, the Brits knew they had to get creative.
Finally, Hewison says, the couple decided to "take the bull by the horns" and market the inn themselves. Hewison, a former professional session musician in London, and Longmuir, who ran sports marketing and sponsorship departments for large European companies, decided to write, record, film and edit their own music video to promote the inn's many selling points. Now, they're singing a completely different tune — literally.
"We've had more than 2,500 hits in just three days," Hewison says.
The playful, catchy video begins with Hewison seated at the breakfast table as he explains to Longmuir his idea for the video itself. What follows is about four and a half minutes recounting the many reasons why potential buyers might want to ditch their 9-to-5 gigs and invest in their "little money maker on one-third of an acre" in the Mad River Valley.
The video goes on to explain the inn's many selling points — including nine bedrooms, close proximity to Sugarbush Resort, return patrons, five-star ratings, etc. — as well as their reasons for getting out.
Well, not all the reasons. Hewison and Longmuir, who are both British subjects, have struggled to secure green cards from the U.S. government. Although they've had their E2 work permits renewed several times, Hewison says the couple has about two years left on their current permit and want to spend the remainder of their time left on it exploring other areas of the country — specifically, San Diego.
Hewison and Longmuir are not the only ones trying a rather unconventional approach to selling their B&B. Doreen Cooney, the Irish-born owner of the Deerfield Valley Inn, a nine-room historic country inn near Mount Snow Ski Resort in West Dover, is offering her place for $150 to the winner of an essay contest. Entries must be received by midnight on November 20.
The Sugartree property is currently listed at $699,000. Check out the video (below) and perhaps you'll be sold on owning a little slice of central Vermont. Never run an inn before? No matter. As the song points out, "A little quid pro quo, we'll teach you all we know."
Says Hewison, “It just takes one [couple] to look at it and ... be at that point in their life where they think, ‘We could do that.’ That’s where we were 12 years ago.”