Buyers are longtime valley visitors
When Bill Pope and his partners were ready to sell the Mazama Country Inn after 26 years of ownership, they found enthusiastic buyers just up the road.
Jim and Victoria Grady, who have owned property in the Mazama area for more than two decades, are the new proprietors of the popular inn behind the Mazama Store.
The Gradys live in Sammamish, but are frequent visitors to the valley. They will continue to reside on the west side, and the inn will be locally managed.
The sale closes this month. Technically, the inn is being purchased by Goat Inn LLC, an investment group led by the Gradys, who have been property owners at Fosters Guest Ranch and have been coming to the Methow Valley for over 25 years.
The previous ownership group included original partners George Turner and Pope’s ex-wife, Cheryl. They purchased the inn from Cal and Ann Merriman in July 1994.
Pope and Turner went to law school together. At the time, Pope was an in-house attorney for Microsoft, and Turner was administrative assistant to a state legislator. Turner became the inn’s general manager. Over the years, the owners expanded and upgraded the inn’s offerings.
The Gradys were newlyweds who had moved to Washington from the other Washington (D.C.) when they visited the Methow Valley in 1995, not long after Pope and partners bought the inn. “We just couldn’t believe it when we got here,” Victoria said.
John Hayes gave the Gradys an exhaustive personal tour of the valley, and the young couple settled on the Foster’s Ranch property.
The Gradys said they have always been on the lookout for other valley opportunities, and saw the Mazama Country Inn’s real estate listing in June. Jim is an independent real estate broker. He and Victoria talked it over, and decided to make the leap with the help of a couple of “inactive” investment partners.
The Gradys have no experience in the hospitality industry, but will rely on local staff to keep the inn humming — and learn the business as they go. “There’s something to be said for observing,” Victoria said.
Victoria is a former Microsoft executive who recently joined the management team of a tech start-up in Seattle. Jim has been in real estate for more than 25 years and also spent time at Microsoft originally to work on a real estate-related product.
The Gradys said they “love the Methow,” describing it as “a special place … that feels like home.” They have two children: daughter Riley, 16, and son Jake, 12. Their kids are huge fans of the valley as well.
“We are excited and grateful for the opportunity to acquire the inn from Bill Pope and we aspire to continue his strong legacy in the Methow,” the Gradys said in a statement. “Our plan is to grow and invest in the various businesses that the inn manages today, while also navigating the impacts that COVID-19 is having on all businesses. We look forward to this next chapter for the inn and the opportunity for our family to participate in the Mazama community in this new capacity.”
Some ideas the Gradys have in mind include:
• Continuing to provide take-out dining for inn guests and others.
• Updating the inn’s online presence and branding.
• Enhancing the services offered by the inn to the owners of rental cabins it manages.
• Modernizing the inn’s units by adding kitchenettes and updating all of the finishes.
• Adding additional units to the property as the market permits.
• Optimizing use of the Mazama Athletic Center building.
• Creating “an activity-based center where skiers, snowshoers, hikers and bikers can begin and end their activities.”