Lifetime New Richmond residents Tom and Lisa Rickard have wanted to own a family business for quite some time, but it wasn’t until last November that the couple made that dream a reality when they purchased the AmeriVu Inn & Suites in New Richmond.
“We’d been thinking about doing something like this for years, so when we saw it was for sale we put a lot of thought into buying it and running it ourselves,” Tom said. “After thinking about it, we decided to go for it because it was a great opportunity to do something we always wanted to do.”
The couple had thought about building a hotel themselves some 30 years ago when the AmeriVu was built, but the idea never went anywhere. The Rickards have owned rental units for about 35 years, which is part of why the pair felt like they could handle running a hotel.
“It was something we thought was in our wheelhouse, although it is not exactly the same thing we had been doing already,” Tom said. “And we felt like it would make a big difference in the community. A lot of times people have to go to Hudson or Stillwater to get hotels for events that are being held here since there aren’t many hotels. Bringing this hotel up to date and revitalizing it should help the community, help the area and help New Richmond as a whole.”
The Rickards have two children, a son-in-law and a future daughter-in-law working with them at the hotel, which is exactly what the couple was hoping for when they bought the building.
“A big thing that people have noticed is that we are a family unit and that we are always working and we are always here,” Lisa said. “We couldn’t do this without our two kids, our son-in-law and our future daughter-in-law, and even sometimes our parents as well as friends and family. Everyone is excited to help out.”
The Rickards assure customers that the hotel has been improved.
“We’ve been working overtime to try and clean it up and get it ready for our customers and visitors,” Tom said. “The hardest part about taking over the hotel is that we have to overcome the negative mentality people have toward this place from how it used to be. But I think people will come around once they see the work we have put into it. People who have stayed here since we have started our remodels have had really great reviews after staying here.”
The changes to the inside of the 30 room hotel, which also features a pool and hot tub, have been extensive, according to the Rickards. Tom said that nearly everything in the hotel was not functioning properly, including the TVs, the door locks and the heater in the pool. The family would close two or three rooms at a time to work on updating the room and making it useable again.
“The first thing we had to do was to get everything clean, then we could get to a point where we could start repairing everything that needed to be fixed,” Tom said. “The lobby is a high priority, so we have been working hard to get that updated and fixed up for people when they come in and when they stay with us.”
Since the couple has taken over ownership of the hotel, people have been trickling back and have been giving the hotel positive reviews as well as booked rooms for return trips to the area.
“We’ve had quite a few repeat customers and we’ve only been here for a few months,” Lisa said. “One of the best parts, that was surprising to us, was how fun people have been. We’ve had some really fun guests and they are already coming back. Just listening to the people and their stories is fun. You get to meet people from all over the place. ”
After completing all the interior renovations to the AmeriVu, the Rickards plan to update the outside of the hotel as well.
“We are planning on updating things outside this summer and try to give it more of a resort feel,” Tom said. “We actually have balconies off the back of the building that overlook the river, which is something we really want to highlight.”