By SBDC Staff
Bear Mountain Lodge was originally opened in 1928 as a boy’s school. It went on to serve as a country club, private home, and a birding bed and breakfast. And now Western New Mexico University’s SBDC is proud to recognize the Lodge as its 2012 Client of the Year.
Operated by the Nature Conservatory for 10 years before its closure in 2009, Linda Brewer and her partners realized that the historic building and hiking trails were too much of a jewel for Southwest New Mexico to lose. “It has economic value to the area,” said John Rohovec, co-owner. “We wanted to open it up to the public,” said Brewer. “Now everybody is stunned when they get here.”
“We all want it to be an unique destination and have personality,” said Brewer, co-owner and manager and one of seven partners who helped reopen the lodge after a brief closure in 2009. The lodge has a dining area, great room, horse stable, trails, café, and a contemporary art gallery providing original artwork throughout the property.
The Lodge is only a few miles from the heart of Silver City, but is isolated by a charming dirt road, greenery, and mountains. It is located on 180 acres boarding the Gila National Forest. It is possibly the most unique and modern lodge of its kind in the region. It’s a place to enjoy peace and quiet, and the natural beauty of the area.
The mission style building, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, doesn’t scream hotel at first sight. It is when visitors enter the building that they realize they are in for a unique experience. “We are more than a lodge, we’re an art destination,” described Brewer.
The art is just one element that Brewer and her team have added to create a special guest experience.
The main Lodge is a 10,000-square foot mission style building. There are two other buildings to house guests on the property for a total of 11 rooms, all with private bathrooms. The rooms are spacious and each are named after a native bird or person who was important to New Mexican history. The Lodge prides itself on not having television, but it does have wifi to keep you connected to the real world. Owners of the lodge are happy with these contradictions.
After purchasing the business, Brewer and Rohovec relocated their Blue Dome Gallery to the Lodge, providing original artwork in each guest room. Each year a major piece of art is added to the collection to include a labyrinth, a large hummingbird mural in the dining room, and a recycled material puma bench on the Lodge’s highest peak. On the grounds of the property is a sculptural garden with various exterior pieces including a large metal praying mantis, a dragonfly, and butterflies. There are also mosaic tile columns and giant biomorphic clay sculptures.
“We are also a place that takes the guests back to a time when hotels were a bit more personal,” said Brewer. The Lodge’s eatery, Café Oso Azul, is also open to non-guests, and its weekend brunches have proven popular. The café serves up handcrafted food, everything from homemade crackers to amazing carrot cake. The Lodge is a place where guests know the owners by name and the owners know the guests.
Brewer’s vision is to make the Lodge a place where memories are made. The Lodge is regularly booked for weddings, birthday parties, book premiers, workshops, community meetings, and other social gatherings.
“We are happy making other people happy,” added Rohovec.
The Bear Mountain Lodge will be recognized February 28 at the State Legislature along with Clients of the Year from the 19 other SBDCs around the state. Ms. Brewer and Mr. Rohovec, along with the other special clients from around the state, will be honored by SBDC with a reception the previous evening.
Each SBDC will have a display booth set up in the Roundhouse with information and pictures of their Clients of the Year. This event is an opportunity to give special recognition to those entrepreneurs who have been helped by SBDC business counselors and have gone on to success in their business.
An archive of SBDC Business Reports can be found at http://www.grantcountybeat.com/archived-items
The Small Business Development Center has moved its offices to WNMU’s Watts Hall located on the corner of 18th and Swan Streets.
Call the SBDC office for more information about the following workshop:
• March 21 – “Contracting with the Government”